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The Government and Africa

May 21, 2008

I recommend the article China Africa in the June issue of Fast Company if you want a better understanding of where I am coming from on this. The information that I will share comes from my understanding of this article.

It seems that we have been conditioned to look to the government for answers or maybe just for help in dealing with large cultural problems. I have seen this mentality very clearly recently when a person said they were going to push for legislation on a specific problem that was close to their heart.

When I began to tell them what I thought we as a church could do it caught them totally off guard. The thought of the church leading with such an issue had never come to mind. They hadn’t thought of the problem in that context. Well that is the only way I look at these problems and the way I believe the church should look at them.

So what does this have to do with Africa? Good question. It has to do with the idea that government is the place to go for answers to problems. One thing that I recently discovered about Africa that you may not know is that many countries in Africa were once financially sound. Many had very healthy economies going into the 60’s and 70’s.

Do you know who helped destroy them? That’s right, the West and some of its policies. The corporations from the U.S. Government support for brutal regimes that exploited the people. People like Mubutu Sese Seko who pillaged his country while Ronald Reagan called him “a voice of good sense and goodwill.”

Listen to what the article says, “Mobutu almost singlehandedly destroyed an economy that was one of Africa’s best in the 1960s. Then, while his starving people looked on, he bragged to 60 Minutes in 1984 that he was the world’s second-richest man.”

Think of how Ronald Reagan’s words sounded to the people in the Congo? Think what people think of the United States even today because of such statements.

So the West now puts pressure on Africa to clean up its act, acts that we helped create by past policy. Do you understand why they think we are hypocrites? Try to think of their opinion of our demands for human rights when in the not so distant past we were applauding some of the worst human rights violators?

So guess what is happening? The Chinese are moving in to control Africa and guess what, they put no moral ties on their aid. The west demands better treatment of workers etc. and the Chinese demand nothing but the rights to the resources. Who do you think wins on that one?

So not only do human rights violations continue but the Chinese pay less and abuse even more and the West pushes Africa into their arms.

Why would we as believers want to be connected to that mess? Why would we want to hitch the gospel to such a past?

There is more about Africa to come, we will see just how willing we are to really make a difference in one of the poorest continents in the world.

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