What Should We Think of the Old South African Apartheid System?
In its address of the old South African Apartheid system, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (FPCS) noted the following characteristics of South African apartheid 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”
Let’s consider each of these characteristics:
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:
young men sometimes could not marry until they had done a certain amount of labour for the chief
families were disrupted
farms were left in the hands of women and young children
men in the cities became used to the western way of life, and did not want to settle on the farms again
the tribal and traditional society was broken up
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, while understandable, were erroneous, unnecessarily tending to the separation of families.
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 in my objection to full-blown “kinism”. 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 is one legitimate way such can be prevented. It is clearly important that a new worldwide Babel not be created.
Third, the FPCS “Declaration on Apartheid” properly condemns inequitable treatment of citizens in education within a given nation. This is inequitable and wrong,
Fourth, the FPCS Declaration condemns religious laws which discriminate by race. So do I, as I have stated: “It goes against the grain of scriptural principles to mark one congregation for one ethnicity and another congregation for another ethnicity.” I would go on to add to the above that I believe no race should be barred from holding office in any congregation either.
However, regarding voting laws, I think this FPCS declaration likely goes beyond what is right and prudent to assert.
In summary, the old South African apartheid system had flaws in need of amendment (but is there any national system in this fallen world which does not have flaws?). In certain respects it 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. The FPCS declaration was right to point out some of its flaws. Furthermore, the FPCS “Declaration on Apartheid” was correct to point out:
1. Inappropriate “inter-mingling of the races”
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”. 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.
Nevertheless, I am concerned that this FPCS declaration goes far overboard in it condemnation of the South Africa apartheid system and the direction South African Prime Minister Verwoerd was taking it. He seemed to be taking it in a direction consistent with the principles of Christian ethnic homeland nations and away from a situation where a white minority rules over a black majority in a single nation. He should have been commended for the direction he was taking South Africa, not condemned for it.
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.
But we should close this article by answering this question: is there a Biblical form of apartheid?
While there are aspects of Apartheid South Africa I certainly disagree with, the idea of distinct nations for the different peoples I agree with (second definition of ‘apartheid’ below) provided it is a system which allows for exceptions like Old Testament Ruth, Rahab, and Uriah:
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/apartheid – … 2. any system or practice that separates people according to color, ethnicity, caste, etc.
The principle of “lawful war”, as referenced in Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 136 and such prooftexts as Deuteronomy 20:1 (which speaks of the right of defense of Jewish national property rights by Jews), is predicated on such (ethnic) national property rights. In the absence of such national property rights, there is little chance that individual property rights of the members of that (ethnic) nation will be maintained either. Concretely, remove the right of the Jewish nation and its defense as the state of Israel to exist, or remove the right of the Afrikaner nation and its defense to exist, then in all likelihood the neighboring Arabs and black Africans will take away much or all of their individual property. One sense of “apartheid” simply means separation of people according to ethnicity. If there is no Biblical form of apartheid, but instead all separations of people according to ethnicity are immoral, then there can be no ethnic nations, which means there can be no morally valid (ethnic) national property rights. Concretely, if Jews (or similarly Afrikaners) cannot separate themselves from other peoples and have a nation which they rule, then there will be no Jewish (or Afrikaner) nation.
So while I agree and applaud FPCS defense of individual property rights, if it is accompanied by a rejection of any Biblical form of apartheid (which can allow exceptions such as we find in Old Testament Israel with Ruth, Rahab, and Uriah), then I see it as having very limited practical value in really protecting even individual property rights, much less ethnic national property rights. The Pope’s globalist agenda then prevails.
There was good reason during the Reformation that the Reformers (Wyckliffe, Huss, Luther, Zwingli, William of Orange, etc.) were Protestant nationalists, in defense respectively of England, Bohemia, Germany, Zurich, the Netherlands, etc.