Council of Churches denounces religiously justified racism

Johannesburg – Claims by Rivers Church pastor Andre Olivier that whites are superior to blacks because their work ethic is better is a misuse of the pulpit, the Diakonia Council of Churches said on Monday.

"A statement of this nature in a sermon is a misuse of the pulpit, as there is no opportunity for constructive engagement in response to what is being preached. The statement reveals an underlying racism in the preacher," Reverand Ian Booth, chairperson of the Diakonia Council of Churches said.

Booth said people who justified racist views by "invoking the scriptures" were as good as the Dutch Reformed Church (NG Kerk) using scripture to justify racist politics.

"It is our opinion as Diakonia Council of Churches that these views must be challenged, and balanced with an alternative view which we believe to be closer to the intention of God as disclosed in the scriptures of the New Testament."

Both Andres are wrong

Booth went on to also denounce Sodwana Bay Guest House owner Andre Slade.

"…We cannot accept his views on the sub-human nature of black people. His prejudice extends to the difference between blue-eyed and brown-eyed people, in which blue-eyed people are purer and smarter and more acceptable to God. And when he moves on to his identity as a God ordained to be King, then his whole treatise must be regarded with suspicion as from one who has delusions of grandeur."

“Both Andres have claimed, from vastly different perspectives, that white people are superior and that is the way God has made us. They would like us to just accept that fact, but we can’t."

Booth said that when the policy of apartheid was developed, the Dutch Reformed Church had manipulated scriptures to support their point of view. He said they relied on scripture from the Old Testament, "which were then selectively used".

He said that if the Old Testament was used it should be highlighted that men and women were created in the image of God.

"This was before race, nationality and religion separated us."

Booth added that people needed to guard against suggesting that God would endorse one view and reject another.

"The prejudices that are held by individuals, such as the two Andres, need to be owned by them, and not justified as part of God’s ordained separation of people… God is about inclusion, not exclusion."

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