SMOKE: Hate Politics
Originally published: 1 March 2004
I read a horrifying story over the weekend about a new "political" party in KwaZulu-Natal called the Azanian Salvation Party (ASP).
The moment you string the words Azania and Salvation together you know you've got a problem, but this lot really takes the cake.
I've been unable to find any other information about them on the Web, so all I have to rely on is the report from the Daily News, but it seems legit enough.
The ASP hails from GaRankuwa in the North West Province of South Africa and according to its leader - Johannes Tebogo Molapo - the party is based on Christian principles and aims to gather a big piece of the Christian vote by aligning itself with other Christian parties.
Fair enough - Christians deserve as much of a voice as anyone else and they'll be pleased to know that there are people looking out for their interests.
But it's those interests that worry me. The party manifesto says it will "fight corruption through prayer and combat crime in Jesus' name", according to the Daily News, and apparently this entails making prostitution, abortion and all homosexual practices illegal. Not just frowned upon - illegal.
Women who are raped will not be allowed an abortion - the party recommends that they take a morning after pill. They will also enforce the supposedly Christian notion that the man is the head of the household and that although men should not abuse women and children, the women must respect and submit to their men "as commanded by God".
Apparently AIDS is not a sin (that's good news), but people must "believe that God could heal all diseases since God said that what was impossible for men was possible with Him".
In other words - don't expect anti-retrovirals, mate. Just pray to God and he'll cure you of AIDS. As he's done for the millions who have died from it already.
If I were an open-minded, modern, groovy Christian, this party would offend me. I've been Christian before in my life and I certainly don't recall laws instructing women to submit to their husbands or for homosexuality to be banned.
Homosexuality has never exactly been welcomed with open arms by the vast majority of Christians, and I am aware that there are any number of instances in the Bible which forbid it - I myself found one from 1 Corinthians. 6:9-10:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
There you go - straight from the horse's mouth. If you're gay you're going to hell. Don't shoot the messenger.
However - it also says that drunkards, fornicators and the covetous are in the same bracket, which means the vast majority of Christians - and anyone else - are also going to hell.
Since I don't believe getting sloshed of a Friday eve and eyeing t'missus next door with a prominent woody is a sin as much as a social norm - and certainly not worthy of eternity in the fires of hell - I have to view homosexuality in pretty much the same way.
Or is Corinthians perhaps a fraction outdated? Maybe we've moved on a bit in more than two ... uh ... millennia? I dunno.
Molapo reckons the ASP has a lot of support from churches in Northwest and he's pretty confident that he can get quite a bit of the provincial vote. Whether or not that's true remains to be seen - for all I know he's simply an old fart blowing off steam in the form of bullshit.
But it's dark ages stuff. We have one of the most progressive, liberal constitutions in the world, yet there are still those who fail to see its worth. It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a bloody good starting point for it to grow and develop.
It's evident that many are still threatened by the freedom given to our society by our constitution and while it's legitimate to hold the view that abortion should not be legal (the prolife debate), and while you may not like the fact that huge portions of our population prefer partners of the same sex, and though it might be distasteful to your sentiments that people pay for sex, the fact remains - all of these things happen every day around the world regardless of what others think and will continue to do so until the Earth breathes her final breath.
Get over it.
It really pisses me off that people use the Bible to justify their prejudices. You can argue any point you can think of - for or against - using quotes from the Bible, which goes to show just how unreliable a source of information it is.
Matthew said it best for me: "Judge not, that ye be not judged." Why is nobody listening to him? Isn't he quite high up on the list of Creditable Blokes of the Bible? In case there's any misunderstanding of what he's saying, I'll spell it out: "Don't judge others, mate, or you'll find yourself being judged".
In the same Matthew verse (Matthew 7:1-5), he says: "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
Which is one translation of it, although a little flowery for my taste - too many thees and thous. Basically - if you accuse someone of doing something bad, be sure you aren't doing it yourself.
The point? Dunno about you, but I read daily - and I mean daily - articles about priests the world over buggering and sodomising and humiliating little boys, and I've witnessed with my own eyes untold number of lechers and fornicators and coveters who masquerade around as high-profile religious people.
With my own eyes. First-hand. It's not a lie - some of the most uprighteous and solid citizens are fond of their buggery as much as the next guy and there are plenty of supposedly moral people who will commit adultery, who will dream of young girls in see-through cotton frocks framed by the light of the setting sun and who will have the occasional impure thought with the accompanying evil and offensive erection.
Yet they will be the first in line casting the first stone, and thus it all boils down to hypocrisy. I know that there are plenty of good people who struggle as hard as they can to live by their religious code, and more power to them.
But I have no time for any religion or affiliated political party who would use their faith to judge and belittle those they believe to be beneath them.
All Smoked Out,