Atheists in Kenya are demanding that the word ‘God’ in the National Anthem be expunged.
They argued that having the word ‘God’ in the first stanza of the anthem does not promote the spirit of inclusivity since “not all Kenyans believe in God”.
They argued that Kenya is a secular state and therefore singing the national anthem with the word God is in contravention of the Constitution.
“As non-believers, we feel that the National Anthem is not representative of us, and goes against the spirit of the Kenyan Constitution. Removing ‘God’ from the National Anthem will make it inclusive,” Harrison Mumia, President of Atheists in Kenya, said in a statement.
The National Anthem starts with ‘Oh, God of all creation’ and is recited as a national prayer for prosperity, love and unity.
It is a song taught to every child in each school and is considered to be the unifying factor in the country.
The anthem is sang in numerous occasions for instance before the opening of any official function.
Nonetheless, Atheists in Kenya complained saying they feel left out when the anthem is recited.
“Atheists want to feel proud when we sing or listen to the national anthem. This pride must arise from a sense of unity with shared values and ideals. The word ‘God’ disenfranchises atheists from this unified ideal,” Mr Mumia said.
He said the petition will be presented to Parliament, which ironically has its own prayer that mentions God severally.
“Almighty God, who in Your wisdom and goodness have appointed the offices of leaders and parliaments for the welfare of society and the just government of the people, we beseech You to behold with Your abundant favour, us Your servants, whom You have been pleased to call to the performance of important trusts in this Republic,” the Parliamentary prayer reads in part.
The group has in the past engaged in bouts with the government from the issue of its registration to admitting members.
It was registered in February 18, only for the certificate to be suspended by Attorney-General Githu Muigai in May following opposition from religious groups.
In a statement then, Prof Muigai said the organisation’s fate will be determined by the Supreme Court.