The Citizen (Gauteng)

Meshoe ‘not against’ Ancestors’ Day

- Rorisang Kgosana

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader Rev Kenneth Meshoe clarified his stance on the proposed Ancestors’ Day – stating that imposing his religion on others was against Christiani­ty but that a public holiday to honour African religion made no economic sense.

Meshoe had at the weekend lambasted a proposal by Castle Milk Stout and the Congress of Traditiona­l Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) to annually honour and observe the holiday on 8 May.

In a statement issued at the weekend, Meshoe opposed the proposal, stating that “while we acknowledg­e that millions of South Africans consult and worship their dead ancestors, committed evangelica­l Christians know that God’s word denounces such practices”.

But yesterday , Meshoe said he was not against the democratic right for one to follow a faith of their choice.

Speaking to The Citizen, Meshoe said his statement was taken out of context and that he was only opposing proposing the day as a national public holiday.

“My statement is informed by the fact that our country’s debt is about 80% of the GDP,” said Meshoe.

“We need more days – more time for people to work and hope that we will come out of this junk status.”

While his was a Christian political party, Meshoe said imposing such beliefs to a democratic society was against his faith.

Quoting John 3:16 in the Bible, he said his faith and Christian beliefs were democratic.

“People who want to impose [their beliefs] do not understand the teachings of Christ,” he said.

“One of the popular verses, John 3:16… mentions ‘whosoever’. The word ‘whosoever’ has a democratic essence in it. It gives people choice. If anyone wants to impose Christiani­ty, I would publicly oppose them. It would be wrong. That is not what Christ taught people, since He never imposed.”

But Contralesa remained resolute in their proposal, stating they only wanted to honour and celebrate their ancestors.

One would never find traditiona­l leaders slamming beliefs of Christians, said Contralesa president Kgosi Mathupa Mokoena.

“You won’t hear a single day when chiefs and traditiona­l leaders talk about the church and saying the church is wrong,” said Mokoena.

“We allow them to do what they want and they must just have peace and accept that we are doing what we think is good for us.

“Those of the ACDP, when they have their sermons, they talk about God of Abraham and Isaac. Those are someone else’s ancestors.”

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