In an effort to protect themselves from terrorists killing them in the name of Allah, Christian pastors in Kenya have asked to be armed with AK-47 rifles.
Increasingly insecure and frustrated pastors made the unusual request in the wake of escalating violence in the coastal Mombasa region, particularly after two pastors were killed in their churches late last month, according to a report from Religion News Service.
“Pastor Charles Mathole, 41, was killed Oct. 20 as he prayed inside his Vikwatani Redeemed Gospel Church. The following day, East African Pentecostal Church pastor Ibrahim Kithaka was found dead in Kilifi, about 35 miles north of Mombasa,” the article said.
During Mathole’s funeral, Pastor Lambert Mbela called on the Kenyan government to provide the churches with rifles to combat the suspected Islamic extremists terrorizing the region.
“Our many churches are not under any protection. They do not have walls or gates. The government should issue AK-47 rifles to every church so that we can stop them from being burnt, our property from being looted and our pastors and Christians from being killed,” he said.
While some pastors agree, others believe an armed clergy “contradicts traditional biblical teachings on nonviolence, or could put churches and congregations at more risk,” the report said.
According to the paper, even some Muslim leaders believe providing Christian clerics with rifles is needed, but one warned:
“It is a good idea, but not all clerics should get the guns. Some are rogue clerics and may pose more danger to other religious leaders,” said Sheikh Juma Ngao, chairman of the Kenya Muslim National Advisory Council.
More from Religion News Service.