Maintaining Apartheid or Promoting Change?

Wolfram WeißeCarel Anthonissen (Hrsg.)

Maintaining Apartheid or Promoting Change?

The role of the Dutch Reformed Church in a phase of increasing conflict in South Africa

2004,  Religion and Society in Transition,  Band 5,  330  Seiten,  E-Book (PDF),  CD-ROM,  26,90 €,  ISBN 978-3-8309-6327-1

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There is no doubt about the particular importance of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in public life during the apartheid era in South Africa. At least on an ideological basis the DRC backed the government's policy of separate development and its leaders had almost free access to cabinet ministers, the prime minister and later also to the president himself. This was the effective state of affairs since the National Party came into government in 1948 and it lasted until the change of government in 1994. A question of a more complex nature relates to the role the DRC played in the transition-process from Apartheid to Democracy.

The contributions of this book offer sharp and differentiated analyses of the church-state-relationship in the last phase of Apartheid, considering main-stream developments as well as efforts of individuals or groups less centrally placed, though not necessarily less significantly involved. Although the overwhelmingly supportive role of the DRC for the government is not denied, this book sheds light on different actions and reactions of various groups within the DRC in the general pursuit of change in society. The perspectives highlighted here illustrate the ambivalent role of a church that was brought into flux through having aligned itself to a 'worldly power' that was losing this power as well as credibility and claims to righteousness.