Just a few days ago, post 2009 Elections, the president of the ANC made speeches encouraging unity in South Africa. Jacob Zuma is of course South Africa's future president who has skilfully evaded being brought to trial for nearly 800 charges of corruption and racketeering, made homophobic slurs in the media, offered talks to religious right wing parties on bothersome issues such as gay marriage and whose signature tune is "bring me my machine gun". (Nice guy - I can see why so many people voted for him.)
Now the question I and many GLBT people are asking is whether or not this "unity" also includes the same folk whose rights he seemed all to keen on selling out for a few extra votes less than a month ago?
After his address given at the Rhema cults venue, radical fundamentalist religious (and unavoidably anti-GLBT) political parties were virtually breaking the doors down trying to invite themselves in to do follow up electioneering of their own. It really was pitiful.
The papers in the run-up to the election were filled with a few strange sights, such as Zuma having preachers laying hands on him in some sort of blessing ritual. In fact, this man has recently made much ado about "morality" issues and the supposedly strong "religious roots" of the ANC. Then again, he also visited that last remaining vestage of institutionalized racism in SA - Orania - and reportedly handed out packets of biltong to potential supporters. And his campaign trail led him to address the ZCC, a local ethnic blend church. (One theory suggests this is where most of the ACDP voter support disappeared to.)
Now, was this just political posturing to win more votes, or is this man dead set on blurring - or even erasing - the line between church and state?
There were other surprises in the election - for example one reason I finished a bottle of bubbly in my private post election celebration was the ACDP's loss of HALF its voter support, despite its boasts of having grown steadily since its founding in 1994, and that it was going to get bigger this election - and that it was going to reward its supporters by taking away gay rights. Ah well, 1 out of 3 suits me just fine. But in all seriousness, these lovely humanitarians made some deadly mistakes in their campaign. For one, they hammered on 'morality' issues, which doesnt really sell very well because they come across (quite rightly) as little martinets and dictators.
Did they stand for morality? Sure - but the issue at hand is did they stand for the RIGHT morals? Let's examine this:
First I would like to point out that morality does not rest on a solely religious foundation. It stems from a basic understanding of right and wrong, and even on as simple a concept as 'treat others as you would like to be treated' - or if you will, 'live and let live' - or even fairplay.
That is exactly why people not considered religious can devote their lives to the pursuit of achieving peace and democracy, while some ostensibly religious (and supposedly 'moral') people follow the drive to commit assorted crimes against humanity and even genocide on the basis of so-called "religious morality" with the weak excuse of "it is God's will". How else would you explain the Crusades and the Inquisition? I certainly do not see the hand of a loving God in that - just the hand of greed, ambition, hatred and intolerance - certainly more of the Other Bloke than God?
Once again, let me point out that I am the last person to try and force my views down people's throats, or to take away the right of people to believe in whatever deity they choose to. As far as I am concerned, the more religious variety we have in SA the better. In fact, if somebody were to found a church based on the Harry Potter books I would probably applaud, were it not for the inevitible probability that somebody would call me a "muggle" and try to shove a wand up my *ss. But seriously, fortunately for us in this country, the Consitution guarrantees rights which allow people to believe what they like, or follow whatever faith they like and to live out their faith however they like - just as long as this does not injure or disadvantage others (which is exactly where the bigots seem to lose the plot). The state has to be free of religious bias in order for a multicultural society to function justly and fairly. Full stop.
This is not the Middle Ages where communities live in isolation, all Christian or all Muslim. We live amongst each other, and we even manage to talk to each other now and then without actually shouting. It seems to me some of these conservative groups long for the "old days" where there was always a clear "us" and "them" and you had to pick the right side or get burned at the stake.
Religious laws need to be kept out of government because they are invariably biased and self-serving of that one religion in that government, to the detriment of all other groups who differ from the one in power. This secular (meaning non religious, or of no religion) law does not discriminate against any religion, but makes all of them - and all citizens - equal before the law.
Some groups, notably religious fundamentalist groups, assert that secularism is 'anti-religion' and also specifically targeting their own faith, namely Christianity. They compare secularism to atheism, communism and all kinds of other "isms" and they oppose the exclusion of their religion's references and principles from state bodies and manifestos such as the Consitution. They claim that keeping them from attaining governing power over the rest of our multicultural society is an attack on their faith. How is that exactly?
I am certain these same groups would be super-quick to object were the phrase "In humble submission to almighty Allah" to be included in the Constitution - or if a Muslim politcal party won an election and started forcing men to grow beards and women to wear hijab. Then I am pretty sure they would long for the "good old days" under the protection of a secular government!
It would seem that these groups do not like the secular system of government because it makes them equal to other religions - and they are not content with being equal.
It is often the same groups - these same very tiny minority groups who infect and poison larger ones with their venom - who claim GLBT people are after "special" or "extra" rights by seeking laws protecting their humanity - rights which would simply bring us up to the same level of equality as everyone else, including them.
Pull the other one, it has bells on.
It is not GLBT people who are after special rights - but them.
These same small (and following the elections, even smaller) parties are now shuffling their feet and angrilly gnashing their teeth in the dark shadow of malcontent. How 'dare' the rest of the Christians in SA not have voted for them? How dare the people not "vote for God" - for surely they represent God in South Africa? In their dreams, maybe.
They have instead rejected the decision of the South African electorate in all but ignoring them, and are ardently making plans for a comeback the next election in 2014 - assuming they will survive the political climate following the elections. Same procedure as last year, James.
They are turning all criticism around into religious references and fanatically applied rhetoric. In all, their state of shock, bitterness and defiant determination to take power in government shows me something rather enlightening about them.
Fanaticism and desperation.
Now they are sitting there wondering where they went wrong - maybe it was the ANC's fault? No? Maybe it was the DA's fault for "spreading lies" about the ACDP? I know - let's blame it on the "homosexual agenda"! No? Anybody's fault but their own, as it suits them to believe.
But point out to them their flaws and faults and how clearly out of touch with reality they are, and you will receive a full barrage right down the line, all guns on all decks. Clearly somebody's masts don't go all the way to the topsail.
Instead of getting all puffed up and ready for a rematch, should they not rather consider the following: if God was in any way upset by the defeat of the ACDP or CDA - don't you think it odd that there was no "divine intervention" to secure their victory in the first place?
If I were religious I would call their failure a 'divine intervention'.
How about this one: either there is no God, or the God they claim to follow does not agree with them. (Hey, if they were following me, it would be a good reason to start running - very fast). As an agnostic I am open to both possibilities, but a little more partial to the latter.
No really, people - think about it:
Perhaps the reason your party failed is due to the hate and intolerance people saw in your policies? No matter how you wrap up bigotry, intolerance and gratuitous ignorance in religious rhetoric, it still remains that.
Even if you sew on buttons of fortitude and tassels of righteousness or even a few funky frills of beatitude, the lining is still rotten and reeks to high heaven of things people do not want on their consciences - and most especially not in government.
The truth is your policies focused on so called "moral" issues - and on taking away the rights of a significant portion of the voting electorate - as well as their friends, family and colleagues.
Your manifestos and policies made much ado about what you would do, but clearly not about HOW you were going to achieve such miracles, such as lowering the crime rate - without locking everybody away or simply reinstituting the death penalty to just kill whoever broke your laws and to rule by terror.
People do not want to be stripped of their freedoms in order to achieve pie-in-the-sky ideals. They just want to live their lives without Big Brother looming in the background waiting to pounce on them for the sake of their own stupid personal grudges.
And once again, there was the small fact - which I see as the deciding factor in the whole deal - that people are no longer interested in self-serving theocracies. Their time is over...religion belongs one side - and the state separate.
There were many who call themselves "true Christians" who voted for other parties instead of these little hate mongers - which means they need to get with the program as political parties and give the electorate what they want - which means no more hate or persecution of innocent people.
On several occasions we have made viable constructive suggestions to these parties - to offer viable religious alternatives to persecution and exclusion - cavalierly dismissed and ignored by CDA co-leader Colin Fibiger and others from the surprisingly more fanatical and hateful ACDC - I mean, P - leading me to believe that they will still not listen to reason or to good advice or sense.
I think it speaks volumes about the character of these parties that they choose to conveniently ignore whatever facts don't happen to suit them - and about their claims to be of God and for God.
Instead you people should be looking within to see where it stopped being about God and where it started being about YOU.
Prove me wrong.
You are self-serving - or you would serve your God by showing others his light instead of trying to force them to it. You are called to love, but your words and actions show anything but that. I remember something in the bible about "you shall know them by their fruit..."?
Be assured were the God who spoke the universe into existence to actually hate anyone, namely gay or trans people, he would sort them out on his own - God does not need grains of dust to fight holy wars for him.
Walk a path that will make you worthy of being called Christians, and those who consider themselves Christians may support you.
No loving God would sanction the rule of tyrants in his name. These election results are your answer.
Funny you cannot see that?
We pink folk will still be here come 2014. We're not going anywhere. We are through being apathetic and silent. Rest assured, GLBT eyes will be watching.