Monday 7 August 2017

"Follow your conscience," says Archbishop ahead of no-confidence vote

Remarks prepared for delivery to Monday's civil society march under the banner #UniteBehind, ahead of a debate of no-confidence in President Jacob Zuma, scheduled in Parliament for Tuesday. The remarks were delivered by the Bishop of Table Bay, the Right Revd Garth Counsell: 

A message from Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, who can't be with us today due to prior engagements:

My friends, MPs of South Africa, fellow citizens:

Someone once said that time is not measured by clocks, but by moments. Similarly, it has been said that life is measured not by each of the breaths that you take but rather by the moments that take your breath away.

Tomorrow, August the 8th, marks one of those significant moments in our own lives and in the life of our nation.

It offers the opportunity to take a stand which will influence the course of South Africa's history. We can liken it to an opportunity to join the world's most exclusive club – the “life-changing events club.”

Being a member of this club is the last thing that anyone initially wants in their life. But being a member is the best thing that ever happens to a person in their life, and there is not a person in the club that would ever give up their membership.

To be a member of this club you simply have to vote your conscience and remember that, in matters of conscience, the laws of majority have no place.

Jesus did not get stuck in intellectual arguments with people. He did not go for the intellect; He went for the conscience. He spoke to that part of a person that knows the difference between right and wrong instinctively. His message to us is that it takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.

In the end, your conscience is your compass. It is more important to follow your conscience than to follow the dictates of your party, your colleagues or your friends.  Upon the guidance of your conscience depend 55 million lives. Your conscience will determine which road South Africa travels for the rest of your lifetime and those of your children and grandchildren.

You cannot afford to vote against your conscience.  Never.  Never do anything against your conscience, even if the state demands it. Your vote is wasted unless you vote your conscience.

Your family is watching.  Your friends are watching.  Your community is watching.  Your country is watching.  The world is watching.  And most important, God is watching.

God bless you, your family and God bless South Africa.

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