Religious Divisions in Jonglei Pose Threat to Peace and Security, South Sudan Clerics Caution
South Sudanese clerics warn of the potential ramifications of divisions within the Anglican Church in Jonglei State, warning that these divisions not only jeopardise peace but also pose a threat to the country’s security.
Speaking to reporters in Juba on Wednesday, Archbishop Justin Badi of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) claimed that local leaders mobilised armed youth to forcefully shut down churches loyal to his counterpart, Moses Anur, who was appointed to replace Ruben Akurdit Ngong after the latter was expelled and retired from pastoral services.
Badi urged the national government to protect the church in Jonglei and allow the reopening of recently closed churches.
“The ECSS leadership is displeased with the failure of the government to give equal rights and protection to ECSS like other churches and denominations in Bor town,” he said.
Religious Rifts Impacting Peace
The concerns raised by South Sudanese clerics highlight the critical role of religious unity in promoting peace and stability. Church divisions in Jonglei have the potential to exacerbate existing tensions and disrupt the delicate balance of coexistence among different religious groups. The shared objective of religious institutions to foster harmony and goodwill can be overshadowed by internal conflicts, which may spill over into broader societal conflicts. The call from clerics underscores the need for a collective effort to bridge gaps, promote understanding, and strengthen the role of faith in healing divisions and promoting social cohesion.
Security Implications and Community Cohesion
The warning from South Sudanese clerics brings attention to the far-reaching consequences of church divisions on security and community cohesion. In regions where faith plays a central role in daily life, divisions within religious institutions can ripple through society, potentially leading to unrest and undermining the overall stability. Additionally, these divisions can create opportunities for external actors to exploit vulnerabilities, further compromising the security of the region. Addressing the underlying causes of these divisions becomes essential not only for religious institutions but for the well-being of the entire community. By prioritizing interfaith dialogue, conflict resolution, and collaboration, South Sudan can work towards healing rifts, strengthening bonds, and fortifying its social fabric.
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