Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pg. 99: Timothy Longman's "Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda by Timothy Longman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Although Rwanda is among the most Christian countries in Africa, in the 1994 genocide, church buildings became the primary killing grounds. To explain why so many Christians participated in the violence, this book looks at the history of Christian engagement in Rwanda and then turns to a rich body of original national and local-level research to argue that Rwanda’s churches have consistently allied themselves with the state and played ethnic politics. Comparing two local Presbyterian parishes in Kibuye prior to the genocide demonstrates that progressive forces were seeking to democratize the churches. Just as Hutu politicians used the genocide of Tutsi to assert political power and crush democratic reform, church leaders supported the genocide to secure their own power. The fact that Christianity inspired some Rwandans to oppose the genocide demonstrates that opposition by the churches was possible and might have hindered the violence.

• Based on extensive empirical research at both the national and local levels • The author has worked on Rwanda for more than 15 years, and this is one of the only books on the 1994 genocide based on research conducted both before and after the genocide • One of the only books on religion and politics that analyzes religious institutions as both national and local institutions
Read more about Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda at the Cambridge University Press website.

Visit Timothy Longman's Boston University faculty webpage.

The Page 99 Test: Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda.

--Marshal Zeringue