Pandering to Islam is all the rage. Who isn’t doing it? Source: Bishop: Western politicians damage African Christianity by ‘pandering’ to Islam | CatholicHerald.co.uk
A Nigerian bishop said the Catholic Church in his country is beginning to lose its public influence partly because of the decline of religious faith in the West.
Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto accused European and American politicians and diplomats of publicly “pandering” to Islam at the expense of Christianity.
The result, he said, was the ascendancy of Islam and evangelical Christianity in Nigeria and the decline of Catholicism.
He told Catholic News Service in an interview in Liverpool that the widespread loss of Christian faith in the West was “absolutely” among the causes of the diminishing influence of the Catholic Church in his own country.
“From my own experience, I find that the British high commissioner, the ambassadors from European countries, the American ambassador — they are pandering more to Islam than to Christianity, because most of them have turned their backs on Christianity,” Bishop Kukah said.
“In Ramadan, the ambassadors of Islamic countries are very keen to come to the Muslim celebrations in a way and manner that the Irish or any of these ambassadors are not likely to do for (Christmas) midnight Mass or the Easter celebrations.”
He said that, in his experience, most Catholic ambassadors would prefer to be seen publicly at a Muslim celebration than attending a Christian ceremony.
“Before our election, John Kerry came to Nigeria,” he said. “John Kerry, when he was secretary of state, left the U.S. and came straight to see the sultan of Sokoto. It was a visit that nobody could explain.
“John Kerry claims to be a Catholic. This is the perfect example. He landed in Abuja. The American Embassy is in Abuja. There is a cardinal in Abuja, and a very visible cardinal for that matter, but it doesn’t cross the mind of John Kerry to even see out of courtesy the cardinal. He takes another plane to Sokoto and goes to the palace of the sultan, the head of the Muslims,” he said.
“The reaction of the Nigerian Christian community was very interesting. They thought Kerry was pushing the Islamic agenda,” Bishop Kukah said. “This was ahead of the elections, and they thought he was giving the Muslim candidate a leg up.”