Boesak: U.S. ‘empire’ challenge to faith

2010-10-13 00:00

THE exercise of U.S. power on the scale experienced today can only be understood as a deliberate project aimed at accruing wealth and influence and military might.

So said Dr Allan Boesak during his presentation last night at a theologians’ conference taking place at the Imperial Hotel in Pietermaritzburg.

In his address, “Facing the Empire: A Kairos for Our Time”, the renowned theologian likened the U.S. to a new world empire and said that “churches and Christians as members of the world-wide faith community should consider how they should respond to that in solidarity with the victims of this empire everywhere”.

“It will serve us well to remember that the reality of globalisation is not thinkable without the reality of the forces that drive it: global capitalism first among them, closely followed by military, political and cultural forms of domination …

“The combined substance of these forces is what is called ‘empire’,” Boesak said.

He also spoke about the “pseudo-innocence” of U.S. politics, “which blinds, paralyses and cunningly uses all means at its disposal to cover up and rationalise guilt and sin”.

“The belief in goodness of the empire by those who benefit from it, and that it is therefore good for those colonised and exploited by it, is of course not new. The Romans believed the same. Their empire was universal and good and willed by the gods …”

He said the time has come for Christians to “realise that we cannot condone, ignore or suffer from this disconnect”.

Boesak said that after 1994 South Africa “uncritically and happily” embraced the ideology of neo-liberal capitalism, and that has led to South Africa being the largest country with largest inequalities in the world.

He added, “We shall have to find new and much more effective ways of living and witnessing as people of faith globally and locally.

“We shall have to find new ways of obedience, of being in solidarity and of creating communities of life and witness in the world.”

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