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WHAT SHOULD WE THINK ABOUT THE OLD SOUTH AFRICAN APARTHEID SYSTEM?

by J. Parnell McCarter

 

In its address of the old South African Apartheid system, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (FPCS) noted it had the following morally objectionable characteristics in a 1962 synodical “Declaration on Apartheid” (see http://www.puritans.net/articles/1962FPapartheid.pdf ) :

1.      Migratory labor laws that undermined Biblical moral family life. 

2.      Marriage laws, forbidding the inter-mingling of the races

3.      Educational laws, which fix a color bar throughout the whole range of education

4.      Religious laws, which interfere with the duty of the Church to proclaim the Gospel to all, etc.

5.      Voting laws, by which the natives effectively have no “real power to determine their own future”

This is indeed a correct assessment and indictment of the old South African apartheid system. Let’s consider how each of these characteristics are wrong:

First, the website http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/land-labour-and-apartheid  describes the nature of the labor laws thus:

“The government needed to make sure that people did come to the towns, and for this reason they introduced taxes that needed to be paid. This meant that young men left their families for a while to come to the cities to earn some money. This money was then given over to the chief to pay taxes. This became known as the system of migrant labour - people moved across the country, often far from home, to work for a short while and then return to their families. There were few job opportunities in the black areas, so they had to go to the cities to get cash to pay the government taxes.  The system of migrant labour led to some problems developing in black society:

The government also introduced laws to protect white labour - reserving certain jobs for white people only, and other jobs were kept for black people only. The jobs that white people did were normally better paid, although there were also some poor whites.”

The above government labor policies were certainly wrong, including the unequal treatment within the nation of government job preference for whites.  As noted at http://www.puritans.net/homelands/ : “We also reject what has historically been called “segregationism”, which advocates an absolute segregation of the races or ethnicities.  There simply was not such absolute segregationism in ancient Israel, nor should there be in Christian commonwealths today.  While Biblical ethnic nationalism advocates ethnic homelands, it rejects absolute segregationist models.”

Second, the FPCS “Declaration on Apartheid” properly notes that there is “no clear support from the Word of God” for marriage laws forbidding the inter-mingling of the races. This is the same point I have made at http://www.puritans.net/homelands/ .  The FPCS Declaration goes on to point out that “the removal of this prohibition will not, we believe, encourage the dreaded miscegenation of the races, as other factors and influences will effectively counteract this danger.”  In other words, just because the FPCS disagreed with apartheid marriage laws, should not be construed as an endorsement of inappropriate “inter-mingling of the races”, creating an erasure of the distinct races.  The Declaration does not go on to elaborate the “other factors and influences” that “will effectively counteract this danger”, but I would submit that ethnic homeland nations as I have defined such at http://www.puritans.net/homelands/ is one legitimate way such can be prevented.  It is clearly important that a new worldwide Babel not be created, as the Declaration itself implies.

Third, the FPCS “Declaration on Apartheid” properly condemns inequitable treatment of citizens in education.  This is inequitable and wrong,

Fourth, the FPCS Declaration condemns religious laws which discriminate by race.  So do I, as I state at http://www.puritans.net/homelands/: “It goes against the grain of scriptural principles to mark one congregation for one ethnicity and another congregation for another ethnicity.” and as I stated when a matter on this topic came up before the Reformation Party.  I am the person described in the News Blog at  http://reformationpartynews.blogspot.com/2013/09/attacks-against-reformation.html :

“Attacks Against the Reformation Party/Response

It has come to the attention of the Council of Officers that a particular individual who is no longer a Reformation Party member is issuing attacks against the Reformation Party that it is the party of kinism because this former member asserts a specific current member of the Reformation Party is a kinist.  The particular current member in question is a white American married to an Asian wife.  In this current member's own words he says: "I am happily and unrepentantly married to an Asian wife, and I believe it is morally permissible for anyone else likewise to marry outside his race and ethnicity, so long as it is in the Lord.  I am extremely opposed to the absolute separation of the races and ethnicities, and I believe each church congregation has a moral duty to welcome people of all races and ethnicities into its membership, just as the Reformation Party welcomes people of all races and ethnicities into its membership.  It should be self-evident I am against the absolute separation of races and ethnicities because the human closest to me in this world is a member of another race and ethnicity."  If there are any doubts or questions of Reformation Party members or the public as to this matter, we would encourage you to contact the Council of Officers as a whole or individually.”

 

I would go on to add to the above that I believe no race should be barred from holding office in any congregation either.

Fifth, regarding voting laws, I do not believe the vote should be withheld from any citizens of a nation merely on account of race.

In summary, the old South African Apartheid system was a system that did not properly take into account the civil rights of all people based upon the “fundamental unity of the human family”, all people being descended from our one father Adam, and the gospel offer of salvation open to those of all races through the God-man Jesus Christ.

As I have noted at http://www.puritans.net/homelands/ , the old South African apartheid system was an improper structure for national organization, and should not be confused with the model I personally advocate, Christian ethnic homeland nations.  In the same “Declaration on Apartheid”, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland pointed out:

1.      Inappropriate “inter-mingling of the races” (which I have already addressed above)

2.      The moral propriety of “nationalistic feeling”, described in the FPCS Declaration this way: “the tide of Nationalistic feeling, flowing at present so strongly through the African continent, has affected South Africa as well, and the refusal to meet the natural aspirations and wishes of the non-white peoples can only lead to frustration and unrest.”  It should be kept in mind that in 1962 many of the various African peoples (the Nigerian people, the Algerian people, etc.) were attaining independence from the British and French empires. The FPCS Declaration rightly regards these ethnic nationalist feelings and aspirations as legitimate, in which each people has a homeland nation where they are the ruling majority, provided it is also Protestant Christian in character. What is true of the black peoples of the world is surely also true of the white peoples of the world.

3.      The moral impropriety of imperialism: “there can be little prospect of peace among the peoples of the Union, while the under-privileged masses are under the complete domination of a small white minority”.  As I have noted at http://www.puritans.net/homelands/  , imperialism is counter to a Biblical form of ethnic nationalism.  Imperialism asserts the right of one ethnic people to rule over, and often to lord it over, other ethnic peoples.  In contrast, the ethnic nationalism advocated at http://www.puritans.net/homelands/ asserts the moral right of each ethnic people to its own independent homeland nation, free from the abuse of another people.

Much has happened in South Africa since the 1962 FPCS “Declaration on Apartheid”.  In many respects, the tables have totally turned.  In today’s South Africa, it is the white Afrikaners who are being discriminated against in employment and education by various “affirmative action” laws.  It is white Boers in South Africa that are being subjected to genocide by perpetrators overwhelmingly black.  Surely the current state of affairs is not where things should be headed.  Consequently, I have proposed that Afrikaners be allowed their own independent homeland nation where they are the ruling majority and where they can be better protected from the abuse they are experiencing.  It is not fair or Biblical to deprive white peoples of the world ethnic homeland nations, but reserve such for African and other non-white peoples (like the Nigerian people, Algerian people, etc.).  Primary descent from Japheth should not be a bar to Nationalistic feeling.