Jonathan Moyo went ballistic over Gukurahundi - Coltart

Jonathan Moyo went ballistic over Gukurahundi - Coltart
Published: 20 July 2015 (1284 Views)
I have had an interesting twitter exchange with Jonathan Moyo this morning. It started when someone asked whether we agreed on anything. I responded by saying that we agreed on a lot prior to him "joining ZANU PF in 1999". Moyo responded by agreeing with another 3rd party tweet that he in fact joined ZANU PF in 1976 when he was its representative in California. I responded saying - "fair enough" and then questioned whether if that was so, whether he shared responsibility for Gukurahundi and suggested that he perhaps "rejoined ZANU PF in 1999". Moyo went ballistic, angered by what he felt was my suggestion that he was complicit in Gukurahundi.

I pointed out that I had not made that allegation but that if he was a loyal, card carrying member of ZANU PF during that time, and did not resign or speak out, then he would be complicit. It does raise the issue of our silence in the face of evil.

The Bible in Romans 12:9 says "Hate what is evil". Hate is a strong word and allows of no middle ground. If we hate something we will not want to have any part of it, not be associated with it in any form. One cannot "hate" something and have any desire to be part of that thing.

The subject has got me thinking and I came across the following article this morning which discusses the subject well. I hope it challenges us all.

"On Complicity in Evil

Prophetic voices are always criticised. One cannot have a prophetic ministry or a watchman on the wall type of calling, and be free of critics. It simply goes with the territory. Whenever you speak out against evil and injustice, other folks will not like it.

And regrettably of course often the major source of criticism will come from God's own people. They will be the harshest critics, and they will seek to silence voices they are unhappy with or uncomfortable with. Some are well meaning, while others simply do not like sin highlighted – especially their own.

But in either case, the criticisms will be never-ending. Many of these folks actually get offended when you point out the evils in the world or in the church, and get upset with you for daring to do so.

The truth is, often the prophetic voice is stepping on toes, pricking deadened consciences, and rocking the boat. Comfortable churchians hate that, and never want to be disturbed. They want to be left alone to keep sleeping in peace – they sure don't want to be roused to action, or told that they might even be responsible for all the mess we are in.

As I say, friends and foes alike make these complaints and objections to what others are doing. Sometimes they mean well, but they still need to be reminded of basic biblical truths. They seem to think that challenging others, calling for a response, and spurring people on to action, somehow may not be the Christian thing to do.

As but one example of many, I was recently speaking about a horrific social evil occurring in our day, and I said that those who know about it but prefer to keep their heads in the sand are no better than those who are committing such terrible acts.

When I make these sorts of claims I of course am using strong words to make a point and stir folks to action. But believers often take objection to this, and even ask you to provide some biblical backup for it. Well, there is plenty of biblical material which can be appealed to here.

One passage which immediately comes to mind is of course James 4:17 which states: "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them." Christian theology has long spoken about sins of omission as well as sins of commission.

What we fail to do, when we know we should do it, is just as sinful as actually doing what we know to be wrong. This principle is of course found throughout Scripture. Just what do we think the story of the Good Samaritan is all about? One of its main points of course is concerning the sin of omission.

The story, as found in Luke 10:25-37, speaks of three men who witnessed the plight of a mugging victim. Two who should have known better – a priest and a Levite – did nothing to help the man, while a Samaritan did. He was the true neighbour, and he was the one who obeyed the two great commandments about loving God and loving neighbour.

The truth is very straightforward here: those who stand by and do nothing, aware that evil is taking place, or that injustice has occurred, are sinning by omission. They are allowing the evil to occur, and they are complicit in that evil. We are just as guilty when we refuse to get involved, but choose instead to look the other way, as the two religious leaders were.

But those who work for righteousness and against injustice and evil are always criticised by others. Critics will always tell them to ease up, or to not rock the boat, or to not get so carried away. They say, 'We need to just relax here a bit, and not always point out all this evil.'

Of course the same criticisms were levelled at folks like Wilberforce as he fought the slave trade, or Bonhoeffer as he resisted the evil of the Nazis, or people like Martin Luther King Jr as they challenged the evil of racism. They heard all these complaints as well, even from fellow Christians.

But they had little time for such unhelpful criticisms. They pressed on with the work God had called them to do. They ignored the critics who wanted them to go softly, to not make such a big stink of things, and to not be so melodramatic as they worked for change.

Not only is Scripture on the side of these prophetic voices, these reformers, and these men and women who stand up and fight, but so too is history. The three scenarios I mentioned above can be backed up with some stirring quotes by those involved in such battles.

Let me offer some words from those involved in all three great works of social reform and resistance to evil. As to the slave trade, Wilberforce of course was constantly attacked and criticised, even from other Christians. Indeed, many of these fellow Christians were slave owners!

But Wilberforce pressed on regardless: "You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know." Others who resisted slavery took the same line. As Abraham Lincoln said, "Silence makes cowards out of the best of men". Or as Desmond Tutu put it regarding apartheid in South Africa: "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."

Related to the slave trade are the civil rights movement and the fight against racism. Dr. Martin Luther King certainly had much to say on the sin of omission and being complicit with evil. Here are a few of his memorable lines:

-"We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people."

-"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."

-"A time comes when silence is betrayal."

Or take the case of resistance to Hitler and the Nazis. The same principle applies here as well: when those who knew better could and should have done something, but chose to remain silent instead, they were complicit in evil. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated, "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."

And as Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said, "I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

The more general principle here is of course nicely summarised by the very famous words of Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

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