• May 29th, 2020

The church and politics

The church has always had a very important role to play in the pollical stratosphere the world over. Historical activities, including the crusades to liberate Jerusalem, the “discovery” of America’s even down to the colonisation of Africa had the blessing of the church. In the last 100 years, the church then became instrumental in the fight for liberation and independence of many countries including our Namibia. Many a liberation icon received their education or were allowed means to proliferate their liberation work under the cover of the church.

The church as an institution, which embodies the mission of Christ of liberation and reconciliation, is called to a different task of building a new community that transcends political ideologies and, therefore, refusing to identify itself with a political party. But as we know from experience, the church in many instances has failed to live up to its calling. 

Recent times have indicated that the church’s influence in politics is waning at a rapid rate. Whether through consumption of the “get rich” Gospel or plain lack of interest, the church has lost its place in aiding the shaping of the political atmosphere of the country for good.

In a now seemingly bygone era, the pastor/priest was the person who conveyed the needs of their community to the relevant authorities. Due to the respect endowed on them, they were given audience not availed to the common man and allowed to plead the case of the persons on the ground. 
The Namibian Church in recent times has also been a participant in acts of tribalism and lukewarm reaction towards the scourge of gender-based violence. As much as political will power is needed to address these matters, it is the input of the church, as the spiritual home of many Namibians, to ensure the message of peace is propagated throughout at a grassroots level. 

Perhaps there is now a change in modus operandi in terms of the psychology in handling certain matters, but the church is to take the lead in ensuring there is balance in the community.
Therefore, Christians of all races must “participate in the struggle for liberation and just society.” The church should “not only pray for change; it should also mobilise its members to begin to think and work and plan for change”. It must also challenge its people with a message of hope and “to make sacrifices for justice and liberation”.

Theologically, the ideal is not just the achievement of political liberation but justice for all people. Therefore, there is a need to make the connection that will allow us to understand that the ministry of the church is aimed at making justice a reality. 

Church leaders such as Albert Luthuli stated he was “in the movement” (ANC) simply because he was a Christian; John Dube with the declaration of “forward with Christianity and liberation”, and Desmond Tutu with his dream of a “rainbow people of God”. These were leaders who made a connection between their faith and what they understood as God’s politics. (Wallis, J. 2008)

*Reverend Jan. A. Scholtz is the //Kharas Regional Chairperson and !Nami#nus Constituency Regional Councillor and is a holder of Diploma in Theology, B-Theo (SA), a Diploma in Youth Work and Development from the University of Zambia (UNZA), Diploma in Education III (KOK) BA (HED) from UNISA. This article is written in his personal capacity.

Staff Reporter
2020-03-30 09:20:08 | 1 months ago

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