Saturday, 12 February 2011

President Zuma's Use of Religious Language, and State of the Nation Address

This statement was issued on 11 February 2011

Let us change the discourse. We are approaching municipal elections and once again we are hearing words and words and more words. At the same time we see very little action which shows that the poor are being cared for and that service delivery is evident in many parts of our country.

Last night we listened to President Zuma deliver the State of the Nation Address. We applaud the emphasis on the creation of more jobs and greater efforts towards service delivery. We were also glad to hear that government will seek to fill its own vacancies so it can be more effective. Will government also ensure that competence and commitment to those in greatest need are requirements of new workers? The plans sound positive, but the question which looms large as always is the same – can our government deliver on these promises? And, will the Alliance work together for the betterment of the lives of those most disadvantaged persons in our country?

Jesus said to Peter, ’Feed my lambs; tend my sheep and feed my lambs.’ The instruction is to serve and not run to eschatology (concerns about the end of time). The command is to love oneself as you would want others to love you and not to have all interest focused on self and family but rather on your neighbours who are without even the most basic services.

Our concern is not to ‘protect’ Jesus from these issues. Jesus calls us into this battlefield we call our society. Jesus reveals his true identity in the demands he places before President Zuma and the ruling party and before all of us. In short, we are called to bring all people into a fullness of life which God has intended for all his children. This is what it means to followers of Jesus.

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Thanks for your feedback! Archbishop Thabo