In Kenya, the “yes” side was able to claim a landslide victory in a referendum on what has been heralded as the country’s first homegrown constitution. The proposal passed against the resistance of conservative Christian groups, both domestic and international (more, more), who claimed the new constitution would give increased sway to Khadi courts, advance secularism, and legalize on-demand abortions in the East African country—a trumped-up charge reminiscent of anti-healthcare-reform scare tactics in the United States.
Church leaders roundly denounced the outcome of the referendum. The blogosphere, however, is full of enthusiastic responses to the victory of the pro-reform side. Several bloggers highlight that the referendum passed despite calls by Christian church leaders to vote “no,” and wonder what the implications will be for the public standing of the churches: “Will the people listen to the church any more after this in political decision making?” Anticipating that the churches’ public role may be called into question, a Catholic bishop told reporters that “[t]he church has not lost any moral credibility” by opposing constitutional reform. “The church was only expressing God’s law.”
For scholars interested in religion and public life, it will be worth looking at the fallout in the coming months.