Pentecostal Church to “Force” Museum to Move Hominoid Display

The Daily Telegraph reports from Kenya on a new religiously-inspired attack on science (link added):

Powerful evangelical churches are pressing Kenya’s national museum to sideline its world-famous collection of hominid bones pointing to man’s evolution from ape to human.

Leaders of the country’s six-million-strong Pentecostal congregation want Dr Richard Leakey’s ground-breaking finds relegated to a back room instead of being given their usual prime billing.

…”The Christian community here is very uncomfortable that Leakey and his group want their theories presented as fact,” said Bishop Bonifes Adoyo, the head of Christ is the Answer Ministries, the largest Pentecostal church in Kenya.

“Our doctrine is not that we evolved from apes, and we have grave concerns that the museum wants to enhance the prominence of something presented as fact which is just one theory.”

Bishop Adoyo said all the country’s churches would unite to force the museum to change its focus when it reopens after 18 months of renovations in June next year.

This is just the latest campaign from Bishop Adoyo, who in 1999 demanded that Kenya change its national motto. Charisma magazine reported at the time:

A Pentecostal pastor in Nairobi, Kenya, is challenging the use of the country’s long-held national motto, saying the word is having a negative spiritual effect on the East African nation because it translates as an invocation to a Hindu goddess.

…The word harambee is the most distinctive expression of the Kenyan idiom, and it serves as the national rallying cry. Its origins as a commonly used term are with Hindu laborers who constructed the country’s trans-national railway, yet the word has spiritual roots as well.

According to Ram Krishan Sharma, the pandit–or “preacher”–at the Arya Samaj temple, harambee is an invocation. “When one says harambee, they are saying, ‘O god mother, take our pains and sorrows away.'”

…Adoyo believes that Kenyan Christians and Muslims should not be forced to pay homage to a deity acknowledged by less than 1 percent of the population. “A national motto should be neutral,” he says.

Adoyo went on to explain the spiritual side of economics:

Adoyo is convinced that the reason why Asians control 20 percent of the Kenyan economy is that they worship what they know, while the rest of Kenya commits unwitting idolatry.

…Adoyo ruefully compares “Harambee” with “In God We Trust,” the motto on the U.S. dollar, saying: “[Americans] started on the right footing, and now the dollar rules the world. Not so us!”

Critics, meanwhile, complained that “harambee” was simply an African word meaning “let us all pull together”.

Back in the 1990s, Adoyo was also active in spreading Satanic panic, for the benefit of President Daniel Arap Moi. The Mail and Guardian reported:

Two years ago [1994], amid a flourish of press reports of children kidnapped for ritual sacrifice, Arap Moi appointed Kenya’s archbishop to head an official commission into devil worship.

…The commission says devil worshippers have brought a plague of human sacrifice, cannibalism, “incantations in unintelligible language” and rape of children – and gives hints on how to spot Lucifer’s agents at work. Citizens should look out for the “magic horns of witchcraft”, the numbers 666, images of witches on broomsticks, nudity and snakes. Other giveaways are an “obsession with sex, especially lesbianism or homosexuality”.

Bonifes Adoyo, a member of the commission and senior pastor of the Nairobi Pentecostal Church, says it found devil worship at every level of society but mostly among the elite.

“The elites entice people into it with money,” Adoyo said. “Materialism and affluence do not answer spiritual longings…they want mystical powers to control people.” He said those who have “joined the bandwagon of economic and political freedoms” played into the hands of devil worshippers.

By “elites”, it seems, Adoyo meant Arap Moi’s political opponents. This 1994 “Inquiry into Devil Worship” was published in 1999:

In August 1999, the Government presented to Parliament and thereby effectively published the 1994 report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Devil Worship…It also reported that “Satanists” had infiltrated nonindigenous religious groups including Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), and the Church of Christ Scientist (Christian Scientists), as well as other organizations, including the Masonic Order (Freemasons) and the Theosophical Society, making them “doorways” to Satanism. Most members of the Commission were senior members of mainline Christian churches; a deputy director of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) also served on the Commission.

A second report adds “the golfing society” to the list of “channels that could lead to the occult”. Apparently this was because of the existence of a “Lucifer Golfing Society”, whose patron is the Duke of Edinburgh. A Nation critique of the report can be seen here. Tragedy followed: in 2000, two women were burned to death as witches in the village of Gachami, and in 2004 the panic led to colonial-era church imagery coming under threat of destruction.

The bishop also takes a firm line against Islam; a 2004 source reports from a conference, where

Bishop Bonifes Adoyo (Kenya) exposed the hideous strategies of Muslims to Islamize all African nations and those plans are incubated in Abuja of Nigeria. They gather everyday, make use of their youths, burn churches, buy over institutions, occupy territories, go on suicide bombing, practice terrorism and call all these exploits. Exploits that breed evil. They must be stopped, and Christians, the church in Africa must arise against this destructive monster. A word of prophecy came that God desire men who will not only give him their hearts but their heads also. He said he would not find pleasure with those who draw back.

More recently, Adoyo was part of a campaign to have the Da Vinci Code film banned in Kenya.

Adoyo’s “Christ is the Answer” ministry is based at the Nairobi Pentecostal Church, Valley Road, which was founded by Canadian Pentecostals in the 1960s. A Christian radio station based at the church was the scene of a violent attack in May which left a guard dead; Islamic militants are thought to have been to blame, although a sinister comment from Security Minister John Michuki (and a previous attack on a newspaper office) about teaching a lesson to media that “harm” the government have raised other suspicions. There is also a weird (and impenetrable) argument over whether Rick Warren has had links with the church (see here).

(Hat tips: Pharyngula, Dispatches from the Culture Wars. Cross-posted to Talk to Action.)

Name variations: Boniface Adoyo, NPC Valley Road