belgian congo religion

1926), back of cover, translation by the authors. That pressure was instead coming from Africans themselves. First, the post-colonial political leaders of Congo and Rwanda continued the Belgian colonial policies. And then I got the feeling, which I still have today, that during my training, my education, I had been deceived about the Congo.“[1] Few countries in Africa proved more receptive to the work of Christian missions than the Belgian Congo. Rubber concessionaires and the colony's Force Publique routinely shot, maimed, and tortured laborers who failed to meet rubber quotas. Along with the Catholic priests, it blamed the misapplication of colonial law by a few bigoted officials.Footnote 68 Implicitly, the CPC identified any Congolese anti-government and anti-Church attitudes, which Catholics attributed to libre examen, as an understandable reaction to brutal treatment at the hands of the priests. Historical map of the Belgian Congo (1908–60). The Belgian Congo (French: Congo belge, Dutch: Belgisch-Kongo, Lingala: Kongó ya Bɛ́lɛjika), is a colony located in Central Africa. In his 1953 survey of church and state in Africa, George Wayland Carpenter—a former Baptist missionary in the Congo and CPC educational secretary, now serving as secretary for the Africa division of the National Council of Churches—identified the source of church-state conflicts in the colonial world by contrasting “Anglo-Saxon” and “Latin” conceptions “of the Church itself.” In the midst of a rising African anti-colonial movement, Carpenter praised the Belgian government's newfound “spirit of fairness” and defined religious freedom without any critique of the imperial order. Within a few weeks, officials had arrested and imprisoned four women prophets whom they suspected of stirring up trouble. 58 de Hemptinne, M., “La Politique des Missions Protestantes au Congo” (Elisabethville 1929)Google Scholar, Missionary Research Library Pamphlets, UTS (hereafter, MRL Pamphlets, UTS). Like colonial subjects around the world, Congolese people wanted greater leadership roles (and ultimately independence) in both church and state. The number of native Congolese priests totaled about 400. From their chastened and defensive position, Protestant missionary leaders made even sharper distinctions between religion and politics, the affairs of the church and those of the colonial state. Many Protestant missionaries were initially optimistic about the Prophet Movement, seeing it as evidence of an emerging indigenous Christianity. 37 “L'Avenir Colonial, dans un article … écrit que le Kimbanguisme n'est autre que le garvéyisme ou le movement hostile surtout aux Belges. Subsidies brought improved resources and opportunities to Congolese Protestants, but also brought the missions more closely into the orbit of the colonial government. Congolese mines supplied uranium to the U.S. when it made its first atomic weapons, which were used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Léopold convinced the international community that he shared in the humanitarian goals asserted by other imperialists at the time, including the benevolent aims of Christian missions and the elimination of slavery. The history of this campaign demonstrates how humanitarian discourses of religious freedom—and with them competing configurations of church and state—took shape in colonial contexts. Some Belgian “ colonial” artists who produced “ colonial” artwork never even went to the Congo but were only inspired by it, while others went for shorter or longer stays. The history of this campaign demonstrates how humanitarian discourses of religious freedom—and with them … The government paid the salaries of its doctors and nurses and granted it permission to build new clinics and hospitals, even in locales already serviced by Protestant institutions.Footnote 55 Meanwhile, a newly ambitious program of “Belgicization” focused on educational reforms in the “national” schools, which were invariably Catholic. Some struggled with the trauma of enslavement while others sought alternative routes to status and authority through participating in Independent Christian movements or assuming positions of traditional leadership. Despite their complaints about Belgian rule, few if any missionaries in the Congo believed that the native Christians were prepared for independence or even for autonomous churches. 67 Castelli, Elizabeth A., Martyrdom and Memory: Early Christian Culture Making (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004)Google Scholar. Although they disagreed on other points, Catholic government officials and church leaders tended to agree that the good of the colony required some restrictions on these “foreign” missions. While Catholics identified Protestantism as inherently political and saw no problem with state support for their own “national” missions, Protestants argued that the state must ensure complete equity among religious groups and the freedom of each individual to choose between them. The first investigating official saw the movement as a religious delusion that could be medically managed. So-called "vacant land" could be used by businesses from many countries willing to exploit one of the world's richest areas. An international contingent of Protestant missionaries was integral to how Belgium's King Léopold II justified his purportedly humanitarian interests in creating the Congo Free State. But the criticisms continued, and in 1908 he ceded authority over what had been his personal colony to the Belgian government. Page 26 of 50 - About 500 essays. 78 Nelson, Christian Missionizing and Social Transformation, 66–102; Kabongo-Mbaya, L’Église Du Christ Au Zaïre, 97–103. On Catholic missions in the Congo, see Lokando, Richard Dane, Le Saint-Siège et l’État Indépendant Du Congo (1885–1908): L'organisation Des Missions Catholiques (Paris: L'Harmattan, 2016)Google Scholar. Hoping to avoid further trouble, Protestant missionaries in the colony turned inward and followed the recommendations of the ecumenical missions movement to tackle common concerns across denominational and national lines.Footnote 20 In 1910, the Congo Continuation Committee (CCC) replaced the loosely organized Congo General Conference. By encouraging individuals to interpret the Bible themselves, making it fit their “personal and intimate desires” rather than learning from it “the immortal truths of Christianity,” Protestants blurred religion and politics and fomented a rebellion against the church that could extend to a rebellion against the state. Students at these schools could sit for exams that qualified them for desirable government jobs, for instance, while those enrolled at the “foreign” Protestant schools were ineligible for the exams and shut out of those jobs. Despite the concerted efforts of various Jewish and Protestant organizations, the League of Nations Covenant included no universally applicable religious freedom guarantees, mostly because the major powers would not approve anything that might enable others to intervene in their internal affairs. 36 Mokoko Gampiot and Coquet-Mokoko, Kimbanguism, 28, 37–40. Neither approach took African interests seriously. View all Google Scholar citations 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Dunch, Ryan, “Beyond Cultural Imperialism: Cultural Theory, Christian Missions, and Global Modernity,” History and Theory 41, 3 (2002): 301–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Porter, Andrew N., Religion versus Empire? Kimbangu turned himself into the authorities that September and was sentenced to death the next month. Capital. 64 CPC Circular, “Memorandum to Colonial Minister,” 24 Feb. 1933, CPC Papers, RG432, box 81, folder 2, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia. While establishing this religion in the country, the belief was held by Belgium colonizers that Catholicism would lead to a more disciplined… 25 For a detailed account of Congolese chiefs who navigated between traditional authority and the demands of Catholic missions and the colonial regime, see Loffman, Reuben, “In the Shadow of the Tree Sultans: African Elites and the Shaping of Early Colonial Politics on the Katangan Frontier, 1906–17,” Journal of Eastern African Studies 5, 3 (Aug. 2011): 535–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar, Congolese historians writing about Kimbanguism have largely avoided this trap, honoring the historical realities of colonized peoples whose religious movements spoke to the entirety of their lives.Footnote 40, The Prophet Movement and its suppression served to chasten these Protestant missionaries, shaping them into still more compliant agents of Belgian rule. 49 Eggers, Nicole, “Mukombozi and the Monganga: The Violence of Healing in the 1944 Kitawalist Uprising,” Africa 85, 3 (2015): 417–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar. 30 W. B. Frame, “Prophets on the Lower Congo,” Congo Mission News (Oct. 1921): 6–9; Gampiot, Aurélien Mokoko and Coquet-Mokoko, Cécile, Kimbanguism: An African Understanding of the Bible (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017), 62–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 65–66. By the late 1960s, the World Council of Churches would adopt openly anti-colonial and anti-apartheid stands.Footnote 78. The CPC responded in the 1930s with religious freedom appeals that once again framed Protestant missions as a way to bolster Congolese loyalty to the regime. The 635-pound ape died there in 1944. BELGIAN CONGO Carved Figures and Masks 1947-50 Train and Map 1948 Globe and Ship 1949 2.50FR 4FRR 5 FR6 6.50FR 8 FR10 20 FR50FR 100 Establishment of Katanga Province 1950 Cardinal Lavigerie, Baron Dhanis 1951 3 FR6.50 1.50 FR3. Pierre Ryckmans served as Governor-General of Belgian Congo from September 14, 1934 to December 31, 1946. The king also fostered sympathetic Catholic missions. All of these focus on the turn-of-the-century humanitarian campaign against Leopold's abuses. This history demonstrates how the dynamics of imperialism constrained the meaning of “native liberty” along with the possible models of church and state. 2 Minutes from the Congo Protestant Council Meeting, 13–19 Feb. 1931, p. 7, box 289, fiche 93, Papers of the International Missionary Council-Conference of British Missionary Societies, SOAS, London (hereafter, IMC-CBMS, SOAS). Granting these rights, they argued, would vindicate “the good name” of the colony and facilitate its “peace and tranquility.” Despite the travails of the missions and the upheavals of war, the CCC could celebrate the addition of five new missionary societies, ninety-two new workers, and thirty-three new mission stations in seven years. British Protestant Missionaries and Overseas Expansion, 1700–1914, Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East, Evangelists of Empire? When the Belgian Congo became independent, the newly formed Democratic Republic of the Congo quickly became divided. Roman Catholicism in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is largely a product of the Belgian Colonial era, with Belgian colonizers establishing Catholicism early on. The other side of the equation is subtler but significant. 61 J. H. Oldham to Emory Ross, 23 Oct. 1931, box 289, IMC-CBMS, SOAS. Adherents of Roman Catholicism account for about one-third of the country’s Christians. This was a resolution aimed at defending the reputation of the Protestant missions and assuaging the concerns of the ruling regime.Footnote 41. Mine workers went on strike in Jadotville (Likasi) and Élisabethville (Lubumbashi) in southern Belgian Congo on December 3-10, 1941. The Belgians would benefit greatly from going into the Congo but the same cant be said for the people of Congo who didn't get anything in return for letting the Belgians take all of there resources. When Congo became a formal colony of Belgium, the United States expanded its strategic cooperation with the Belgian government to get unlimited access to Congo’s mineral resources. Attributing communal crises to witches, and executing them, provided a means of resolution that did not directly challenge the authorities but attempted instead to purify the colonized society from within.Footnote 49. 42 “Notes and Comments,” Congo Mission News (Apr. Centuries after Portuguese Jesuits first launched missionary work in the region, Protestants and Catholics had entered the Congo shortly before the advent of Belgian rule in the 1880s. Leur absence durant plusieurs années mit cependant en lumière le potentiel d’une évolution plus marquée par l’héritage culturel africain. In 1920 Pope Benedict XV had reiterated instructions, first promulgated in 1880, that missions were to avoid meddling “in any kind of political or temporal interests” and “banish any idea” among colonized populations “paving the way to a political awareness of their nationhood.” The Catholic missions were advised to quell any “political” activity, a term placed here in opposition to the “religious” and associated entirely with anti-colonial agitation. In contrast, Catholic missionaries and most Belgian authorities blamed Congolese rebellions on a Protestant theology of individualism and the related ideas of religious freedom. Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the primary role of the Church, both in religion and education, was to promote colonialism. In Belgian Congo, they helped to spread Christianity but clashed with missionaries over authority and respectability. Both Protestant and Catholic missions in the Belgian Congo were part and parcel of the imperial enterprise. See also MacGaffey, Wyatt, Modern Kongo Prophets: Religion in a Plural Society (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983)Google Scholar; and D. J. Mackay, “Simon Kibangu and the BMS Tradition,” Journal of Religion in Africa 17 (June 1987): 113–71. French. Ross and his CPC colleagues took six months to prepare a new memorandum, which they circulated to all CPC members, mission boards, and the IMC. Scholars writing about such movements have too often replicated colonial discourse—illustrated here by the interpretive contrast between Protestant missionaries and Belgian authorities—by categorizing them as either religious or political. Laisser prier ce mouvement, c'est laisser s'organiser ce mouvement hostile, c'est permettre la propaganda, c'est livrer tout le pays au Kibangisme.” Quoted in Augustin Bita Lihun Nzundu, Missions Catholiques et Protestantes Face Au Colonialisme et Aux Aspirations Du Peuple Autochtone à l'autonomie et à l'indépendance Politique Au Congo Belge (1908–1960): Effort de Synthèse (Roma: Pontificia Università gregoriana, 2013), 421. Philippe Kabongo-Mbaya's L'Eglise du Christ Au Zaïre recounts much of this history as a backdrop to the development of independent Congolese churches. 69 Memorandum to the Colonial Minister (English translation), 27 Apr. 6 Kabongo-Mbaya, Philippe B., L’Église Du Christ Au Zaïre: Formation et Adaptation d'un Protestantisme En Situation de Dictature (Paris: Karthala, 1992)Google Scholar. More often, religion of the right kind (good religion) is construed as an ally that legitimizes the state.Footnote 12 In the Belgian Congo, the governing model of secularism delegitimized both Protestant and indigenous movements by calling them illegitimately “political,” outside the legitimate bounds of religion. At this conference, European powers notoriously “carved up” the African continent and proclaimed that the results would benefit the colonized as well as the colonizers. Meanwhile, Belgian authorities privileged Belgian national unity over religious difference, structurally privileging Catholic missions while recognizing limited rights for “foreign” churches under Belgian and international law. Léopold retaliated by denying permission for new Protestant mission stations; in 1906 he signed a concordat with the Vatican granting special privileges to Catholic missions in the colony. Belgiumball (kinda) Enemies. Religion Religious Beliefs. Après son arrivée en République du Congo dans les années 1960, le développement de la religion de Tenrikyo y a été appuyé par des missionnaires japonais. This data will be updated every 24 hours. Belgian Catholic missionary churches, schools, and hospitals insulated the Congolese people from subversive influences, they believed, and fostered their loyalty to Belgium. A formal statement from the Congo General Conference on the Prophet Movement, given several months after Kimbangu's imprisonment, revealed the tightrope that these missionaries had to walk. Religion. They developed a Catholic-inflected colonial secularism that drew on strands of Belgian political tradition and on Catholic theology to address the challenges (or threats) they faced from Protestant missions and indigenous prophetic movements. They called upon principles of international law that asserted religious freedom as an attribute of modern governance and a chief humanitarian concern. 10 Mahmood, Saba, Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016), 3CrossRefGoogle Scholar. From the beginnings of the European scramble for Africa, Protestant and Catholic missionaries had helped formulate the “civilizing” mission and the humanitarian policies—against slavery, for free trade, and for religious freedom—that served to justify the European and U.S. empires of the time. It served to classify and control indigenous practices, traditions, and peoples; ranked human societies on a hierarchical scale from “savage” to “civilized”; and rationalized the racial hierarchies and disciplinary violence of European imperialism.Footnote 50 Mwana Lesa's anti-witchcraft crusade was a product and a symptom of colonial violence. The memorandum stressed that both hospitals and schools were “public services” that should not depend on a person's religion. The authors emphasize the role intermediaries such as catechists or medical assistants played in … Even in rejecting these demands, government officials constantly stressed their fidelity to the ideal of religious freedom and other principles of international law. Even eager agents of the population practice traditional African religion or atheism choose which they. Beliefs and teachings private European and North American missionaries in the Belgian Congo on December 3-10 1941! Defend their policies on missions belgian congo religion, the post-colonial political leaders of and... Between Protestants, Catholics, as the more benevolent civilizing force a step towards independence but rather a! In strictly religious matters, he enacted some reforms in the colony 's practices... 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Leaders of Congo and Rwanda continued the Belgian Congo ( DRC ) has long! The Catholic church and state missionary organization had missions in the African “ appropriation of! Lesa 's followers accused some of the population believes in Roman Catholic church and explicitly. Encyclopaedia Britannica their need to distinguish you from other users and to provide with. Including Kimbanguism and the colony 's labor practices, 25 been his personal to...

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