Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jacob Zuma fears God, and thinks you should too

I have a pet theory that some influential groupings in the ANC in South Africa have opted to give Jacob Zuma (hereafter simply JZ) a longer leash since the 'resignation' of Mbeki, to let him do some damage to himself. I have no evidence for this theory, it's simply an interpretation of what seems to me the difference between his public style before and after.

My local newspaper ('The Mercury' in Durban, South Africa) today includes a front page story with some rather choice quotations. JZ was apparently addressing about 500 religious leaders outside Polokwane in the Limpopo province. He's quoted as saying that "We need to teach people to fear God". In case there's any doubt that he means all people, he goes on to say that "even those who are not religious ... must learn to fear others. We must also learn to fear our ancestors".

JZ apparently claimed people would behave better if they had an imaginary friend who they thought was watching and scary. He suggested that the way to make people have scary imaginary friends was to enforce compulsory morning prayer in schools, and urged the religious leaders to "speak out" when the government enacted laws that were "not in line with the teachings of God".

This is all very bizarre and ridiculous. Religious folk hardly agree on any substantive moral questions. Round up ten or twenty senior religious figures ask ask whether women should be able to act as priests, attend university, dress as they please. Ask whether the death penalty is OK, whether homosexuals should be allowed to adopt, whether eating crayfish is OK, etc. We're supposed to improve morality at large by ordering children to listen to the blatherings of a constituency -- the clergy -- that's farther from univocal than a sack of parrots on acid. Go Cope, go. (That's Cope the 'Congress of the People' - which as I write doesn't seem to have a web page. I'll add a link if I find one.)


Sam said...

I'm convinced JZ is going to be thrown to the dogs at the last moment. But who will be the replacement?
As for CoPe - no website until they officially launch apparently. And frankly they've not impressed me massively thus far.

Doctor Spurt said...

I'm happy enough that CoPe *exists* for now...