• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Churches struggle against apartheid and a comment on the effectiveness of this Challenge.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Notes The failure to denounce, resist and incite to resist apartheid and its resulting violations of human rights, constitutes the failure of the church to live up to its faith convictions. Rather the church often got caught up in its debates on the legitimacy and right of resistance against the authorities. These debates were dominated by the question of the violence and the armed struggle. This furthermore happened under circumstances in which our members were part of the armed wings of the liberation movements. Prozesky, Martin, Christianity in South Africa p 132 The Churches struggle against apartheid and a comment on the effectiveness of this Challenge. When the National party was officially elected to parliament in 1948 they implemented a policy of Apartheid. Apartheid literally means apart, and was the separation of blacks and whites painstakingly and permanently1. But we must also remember that the oppression of coloured persons living in South Africa did not start with the National party but with the white colonizers. When South Africa was colonized, the black natives had there lands seized they were deprived of there political identity and the cultural and religious identities were suppressed.2 "It was the beginning of a form of oppression which characterizes the social structure of South Africa today."3 Some of the most extreme Afrikaners looked up to Hitler, The path of racial segregation for South Africa was not a Master plan leading to the final solution, it was a general policy for the country that was adapted over time to meet the circumstances of the country at that time. Although when it was first implemented the ideology of apartheid became clear which was an idea of white supremacy4. ...read more.

Middle

Membership of the Methodist church was seen to many as a way to make a stand against apartheid laws, because of the Methodist churches firm stance of racial equality that was adopted. As a result, the Methodist Church gained a large membership during the apartheid era in South Africa. The Methodist church was one of the first churches to actively speak out against apartheid in a time where most of the English speaking churches although seemed to disagree with the government tried to keep politics and religion separate.17 The first example of this can be seen in 1948 when the newly elected National party proposed a law that would take the native Africans already limited political representation away, all of the English speaking churches reacted differently but only the Methodist church spoke out directly to stop this legislation becoming law, the Methodist church stated "No person of any race should be deprived of their constitutional rights... merely on the grounds of there race."18 In 1957, there was the first real united opposition by the English speaking churches, when The National Party proposed a law which made it almost impossible for any native African to worship in any white area which at that time meant any of the urban areas, this united opposition led to a modified bill being passed, which allowed ministers to bar black Christians from worshipping, should anyone make a complaint19. In response to this law, the Methodist Church publicly stated at their 1958 conference that all of the Methodist church ministers should ignore this bill and let the natives continue to worship regardless of complaint from white worshipers. The possibility of splitting the church into four separate churches - white, black, coloured and Indian - was also suggested but very quickly rejected, with the Methodist church deciding to continue with its stand of public unity. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also the churches where although all spoke out against apartheid, many were afraid to face the wrath of the national party by directly opposing the laws. Many followed the opinion that politics should be kept separate from religion, so while they were preaching that all Christians should love their neighbour, just outside there were separate benches, drinking fountains etc, with many thousands of people being denied there basic human rights. Another problem was that the National Party was extremely well financed by the economic boom that occurred in South Africa. This meant that they could afford to enforce the apartheid laws and keep the majority of the population under the control of the wealthy minority. Most of the churches that were ready to face the rage of the National Party and make a public stand against apartheid were easily stopped by the police, which were under the National Party's control. Christian churches at the time were simply not strong enough to oppose the National Party because they did not have the same resources ready to use as the National Party. The most that could be collectively achieved was minor changes to racist legislation. Unfortunately, it took events such as Sharpeville and Soweto to outrage the churches so much that they felt they could not stand by and let this happen. Coupled with this it also took events such as the Soweto riots, to increase global awareness of the situation. So finally although all the churches spoke out against apartheid they did not achieve great results mainly due to a lack of unity and funding. But the amount of time that it took to overthrow the racist regime can not be placed purely on the shoulders of the churches, it is possible to say that if other countries and foreign groups had acted sooner then the situation in South Africa would not have remained static for so long. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Places of Worship section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Places of Worship essays

  1. Home of Mercy. Gwen Harwood remains an unquestionably devout member of her faith, and ...

    Prayer for the girls is seen as an escape: "time for the spirit to begin / with prayer its sad recourse to dream and flight / from their intolerable weekday rigour." It is the true core of Christianity... the 'plaster' I described earlier, without any of the 'decoration.'

  2. ''Luther, more than anyone, was to blame for the schism.''

    This is because the humanist movement had broke with the tradition of unquestioning obedience stipulated by the Catholic church. They had been seeking a 'spiritual regeneration' of the church for at least a century and Desiderius Erasmus had already attacked church corruption.

  1. Why did monasticism play such an important part in the expansion of the Irish ...

    On the one hand, the Irish Church tended to rely upon miracles and stern teaching in the style of St Martin of Tours to astound the heathen: Columba's miracles and Cedd's angry treatment of Sigbert6 are examples of this. On the other hand, the Anglo-Saxons tended to be more willing

  2. Muslim place of Worship.

    Arches, concentric circles, geometric patterns, all symbolize the 'point' that is both nowhere and everywhere, or that which has no beginning and no end: 'The circle surpasses all other geometric patterns as the symbol of cosmic unity, its inner core or hidden centre becoming the timeless moment of the revolutions

  1. How useful are the secondary sources provided in understanding Medieval Monasticism compared with the ...

    For example the piscinas, which contained holy water, was observed at the site of the abbey. It appears to have not been altered since the origin of the building. This suggests that this particular aspect of the site was important to the monks and those at the abbey and so there was no need to change it.

  2. Are all Christians Ministers?

    [Collins,1992,p25] Collins utilises the first edition of the revised standard version, Ephesians 4:12 to highlight that interpretations of texts vary. In this edition ministry is depicted as a sole responsibility of a few, unlike later editions. Collins suggests the Catholic church mainly utilises the first edition of the RSV and

  1. Visit two local Christian churches. Using pictures and/or diagrams describe and explain the ...

    The stations of the cross are basically scenes depicting the events leading up to Christ's death. There are 14 stations, although some churches may also include a fifteenth station depicting Christ's Resurrection. They are usually carved from wood or stone and only appear in Roman Catholic churches.

  2. A study of the attitudes of the Roman Catholic, Methodist and Anglican churches to ...

    Homosexuality could be an inherited or genetic trait over which we have no control. Therefore the Church would not condemn homosexuality as any other disordered people are accepted in the Church therefore why not people of homosexual orientation shouldn't be accepted in the church.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work