WC clergy group ‘alarmed’ at ongoing incidents of racism in USA, world

Concerned Clergy Western Cape leaders at a press conference in Cape Town in December 2018. They are, from the left, Marlon Petersen, Rev Barry Isaacs, Evariste Umba and Gerald Siljeur (PHOTO: Supplied).

As Evangelicals, Charismatics and Pentecostal Churches in the Western Cape, we are alarmed at the events in the USA, and the overwhelming response of Blacks to it in the UK, Australia and other parts of the world, says Concerned Clergy Western Cape (CCWC) in a press release.

The press release continues: “The continued shocking institutionalised racist behaviour of the white policemen against the African Americans and in particular, the recent death of an unarmed and defenceless black man by a white policeman and those policemen looking on without helping him, despite him pleading for help is despicable, to say the least. As for the church, we deplore the continued brutality of Blacks by Whites.

“In South Africa, our people also suffered such institutionalised racism and as Blacks had a fair share of such racial brutality over many generations, and most times still suffering the effects of such institutionalised racism today. We, therefore, feel the pain of our African-American counterparts and we express our deep sorrow and condolences towards the family, relatives and friends of the Floyd family, and support the current protest actions, barring the violence, which we do not support.

“We similarly wish to express our sadness and disgust towards such racist behaviour by our own police as was clear recently during lockdown but also the racist victimisation in the workplaces by certain employers towards their employees in our country. The effects of our past are still clear today in our democratic society, which we deplore with the contempt it deserves. We call on all our people to respect one another as all of us have been created in the image of God and therefore should be treated humanely.

Ministry of reconciliation
“The biblical injunction of engaging in a ‘ministry of reconciliation’ among all our people in our nation and abroad compels us to take up afresh the challenge in our own country and to commit ourselves to do so in a renewed effort by resisting any form of racism and racist attitudes from whatever quarters. We, therefore, call on our churches to be alert to such incidents and to work towards the ministry of reconciliation among all our people in South Africa and report the same to the authorities concerned where necessary.

“We further plead with our government and all politicians to do so too before we see a similar situation arise, as is now happening in the USA and other parts of the world, by acting promptly to stamp out the effects of institutionalised and all other forms of racism. We ask government to ensure our politicians be wary of making political speeches that fuel hatred and division among our people with their racist remarks and insinuations. We still have many racial incidents, White on Black and Black on White. It is impossible to quantify the impact of racism on our communities, but we can know for certain if not dealt with now, it will create horrific realities. This has to end finally.
We also appeal to all employers to become more sensitive towards racism in the workplace and stamp it out. This includes our places of education.

“We cannot continue with this inhumane behaviour in any of our different domains. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa was prematurely aborted, therefore its work is incomplete, so we still find ourselves wrestling with the consequences of a fractured society, and a fresh look at it is necessary to deal with the unhealed hurts resulting in racist attitudes and remarks.

“The incident that happened in the USA is now spreading like a ‘virus’ through the world. Unless we sort out our own house we can expect the same violent protests we have seen during these last couple of months of lockdown in South Africa when we consider the draconian behaviour of our own Defence Force and SAPS towards our citizens. This could be devastating for South Africa if it blows over into our country as it already did in Australia and France. We cannot afford this at a time we are still facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We appeal to all concerned to stop talking in our fancy speeches about ‘Ubuntu’ and a ‘Rainbow Nation’. Let us all, Black and White, begin to ‘practice what we preach’, and begin to appreciate the amazing diversity in our country.

Pray for unity
“Let us pray for unity in our country, in our cities and communities. Let all of us see each other through the eyes of God, understanding that whether BLACK or WHITE we are all created in the image of GOD. In South Africa, we talk about a population that is 75-80% Christian. Therefore we should have a better understanding of what that means. Racial unity in the Church is the bullseye toward which God wants to work. We, therefore, implore Christians and church leaders from all church groupings to be at the forefront of the ministry of reconciliation.

“However, we speak as Christian leaders. This does not exclude any other faith. The expectations would be the same.

“What happened in the USA or in any other part of the world can never be justified, neither any other act of racial division, as it is wicked, unjustified and unacceptable.

“Therefore, as the citizens, especially to the churches in our city, let us afresh commit ourselves to an ongoing reconciliation of all fellow citizens – Black, Coloured, Indian, White or foreigner. Let us work towards changing this demonic narrative of racism. Let’s lay a better foundation for the next generation.

“We can no longer have the ‘blind leading the blind’; we can build a better society. We, therefore, implore every leader and others in South Africa to work together, let our voices be heard to stamp out this scourge of racism and recognise that this is real and it exists in South Africa.

“Let us pray and work for unity in our nation and cities and start building bridges now, not tomorrow!”

5 Comments

  1. “We similarly wish to express our sadness and disgust towards such racist behaviour by our own police as was clear recently during lockdown”
    Can this distinguished group of men please list the number of “racist” attacks at the hands of our own police during the lockdown in South Africa

    It appears to me they know of things I did not hear about.

  2. Margaret Ferguson

    Man will never achieve things however desirable in his own strength. And that includes those who call themselves Christians. It is the power of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life that will bring conviction of sin and racism is certainly sin. I really believe that what we are seeing in the worl s are signs of the end times. We need to pray for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church (the latter rain) and seeing Joel’s prophecy come to pass. In so doing the true church of Christ will emerge. Then we shall see the repentance and the healing of the nation. The spiritual always has to precede good natural outcomes. The unity of the church is paramount in this matter and has started in Covid 19 with the church reaching out to those in need. But it will only be fulfilled with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Concerned Clergy W. Cape represents a geographical area of great importance to God for the fulfilling of the prophetic word for world revival over almost 100 years which shows the importance of the W Cape/Cape Town. Then when the Holy Spirit is poured out we should expect both unity and the healing of the nation from racism .

  3. It’s a myth that white police disproportionately harass and kill African Americans. Please do your homework. Listen to people like Candace Owens and Coleman Hughes. They are highlighting what the real problems are. Black Lives Matter as a movement and organization is nothing new. It pops up every four years around election time in the USA as an effort by the Democrats to win black votes. They routinely ignore the REAL problems facing black Americans: fatherless homes, illiteracy, competing for jobs with illegal immigrants, and a disproportionately high abortion rate in black communities. It’s not white police killing black Americans, it’s corrupt, narcissistic politicians.

    As far as South Africa is concerned, we have had black Africans in power for the last 26 years. Any racist motivated acts have been illegal in that time. If those were not dealt with it is because our judicial system failed for the last 26 years, not because of “systemic racism”.

    South Africa will heal when we stop dredging up the past. When we stop expecting people to “pay” for what they didn’t do. When we make constructive use of our freedoms entrenched in the laws of the country and stop giving handouts which only serve to make people dependant on the government and take away their sense of self worth and dignity.

    Stamping out racism is not the job of government, it is a community responsibility that must be embraced by all people in all communities. At home, on social media, in the workplace and in religious communities. But before we can stamp out racism we need to stamp out the lies about it. The media is a hugely unreliable source of information. They thrive on stirring up emotions so that they can get high rates of viewers and satisfy their advertisers. It’s all about money for them. Emotional people do not think clearly and so false narratives and lies are born that end up dictating how people behave towards each other. We can choose to end that cycle.

    It’s time to take responsibility and face the real problems. It’s time for each one of us to deal with the offence in our own hearts and let that go. If we hold onto offence we are making ourselves voluntary captives to the people who perpetuate racism. That’s the bottom line. Restoration begins there. Anyone who is secure in their identity in Christ will not be moved by another’s opinion of them. When we repay good for evil we can move mountains. We heap burning coals on our enemies’ heads when we show them love and kindness in return for reviling and contempt. That is how we change hearts and minds, not by demanding apologies or restitution. When we depend on God as our source and provision, we don’t need any human being to recompense financially for anything. As long as we are demanding things and have an attitude of entitlement or a victim mentality we will never be able to work together and that is the key to the healing of our land.

  4. Margaret Ferguson

    CLAIRE – I am in agreement with you, in principle. Candace Owens explains the situation with clarity, responsibility and factual knowledge with the ‘add on’ of being a young, concerned , black woman. Whilst racism is evil in itself, ‘racism’ being used for nefarious purposes in the USA or elsewhere, creating an emotional frenzy is also an evil agenda with far-reaching consequences. We should not take what we see on ‘face value’ but look at the hidden agendas. We need intercessory prayer for spiritual discernment with regard to how we pray with regard to the racist agendas.

    As far as the healing of S Africa is concerned, ‘leaving the past behind’ is essential for both governance and individuals. Perhaps a Christian group needs to start based on leaving the past behind and running the race before us; such is the importance of this issue for a healed South Africa. I suggest that Claire reads a prophecy God gave me for S Africa on this very matter published in Gateway News on http://www.news@gatewaynews.co.za under ‘Testimonials’. It is headed ‘Margaret Ferguson, former UK politician on a mission for God’, (with a photo of a lady in pink!)

    ‘Living in the past’ comes out of an ideological position and is structured on past experience. Whereas ‘vision’ takes us forward. Ideology is non-biblical whereas ‘vision’ is biblical as it allows for revelation knowledge and godly input along the way. The Old Testament says ……’Write down the revelation…….(it) waits an appointed time and will not prove false’. (Habakkuk ch2 vv 2 and 3).
    The New Testament confirms this in Hebrews ch12 v 1 ………’let us throw off everything that hinders and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’

  5. Claire & Margaret, as a follower of Christ…but also as a South African person of colour – who’s lived through and still grappling with the effects and pain of the evil system of apartheid , I feel compelled to respond to your comments. Allow me to say -at the outset- that for sake of time, and at the risk of losing things in translation though this form dialogue, I will merely highlight a few issues. The best forum , in my view, to make any headway in establishing racial harmony, is to engage in several graceful , yet truthful – albeit uncomfortable- roundtable conversations.

    I agree with you:

    (i) Very few would dispute the internal problems within poor, black communities that need to be addressed, which – by the way is largely attributed to the legacy of segregation and white supremacy, to which black South Africans can relate . Incidentally, Candace Owens ( who’s pro-Trump comments and information are regarded highly questionable)- did not say that white nationalism is not a problem for black people in the USA.

    (ii) SA’s post-apartheid government and judicial system, have most certainly not been flawless- agreed.

    (iii) “Stamping out racism is not( only, I would add) the job of government, it is a community responsibility that must be embraced by all people in all communities” – fully agreed.

    (iv) All us need to “deal with the offence in our own hearts and let that go”.

    Where I completely disagree with you:

    (i) “systemic racism” is still very real in the South Africa society. Institutionalized racism is not only with reference to government. In SA today, systemic racism is still prevalent in many white dominated private enterprises, churches and private schools. If this fact has not dawned upon you yet, then I echo the words of Musi Maimane, “.. explaining this to someone in a position of privilege is much like explaining what water is to a fish”. Taking your privileges and comforts for granted.

    (ii) “stop dredging up the past. When we stop expecting people to “pay” for what they didn’t do…by demanding apologies or restitution”. These sentiments come from a privileged point of not being directly affected by racism and living in a cocoon of comfort all your life. “when this way of thinking is pursued, we fail to acknowledge the pain of racism and its legacy, which is both collective and individual”( Musi Maimane). Many white people (including white Christians) have for years and still now, been apathetic towards the pain of those who still suffer because of the past injustices.
    If I have unresolved sin in my life, I will never heal and grow. Likewise, If white Christians do not acknowledge ( and repent) that many have and still hold onto racist attitudes, practices and language, the church of Christ in SA will never be what it should be . Mathew 3:8 says “Produce fruit ( evidence) in keeping with repentance”. So to atone for the past and “pay for what you supposedly didn’t do( or failed to do)”- but certainly your forefathers and mothers – you need to be willing to: speak out against injustice and racism within your spheres of influence, regularly engage with poor comminutes to understand their pain and give of your resources to the poor, to name but a few. People of colour do not need meaningless, insincere apologies that appease white conscience.

    (iii) “Emotional people do not think clearly and so false narratives and lies are born”. On 16 June this year, I watched visuals…again, of the Trojan Horse tragedy in 1985 , where white policemen savagely gunned down innocent children, close to where I lived at the time. I was 18 years old when it happened and that was our daily experience with the then SA government. I still reflect on those painful days, as remembrance not only of our struggle but the eventual triumph that God brought, as well…lest we forget. So, yes, while those who suffered under apartheid – which you clearly can’t relate to- , reminisce about those days with some emotion, we are fully- functional, level-headed individuals. Don’t make erroneous assumptions and be judgmental of our emotions, just because you are apathetic towards those who suffered for decades under a brutal system of systemic racism.

    (iv) “Anyone who is secure in their identity in Christ will not be moved by another’s opinion of them”. If you really make the effort to understand the pain of those who suffered because of the colour of their skin , your opinion about yourself might change and your identity in Christ will be strengthened.

    In matters of injustice ( as with anything else) , we need to look at scripture with a wide lens to get full, and complete understanding – , not a narrow one. Jesus was a “peace-maker” not a ” peace-keeper”…there’s a big difference between the two. Jesus said “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, so that the outside may become clean as well”( Mathew 23:25-26). Real change, is what is needed- not cosmetic change.