Sunday, March 3, 2024

Boko’s use of the BIBLE to legitimize wrongs is unethical

Throughout history religion has been used by nations and individuals as a political tool.  This includes all world religions.  North Africa was invaded and conquered by the Arabs in the name of Islam.  Palestinians were removed from their land in the name of Judaism.  African kingdoms, African culture, African religions, African civilization all were destroyed in the name of Christianity.  Africans were regarded as savage people who needed to be civilized and saved.  All these were done in the name of Christianity.

The indigenous people of the Americas were exterminated in the name of Christianity.  The European settlers destroyed great nations and civilization like the Maya kingdom, Cherokees and other kingdoms believing that the Americas were the promised land for European settlers.  They quoted from the book of Exodus to support their wrong doings. Even when they were killing, for them it was God’s plan to do so.

Adolf Hitler used religion to justify why the Arien  race was more superior to any race on earth.  The architect of racism and apartheid in South Africa, Hendrik Vervoed  used the biblical to justify this inhuman system.  Religion as Itumeleng Mosala has argued cab be a very dangerous tool for those who want to mislead the people.  Any biblical text according to Professor Mosala is subject to interpretation.  Christians believe that the Bible is the word of God.  According Ronald F.Thiemann, the very idea that the Bible is revealed creates more  problem than it is worth.

What this means is that to make the Bible the word of God is not an easy task as some people think.  For a person to quote a text from the Bible and apply it to any situation without interpretation is dangerous and can cause wars.  During his delivery of the BMD verdict at Oasis Motel the leader of UDC rre Duma Boko said he is not like king Solomon who wanted the child dead but he wanted the child to live.  “A ngwana a tshele”, Boko emphasized his point in Setswana.

What Boko was saying was that he is wiser than King Solomon who wanted the child dead, or he was more caring than King Solomon.  My aim is not to criticize the UDC president but to set the record right in regard to the biblical story of King Solomon and the killing of the child.

The story is found in 1 kings 3:16-28.  According to the NIV Bible, the heading of the story is A WISE RULING.  The story in summary is that two women shared a room and they each had a baby boy.  During that night one woman slept over her son and the son died.  In the morning both women were claiming the child who was alive as theirs.  The two women went to see the king so that he can help them to resolve the issue.

After hearing the argument from the ladies, the king ordered that the child cut into two so that each woman takes the other half.  The real mother of the living son asked the king to give the child to the other woman instead of cutting him into half.  The other woman who was not the mother of the child agreed that the child be cut into half.

Verse 27 says; then the king gave his ruling; give the living baby to the first woman.  DO NOT kill him, she is his mother!  During those days there was no DNA, so king Solomon wanted the best way to test who was the real mother of the baby.  The king did not want the baby to die as Boko wants Batswana to believe.  That was misinterpretation of the story, whether deliberately or due to ignorance, I don’t know.  Verse 28 says when all Israel heard the verdict the king had given,   they held the king in awe because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.  I don’t know where Boko’s wisdom came from when he administered injustice to BMD which led to the split of that party.  My guess is as good as yours.

To use Solomon’s story as a metaphor for BMD’s story one will say the two women were the two central committees led by Ndaba Gaolatlhe and Sidney Pilane at that time.  They came to the king so that the King could determine and advise on who is the real leader of the B. M.D   If Boko was king Solomon, he could have said both of you dissolve your committees and call for a special congress and have fresh elections to be supervised by UDC.  Those who refuse to comply with the ruling then he will know  have stolen the elections and he wouldn’t win in a fair and free election.  To ask them  to go and work together for six months before the elections was to say go and kill each other and you claim you don’t want to kill the child. Really! But your verdict killed  the child Mr. President.

There are those who claim that Gaolathe came with AP constitution in his pocket when he went to hear the verdict.  I totally agree.  Any reasonable person must always have plan B. Gaolathe thought that if the verdict was not going to be logical then he must register with immediate effect.

The BMD issue was a political issue, not a religious or legal issue.  Boko or rather UDC could have applied their political skills to address the BMD issue at the time.  It the original UDC was not dumped unceremoniously and left to handle both the joining of BCP and the BMD crisis by now we could be having a strong united UDC without AP and ready to take state power in 2019.  But those who are wiser than king Solomon thought otherwise! Now they live in denial of the fact that UDC is critically sick and can die at anytime! I don’t blame them because nobody wants to die, but if you are sick take medication.  Unfortunately, UDC is suffering from terminal disease that has no cure.  The virus has spread all over the body. One lesson I have learn in life is that those who are wise never say so, those who are rich never show their wealth unless is stolen wealth.

Setswana sa re motho ga ake a ipua o buiwa ke ba bangwe.

During the February UDC congress, the president of the party, Duma Boko again used the Bible or scripture to drive his point home.  At the center of his presentation or message was the fear that BMD might be expelled from UDC through the resolution of the congress. Boko started by explaining how BMD could not be legally expelled from UDC.  I have no problem with Boko defending BMD legally after all Boko is a legal expert.  However, even legal experts can not be judges and advocates at the same time: thus far I know. My problem with Boko starts  when he turned to God to justify his defence of BMD.  He argued  for the delegates to show love to each other and not only ordinary love but the love of God – AGAPE.  According to Paul  Tillich love, intentionally produced, shows indifference or hostility in perversion. This means love as an emotion can not be commanded.  Love elicits a felling of warmth of passion of happiness of fulfillment, wherever it is used. It brings to mind past or present or anticipated occasions of loving or being loved.  Its root meaning therefore, seems to be an emotional state which like all emotions cannot be defined, but which must be described in its qualities and expressions and is not a matter of intention or demand but happening or gift.   If this were so, love could be kept within the sphere of affections and it could be discussed as one affection among others not as Boko wanted us to believe.  It is well known that from Empedocles and Plato to Augustine and Pico, to Hegel and Schelling, existentialism and depth psychology, love has played a central ontological role.  There is another interpretation of love which is neither emotional nor ontological but ethical.  In one of determining documents of Judalism, Christianity and all western civilization, the word love is combined with the imperative “thou shall.” If love is emotions it cannot be demanded. 

Emotions cannot be demanded.  From the theological and ethical point of view  what is important is the question of the qualities of love.  In the public discussion  which centers on the distinction between eros and agape, the earthly and the heavenly love, the types of love are called qualities  of love and in extreme cases one even denies that the word love should be applied to these contradictory types.

In my view one has to distinguish, the libido, the philia, the eros, the agape qualities of love.  And one must ask how are they related to each other.  What is meant if one speaks of love without qualifications?

Which quality of love is adequate to the great commandment?

You cannot command people to love someone or an organization which they have negative perceptions about.  Whether Boko liked it or not Batswana in general not only BCP and BNF members have a negative perception about the new BMD and its leadership.

For whatever reason history will tell. One day truth will come out.  To try to change that perception through the love of God (Agape) is dangerous .  To apply the love of God to justify the unjustifiable is unethical.

*Dr Cosmos K. Moenga is a BNF veteran


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