Jacques Rousseau has written a good article on our government’s proposed task team on moral regeneration. You can (and should) read it at:
Given that our country is a mess of different cultures, traditions and beliefs, the article essentially highlights that moral discussion in plural society cannot be relativistic. The assumption under which this moral discussion is to take place seems to be that our cultures and traditions are of equal importance, and we must learn to mutually affirm that value. As Jacques points out, this is an assumption that precludes discussion altogether.
Having Jacob Zuma calling for moral regeneration sounds to me like good old King James who supported the Protestant movement because it was less rigid on divorce than the Catholic alternative, and he was itching to move on from wife number 1. Despite the moral laxness that motivated him, we would argue that the Protestant movement was a step away from superstition and into grace, and that the first officially sanctioned English Bible, translated under his auspices, was a wonderful cultural, educational, and spiritual achievement for the English-speaking world. In other words, good came from it. One can only hope that JZ’s moral duplicity nevertheless leads to better things for South Africa’s collective morality. That our president seems to be calling for discussion because he’s tired of people calling him immoral means that we’re off to a bad start.
Of further concern to me is the body that is heading up discussion. The National Interfaith Leadership Council (NILC) has significant Christian representation in its ranks, including its chairman, Rhema’s Ray McCauley. Being a somewhat moderate prosperity preacher, the McCauleys of the world are almost certainly ill-equipped to understand deeply enough the Biblical morality that they claim to be representing. If Biblical morality is wise, it is only so when properly understood, and so I worry that whatever gets aired over at the NILC is likely to be ham-fisted traditionalism of the kind that happily pastes favourite selections of the Old Testament onto modern South Africa without any further analysis.
A body that sets out to discuss morality with a mandate that excludes discussion — and with leaders who are likely to misunderstand the best of the ready-made moral codes available to them — does not fill me with the greatest of confidence.