Court orders schools to respect SDA student's right to observe Sabbath

In its suit papers, the church sought orders to exempt SDA students from classes, exams and cleaning on Friday evenings and Saturday as enshrined in their faith.

 

Education Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred Matiang’i has been ordered to draft a memo ordering public schools to respect SDA students’ right to worship.

In a judgment by justices Milton Makhandia, William Ouko and Kathurima M’Inoti, the trio quashed the previous High Court verdict that ruled that the freedom of worship for SDA students is not violated if the schools they attend do not allow them to follow the church’s beliefs and practices.

The court instead sided with Seventh Day Adventist Church East Africa Ltd  (SDAEA) who had filed out a case complaining of harassment on behalf of students of the faith.

SDA followers are obliged to observe Sabbath which starts at the end of the sixth day of the week and lasts one day, from evening to evening (Gen 1; Mark 1:32).

"The law forbids secular labor on the rest day of the Lord; the toil that gains a livelihood must cease; no labor for worldly pleasure or profit is lawful upon that day; but as God ceased His labor of creating, and rested upon the Sabbath and blessed it, so man is to leave the occupations of his daily life, and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest, to worship, and to holy deeds."--The Desire of Ages, p 207

SDAEA listed more than 20 public schools, among them Alliance Boys High School, accusing them of suspending SDA students over failure to attend Saturday classes.

The schools, the church said, violate the freedom of SDA students to worship.

The church also complained of bullying and discrimination against SDA students.

The ruling was read out by Appeal court judge Sankale ole Kantai on the trio’s behalf.

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