I’ve changed my vote in this upcoming election

[notice]Attorney and blogger Nikki Venter lays out her reasons, as a Christian, for deciding to place her X in a different spot in the upcoming national election.[/notice]

There are two things you need to note about this blog before going in so you are not sorry to have wasted your time reading it :)

1) It is aimed at people who value their freedom of religion and freedom of expression, and

2) I’m a Christian so the views expressed herein are in line with my beliefs.

As most of us are now aware, the Human Rights Commission of South Africa has recently been pushing at the boundaries of freedom of religion and freedom of expression in South Africa. There is a recent case where they have taken on a church in the Western Cape for preaching out of the bible that parents can use moderate spanking as a form of discipline for their children.

In spite of the fact that:

1) moderate parental spanking is not illegal in South Africa so the church was in no way breaking the law, and

2) the church was preaching in accordance with scripture and thereby exercising religious freedom,

the HRC nevertheless opened an investigation against the church and there is a real current threat of a law on the cards in South Africa which states that churches, synagogues, mosques and any other religious institutions may not preach (amongst other things) any portions of their scripture which advocate discipline by spanking. For those of us that don’t believe in spanking, this may seem like a small thing – but the issue at stake here is not spanking. The issue at stake is religious freedom and the state being able to veto what can and can’t be preached in any pulpit, which in effect gives the state the power to outlaw portions of scripture. Spanking may be the first issue, but when the state starts to legislate what can and cannot be preached out of the Bible, Torrah, Quran or any other religious book, this is not something to be taken lightly.

Freedom of conscience
Another two subjects where the state has threatened to curb freedom of expression and religious conviction are those of abortion and homsexuality. The state does not want any religious institution to be able to preach in its own pulpit that abortion or homosexuality is a sin. At this point some people’s backs get up, but again the issue is not whether you are for these things or against them. The issue is – are you allowed the freedom of conscience to be for or against them. Are you permitted to exercise your religious belief or conscience without the state interfering and saying that you may not preach out of certain portions of your scripture. It is easy to get side-tracked by the issues but the real issue is the freedoms that are currently at stake.

State interference into religion, belief and conscience is a slippery slope. It may start with an issue that causes you to say “Thank God the State is interfering there and curbing that freedom!” But sooner or later an issue of conscience that is close to your heart will come up, and if the state has already set a precedent of being able to curb the freedom of belief and conscience of its people, it is very difficult to reverse that precedent.

Recently, in Cape Town a man was arrested for imparting his beliefs that abortion is wrong. He did so in a non-violent way, merely exercising his freedom of belief and expression and was taken to court for doing so. The question is – Should a government agency have the power to curb the right to freedom of conscience and freedom of expression? Freedom of expression does not mean we like or agree with what other people are saying. You may hate what I’m saying, but you should value my right to say it – because as long as my freedom of expression is alive, so is yours. Voltaire summed it up nicely when he said “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

At the moment, there are too many examples of state intervention into religious freedom to even mention and the number is growing everyday. So much so that last year, the religious institutions of South Africa felt the need to join hands across religions and say “No more.” The forming of the body known as “Religious Freedom SA” and the fact that it has in a very short space of time grown in number to represent about twelve million South Africans of different faiths should tell us two things:

1) the threat is real, and

2) South Africans are thankfully not going to take it lying down.

My important voting factors
When I vote, these are my important factors (we all have different factors which we take into account but these are mine… because this is my blog – lol):

1) Which party is doing the most to try and protect the freedom of all religions in South Africa?

2) Which party is anti-abortion? This is a personal one for me and I don’t expect everyone to feel the same but my personal belief and logic is as follows: I believe that the taking of a life is murder. I’ve held that belief since I was two bricks high and I first found out about the concept of a baby being killed inside its mother’s womb. I actually won our school’s public speaking competition at the tender age of eleven taking on this very heavy subject, so it is something that is close to my heart and has been for a long time. I don’t believe that you can say that it is acceptable to kill a baby at 24 weeks (like our law does) but not at 25 weeks. Was there a “magic fairy dust” moment between 24 and 25 weeks that suddenly makes the baby worthy of the right to life? The lack of logic astounds me. If a baby is a baby at 25 weeks then it was a baby at 24 weeks, and 23 weeks, and 22 weeks… I’ve seen a scan at twelve weeks and I saw a full little body with every little part already formed. I saw the baby moving and I heard its little heartbeat so no-one can tell me that a 12 week old baby is not alive. In my second pregnancy, they put a little shocking device on my stomach to test my baby’s reaction in the womb and see if she was okay. I will never forget as the little shocker went off, I watched her heart rate climb as the fear came over her. She felt the shock and she felt the fear and her little heart rate skyrocketed. Pro-abortionists like to call these little people “tissue” in order to mask the reality of what is really happening, but if little fully-formed human beings are merely tissue, then I have three little balls of tissue running around my home, each of which I would’ve had the right under South African law to kill in the womb if had I wanted to do that. The point I am making is I personally believe abortion to be murder of the most innocent and vulnerable members of our society. The law states that if you are willingly involved with a crime or if you know about it and do nothing, you are an accomplice to that crime. So if I vote for a party that supports what I believe to be murder, then I’m an accomplice to every little life that is taken and there are approximately 80 000 taken every year in South Africa. So I personally cannot vote for any party that supports abortion.

3) Which party, although not advocating any particular religion holds firm to Judeo-Christian values and will govern upon those values for the good of ALL people regardless of their religion?

4) Which party is free of corruption and will tackle corruption head on?

5) Which party is a friend to Israel – Again, this is a personal factor for me as a Christian and is quite important to me in deciding how I vote.

Those are my five “must-haves”. We all have different ones but, as a Christian, those are mine. As far as I know, there is only one party that ticks all these blocks so that will be the party I vote for.

Voice of minorities
I have in the past always voted DA because logic told me “We need one strong opposition party in South Africa.” It never actually occurred to me that in South Africa, the parties rule by proportional representation. The South African system is not a “first past the post” system meaning that the winner takes all and the losers wait for the next election. In South Africa, the number of votes any party gets is directly proportionate to that party’s seats in parliament and ultimately its voice in parliament. It’s actually a wonderful system because all the minorities are heard, from the EFF to the FF. All of them will get their proportionate number of seats in parliament and will get to have their say on the bills that get passed in this country. The EFF will no doubt provide the left voice, the FF will provide the right voice, the IFP will bring the Zulu voice, the DA will bring the liberal voice and the ACDP will bring the Judeo-Christian voice. Every seat each of these parties get, makes their voice louder in parliament. The logic of “Vote for the strongest opposition” would apply in a “first past the post” country but it does not apply in a “proportional representation” country. In a proportional representation country, every person can and should vote their conscience. I think the only question one should ask before voting is: “Which party holds the same values I do so I can be sure they will bring my voice to the halls of parliament?”

I remember Diana Ross saying once “Every decision is made either out of fear, or out of faith.” As a Christian, a fear-based decision will be “I need to vote for the strongest opposition.” A faith based decision will be “If God can work through a donkey, then He can work mightily through a few upright men in parliament.” Like I heard someone saying last night “One person plus God is a majority”. So this is the first time that my vote will be about conscience more than strategy. When I stand in that voting booth, I know I am not going to be alone in there and I will stand account for where I put my X.

The reason I’ve written this blog is not to enforce my views on anyone but to encourage you to vote your conscience in this election (whatever that may be) and to make sure you know the policies of all the parties before putting your X down. That is all.

  • Nikki Venter is a practicing attorney and has a Masters degree in Commercial law. During her studies at the University of Cape Town she was elected as the vice president of the Students Representative Council and was also chosen to head up the UCT Constitutional Committee at the time. Since then she has worked at various international corporations as an in-house lawyer and has now settled into private practice. She has been married for 12 years, has three children and currently resides in Cape Town.

38 Comments

  1. I see you have an Afrikaans name and surname. The ACDP is English with Biblical values, while the FF+ is Afrikaans with Biblical values. See for yourself at http://www.savotersguide.org/

  2. awesome!! Well done Nix!

  3. Thank you for this. It definitely gives one food for thought. I do not feel pressured into seeing things your way, but I am challenged in making sure I do the right thing and to ask my God who it is He wants me to vote for. I cannot detach God from politics, something I was told every since I can remember.

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  5. I have also been voting out of fear and have now changed through conscience and will be voting for the ACDP. And well done to Andrew for sticking to biblical values. Let God reign.

  6. I don’t think the ACDP is “English with Biblical values” I think the ACDP aims to serve all the people of South Africa.

    • Afrikaans Christians will feel much more at home with the FF+, and English Christians with the ACDP.

  7. Thanks for this Nikki, definitely opened my eyes and helped me make a more informed decision. I will no longer vote out of fear

  8. Thanks for the information Nikki. I’m not going to vote out of fear. After reading this it will be a faith vote.

  9. I commend you for the stand that you’re taking. However I am voting for Peoples Alliance (PAL on ballot box)Inspired by God)Please check out their website Based on the Word of God!! Be blessed

  10. This is the first time I will be voting for the ACDP after coming to realize that they are the only political party in SA who holds to Christian values. I encourage my fellow believers in Christ to do the same – please don’t give your vote to the DA just because you think the ACDP is a small party who cannot effect any change! Vote with God’s will in mind – and God’s will is not for a party whose so-called “Christian” leader supports policies of homosexuality and abortion

    • The ACDP is English with Biblical values, while the Freedom Front Plus is Afrikaans with Biblical values. See for yourself at http://www.savotersguide.org/

      • I am Afrikaans but will not vote for the FF+ as they are racist. They oppose discrimination based on race but only because they oppose Affirmative Action. The ACDP is the only party with true Biblical values.

        • Kobus, die Vryheidsfront is nie rassisties nie, tensy jy vir bv dr Peter Hammond ook wil brandmerk as ‘n rassis. See for yourself at http://www.savotersguide.org/ Is jyself nie dalk’n misleide, verbitterde kortbroek-rassis nie?

          • Baie Bekommered Persoon

            Dit is waar die probleem le. Kobus en Hanno julle het ‘n gemeenskaplike vyand, moet nie fokus verloor en julle christelike waardes verloor nie. ons benodig ‘n gemeenskaplike front teen die sataniese aanvalle.

          • Hi Hanno, Yes I agree: look at http://www.savotersguide.org/ and “Move mouse pointer over YES and NO for details” as it says on the web page. Look at the big difference between the replies of the ACDP and the FF+ on the different issues. I believe that the ACDP is the best Christian alternative to vote for.

    • Kobus, ek het weer gaan kyk by http://www.savotersguide.org/ en ek stem nie met jou indruk saam nie. Peter Hammond se self elders: “The South African Biblical Issues Voters’ Guide aims to inform Christians about how the different political parties have voted on legislation that affects pro-life, pro-family, and free enterprise issues.” Die deurslaggewende faktor is nie die mooiklinkende uitsprake van (Christen-)politici nie, maar hoe hulle sedert 1994 in die parlement gestem het. Ek sê weer: Afrikaans Christians will feel much more at home at the FF+, and English Christians at the ACDP.

  11. Met Steve Swart who personally took a group of my students around parliament explaining how our ‘democracy’ works first hand. Wonderful to see how so few can stop the bigger parties from steam-rolling their UN backed policies on the unsuspecting public in SA. Always have and will continue to do so to ensure values based government and laws – vote Biblical Values!

  12. Dear Nikki, you describe yourself as attorney and blogger and I must assume that you are contributing to society and making a difference in the specific areas highlighted in your blog. Are you involved with single pregnant women, abused or abandoned children, the homeless or neglected? Do you perhaps mentor parents or offer studies on parenting especially to parents who have children with learning or other disabilities or spend time at juvenile rehabilitation institutions? Have you been to the Gaza strip and experienced the suffering of the people, Christians included. You state that your blog is not to enforce your views on anyone but I encourage you to tell us where the very words of your blog are put into action. Does the party that you refer to with the ‘Judeo-Christian’ voice have the resources and management abilities to address the very issues that you highlight i.e. to provide more homes, education and finance? I also oppose abortion but believe that there are many upright men (and by the way women, as well) in the party that will get my vote and it will definitely not be the ACDP.

    • So many Christians have been deceived about Israel. The truth about Israel is so twisted by the media that it isn’t funny. The people in Gaza suffer because of the decisions that their own ruler’s make and enforce. I honestly can’t understand why any Christian would be negative about Israel. Have you been to Israel and experienced the rockets ? I will definately vote for the ACDP.

  13. Rev Ian Karshagen

    Well presented Nikki! I,m presently at the point where I feel so strongly about Biblical values that I would rather sit in jail for having to contravene ungodly principles than to succumb to them and stay out of jail. At least In jail God will be glorified in such a case. Bless all you folks who have decided to vote for Biblical values!

  14. My prayer is that ALL Bible-believers will take note of what has been presented and vote correctly according to God’s leading. Why don’t the Christian political parties come together and make one. That would mean more representation in Parliament.

  15. Kobus, ek het weer gaan kyk by http://www.savotersguide.org/ en ek stem nie met jou indruk saam nie. Peter Hammond se self elders: “The South African Biblical Issues Voters’ Guide aims to inform Christians about how the different political parties have voted on legislation that affects pro-life, pro-family, and free enterprise issues.” Die deurslaggewende faktor is nie die mooiklinkende uitsprake van (Christen-)politici nie, maar hoe hulle sedert 1994 in die parlement gestem het. Ek sê weer: Afrikaans Christians will feel much more at home at the FF+, and English Christians at the ACDP.

  16. I seem to remember that Kenneth Meshoe was the only person who turned down the invitation to attend the ANC’s ancestral worship ceremony at the Methodist Church in Bloemfontein when they were celebrating the ANC centenary. Says a lot for his willingness to take a stand for Christian values!

  17. Well done Nikki! It’s about time we Christians stand for Biblical Truths. I’m voting for the ACDP. They are the only party who are not prepared to compromise. We should support them with our votes and our prayers as this country is heading one way already and only God can intervene.

  18. Thanks, Nikki! Brilliant!
    What about our fellow Black Christians??

  19. Thank you Nikki for putting this view & manner of thinking in the open. I pray that more Christian’s eyes would be opened & realise that God expects us to vote for righteousness.

  20. When I joined the ACDP at it’s inception in 1993 I was so excited. I was deceived enough to expect that the 76% of people who claimed to be Christians would follow suit. We could have had a Christian government from 1994. I never imagined that so many would compromise. The ACDP was the only party that rejected our constitution, for obvious reasons. I read the graft constitution and was shocked to see what was on the agenda for this country. To make mattes worse, Christians never objected to all the evil bills that followed. God raised up a Christian party for us and the church remained silent. Yet He still blessed us with 2 MP’s and 1 MPL in Parliament and, despite their lack of support, they’ve managed to hang on. And now we pray for a miracle….that Christians will wake up and increase our vital presence in Parliament. Even with our small representation, we’ve managed to make incredible changes, like preventing the initial embargo on Israel. Our president loves and supports Israel and we WILL be blessed!

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  22. Kobus, 4 April
    We know that the attack on Israel is a spiritual one and world turning upon Israel is a Biblical fact. The Israelis built 2 hospitals on relevant boundaries to treat Palestinian and Syrians, who are stunned to discover that the “Jewish pigs,” who they were taught to hate, are the complete opposite to what they expected and many don’t want to return to their countries of origin. Kenneth Meshoe visits Israel often and we are the only party in Parliament who support Israel.

  23. Margaret Ferguson

    There is no perfect political structure or system as they are ‘man- made’. Proportional representation has its positives but also negatives, Nikki.It can and has proven to lead to unstable government and constant change in Europe.’First past the post’ in my home country of the UK has the advantage of individual accountability to your electorate (I was a regional politician) but it is a crude mechanism for truly representing voter’s views. I belonged to a minority (third)party that advocated a mixture of both as occurs in Southern Ireland and Australia for example.From what I have seen here, there is a desperate need to ‘up’ the individual accountability to the electorate of a constituency in S Africa.

  24. Thanks, Nikki for your views, well expressed. The many comments show how ‘hot’ this topic is – they make fascinating reading. My Comment is simple: As voters, we must choose between one of many small Christian parties who stand for similar Christian Principles, but who can’t get together and form one cohesive and stronger Party, OR a few larger Parties who have the potential to actually get into Power and make a difference in our nation. In the Ideal world, Principles and Power go together. In the Real world this seldom happens, hence the dilemma of choice on May 7th.

  25. I was fascinated by Jude’s typo bemoaning the “graft Constitution” of SA! Our Constitution does seem to tolerate “graft”, for most of those in Government, from Municipal Councillors to Ministers of State, have yielded to Graft, and indulge in Corruption to enrich themselves. I might add that this issue is of far more relevance to God’s compassion for the millions of poor in SA than is our diplomatic support for the State of Israel which continues to reject their Messiah, God’s Son Jesus. (John 3:36)

  26. As born agagain believers, we should be prayerful regarding our vote, a tree should be judge by its fruit, and if there is a right time it is now that the church should give biblical guidance to there congregations regarding there vote, It should not be glory glory inside the church and come voting it is a different story, and then after election we are sorry, our vote is precious and can change our cities, towns and the lives of people, God Bless You

  27. Gr8 article!!There are radical Christians in ALL the different parties..vote for the party that will run SA the best for aLL its people..in every area of their lives..and where that party needs to change in some areas..change it from within…or you can vote for a 1% Party and be happy because of its values,but it carries no political iron fisted punch!!See other very interesing and informative article in this same issue by the New Covenant lawyer and elder…Rich blessinds on your choices..lots to think about!!

  28. I agree there’s more to politics than meets the eye, for which I’m willing to research bit by bit but I’m nevertheless led to wholly follow Christ’s example which is, to “do” the will of the Father and render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is Gods. I do believe in standing up and out;even if it is as a sore thumb, for Jesus never once considered the consequences when He, by himself, toppled the money changers and vendors to restore order in His Father’s House of Prayer! Voting in the coming election is just one of our many responsibilities and we have the freedom to make that choice but let’s remember,there’s no sense in being heavenly minded if we no earthly good!