An evaluation of the role played by Kenyan independent churches in the protection of the fundamental human rights of children
Wambua, Leonard Munyao
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This research aims to evaluate the role that Kenyan independent churches play in the protection of the fundamental human rights of children. It became apparent during the course of the research that Kenya's independent churches have numerous shortcomings that affect their ability to protect such rights. The Kenyan independent churches are affected by the negative effects of an African traditional worldview. Among the effects of this worldview is the tolerance of female genital mutilation, polygamy and corporal punishment, practices that contravene the United Nation's Declaration on the Rights of Children. The research further discovered that some of the Kenyan independent churches perpetuate the violation of the fundamental human rights of children with their gross misunderstanding of Scripture, especially the wisdom of Bible texts such as Proverbs 22:15. A literal application of Scripture and a tendency to lean towards casuistic ethics contribute to the misuse and misunderstanding of the Bible verses that touch on the human dignity of children. The violation of the fundamental human rights of children is rampant in Kenya. The number of independent churches involved in protecting the fundamental human rights of children is very small. The few independent churches that offer child services offer relief services rather than embracing a human rights approach to serving children. Although the independent churches make out the majority and are the fastest growing among the churches, it is notable that mission churches such as the Catholic and Anglican churches are more involved in protecting the fundamental human rights of children when compared to the independent churches in Kenya. Kenyan independent churches furthermore suffer the effects of poverty coupled with illiteracy, a factor that affects their ability to champion the fundamental human rights of children as stipulated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children. On the positive side, some social cultural values common among the independent churches, such as African communal solidarity and the extended family system, promote the well–being of children. However, overall the Kenyan independent churches have not successfully responded to the violation of the fundamental human rights of children. This inability remains a concern worthy addressing.
- Theology