Faith and pol­i­tics not a good mix on ev­ery oc­ca­sion

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO OPINION -

The Easter week­end, which tra­di­tion­ally sees mil­lions of peo­ple flock to re­li­gious con­ven­tions all over the coun­try, is a strong re­minder that the church and other re­li­gions - plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in the lives of the ma­jor­ity of our cit­i­zens.

Politi­cians are not in­dif­fer­ent to this fact.

Thus, where the crowds gath­ered they had a cap­tive au­di­ence and did not miss the op­por­tu­nity to turn pul­pits into plat­forms.

This is not nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing in it­self.

After all, it is re­as­sur­ing to be­lieve that po­lit­i­cal lead­ers are in­flu­enced as much by the gospel of peace, love and for­give­ness as they are by the need to lure vot­ers to polling sta­tions by prom­ises and poli­cies.

And it is a pos­i­tive that the church can set the moral and re­spon­sive com­pass for those in po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship.

At the same time, faith­based or­gan­i­sa­tions can also be re­minded that re­li­gion’s true ben­e­fit be­longs not in ser­mons from a holy book but in the prac­ti­cal, pos­i­tive im­pact it has on the daily lives of peo­ple.

It’s an in­ter­est­ing dy­namic. How­ever, while there are things of com­mon ben­e­fit in see­ing re­li­gion and pol­i­tics com­ing to­gether, there is always the ul­ti­mate dan­ger of both a church-run-state, or a state-run-church.

His­tory is re­plete with ex­am­ples of these recipes for dis­as­ter, gen­er­ally man­i­fest­ing in ‘holy wars’.

The church and state dif­fer in one fun­da­men­tal as­pect: one is con­cerned with mat­ters per­tain­ing to this life alone; the other to is­sues that re­late to eter­nal life.

Pol­i­tics has the naïve be­lief that some form of peace, equal­ity, jus­tice and pros­per­ity can be at­tained through man­age­ment by mere mor­tals, and the laws they en­act.

And so politi­cians sell the il­lu­sion.

Reli­gion­ists be­lieve they could run the coun­try bet­ter, since their Lead­er­ship is in­fal­li­ble.

But ev­ery at­tempt by churches to en­ter pol­i­tics has proved a dis­as­trous fail­ure, or at least a se­ri­ous dis­ap­point­ment.

When it comes to pol­i­tics, ‘oil and wa­ter’ don’t mix all that well.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.