Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Atheists In Kenya Society (AIK). The Atheists in Kenya was registered on 17th February, 2016 by the Government of Kenya. Barely two weeks after our registration, the Pentecostal Church in Kenya lodged a complaint with the Attorney General, Prof. Githu Muigai, saying that Kenya is a God-fearing nation and that atheism has no place in Kenya. The Church argued that Kenya is founded on godly principles.
I moved to Court to challenge the suspension of AIK and we won this case in 2018. My argument was that Atheism is not unconstitutional, or illegal, that atheists have an inalienable right and fundamental freedom of conscience, belief, and opinion.
It’s hard for any of us to imagine that five years later we would be sitting here on this milestone that is our fifth year anniversary. But deeply motivated by a burning desire to normalize atheism in Kenya and promote a society that struggles to welcome diversity and promote tolerance, the Atheists In Kenya Society was registered in an effort to promote the growth and interraction of atheism in Kenya.
A common charge is that without God human life is meaningless, that there are no moral obligations and hence people can do whatever they want and that the notions of virtue and vice and good and evil have no place. This view is mistaken. Without God, human life can have meaning, we do have moral obligations, and virtue is possible.
The moral landscape in a Godless universe is different from the moral landscape in a religious universe, but it does indeed exist. Humans don’t need God to be moral. Humans can structure our lives around secularism, around promote humanistic ideals and values, human rights, and social justice.
Over the years we have successfully brought an increased awareness about atheism and secularism in Kenya. From our “Abolish Religious Instruction (CRE/ IRE/ HRE)” campaign and the introduction of a “SUBJECT CALLED RELIGIOUS EDUCATION” that will encompass all education about religion in Kenya to lobbying our legislators and policymakers to end discrimination against atheists and other minorities in our wider society.
We have also worked with Humanists International, Atheists Alliance International, and other secular societies across Africa to raise awareness about the arrest and unlawful detention of Mubarak Bala, a Nigerian atheist, and President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria.
We were inspired beyond measure by the strong conviction and courage it took for some of us to move to Court and challenge our suspension in Court in 2016.
More recently, we were heartened by the efforts that atheists all over the world took, through their donations, to ensure that Idriss Saidi Lutta, a student from Baringo whose mother could not afford school fees, continues with his education at Maranda High School.
So what does the future beckons for the Atheists In Kenya Society over the coming years? We will be moving to Court to challenge religious education as currently structured in Kenya. We also promise to increase the awareness about atheism in Kenya, strengthen our advocacy for secularism and build additional support structures for safe spaces for ex-christians and ex-muslims who face discrimination.
Happy 5th Year Anniversary from all of us at the Atheists In Kenya Society.