FEATURES

On Zuma's conflation of church and state

Dave Steward
07 October 2013

Dave Steward says President clearly immersed himself in reading Romans 13

CHURCH AND STATE

No doubt to the alarm of his minders and keepers, President Zuma deviated from the prepared text of his speech yesterday to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Giyani, Limpopo.

His speech should have been suitably innocuous - with a nod to the older generation on International Grandparents Day, exhortations to the youth and the expression of justifiable pride in the fact that the number of children infected with HIV within the East and Southern African region has more than halved in the past 10 years. There was only one reference to "apartheid colonialism" - and for the rest, the tone of the speech was suitably presidential.

However, few politicians are impervious to the invective of their critics and the slings and arrows of unflattering cartoonists. President Zuma evidently is no exception and, no doubt, swept up by the religious fervour of the occasion, decided to depart from his prepared text to theologise on the nature of the relationship between the church and state.  

According to media reports he said that "If you don't respect authority, then you are bordering on a curse". "Whether you like it or not, God has made a connection between the government and the church. That is why He says you as a church should pray for it".

According to the reports the President also asked the church to pray for politicians who insult leaders - "because if you allow them to insult those in authority, you are creating a society that is angry with itself".  

So much for unkind speculation regarding president Zuma's reading habits. It is quite clear that he has been immersed in Romans 13 which expresses similar views. It says: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.

For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God" and goes on to warn that "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." (I have quoted from the King James Version - because King James knew a thing or two about the divine right of kings.)

The president would presumably number among those who "resisteth the power" the many critics who "insult" him because of his handling of Guptagate; his retirement home at Nkandla and the manner in which the independence of the National Prosecuting Authority has been compromised.

However, the president has evidently not been reading the Constitution which does not recognize any connection between the government and the church. The Constitution rightly guarantees the freedom of religion, belief and opinion - but carefully avoids any connection between church and state. There is also no prohibition on insulting those in authority since freedom of expression - including the right to criticise government - is expressly recognised. There is also the underlying idea that respect for authority should be conditional on authority's respect for citizens and for the Constitution.

When political leaders deviate from their prepared speeches their remarks often provide a much clearer insight into their real views than the carefully vetted and anodyne texts written by their speechwriters. The image of our president that emerges from his off-the-cuff remarks at Giyani is of a leader who has been deeply hurt by the "insults" of his critics; who feels that, as president he is entitled to respect because of the office he holds - rather than because of his actions; who believes that God is on his side; and who has only a limited commitment to the principles underlying our Constitution.    

King James I - and his hapless son Charles I - held similar views - in Charles's case with the most unhappy consequences.  

Dave Steward, Executive Director of the FW de Klerk Foundation

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Comments

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 responses to this article

Zuma the clown again. There is no god Zuma, nothing but fantasies.
Read about it Zuma if you can that is. Your speech about god is in such bad taste and one of the reasons why religion is such a stupid man made idea designed to make people scared. Who cares about you useless leaders? You are useless in my opinion. And . .more

by Vivian on October 07 2013, 18:45
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@ dave Steward
Be very careful.
As executive director of the de Klerk foundation you ought not to induce fire fights with irony-lacking cadres.
It is neither clever nor calculated to win friends and influence people.
For the de Klerk foundation to accuse the . .more

by Pangolin on October 07 2013, 19:26
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@ dave Steward
Oh and another thing.
if you are now flouncing around as an "executive" ( why the heck do so many failed media okes style themselves as executives is beyond my simple comprehension but so be it--- can you imagine that perennial loser jeremy Gordin now . .more

by Pangolin on October 07 2013, 20:24
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@ Pangolin
"degree"should read "degrees".
Thank you.

by Max Silver on October 08 2013, 04:58
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Mamparas @Zuma & @ Pangolin
Agreed with Max

by jeremy on October 08 2013, 06:35
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logic
the logic of the Pres, is that citizens should have supported apartheid/NP as it was there by the will of god...and those who opposed the regime were on the other side...eish. Better stay away from religious books, just gets one into a pickle

by alexxzarr8 on October 08 2013, 07:38
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@Kom net met Dromedaries
Dear f..ckwit - bring it on - if you don't die of AIDS before I introduce you to Mr Smith and Mr Wesson...

(PS: Dromedaris doesn't have an e next to the s. Clearly you are a retard and a product of the Azanian ee-duh-kay-shun seesteem.)

by Boer on October 08 2013, 07:56
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Its simple...
Zuma does not have a leg to stand on...

by Paul C on October 08 2013, 08:52
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@ all comments
White minority rule created this black majority monkey rule. simple. white minorities came to civilize the balck majorities with their bible and so called christiandom. do not be offended when the monkey you created starts feeding you the S*** you fed it. . .more

by Ashamed on October 08 2013, 08:57
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@ Ashamed
You nailed it. Could not have put it more succinctly.

by Joanne on October 08 2013, 09:23
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@Ashamed
Christiandom?

by Jeff on October 08 2013, 09:25
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Religion and society
"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." - Seneca the Younger, written around about the time that Jesus Christ allegedly walked around. Zuma still 2000 years behind the times.

by Jeff on October 08 2013, 09:34
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SOTE
A repulsive president and nation !

by Pleb on October 08 2013, 09:35
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Freedoms are for everyone
So Mr Steward you are confirming that the President is protected by the Constitution to have an opinion, a view and freedom of expression. No where in the constitution does it say these rights are limited to a Person who is a President. The . .more

by Thabo on October 08 2013, 10:49
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Zumification
Zuma is busily creating a Zulugarchy to rule by the same principles (if they can be termed such) as Shaka and Dingaan.

by Wolf on October 08 2013, 11:06
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comment
Dommie or was that Drommie... i think your post was a threat... but plz come... Im waiting... want to make your family walk slowly, cry loudly and have a feast after they throw the dirt over your body

by G35 on October 08 2013, 11:45
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Apartheid parasites

Old Dromedoos has got it partially right. South Africa IS the only country where Apartheid Parasites live to suck the country dry of its wealth. These parasites come in many shades, the most pernicious being the Black ANC politician variety which . .more

by Mute Fool on October 08 2013, 12:03
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Come On Politicsweb editor; u remove my comment but u post an article from the SCUM?
Are u promoting Apartheid Murderers now abusing our freedom by INSULTING black people through some Apartheid Foundations? Ask Dave how many black ppl he killed while in SADF.

by Mute Fool_Makoya on October 08 2013, 12:31
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@politicsweb
Why remove my comment while other are not removed are you protecting the foundation?

by Thabo on October 08 2013, 12:38
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@politicsweb
My apology and retraction , my comments where not removed

by Thabo on October 08 2013, 12:41
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U Apartheid Foundation and hordes of DA supporters deserve JZ.
Mbeki was a renowened reader, an embodiment of INTELECTUALISM but u racist lot were disrespecting everything he did or said. So, JZ must just lie there on top of you and give it u. Uuuuuuuh, aaaaaaa....go on Mr President.

by Mute Fool_Makoya on October 08 2013, 13:58
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Cursing critics
Since Zuma was speaking in a church, he was not violating any of the current speech hygiene rules by invoking God to underwrite his views.
He is South Africa's democratically elected president, and as such can claim authority.
He is surrounded by . .more

by Leslie Melville on October 08 2013, 15:06
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Principles, morality, etc
Of course back in the day the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk and the National Party would never have condoned or practiced such behavior...although it was very difficult to tell them apart...but then again all churches in SA have interfered with politics . .more

by . on October 08 2013, 17:40
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@dot...
....so by your example of the nats....you use he nats as an example of a dictartoship, a suppressor of rights and humanity.....and then use them to justify an action you condemn as right and okay when used by the anc???....

by onlooker on October 08 2013, 23:35
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@Mute Fool_Makoya

You say :

"Ask Dave how many black ppl he killed while in SADF." by Mute Fool_Makoya on October 08 2013, 12:31

I'm sure Dave will oblige if YOU tell us how many little kwediens you butchered for muti; how many grandmothers and . .more

by Mute Fool on October 09 2013, 00:14
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@by . on October 08 2013, 17:40

The ANC's Comical Ali on the loose! : "Zuma became President....and the majority lived happily ever after... "

Jislaaik! Heh...heh...heh...heh; yeah, as long as they keep getting their food parcels just before the elections they stay . .more

by Mute Fool on October 09 2013, 00:26
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Two left feet Zuma

Poor Zuma. Alwats puts his foot into it.

I did not know at all that he read the Bible.

I'm surprised that he reads.

by Philani on October 09 2013, 07:35
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We love the ANC
There is nothing as good as the ANC.

by . on October 09 2013, 12:10
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@by . on October 09 2013, 12:10
Fakester.

by . on October 09 2013, 14:53
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by Paul C on October 08 2013, 08:52
WQithout a leg to stand on , he should thus be renamed Eileen Zuma

by Green Room on October 10 2013, 16:30
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