kenya’s pro-gay reverend may face an axe
Jabulani Dube (BTM Fellow)
KENYA – 29 January 2009: Pro-gay priest, Reverend John Makokha may face an axe from the United Methodist Church (UMC) following his positive stance on homosexuality, which is said to contravene the social principles of the UMC.
Makokha confirmed this explaining that he is likely to be released from his duties during the next annual conference in April 2009 in Kampala.
“I’m still the Minister of Riruta United Methodist Church, but you can see their [UMC leaders] wish is to see me out”, Makokha said.
Controversy began when Makokha who is also an ally of Other Sheep Kenya, an ecumenical Christian organisation that includes lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LBGTI) people, was last year accused by UMC leaders of promoting homosexuality in the church.
This after Makokha made it clear that he does not “find religious arguments against homosexuality persuasive because I have come to learn that historically religion has been manipulated and misinterpreted to oppose the rights of various minority groups such as women, slaves etc.”
Since Makokha had been accused of making big decisions without informing his supervisors such as talking openly, on behalf of the UMC, about inclusion of homosexuals, Reverend Neal Christie, Assistant General Secretary Ministry of Education and Leadership Formation General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) said Makokha has split the church into two.
“He has made big decisions without informing his supervisors. He has hid behind this one issue [of homosexuality] he is so passionate about. John’s colleagues, even when they agree with his convictions, do not believe he has done his job as a communicator well”, Christie said.
Christie expressed his concern about the way Makokha works. “I am concerned that he uses contacts for his own financial interest. I have organized seminars with him. I would not trust him financially again with any of our agency grants unless he is supervised by others for accountability.”
He added that Makokha’s colleagues have shared that he has taken advantage of them financially and taken advantage of their churches generosity.
Such accusations prompted Makokha to write an open letter to Bishop Daniel Wandabula last year asking for a fair treatment.
In the letter he had pointed out that he had been impersonated through e-mails and other communication using disparaging remarks because of his association with the Other Sheep.
He had said that he had been referred to as a “gay pastor”, even though he is a heterosexual man with family.
Even so, Makokha has said that he is frustrated but not loosing hope.
“I have tried my level best but we seem to be going back to Egypt every day. They [UMC leaders] have avoided inviting me in crucial meetings. They meet behind my back to strategise on how to finish me as a ‘gay pastor’ this is what they call me”, Makokha said.
He added “Despite all these persecutions and suffering due to my stand on LGBTI ministry in Kenya and within UMC leaders in Kenya I will not throw the towel since my calling is from God and not man”, Makokha concluded.