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A member of a fact-finding team that visited Rwanda in August says some leading Hutu Christians aligned themselves with Hutu-dominated killers and participated in carnage along tribal lines.
"The church, which should have been promoting reconciliation, was unwittingly aligned with a regime which had built itself up on tribal lines," World Council of Churches official Samuel Isaac reported. "In every conversation we had, with the government and church people alike, the point was brought home to us that the church itself stands tainted, not by passive indifference, but by errors of commission as well." The delegation included Lutheran World Federation and All Africa Council of Churches officials.
The team met with the few remaining Christians in Kigali. Isaac said the delegation learned of a Roman Catholic Hutu priest who shot ten of his Tutsi parishioners to death when they came to his parish for refuge from the militia. Similar claims were made against Protestant church leaders.
"There is no doubt that the Christian faith did not have a strong enough influence in the lives of those involved in the atrocities," says Jim Newton, World Vision international director of communications, who spent most of August in Rwanda. "But wrongs have been committed by both Tutsi and Hutu, and it's not fair to make sweeping condemnations."