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Church, State, and “Native Liberty” in the Belgian Congo

  • Gale Kenny (a1) and Tisa Wenger (a2)


This essay describes a religious freedom controversy that developed between the world wars in the Belgian colony of the Congo, where Protestant missionaries complained that Catholic priests were abusing Congolese Protestants and that the Belgian government favored the Catholics. 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. 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. Protestant missionaries in the Congo challenged the privileges granted to Catholic institutions by appealing to religious freedom guarantees in colonial and international law. In response, Belgian authorities and Catholic missionaries elaborated a church-state arrangement that limited “foreign” missions in the name of Belgian national unity. Both groups, however, rejected Native Congolese religious movements—which refused the authority of the colonial church(es) along with the colonial state—as “political” and so beyond the bounds of legitimate “religion.” Our analysis shows how competing configurations of church and state emerged dialogically in this colonial context and how alternative Congolese movements ultimately challenged Belgian colonial rule.


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1 The one British Catholic mission in the Belgian Congo was also considered a “national” mission, indicating the degree to which the distinction of national versus foreign matched sectarian divisions. The Belgian Protestant missionary organization had missions in the Belgian colony of Ruanda-Urundi but not in Congo.

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).

3 Hollinger, David, Protestants Abroad: How Missionaries Tried to Change the World but Changed America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017).

4 Minutes from the Congo Protestant Council Meeting, February 13–19, 1931, p. 7, box 289, fiche 93, IMC-CBMS, SOAS.

5 Ewans, Martin, European Atrocity, African Catastrophe: Leopold II, the Congo Free State and Its Aftermath (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002); Dunn, Kevin, Imagining the Congo: The International Relations of Identity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); Grant, Kevin, A Civilized Savagery: Britain and the New Slaveries in Africa, 1884–1926 (London: Routledge, 2005), 3978; Pavlakis, Dean, British Humanitarianism and the Congo Reform Movement, 1896–1913 (London: Routledge, 2016). All of these focus on the turn-of-the-century humanitarian campaign against Leopold's abuses. Even Dunn's longer history of the Congo skips from that campaign, the focus of his first chapter, to Congolese independence in 1960 and the crisis that followed.

6 Kabongo-Mbaya, Philippe B., L’Église Du Christ Au Zaïre: Formation et Adaptation d'un Protestantisme En Situation de Dictature (Paris: Karthala, 1992).

7 Johnson, Paul Christopher, Klassen, Pamela E., and Sullivan, Winnifred Fallers, Ekklesia: Three Inquiries in Church and State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 12.

8 The vast literature on missions and imperialism includes Comaroff, John and Comaroff, Jean, Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, Colonization, and Consciousness in South Africa, vol. 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991); Dunch, Ryan, “Beyond Cultural Imperialism: Cultural Theory, Christian Missions, and Global Modernity,” History and Theory 41, 3 (2002): 301–25; Porter, Andrew N., Religion versus Empire? British Protestant Missionaries and Overseas Expansion, 1700–1914 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004); Makdisi, Ussama, Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007); Barry, Amanda, ed., Evangelists of Empire? Missionaries in Colonial History (Melbourne: eScholarship Research Centre in collaboration with the School of Historical Studies, 2008); and Conroy-Krutz, Emily, Christian Imperialism: Converting the World in the Early American Republic (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2015).

Many colonized people claimed Christianity as their own, with consequences that missionaries could not have anticipated. See especially Sanneh, Lamin O., Encountering the West: Christianity and the Global Cultural Process: The African Dimension (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1993); Peel, J.D.Y., Religious Encounter and the Making of the Yoruba (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000); Maxwell, David and Lawrie, Ingrid, eds., Christianity and the African Imagination Essays in Honour of Adrian Hastings (Leiden: Brill, 2002); and Maxwell, David, African Gifts of the Spirit: Pentecostalism & the Rise of a Zimbabwean Transnational Religious Movement (Athens: Ohio University Press, and Harare, Zimbabwe: James Currey/Weaver Press, 2006).

9 On humanitarianism and colonialism, see Abruzzo, Margaret Nicola, Polemical Pain: Slavery, Cruelty, and the Rise of Humanitarianism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011); Talal Asad, “Reflections on Violence, Law, and Humanitarianism,” Critical Inquiry (3 Sept. 2013),; Edmonds, Penelope and Johnston, Anna, “Empire, Humanitarianism and Violence in the Colonies,” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 17, 1 (31 Mar. 2016),; and Klose, Fabian, ed., The Emergence of Humanitarian Intervention: Ideas and Practice from the Nineteenth Century to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).

10 Mahmood, Saba, Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016), 3.

11 Asad, Talal, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003); Wenger, Tisa, “‘A New Form of Government’: Religious-Secular Distinctions in Pueblo Indian History,” in Stack, Trevor, Goldenberg, Naomi R., and Fitzgerald, Timothy, eds., Religion as a Category of Governance and Sovereignty (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 6889; and Wenger, Tisa, Religious Freedom: The Contested History of an American Ideal (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017).

12 On global varieties of secularism, see Jakobsen, Janet R. and Pellegrini, Ann, eds., Secularisms (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008); Cady, Linell and Hurd, Elizabeth Shakman, eds., Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010); and Göle, Nilüfer, Islam and Secularity: The Future of Europe's Public Sphere (Durham: Duke University Press, 2015). On the historical imbrications of secularism with imperial power, see Asad, Talal, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003); Mandair, Arvind-Pal S., Religion and the Specter of the West: Sikhism, India, Postcoloniality, and the Politics of Translation (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009); Kahn, Jonathon S. and Lloyd, Vincent W., eds., Race and Secularism in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016); and Wenger, Religious Freedom.

13 Grant, Kevin, A Civilised Savagery: Britain and the New Slaveries in Africa, 1884–1926 (New York: Routledge, 2005), 4245. On Stanley and the figure of the explorer, see Fabian, Johannes, Out of Our Minds: Reason and Madness in the Exploration of Central Africa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000). 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). On the White Fathers, see Northrup, David, “A Church in Search of a State: Catholic Missions in Eastern Zaïre, 1879–1930,” Journal of Church and State 30, 2 (1988): 309–19.

14 C. H. Harvey, “Recollections of Twenty-Five Years: Beginnings of the Training School,” Baptist Missionary Magazine (Sept. 1909): 319; Kevin Grant, Civilised Savagery. On humanitarianism as a rationale for empire, see MacDonald, Mairi, “Lord Vivian's Tears: The Moral Hazards of Humanitarian Intervention,” in Klose, Fabian, ed., The Emergence of Humanitarian Intervention: Ideas and Practice from the Nineteenth Century to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 121–41; and Salman, Michael, The Embarrassment of Slavery: Controversies over Bondage and Nationalism in the American Colonial Philippines (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).

15 International law arguably emerged as a way to mediate between competing imperial powers. See Mazower, Mark, Governing the World: The History of an Idea (New York: Penguin Press, 2012).

16 U.S. Senate, Article 6 of the General Act of the Berlin Conference, 26 Feb. 1885, S. Misc. Doc. 49–68 at 5 (1886).

17 Grant, Civilised Savagery; Ewans, European Atrocity; Pavlakis, Dean, “The Development of British Overseas Humanitarianism and the Congo Reform Campaign,” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 11, 1 (9 Apr. 2010),

18 Laqua, Daniel, The Age of Internationalism and Belgium, 1889–1930: Peace, Progress, and Prestige (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), 8285.

19 Markowitz, Marvin, Cross and Sword: The Political Role of Christian Missions in the Belgian Congo, 1908–1960 (Stanford: Hoover Institute Press, 1973), 55; Vanthemsche, Guy, Belgium and the Congo, 1885–1980 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

20 Minutes of the Meeting of the International Missionary Committee, Lake Mohonk, New York, 1 Oct. 1921, box 4, folder 2, Papers of the International Missionary Council, Missionary Research Library, Union Theological Seminary (hereafter, IMC Papers, MRL, UTS.)

21 Congo Missionary Conference 1909: A Report of the Fifth General Conference of Missionaries of the Protestant Societies Working in Congoland Held at Kinchassa, Stanley Pool, Congo State, September 14–19, 1909 (Bongadanga, Congo State: Congo Balolo Mission Press, 1909), 3–4, 8.

22 Kabongo-Mbaya, L’Église Du Christ Au Zaïre, 25.

23 A Report of the Seventh General Conference of Missionaries of the Protestant Missionary Societies Working in Congo, Held at Luebo, Kasai, Congo Belge, February 21–March 2, 1918 (Bololo, Haut Congo, Congo Belge: “Hannah Wade” Printing Press, 1918), 11, 115–16, 147–48.

24 As in other parts of Africa, colonial officials co-opted local leaders by bolstering the authority of those who supported colonial rule. See Mamdani, Mahmood, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996); Gordon, David, “Owners of the Land and Lunda Lords: Colonial Chiefs in the Borderlands of Northern Rhodesia and the Belgian Congo,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 34, 2 (2001): 315–38, On European debates over indirect rule, see Pedersen, Susan, The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

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): 535–52, Historians studying the same dynamic in the British colony of Bechuanaland (now Botswana) have found that some local chiefs chose to allow one (and only one) Christian mission in order to foster cultural cohesion and, ultimately, to facilitate anti-colonial nation-building within the territories they governed. See Bennett, Bruce S. and Boloaane, Maitseo, “The BaKhurutshe Anglicans of Tonota Religious Persecution in the Bechuanaland,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 43, 2 (2010): 319–40.

26 Report of the Seventh General Conference, 122–23.

27 Ibid., 123, 151–52.

28 On the League of Nations and the broader history of human rights protection in international law, see Brian Simpson, Alfred William, Human Rights and the End of Empire: Britain and the Genesis of the European Convention (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 91156; Mazower, Governing the World; and Pedersen, Guardians.

29 Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America and Cavert, Samuel McCrea, The Churches Allied for Common Tasks: Report of the Third Quadrennium of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, 1916–1920 (New York: Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, 1921), 252.

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), 6279, 65–66. See also MacGaffey, Wyatt, Modern Kongo Prophets: Religion in a Plural Society (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983); and D. J. Mackay, “Simon Kibangu and the BMS Tradition,” Journal of Religion in Africa 17 (June 1987): 113–71.

31 Frame, “Prophets on the Lower Congo,” 6–9; Irvine, Cecilia, “The Birth of the Kimbanguist Movement in the Bas-Zaïre 1921,” Journal of Religion in Africa/Religion En Afrique; Leiden 6, 1 (1974): 2376, 68.

32 Higginson, John, “Liberating the Captives: Independent Watchtower as an Avatar of Colonial Revolt in Southern Africa and Katanga, 1908–1941,” Journal of Social History 26, 1 (1992): 5580; Campbell, James T., Songs of Zion: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and South Africa (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).

33 See, for example, Warnshuis, A. L., “The Major Issues in the Relations of the Younger and the Older Churches” (London and New York: International Missionary Council, 1928), 5, box 3, folder 11, IMC Papers, MRL, UTS. On the broader debate over indigenization, see Hutchison, William R., Errand to the World: American Protestant Thought and Foreign Missions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987); Robert, Dana Lee, ed., Converting Colonialism: Visions and Realities in Mission History, 1706–1914 (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2008); and Hollinger, Protestants Abroad, 60–65.

34 Frederick Bridgman, “The Ethiopian Movements in South Africa,” Missionary Review of the World (June 1904): 434–45, 443.

35 Kalu, Ogbu, African Pentecostalism: An Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008). On dominant cultural representations of African and African American religion as embodied and emotional, see Evans, Curtis J., The Burden of Black Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008). Such fears led many colonial governments to refuse to grant visas to African American missionaries in the early twentieth century.

36 Mokoko Gampiot and Coquet-Mokoko, Kimbanguism, 28, 37–40.

37 “L'Avenir Colonial, dans un article … écrit que le Kimbanguisme n'est autre que le garvéyisme ou le movement hostile surtout aux Belges. 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.

38 Mackay, “Simon Kimbangu,” 145–56; MacGaffey, Modern Kongo Prophets, 33–43; Mokoko Gampiot and Coquet-Mokoko, Kimbanguism, 76–78. On the role of women in this movement, see Covington-Ward, Yolanda, “‘Your Name Is Written in the Sky’: Unearthing the Stories of Kongo Female Prophets in Colonial Belgian Congo, 1921–1960,” Journal of Africana Religions 2, 3 (2014): 317–46.

39 Mokoko Gampiot and Coquet-Mokoko, Kimbanguism, 72–74.

40 Ibid.; Kabongo-Mbaya, L’Église Du Christ Au Zaïre, 28–34. On these broader colonial discourses, see Tiffany Hale, “Hostiles and Friendlies: Memory, U.S. Institutions, and the 1890 Ghost Dance,” PhD diss., Yale University, 2017.

41 Congo Missionary Conference: A Report of the Eighth Congo General Conference of Protestant Missionaries, Held at Bolenge, District de l'Equateur, Congo, Belge, October 29–November 7, 1921 (Haut Congo, Congo Belge: Baptist Mission Press, 1921), 201.

42 “Notes and Comments,” Congo Mission News (Apr. 1923): 2.

43 “Missions in Belgian, French, and Portuguese Colonies, IMC Paper ‘A,’” box 3, folder 6, IMC Papers, MRL, UTS; “Relations of Missions and Government,” Congo Mission News (Jan. 1924): 13.

44 “Congo Continuation Committee Meets,” Congo Mission News (Jan. 1924): 12.

45 “Missions in Belgian, French, and Portuguese Colonies, IMC Paper ‘A,’” box 3, folder 6, IMC Papers, MRL, UTS.

46 ‘“Protestantism in the Congo,’” Congo Mission News (July 1926): 1; Ranger, Terence O., “The Mwana Lesa Movement of 1925,” in Ranger, T. O. and Weller, John C., eds., Themes in the Christian History of Central Africa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975), 4550.

47 Noting the newspaper's popularity and reach among “the middle classes in the Flemish provinces,” the CPC circulated the article to all of its members so they could respond to the “untruth,” which most Belgian papers had already retracted, that Mwana Lesa was affiliated with the Protestant missions. ‘“Protestantism in the Congo.’”

48 Henri Anêt, “Le Massacreur du Katanga,” Congo Mission News (Apr. 1926), back of cover, translation by the authors.

49 Eggers, Nicole, “Mukombozi and the Monganga: The Violence of Healing in the 1944 Kitawalist Uprising,” Africa 85, 3 (2015): 417–36. For related analyses in other colonial contexts, see Román, Reinaldo L., Governing Spirits: Religion, Miracles, and Spectacles in Cuba and Puerto Rico, 1898–1956 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007); Dennis, Matthew, Seneca Possessed: Indians, Witchcraft, and Power in the Early American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010).

50 We are grateful to an anonymous CSSH reviewer for the interpretive suggestions informing this paragraph. As our reviewer noted, it seems germane that Evans-Pritchard's classic study of witchcraft among the Azande, whose Central African homelands overlapped with the Belgian Congo, appeared in 1937, just a decade after this controversy (Nelson, Jack E., Christian Missionizing and Social Transformation: A History of Conflict and Change in Eastern Zaire (New York: Praeger, 1992). On magic, sorcery, and witchcraft as colonial discourses, see Chireau, Yvonne Patricia, Black Magic: Religion and the African American Conjuring Tradition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Styers, Randall, Making Magic: Religion, Magic, and Science in the Modern World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004); Román, Governing Spirits; Ramsey, Kate, The Spirits and the Law: Vodou and Power in Haiti (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011); and Palmié, Stephan, The Cooking of History: How Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013). For a critique of contemporary humanitarian discourse on witchcraft in Ghana, see Roxburgh, Shelagh, “Empowering Witches and the West: The ‘Anti-Witch Camp Campaign’ and Discourses of Power in Ghana,” Critical African Studies 10, 2 (2018): 130–54, On the colonial imbrications of the study of religion, see Chidester, David, Savage Systems: Colonialism and Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996); Murray, David, “Object Lessons: Fetishism and the Hierarchies of Race and Religion,” in Mills, Kenneth and Grafton, Anthony, eds., Conversion: Old Worlds and New (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2003), 199217; Mandair, Religion and the Specter of the West; and Chidester, David, Empire of Religion: Imperialism and Comparative Religion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014).

51 “Protestantism in the Congo,” 1.

52 Dufonteny, G., C.S.R., “La Méthode d'Evangélisation chez les Non-Civilisés,” Le Bulletin des Missions 10, 1 (Mar. 1930): 3031. Translation by the authors.

53 “Le libre examen et ses consequences,” Paix et Liberté, 25 Feb. 1927, box 4, folder 4, Emory Warren Ross Papers, MRL, UTS. For more on the expansion of Catholic privileges in this period, see Kabongo-Mbaya, L’Église Du Christ Au Zaïre, 42–43.

54 On the Protestant secular in the United States, see Fessenden, Tracy, Culture and Redemption: Religion, the Secular, and American Literature (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007). On the Protestant secular in U.S. imperialism, see Wenger, Religious Freedom, especially chapters two and three.

55 Starting in the late 1920s, some Protestant hospitals also became eligible for government subsidies. See Au, Sokhieng, “Medical Orders: Catholic and Protestant Missionary Medicine in the Belgian Congo 1880–1940,” BMGN: Low Countries Historical Review 132, 1 (2017): 6282.

56 Dunkerely, “Education Policy,” 96.

57 For examples beyond the U.S. and Belgian contexts, see Cady, Linell and Hurd, Elizabeth Shakman, eds., Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010); and Bilgrami, Akeel, ed., Beyond the Secular West (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016).

58 de Hemptinne, M., “La Politique des Missions Protestantes au Congo” (Elisabethville 1929), Missionary Research Library Pamphlets, UTS (hereafter, MRL Pamphlets, UTS).

59 Russell, H. Gray and Smith, Herbert, eds., After Sixty Years, 1878–1938: Report and Findings of Conference (Leopoldville, Congo Belge: Conseil Protestant du Congo, 1938), 52.

60 CPC Circular reporting on London Conference held on 7 July 1932, 22 Aug. 1933, box 289, IMC-CBMS, SOAS.

61 J. H. Oldham to Emory Ross, 23 Oct. 1931, box 289, IMC-CBMS, SOAS.

62 CPC Meeting Minutes, 13–19 Feb. 1931, Records of the Conseil Protestant du Congo, HR006, Special Collections, Yale Divinity School Library, New Haven (hereafter, CPC Records, Yale).

63 Emory Ross to Governor General, 18 July 1932, box 289, IMC-CBMS, SOAS.

64 CPC Circular, “Memorandum to Colonial Minister,” 24 Feb. 1933, CPC Papers, RG432, box 81, folder 2, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia. This is the French version of the memorandum, which is slightly different and dated two months earlier than the English translation cited below.

65 Memorandum to the Colonial Minister (English translation), 27 Apr. 1933, 2, 15, 10–11, 6, MRL Pamphlets, UTS.

66 Ibid., p. 19.

67 Castelli, Elizabeth A., Martyrdom and Memory: Early Christian Culture Making (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004).

68 J. H. Oldham to Emory Ross, 31 Oct. 1931, box 289, IMC-CBMS, SOAS.

69 Memorandum to the Colonial Minister (English translation), 27 Apr. 1933, 28, MRL Pamphlets, UTS.

70 Ibid., 29.

71 Ross to Governor General, 25 July 1932, box 289, IMC-CBMS, SOAS.

72 Kasongo, Michael, History of the Methodist Church in the Central Congo (Lanham: University Press of America, 1998), 5055.

73 Conseil Protestant du Congo, “A Protestant Protest,” 16 Apr. 1936, G 3 A 11/1, Special Collections, University of Birmingham Library. At: (accessed 9 Sept. 2019).

74 Conseil Protestant du Congo, “Minutes- Meeting 15, Léopoldville” (22 Jan. 1937), CPC Records, Yale.

75 Conseil Protestant du Congo, “Minutes-Meeting 18, Léopoldville” (11 Feb. 1940), CPC Records, Yale.

76 While most Protestant missionaries eagerly accepted the school subsidies, others declined them on the grounds that they violated the separation of church and state. This issue caused significant conflict in some missions. Subsidies brought improved resources and opportunities to Congolese Protestants, but also brought the missions more closely into the orbit of the colonial government. In the longer term, as the independent Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaïre) continued the policy, educational subsidies helped keep Congolese Protestants close to the government and made it difficult for them to criticize the abuses of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. See Nelson, Christian Missionizing; Fast, Anicka, “Sacred Children and Colonial Subsidies: The Missionary Performance of Racial Separation in Belgian Congo, 1946–1959,” Missiology 46, 2 (2018): 124–36,; Kabongo-Mbaya, L’Église Du Christ Au Zaïre; Boyle, Patrick M., “School Wars: Church, State, and the Death of the Congo,” Journal of Modern African Studies 33, 3 (1995): 451–68.

77 Carpenter, George Wayland, Church and State in Africa Today (Hartford: Hartford Seminary Foundation, 1953), 525, 530–32; see also Carpenter, George Wayland, Highways for God in Congo; Commemorating Seventy-Five Years of Protestant Missions 1878–1953 (Leopoldville: La Librairie Evangelique au Congo, 1952).

78 Nelson, Christian Missionizing and Social Transformation, 66–102; Kabongo-Mbaya, L’Église Du Christ Au Zaïre, 97–103.

79 Kabongo-Mbaya, L'Eglise du Christ Au Zaïre, 100–2; Bita Lihun Nzundu, Missions Catholiques.

80 Young, Crawford, The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994); Dunn, Kevin C., Imagining the Congo: The International Relations of Identity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). On the role of foreign missions and Congolese Christians in this postcolonial turbulence, see Rich, Jeremy, “That They All May Be One?Social Sciences and Missions 29, 1–2 (2016): 6692,; and McAlister, Melani, The Kingdom of God Has No Borders: A Global History of American Evangelicals (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).


Church, State, and “Native Liberty” in the Belgian Congo

  • Gale Kenny (a1) and Tisa Wenger (a2)


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