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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 9. 1966.

Churches attack Rhodesian regime

Churches attack Rhodesian regime

The National Council of Churches' Commission on International Affairs has issued the following declarations on Rhodesia:

We declare our strongest disapproval of the action taken by the Smith regime in Rhodesia, in illegally seizing independence from the United Kingdom.

We share the regret of the Christian Council of Rhodesia (expressed in their statement of November 26, 1965) at "the great blow delivered by this act to the concept of constitutional law brought to Africa by a western civilisation nurtured in Christianity."

We reject, as do the churches' leaders in Rhodesia, Mr. Smith's statement that the illegal seizure of independence has "struck a Blow for the preservation of of Christianity" and we regard it as a travesty of the facts.

We deplore the Smith regime's attack on freedom of expression and civil liberties in Rhodesia and believe that its present method of government is undermining respect for the rule of law.)

We declare our Christian sympathy with and whole-hearted support for the churches in Rhodesia and for all in that country who are opposed to the illegal and unconstitutional measures taken by the Smith regime, particularly for those who are suffering for their opposition.

We declare our approval of the firm, reasonable and pacific action taken by the British Government to oppose and neutralise the Smith regime and to reestablish constitutional Government.

We declare our support for the measures taken by the' New Zealand Government in compliance with United Nations resolutions calling for economic sanctions against Rhodesia, and we urge the New Zealand Government to support in spirit and in action the measures adopted to this end by the British Government.

We declare that by whatever legitimate means may be available, governments and peoples should work for a settlement of the situation, which would assure constitutional independence to Rhodesia only on a basis of guaranteed progress towards ultimate majority rule, and of justice for all in Rhodesia.

We re-affirm that those who would live the Christian life — whether in Rhodesia or in New Zealand — are, called by their Lord to serve, not to dominate; to share the wealth of their country equitably, not to live in comfort or luxury based on the impoverished lives of others; and to be concerned less for themselves than for the well-being of the poor, the illiterate, the disenfranchised and the underprivileged.

We call on the members of all the churches in New Zealand to pray for the people of Rhodesia and to do whatever lies within their power to help remove exploitation, injustice and racial discrimination in that country, as in our own.