On Monday, December 2, Daily Monitor reported that the Commander of Land Forces, Lt Gen Peter Elwelu, launched a self-built temple “Elohim,” constructed using wood and stone, designed for offering animal, blood sacrifices to God.
President Museveni attended the function at Lt Gen Peter Elwelu’s home at Anyara in Kalaki District.
According to Gen Elwelu, the “heavens” instructed him on August 14, 2017, to build a house of worship since the world is full of jealousy, murder, fighting and malice.
During the ceremony, Gen Elwelu asked God to use his voice as a trumpet to advance His word, punish the guilty, acquit the innocent, cleanse us of our rebellious acts and our sins.
Gen Elwelu remarked that God spoke to him in 2017, almost a year after the military raid he commanded on the Rwenzururu king Charles Wesley Mumbere’s palace in 2016 in Kasese District. The raid left more than 100 people dead. In the biblical scriptures, the book of Exodus 20:13, the sixth commandment says “thou shalt not kill.”
According to Catholic theology, the taking of life, is a mortal sin, which can lead to damnation if a person does not repent of the sin before his own death.
Although there has not been independent government enquiry, investigations into the deaths in Kasese on November 26, 2016, Humans Rights Watch report in 2017 found that many innocent children died during the massacre.
Therefore, the people responsible for the loss of life have not been held responsible, and there has been no prosecutions and no justice or reconciliation for the families who lost their loved ones. [Editor: Members of the king’s royal guards have been charged, with the case pending in court.]
Therefore, under normal circumstances, asking God for forgiveness for our sins would normally begin with acknowledgment and admission of the sin committed followed by repentance.
In the case of Gen Elwelu, many people are wondering if in some way the construction of the prayer altar is in some way some kind of soul searching over the unfortunate events in Kasese.
According to biblical scholars in the times of Moses, while the Jews waited to be rescued out of slavery in Egypt and move into the Promised Land, the Mosaic Law was developed during 40 years in the wilderness.
There were many animal sacrifices and almost everything was purified with blood and without the shedding of blood there was no forgiveness of sins.
However, in The New Testament with the coming of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb, a new law was fulfilled according to Mathew 5:17, making the previous practice of animal sacrifice obsolete.
In other words, no actions or sacrifices made by human beings can atone for our sins since salvation for our souls can only be through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). Therefore, Gen Elwelu’s plan to offer animal, blood, burnt offerings for the atonement of sins seems insufficient.
Although the initiative taken by Gen Elwelu in the construction of a place for praising and worshipping God is a step in the right direction for the forgiveness of sins, the structure for burnt offerings and animal sacrifices seems controversial and sends a mixed message to citizens in a country trying to fight witchcraft rituals amid murders and human sacrifices.
Ms Victoria Nyeko is a media commentator.