We recently received an objection to Biblical Issues Voters' Guide from a COPE leader. Our response follows:
Thank you for you email concerning the Biblical Issues Voters' Guide. It is our sincere ministry to provide an accurate and objective Voters' Guide on the chosen Biblical Issues.
I tried numerous times to contact members of the COPE Executive leadership. The Christian Action Network Policy Survey was sent numerous times to COPE Secretary General Charlotte Lobe. Ms Lobe claimed she was too busy to fill in the survey. I then sent the Voters Guide as it is to her and another contact she gave me and asked them to reply to me if they had any objections or corrections. I did not receive any response.
I warned them that thousands of these Voters Guides would be distributed. I also tried to contact them numerous times on their cell phones to get verbal statements from them on these issues but they did not even answer their phones. If you are in contact with members of the executive, please do urge them to fill in the Christian Action Network survey as soon as possible. The Christian Action Network Policy Survey can be downloaded from here.
We do agree that it is difficult to assess a new party with no track record. However, since numerous COPE members were previously members of the ANC, I find it difficult to believe that their position on the Biblical Issues listed on our Voters' Guide would be very much different to that of the ANC. One also cannot take electioneering rhetoric at face value.
We acknowledge that COPE does appear to support more free market policies than the ANC. While COPE is a new party, it is worrying that several COPE leaders were at one time members of the South African Communist Party. COPE also appears to support some socialist policies such as state intervention to stabilize the economy and a social welfare system. We will consider changing the Voters' Guide to read Yes/No under the "For Free Market (Against Socialism)" row/column.
In the April edition of TODAY magazine, COPE's presidential candidate, Dr Mvume Dandala, claimed that "The Congress of the People is founded on godly values on which we will not compromise. These values are enshrined in the Ten Commandments - they are also universal values that are embraced by all civilized societies."
COPE's policy documents, however, which we quote in the references (back page) of our Voters' Guide state that: “We recognize our responsibility to protect and defend our Constitution as the only thing of value that we collectively own as South Africans” (COPE Policy Documents).
Is the Bible, according to COPE, of lesser value than the Constitution?
COPE also supports a “society where discrimination…based upon…sexual orientation…[is] condemned and where government moves aggressively to end such discrimination…” (COPE Policy Documents). Homosexuality is a violation of the 7th Commandment, "Do not commit adultery."
In an interview with News24.com Dandala "reassure(d) homosexual communities". "The priority is the Constitution of the country for any minority and this is what we as Cope would seek to protect."
What about the racial discrimination of Affirmative Action?
It was the Constitution which in fact opened the way for the legalisation of abortion and homosexual "marriages".
Just because someone claims to be a Christian, even a pastor or a minister, it does not necessarily mean that they have a Biblical Worldview. We would be happy to send any COPE leaders a copy of Biblical Principles for Africa, which expounds on the Biblical Worldview.
We urge the COPE leadership to come to a clear position on the abortion issue as soon as possible. The abortion issue is a 'litmus test' issue for whether a party truly supports genuine human rights. If a party is not prepared to make a clear statement on the most basic right - the Right to Life - of the most innocent and vulnerable of all people - pre-born babies, then the party is not truly a party that supports genuine human rights.
On the abortion issue, the Voters' Guide depicts whether the PARTY is AGAINST ABORTION. To be against something means to oppose it. COPE, as a party, has not yet actively opposed abortion. We are not dealing with whether some members of the party are pro-life. The Scripture verse we quote on the Voters' Guide is
" Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering towards slaughter.”
As far as we know, current COPE leaders have done nothing significant to rescue the pre-born from the slaughter of abortion in South Africa.
Should COPE come out with a clear pro-life position and a resolve to overturn the current abortion legislation and to uphold the Right to Life of the pre-born, we will change COPE's standpoint on the Voters' Guide.
Life begins at conception and every abortion stops a beating heart. The scientific evidence and philosophical/ethical arguments for the legal personhood of the pre-born are overwhelmingly clear. One cannot be neutral on the abortion issue. If one is not for (or pro) life, then one is by default for (or pro) death. If a party is not prepared to issue a clear statement on this issue, then it should be construed as being pro-choice/pro-abortion.
“See to it that no-one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
For pro-life articles and resources click here.
The updated 2009 Biblical Issues Voters’ Guide in English (including COPE's standpoints) – detailing the positions of 8 leading political parties on 8 key Biblical issues - is now available from www.SAvotersguide.com or you can click here to download. Distribute quantities to your congregation, community and colleagues.
The Afrikaans and Xhosa Voters' Guides are now available on this website.
Quantities can be ordered from Africa Christian Action, call 021 –6894481 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SAvotersguide.com website also features relevant articles, helpful links, a downloadable Voter Education tract and Powerpoint, plus view responses of political parties to the Christian Action Network’s Policy Survey.
Christian Action Network
PO Box 23632
Tel: 021-689 4481