On Tuesday, January 28, the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church in Nairobi, Kenya, publicly gave thanks to the group Atheists In Kenya (AIK) for their actions. Earlier in the month, seventeen students from SDA families had been suspended from their high school as punishment for missing a mandatory exam.
The test was on a Saturday. The SDA families were in church.
AIK wants Kenya to be a secular society where no one religion rules over others. They sent a letter of protest to the high school and one to the Nairobi News newspaper, threatening legal action on the students’ behalf.
The school relented and rescinded the suspensions. The item doesn’t mention retaking the exams.
The Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) has appreciated the support it received from the Atheists in Kenya that saw 17 students associated with the church who had been suspended on religious grounds allowed back to school.
In a letter seen by Nairobi News, Mr Arap Too an SDA church elder recognized the efforts made by AIK President Harrison Mumia in ensuring that the students are allowed back to school.
“Our pastor, elders and the entire leadership of the Seventh Day Adventist Church at Syokimau Airport view wish to most sincerely thank you for showing solidarity with our members who are learners at Kabianga High School in Kericho County,” Too said in the letter.
According to the letter, the 17 students, who were suspended after they refused to take examinations on Sabbath Day, had already been accepted back to the school.
AIK, through Mr Mumia, had written to the school asking the principal to respect the student’s right to worship and allow them back to school or he would sue the school.
“Religious freedoms must be protected. The cultural majority should be prevented from denying others freedom of worship and belief,” he said.
This is the behaviour of most atheists, not eyebrow raising. Aside from atheists driven by ideology, most aren’t anti-religious, we just want theists to keep it to themselves.
According to the registration page of the Atheists In Kenya website, they are also Intersectional:
Atheists In Kenya Society membership is open to all — whether you’re an atheist, theist, agnostic, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, scientist, humanist, free thinker, pantheist, historian, philosopher, feminist, secularist or human rights activist you belong here. We’ve been around since 2013. We are Kenya’s largest and only atheist society. We are a community that cares about science, humanism, secularism and discovery. We reject the notion that religion is a pre-condition for morality.
The AIK sound like good people doing good work. Below the fold are two more Nairobi News items (from 2018) about the AIK.
August 2018: The AIK opposed the use of public tax dollars being spent on christians-only tour of Europe.
Atheists in Kenya (AIK) now want the Ministry of Culture and Heritage to cancel a state-sponsored tour to Europe for gospel musicians on grounds that it only favored Christians.
In a press release on Tuesday, the group faulted the ministry for sponsoring only Christian musicians for the tour and excluding artistes from other faiths.
“The tour which is meant to showcase Kenya’s culture, goes against the spirit of our constitution, which establishes Kenya as a secular and religiously diverse nation,” read part of the statement signed by Harrison Mumia, the group’s president.
It further threatened to petition Parliament to probe the ministry over misuse of taxpayers money.
The group wants the ministry to re-constitute the travelling party by including members of other faiths.
The group raised concern that the State has in the recent past treated Christianity with privilege.
“The state should end the marginalisation of atheists and members of other religions through the acts of institutional religious discrimination,” they said.
September 2018: The AIK asked members of the public to donate money to fund their next meeting. The AIK is a registered and tax exempt Society in Kenya, and all donations would come from private individuals, none from taxpayer money, and yet the religious opposed them even asking for donations. KSh10,000 is approximately US$100, and Kenya’s average per capita income is US$1,246.
By NAIRA HABIB September 12th, 2018
The Atheist in Kenya community has found itself on the receiving end of harsh criticism after asking the public to donate funds to help them cater for the cost of their meeting this month.
Through their social media handles, the Atheists have said that they would require a total of Sh10,000 to facilitate the meeting, urging the online community to donate anything in support of AIK.
“We require Sh10,000 to cater for the cost of this month’s Atheist in Kenya meeting. Contact +254717110066, kindly inbox if you are willing to donate,” posted Atheist in Kenya on social media.
This message aroused mixed reactions from netizens, with many of them not taking it verry kindly.
“Kujeni jivanjii. Bunge la mwananchi will vacate the benches for you to hold your service,” suggested Kip Sige.
“Wtf guys??? Sadaka tena?” asked Kenik Manasseh.
“Mungu atawasaidia, mtapata tu,” said Kinuthia Maruga.
“Hata member’s wakitoa 5/- each… haitatosha,” wrote Robert Onderi.
AIK was registered as a Society in February, 17th, 2016 (Societies Act, Cap 108).