Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda

Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda by Timothy Longman discusses the roles of the churches in Rwanda and how their influence might have been able to alter the outcome of the genocide. He discusses the rise of Juvenal Habyarimana in politics with his Catholic background, church and state relations, and obedience to political authority. His slogan “Peace, Unity, and Development” were his political plans for Rwanda. On April 6, 1994, president Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane was shot down marking the beginning of the Rwandan genocide. His death was a pretext for government and military officials to begin their launch against opponents of their regime. The genocide lasted for 100 days and resulted in over a million deaths. During the genocide the…show more content…
Tutsi were given educational opportunities that would lead to political positions. Missionaries believed that Tutsi were destined to rule Rwanda because of their natural gift for commanding. They felt that Tutsi should rule, where Hutu were solid and naturally fit for service and physical labor. Twa were considered to be savage and lesser of the two ethnic groups. African religious history shows evidence of engaging in ethnic discrimination and violence. During colonial Christian mission projects, they were known to have relationships with the colonial authorities in supporting their violations and fundamental human rights on the innocent. They encouraged obedience to authority rather than standing up for the rights of oppressed populations (14). Religious oppositions was key to the successful replacement of authoritarian rulers, and religious groups have been key in pressuring governments to accept reform (16). These ethnic differences would lead to years of animosity between the Rwandans. Longman asks, “Why did loyalty to their church and to their fellow believers not prevent Catholics from killing fellow Catholics and Protestants from killing fellow Protestants?” (18). By looking at the Rwandan State and it’s declining economy, lack of resources, and social associations, one can see that it’s citizens needed a target. The Tutsi were a target, their scapegoat for years of conflict and suppression. Pope John

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