Friday, February 13, 2009

Can there be unity among South Africa’s Christian political parties?

First off, before I carry on with this post, I have to make it clear that we are talking about political parties, not the church.

It is impossible for a political party to claim any kind of mandate to stand in elections on behalf of the church. It is impossible and it simply will not work. Which denomination will that party represent?

Any given party can merely represent voters. In this case, a Christian party can only represent individual voters, whether they are Christian or not, and not the church as a whole.

I read that the CDA and the ACDP were in unity talks. Perhaps not in the sense of becoming one, since the CDA consists of several other parties standing together in the upcoming South African elections.

Well, it seems that somehow someone in the CDA let it slip that there were talks, and somehow let out a release on their blog that the ACDP is not interested in such unity and will go it alone in the upcoming elections on 22 April 2009. (?)

The question is, however, is the ACDP not interested in unity? A day after the release, on their blog the CDA placed the following correction:

“Please note

Due to a misunderstanding between me and the compilers, it was understood that the embargo on the media release on the talks between the ACDP and the CDA was intended for the media. The talks are still underway.”

In fact, after talks were held on 12 Feb 2009 (yesterday), consensus was not reached between the parties. I wonder what could lead to this point where consensus could not be reached?

In their media release, Louis Green, expressed the situation as follows:

“’Sadly the ACDP has rejected the proposals and opted to rather continue on their own,’ said Louis Green, chairman of the CDA National Leadership Council. "Our focus however remains on those who are committed to unity and not the individuals who cannot see a bigger vision than themselves.’

‘It is sad but unfortunately human nature sometimes, that we can find a hundred reasons for not doing the right thing at the right time,’ he said. ‘They could of been part of a watershed movement in our nation and history will recognise them as the party that stepped aside from opportunity and destiny.’”

I know that Louis Green left the ACDP some years ago. What I do not know is if they parted ways amicably. Did that influence the unity talks?

There are many Christians that still vote for the DA or the ANC, and perhaps now will vote for COPE. It would be interesting to know why so many Christians in this country vote for non-Christian parties. Of course, we can speculate about the reasons, but one thing we do not have to speculate about is the fact that they are not voting for Christian parties.

Is there anything that could persuade them to start voting for Christian parties? Sure, there must be! And, I think, one of the major things that can contribute to that is unity among the Christian political parties.

But, we all know how politics work. Leaders of political parties are usually “A” personality types, and such leaders do not easily give up their power bases. They like to be in control, so when the respective leaders are very strong types, what are the chances of unity?

The fact is that the CDA is already an amalgamation of different parties. How much did each of these men have to give up to stand as a unified group? How much would Kenneth Meshoe have to give up to stand in unity with the CDA?

What direction will Christian politics take if there is no unity. The answers can be quite diverse, but one of the things that will continue is that Christian parties will still sit with a couple percentage points of the vote. Surely, a unified stance between Christian political parties will send a message of purpose and direction. The voter will always wonder what makes the ACDP so different from the CDA, that they would have to choose between the two. Someone will have to explain the difference to me, so that I could understand why I should vote for the one and not the other.

Or, is this non-unified stance simply a case of one personality not willing to walk with another? It would be nice to know who the divisive one is. That will help to make up the minds of the voters, won’t it?

I think that Christian parties should have a new motto:

“Unity or Bust!”

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