Skip to comments.(Under the Guise of Religion) ..United Methodists Working for Peace in Zimbabwe
Posted on 03/31/2002 1:41:02 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
United Methodist pastors throughout Zimbabwe took to their pulpits to call their nation to peace following a fiercely contested presidential election in early March.
While business pretty much continued as usual in urban areas, such as Harare, the nation's capital, and Mutare, the eastern urban center near Africa University, rural communities reported widespread incidents of violence, intimidation and retribution before and after the election.
District superintendents and pastors called for peace in the days after the election, according to the Rev. Gift Machinga, superintendent of the Mutare Central District. Most superintendents visited troubled rural communities to be with pastors and congregations experiencing election-related stress.
In the rural congregation where he attended worship on March 17, the Sunday after the election, Machinga said one person rose during the service to confess his participation in violence during the election. The congregation responded to the man's confession and request for forgiveness with "great rejoicing," he said.
Election observers from the World Council of Churches and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches said, in a March 13 report, that the campaign preceding the election included "many incidents of harassment, rape, malicious damage to property, and general breakdown in the rule of law."
The opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, that disputes the validity of the polling, has charged that its leaders have been subjected to violent retribution in rural communities following the election.
The ruling party, ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front) has been accused of deploying men, designated as veterans of the liberation war that won Zimbabwe its freedom in 1980, to intimidate voters in rural areas. ZANU-PF also organizes youth brigades, trained at the infamous Border Gezi youth training center in Mt Darwin in central Zimbabwe, to intimidate rural communities through violence, according to one United Methodist church leader.
In a rural community in eastern Zimbabwe's low veldt, a United Methodist layman told visitors from the United States that his truck had been surrounded by dozens of youth in a ZANU-PF brigade on the Sunday afternoon following the election. The youths lifted the truck, containing himself, his wife and young daughter, off the ground and compelled him to chant ZANU-PF slogans. When he did not do so, because he did not know the words to the slogans, they began rocking the truck so fiercely that he expected it to be overturned or worse. He said that a young woman in the group persuaded the youth to drop the truck and let them go.
Local political leaders agreed to discuss with visitors the community's need for international help in its continuing efforts to recover from massive damage caused to the buildings, bridges and farmland in the area by Cyclone Ellene in 2000.
On the way to this meeting, the visitors met a man whose face was cut and bruised and whose legs contained numerous welts and sores. The man said that, while he was driving in his car with his father after the election, ZANU-PF war veterans had forced him to stop, by shooting out the tires of his car, and then had beaten him. The attack was motivated by a belief that he had been one of the local leaders of the opposition party, he said.
The local church member driving the visitors reported that two schoolteachers in the same town, suspected of supporting the Movement for Democratic Change, had had their arms broken by ZANU-PF supporters following the election.
Zimbabwe United Methodist church leaders and the U.S. visitors met March 19 with the local tribal chief, who is also regional head of the ZANU-PF party, and two ZANU-PF leaders who identified themselves as war veterans.
Speaking through a translator, the chief expressed appreciation for past help in recovery efforts from Christian Care, the relief arm of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches that is affiliated with the UK-based Christian Aid, and international relief agencies such as the United Methodist Committee on Relief. He asked churches not to abandon Zimbabwe's people.
The war veterans asked U.S. visitors not to be afraid of them, despite reports of violence. "We are all poor people," one of the veterans said. "We need the help of the United States."
Because it occurred primarily in rural communities, much of the violence that surrounded Zimbabwe's election was not obvious to international election observers who watched the voting but did not talk freely with community leaders and other residents, said one Zimbabwe church leader. Upset by the South African government's delegation's endorsement of the election as fair and free, the leader said that outside observers should either listen to the experiences of local leaders who have experienced the violence or "just keep quiet" rather than endorse the status quo.
(((HOWEVER)))------------------ Bishop Christopher Jokomo, head of the Zimbabwe Area of the United Methodist Church, expressed appreciation that the nation preserved peace throughout the election period despite the deep political disagreements. He said that the ruling party and opposition leaders need to work together on behalf of the welfare of Zimbabwe's people.
He said he was concerned about the questions he has been receiving from churches and groups, such as Volunteer In Mission, from the United States about whether it is safe to visit Zimbabwe. Visitors to Zimbabwe's urban communities, including Africa University, are in no danger, he emphasized.
"Zimbabwe is as safe to travel to as it was 20 years ago, I believe," he said.
Dean Snyder is the director of communications for the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. Jane Malone, a United Methodist laywoman and Snyder's spouse, is an advocate for affordable housing. They visited Zimbabwe on a mission trip.
[Excerpt]There are groups of Americans, who, because of romantic idealism, naivete, ignorance, anti-U.S. feelings, or plain die-hard fanaticism of socialist or communist regimes, are very damaging to the cause of freedom and human rights of others. These groups are not harmless. They are often associated with organizations that claim to be working for peace or humanitarian causes but for decades have been an effective roadblock for people who are working for democracy in Cuba. These groups claim they are helping the "Cuban people" inside the island when they are actually helping Castro and his goals.
.According to Maghami, both Rev. Campbell and the NCC have backgrounds containing a well-defined pro-Castro political agenda. He says, "It was certainly keeping with the established behavior patterns of the NCC that last June, it sent a group that included Rev. Campbell to Havana. Fidel Castro provided an audience of thousands for his visitors. At the event, Maghami continues, Rev. Campbell said, "It is on behalf of Jesus the Liberator that we work against this embargo," referring to her desire that the U.S. embargo be lifted. "But" continued Maghami, "invoking Christ's name against it without also criticizing Castro for the persecution of dissidents, including Christians, is not a moral stance but a political leeching off religious capital."
..Another one of the most militant, fanatic and violent "religious" and "humanitarian" organizations part of this network in the U.S. appearing to be working for Castro's tyranny are the "interreligious" group Pastors for Peace. These "pastors" as well as the NCC have received grants from the Arca Foundation, which according to scholar Irving Louis Horowitz is a "highly pro-Castro and partisan," grant-giving agency. From 1994 to1998, Arca awarded about $3 million for pro-Castro projects.
GREETING GONZALEZ -- The Rev. Thom White Wolf Fassett, top staff executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society (right), welcomes Cuban citizens Juan Miguel Gonzalez and his infant son Hianny to the United Methodist Building in Washington. Gonzalez is the father of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez, who was rescued from a capsized boat off Florida's coast last November. At left is the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, former top staff executive of the National Council of Churches. A UMNS photo by Erik Alsgaard. Photo number 00-43 Accompanies UMNS #202, 4/17/00
United Methodist News Service Board of Church and Society welcomes Elian's father**** The Board of Church and Society has created a Humanitarian Advocacy Fund to collect voluntary contributions to assist in paying for the father's legal representation. The fund, authorized by the board's executive committee, was created following a request received from the Cuban Council of Churches, of which the Cuban Methodist Church is a member. About 200 donations have been received to date. "Out of our long United Methodist history of concern for family values, and our belief that children are an especially sacred gift from God, we have been in prayer for Juan Miguel Gonzalez as he seeks to be reunited with his son. As Christians, we proclaim that faith, love and justice must supercede political realities," Fassett said.*****
GONZALEZ MEETING The Rev. Thom White Wolf Fassett, top staff executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society (left) meets with Cuban citizens Juan Miguel Gonzalez and his wife Nercy (far right) at the United Methodist Building in Washington. Third from right is the Rev. Eliezer Valentin Castanon of the board staff who acted as a translator for the Gonzalez family. Gonzalez is the father of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez, who was rescued from a capsized boat off Florida's coast last November. A UMNS photo by Erik Alsgaard. Photo number 00-44 Accompanies UMNS #202, 4/17/00
United Methodist News Service [Excerpt] The Rev. Beverly Wilkes of Springfield, Ill., rose to say that handguns should be included in the ban because they are a cause of accidental deaths of many children. "We are calling for America to disarm itself for the sake of our children and for the sake of too many others who died too soon." She urged leaving policing to the professionals and limiting private gun ownership to those who hunt. Delegates approved a proposal to modify the resolution by directing it to the U.S. government and to the governments of other countries where the United Methodist Church is present.
The full resolution calls for governments to outlaw "ownership by the general public of handguns, assault weapons, automatic weapon conversion kits and weapons that cannot be detected by traditionally used metal-detection devices."
During the same morning session, delegates rejected a proposal for eliminating the denomination's Board of Church and Society, the agency that works on social issues such as gun control. Almost 70 percent of the delegates refused to abolish the organization after a discussion. One delegate said he wanted the board eliminated because it voices positions with which he does not agree. He cited the board's stance against the Boy Scouts' ban of gays and its involvement in setting up a fund to pay a lawyer for Elian Gonzalez' father. Another delegate responded that people must get the full story about such issues before they condemn the board. [End Excerpt]
Daily Telegraph (London) Zimbabwe -- 'We were the sex slaves of Mugabe's men'
Milwaukee Sentinel Zimbabwe's grim future casts doubt on Africa - investors flee
The New Australian TNA News with Commentary Gadaafi to supply Mugabe with death squads?****More sinister is the fact that Gadaafi insisted on calling into conclave Harare's small community of Indian Muslims, telling them that they must assist Mugabe's plans by declaring a jihad (holy war) to throw the whites out. If they did not do this, he told the Muslim elders, he would bring in strong arm men from the Pagad movement in Cape Town with which he had close links. There has long been speculation that Gadaafi might have links to Pagad, an extremist Muslim vigilante movement often linked to bombings and murders in the Cape, including bomb attacks on US-linked enterprises such as the Planet Hollywood restaurant on the Cape waterfront, but this is the first open confirmation of the fact.
The bulk of Harare's Muslim community, consisting largely of merchants and professionals, was aghast at this demand and has failed to declare a jihad ,a failure which they believe lies behind the sudden spate of attacks on Muslim shops by Zanu-PF youths in the last ten days. For heaven's sake, said one Muslim merchant, we all do business with whites all the time. We rely on them and most of us are appalled by what Mugabe's doing. It's obvious that those youths who were sent to attack white and Muslim shops were meant to be punishing us for not complying.****
Daily Telegraph Telegraph woman charged - Mugabe's thugs given police protection
BBC Africa Service A glimpse of Zimbabwe's desperation
Daily Mail & Guardian (SA) Zimbabwe -- MDC won't sell its soul to the devil
AfricaWatch: for AfricaWatch articles.
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CW, I'm indexing this, not for the article ( which is feel-good drivel, IMO ) but for your excellent links.
It is my hope that not only members here, but those who surf in, will follow these, and learn the real, bloody truth that hides behind the "one-man, one-vote, majority rule" farce & fraud so beloved by the press.
If you don't believe that, read its Books of Discipline and Resolutions. They come right from the pen of Karl Marx.
Unfortunately, few of the good people who attend United Methodist Churches have any idea what their "church" really stands for.
Or they don't want to believe it.
That science is re-cycling and that Columbus was evil.
The NEA is a promoter of stupidity. For it is only with stupidity that they can swell their ranks.
More federal funds for public schools that don't teach the basics.
More dummies in high school at the age of 19.
Get rid of the liberal hacks who pump their bile in the classroom or on the pulpit.
We are awash in a sea of limp-wristed scholars who prefer to stiffle the 1st Ammendment to appease the ignorant.
This, by God, must stop!
Today is Easter. A day most holy... Jesus was a pacifist, but he recieved a good education.
More than I can say for the kids of today.
Board of Church and Society .. "As Christians, we proclaim that faith, love and justice must supercede political realities."
They are extremely political!!
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