Page 2, 23rd October 1970

23rd October 1970
Page 2
Page 2, 23rd October 1970 — CHURCH A SCAPEGOAT IN SUDAN TROUBLES
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CHURCH A SCAPEGOAT IN SUDAN TROUBLES

FROM A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

111.1E. Church's position in the Sudan has become . more uncertain with the addition of Communism into the list of difficulties which it has

recently faced.

The situation between South and North Sudan remains hopeless while the Arabs of the North are unwilling to concede any degree of freedom to the South.

This 15-year-old situation, with all its political, economic, racial and religious complexity, has been made more complicated and complex by the element of Communism which now seems to take complete charge of the State machinery in the country,

In these circumstances, it is well to pose a few questions and to consider the position of the Christian Church in the Sudan. As a rule, the Church should have a position against the present state of affairs, but for two reasons it does not seem advisable to take such a stand.

NATIVE PRIESTS KILLED

First, the Church has been used by the powers-that-be as a scapegoat for their own failures. The events which led to the expulsion of the Christian missionaries in the Sudan in 1963 are unforgeta ble.

So are the losses of the Church in the massacres of the South at the hands ot Arab troops of the North. Many native priests of Southern Sudan lost their lives in those massacres, as did thousands of Christian laymen.

Secondly, the changes of 1969 in the Sudan seemed purely political and did not necessarily indicate any trends against the Church. tinder those conditions, the Church could hardly be expected to help much.

A year now has passed and it is well to see how the Church's position has been affected. The position of the Church is not in the snort term affected now, for very obvious reasons. But in the long term it is bound to ue affected adversely.

NEXT TARGETS

"I lie present government has had to adopt tactics of dealing with the various elements in the country when it came to power because it was very unpopular and could not deal effectively with all the opposition.

It was therefore natural that it left the Church to function seemingly normally and announced the theoleticat granting of the South Regional Autonomy in order to face the opposition in the religious and political groups in the North. With apparent success against the Islamic elements in the North, both the South and the Church are the apparent next targets on the list.




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