By a Staff Reporter
Bishop Lamont of Umtali, Rhodesia, this week
warned Christians against losing their proper
religious motivation when opposing racialism.
Unless action was based on contemplation, he said, there was a danger of becoming "professional
protesters" without lasting conviction,
Speaking in St. James's Church, Spanish Place, London, at a service of prayer for peace and reconciliation in Southern Africa, the Bishop said:
"There is a fearful danger in our day of horizontalism, of forgetfulness of God and of attempting to solve all our social, economic and political problems without reference to Him.
"That is why Christians who protest against race without knowing why are so often told that they are merely getting involved in politics. There is a danger of deviation from the centre, of imitating the herd, of behaving like termites, teamconcerned deep down in the earthiness of the earth and blind to the heights and demands of heaven.
"There is a great danger of paying more attention to justice and to social progress than to God and without referring these things to Him whose concern they are."
Those present at the service, said Bishop Lamont, were united in concern for the welfare of their fellows, for oppressed peoples everywhere but especially in Southern Africa. "Whatever the outward appearances, whatever the propaganda, whatever the cloak of respectability given by laws enacted in parliaments, there is no real peace and there is little spirit of reconciliation in Africa south of the Zambesi," he added.
"People of European origin, people who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ are responsible for the misrule, for the established disorder, for the sick society; we who also claim to be.Christians have the right to denounce this frightful evil and the duty to disown it."
The service, said Bishop Lamont, provided an opportunity for self-examination, for a resolve by Christians not to promote in private life what they publicly condemned in others.
"We are not here to stir up hatred, to increase divisions, least of all to promote political causes. We have come solely to participate in the Church's mission of being an instrument of reconciliation. That is what Christianity is all about.
"This is not a political gathering. This is an assembly of people shocked into concern about the horrors inflicted by racist regimes on God's purpose-made creatures, our fellow men, "This is a coming together of Christians pleading to God in prayer for those who are degraded and made to suffer because of the colour of the skin their Creator gave them. We come to raise our voices to make Christianity credible through our concern for our neighbour, for the poor and underprivileged, for the voiceless andthe oppRrtessRedev." the Rt. Rev,
Colin Winter, Anglican Bishop of Damaraland in Exile, Rhodesia, also spoke at the service, which took place on thefirst anniversary of the Wiriyamu massacre in Mozambique.