Essay Rwanda Churches Make a Difference

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Timothy Longman argues that genocide could have been prevented if the churches were more involved in persuading community members not to commit acts of genocide. The churches preached and taught raciest ideas. The governments anti-Tutsi policies went against the churches ideals of love thy neighbor, however the churches still endorsed obedience to authorities, ethnic discrimination and power politics. Although genocide was an extreme expression of ethnic hatred, it was not inconsistent with actions previously condoned and tolerated by the churches (200). During the genocide there were members and representatives in the church responsible for committing acts of genocide. This included pastors, priests, and devout followers. Many …show more content…
The government felt that massacres and conflict helped to heighten ethnic tension and polarize the ethnic communities (170), and with the support of the churches they were able to hold ethnic discrimination to carry out their genocidal plans of eliminating the Tutsi population who they looked to as the scapegoat for Rwanda’s problems. During Habyarimana’s power he set up quotas for education and employment. Habyarimana created a larger gap between the elite and the poor by limiting specific citizens from resources. The government’s hand in the churches molded the minds of the citizens. Many felt by participating in the genocide they were participating with the followings of the church. Longman focuses on how the churches played a major role in helping create a local elite and maintaining a dominant population of wealthier community members. He focuses the challenges of elites in two parishes, the church in Kirinda and the church in Biguhu. Longman argues that, “Ultimately, the church in Kirinda was at the center of the genocide there, while the church in Biguhu was regarded as a hindrance and targeted by the genocide” (101). The Biguhu parish pushed the church to ally itself with the less powerful to seek opportunities for the marginalized and to break down the local system of patronage and privilege (101). The community depended on the church for basic needs like education, employment, and health

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