Ethiopia : An Oromo protestant pastor says ethnic identity [and politics] not biblical

God knows us as Ethiopia and Ethiopians

October 7 ,2016

Pastor Dr Tolossa Gudina condemning ethnic politics
Video source : Social Media

Politics and religion

Toronto – Followers of protestant faith in Ethiopia are known for avoiding topics perceived to be politics or at least there seem to be the impression among wider Ethiopians that politics, what it is that politics does not relate to is barely considered, and protestant faith are opposing values.

It does not seem to be the case any longer. In August of this year, a pastor wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne, who is himself said to be a follower of one of the protestant sects – probably “born again christian” -if that is not incorrect description of the congregation, condemning his decision to deploy armed forces in the Amhara regions of Ethiopia and the consequent massacres of hundreds of civilians in many towns in the region including in the regional capital Bahir Dar. The letter evidently achieved positive results in terms of repelling the myth that protestant religion and expression of opinion on things that matter to Ethiopia, which is what many protestants seem to understand as the realm of politics in the context of Ethiopian politics, are opposing values. The letter was widely shared in social media.

Ethnic politics and religion

This week another Ethiopian Pastor of Oromo language heritage captured the attention of Ethiopians in social media when he condemned ethnic politics on the basis of holy scripture.

In a sermon, Dr Tolossa Gudina, apparently a pastor, said that there is no biblical reference to ethnicity – which is what has become a dominant political organizing principle in Ethiopia. God knows us, he said, as Ethiopia and Ethiopians. God does not know us as Oromo,Amhara, Guraghe, Kembta, Tigre,etc

His message resonated very well even with those Ethiopians who are not followers of the protestant faith. Greater proportion of Ethiopians are seemingly clear that ethnic politics, in its radicalized form -one that the likes of Oromo nationalist Jawar Mohammed- espouse and propagate, constitute a greater danger to Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa as well.

Indeed, through out the Old and New testament in Bible about 42 references are made to Ethiopia and none to any one of ethnic group. Just like the Bible, Islamic scriptures, mainly Haddith, make a positive and spiritual references to Ethiopia.

Religious leaders in Ethiopia seem to be increasingly concerned about deepening crisis and the death toll from reckless brutal killings by the regime in power. They were criticized for being silent while government continues to kill Ethiopians. In that regard, vehement criticism was directed against Patriarch Abune Mathias of Ethiopian Church, otherwise known as Orthodox Tewahdo Church, for embracing state propaganda and paint the popular movement in a negative light.

Yesterday, Religious Council of Ethiopia – an interfaith institution, issued a statement in which it condemned death of civilians and demanded government to be ready for negotiation and address popular demands. Further more, they called on for the creation of Peace Task.


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