Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview
We desire to state that we regard the . . . Clause as an infringement of religious freedom in that it makes conditional on the permission of the Minister of Native Affairs:
a. The continuance in existence of any church or parish constituted after January 1, 1938 in an urban area, except in a location, which does not exclude Native Africans from public worship;
b. The holding of any service in any church in an urban area, except in a location, in which a Native African would be admitted if he presented himself;
c. The attendance of any Native African at any synod or church assembly held in an urban area outside a location.[1]

The Church cannot recognise the right of an official of a secular Government to determine whether or where a member of the Church of any race (who is not serving a sentence which restricts his freedom of movement) shall discharge his religious duty of participation in public worship or to give instructions to the minister of any congregation as to whom he shall admit to membership of that congregation.

Further, the Constitution of the Church of the Province of South Africa provides for the synodical government of the Church. In such synods, bishops, priests and laymen are represented without distinction of race or colour. Clause 29 (c) makes the holding of such synods dependent upon the permission of the Minister of Native Affairs.

We recognise the great gravity of disobedience to the law of the land. We believe that obedience to secular authorities, even in matters about which we differ in opinion, is a command laid upon us by God. But we are commanded to render unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. There are therefore some matters which are God's and not Caesar's, and we believe that the matters dealt with in Clause 29 (c) are among them.

It is because we believe this that we feel bound to state that if the Bill were to become law in its present form we should ourselves be unable to obey it or to counsel our clergy and people to do so.

Source: Cape Times, March 9, 1957.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

J. W. De Gruchy, The Church Struggle in South Africa ( Grand Rapids, Mich., 1986).

A. Paton, Apartheid and the Archbishop: The Life and Times of Geoffrey Clayton ( New York, 1973).

M. E. Worsnip, Between the Two Fires: the Anglican Church and Apartheid, 1948-1957 ( Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 1991).

____________________
1
"Location" signifies an area officially set apart for nonwhite settlement and residence.

-445-

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