The delusion: Malawi a secular state?

The article on Nyasa Times, “Malawi not secular state…” http://www.nyasatimes.com/malawi-not-secular-state-says-catholic-cleric/ caught my attention and compelled me to make a contribution. As a pro-life advocate in the just ended “Citizen March for Life” – I am in agreement with Fr. Saindi’s arguments that the current portrayal of Malawi as a secular state is false, in other words a delusion.

Catholic priests joined the citizens march for life

Catholic priests joined the citizens march for life

It is convenient only to the nature in which modern democracies are structured and their touted separation of Church and Politics philosophy. But we know that much as this may be touted as a fact in Malawi, in many other African countries and indeed elsewhere, this fact is not true – in other words it is false.

The Perspective

My assumption is that every rational human being understands the differences among concepts of fact, reality and truth. I am not a philosopher, but I appreciate the fact that sometimes facts are confused for truth only for this perception to change again. This clear example can be found in Text-Book Editions, where with every new edition some information considered true in previous versions gets to be reviewed and sometimes become obsolete and rejected! How many planets or galaxies did you get to learn in school? How much of what you used to know to be “true” has changed over the years?

Dare citing a First Edition Textbook to your professor in the course that has a 16th Edition and see if you would pass a grade! And yet, the contents of the first Edition would have produced graduates proclaiming factual (true) of the very content of the Edition that is now discarded! Facts are not always true and yet popularized as REAL in the social construction of prevailing ideas. This is to say also, that there are so many truths out there that although not factual, they are real! Just because the facts are not manifest does not mean they are not real.

Take as an example The Concept of God. How many have seen Him? And yet the workings of the cosmos has made a majority, including myself, a believer in creationism or intelligent design, believe in this reality to be true.

The Burden of Proof

Show me a NATION in this whole worldwide that is founded on non-Godliness or Secularism and I am going to resign my stand! Perhaps I need to be educated on the meaning of secular. Either nation states are religious, both religious and secular, or none of these. My experience however is that all nations of the earth are primarily FOUNDED religious (creationism) and tilting the Darwinist on the pendulum (secular or evolution).

States insignia of many a nation still tilt towards religion – examples being National Anthems; beginning ceremonies with a prayer and finishing with a prayer; swearing in ceremonies using Holy Symbols and even the personal names we bear – all these go a long way to confirm that the touted separation between church and state is academic after all; it is an illusion, if not a delusion.

So What Should We Make of Citizen March For Life?

If we agree God exist even though we have never seen Him then faith in the WORD believed to be from God need be matched with action (works). I mean it was in order for them to march proclaiming what it is they believe God teaches, so that they can exonerate themselves from a proverbial foolish watchman who having seen a robber coming chose not to raise an alarm or blow a trumpet until the robbery was accomplished and the guilt was pronounced on him.

We are living in difficult challenging times and we need people that can put on the wholistic armour and stand the vile of the deceiver (it could mean imperialism or foreign domination). This is not the time to hide behind some political correctness and be neutral about a value; there is simply no sitting on the fence, in some non-allied movement (NAM) fashion, popularized by Third World countries who did not want to antagonize their relationships with either the West or East Asia in the Era of Cold War.

Remember the famous mantra “Dziko losagwera munkhani za eni?” In the issues of sanctity of life and marriage, it is either you are cold or hot – a lukewarmer attitude or standpoint is not a choice. The marchers had a commission and mission to fulfill by going out there to bring the message of remembrance to the world about the meaning of life, and fundamental principles, and the desecration thereof. They are watchmen who having seen the sword of destruction coming did the right thing to blow the trumpet to warn the people (call them law makers or human rights activists of doom); so that if their lives are taken, I mean eternally, it will have been taken after receiving the warning; the master would then exonerate watchmen of any guilt and will not be held accountable – this is faith at work.

My Take on What They Marched For

I for one, I strongly refuse to accept the tags, “safe versus unsafe abortion”. There is no such thing as safe abortion! Issues of abortion and marriage are existential and usually cut across the person’s physical, emotional/psychological, spiritual and social lives. If one wants to argue safety by the mere fact that the woman’s physical life has been preserved when undertaking an abortion, where does this leave emotional and spiritual safety in the aftermath of abortion? How do we ascertain it?

There is a paradox here of physical and psychological safety in abortion that need not be dismissed. Safety physically does not equal safety psychologically or spiritually. Abortion has psychosocial scars which tend to be much more enduring than are physical scars. I believe that Pregnancy Termination Guilt stand to haunt individuals in their twilights when faith begins to take a much more important dimension from the juvenile decisions of adolescence and early adulthood.

There is also a term often used as a pretext for legalizing abortion, “unwanted pregnancy”. In the breadth of this discussion and with the exception of rare cases of rape-pregnancies, no pregnancy can be deemed “unwanted or unexpected” but rather “unplanned”.  Teenagers or indeed women know the consequences of unprotected sex is pregnancy – it’s just that they have a mythical and egocentric knowledge about sexuality sometimes i.e. one cannot get pregnant by having sexual intercourse once!

In this case termination of pregnancy may come from fear of the consequences from the authority figures and rejection of responsibility by a man – for something which is wanted for procreation of human species but coming at the wrong time. We need to be cognizant of the fact that the high rate of all so called “unwanted” pregnancies worldwide are NOT out of defilement/rape but “non-readiness” due to juvenile passion/lust and incompetent negotiation skills about sex. Now is the solution termination or inculcation of responsibility and facilitating learning from the mistakes? It is better to have the unexpected child than endure the long-lasting emotional and spiritual scars of abortion.

Conclusion

I affirm the right for people of faith to march in order to evangelize that which they believe in! I empathize with those of a different view but this does not stop me from affirming their preservative action!  Yes I have shortfalls because there are some things that I want to do in life but I find myself not doing them and there are things I do not want to do and yet I find myself doing them; damned me!

Yet I celebrate in the gift of this self-awareness, this conscience which energizes me towards doing the right thing that is edifying before God. It is high time we concentrated on strengthening the FAMILY (parenting) to bring up responsible children who can know the right way and take responsibility of their actions. Parents have put too much confidence in evolution-based social institutions while taking a back-sit!

What do you expect from a world where semi-naked to naked celebrities have become children’s role models? Where the capitalistic agenda is promoted above the moral agenda? You strengthen the family and help it to sober up!

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MwThinker
Guest
Investment in education, security and empowerment comes with development. We can’t develop with the current mindset of Malawians and Africans in general. You would be surprised and disappointed that today, girls as young as 14 are being married off to old men by their proudly-African-cultural-custodian kinsmen. If we have to “adress the ROOT cause not the symptom” then we have to focus on how we can develop as a people first rather than going around policing what people do in theit bedrooms and with their lives. Otherwise, I bet you we are going nowhere, decades later we will still be… Read more »
Ndumanene Silungwe
Guest
Malawian Thinker, I agree with you absolutely that education is on of the way to free the mind. However its important that , “While education makes one knowledgeable, it is not to everybody that it removes foolishness”; “Some people go through education and others education go through them”. A law like that of abortion will open a door to indiscriminate termination. Know that there are so me would be aborted, “first borns, out-of wedlock children”, who are big shots in society just because their parents chose not to abort. Not all children that come out of unplanned pregnancies develop to… Read more »
Mw Thinkerr
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@Ndumanene Silungwe Investment in education, security and empowerment comes with development. We can’t develop with the current mindset of Malawians and Africans in general. You would be surprised and disappointed that today, girls as young as 14 are being married off to old men by their proudly-African-cultural-custodian kinsmen. If we have to “adress the ROOT cause not the symptom” then we have to focus on how we can develop as a people first rather than going around policing what people do in theit bedrooms and with their lives. Otherwise, I bet you we are going nowhere, decades later we will… Read more »
GIMBOGO
Guest

people right now people are carrying out abortions at will with the poor using cassava stems and die while the rich go to private clinics and live so why not level the playing field pass this bill and let those who decide to carry out abortion do it. The church and the mosque should preach to the people that abortion is a sin before GOD those who indulge in it will perish . The battle is for the LORD Amen.

Malawian Thinker
Guest
@Ndumanene Silungwe Investment in education, security and empowerment comes with development. We can’t develop with the current mindset of Malawians and Africans in general. You would be surprised and disappointed that today, girls as young as 14 are being married off to old men by their proudly-African-cultural-custodian kinsmen. If we have to “adress the ROOT cause not the symptom” then we have to focus on how we can develop as a people first rather than going around policing what people do in theit bedrooms and with their lives. Otherwise, I bet you we are going nowhere, decades later we will… Read more »
Malawian Thinker
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@Ndumanene Silungwe. Investment in education, security and empowerment comes with development. We can’t develop with the current mindset of Malawians and Africans in general. You would be surprised and disappointed that today, girls as young as 14 are being married off to old men by their proudly-African-cultural-custodian kinsmen. If we have to “adress the ROOT cause not the symptom” then we have to focus on how we can develop as a people first rather than going around policing what people do in theit bedrooms and with their lives. Otherwise, I bet you we are going nowhere, decades later we will… Read more »
Erastus
Guest
What a powerful defence! It is through a corruption of life’s meaning that has made many to demean living.When man is just mass of tissue devoid of life(living soul) he is indeed lost.He treats himself as trash.How then can he learn to value gifts of life (babies).? A secular or Humanistic view of life is rooted is selfishness. If killing(abortion) is bein inhumane then what is humane abt these killings. I hear thy invoke words like incest, rape ……to perfect their justfication to appeal to believers to accept legalising abortion.Its suprisingly funny how they fail to reconcile the number of… Read more »
Malawian Thinker
Guest
One thing I hate about you religious right-wing hypocrites is that “You don’t care about children. You care about fetuses”. Once those fetuses begin to breath outside the womb, your concern is gone if they’re born into a poor family that needs help. Or how about poor children who are in school. let’s not even talk about free food for kids. What is wrong with you people??? There is no better investment that we can make as a nation than in the early childhood health of our children. While those young children roam around town without shoes, not even talking… Read more »
Ndumanene Silungwe
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The problem is not about religious people, the problem is both the society we are living in, in terms of crime and insecurity which result into some people falling victim of sexual crimes and secondly the problem is immature decisions and irresponsibility that have people that are not ready to take care of children having them. Invest in education and make people empowered and in security and make people protected!!! Abortion legislation is treating a symptom not the ROOT! Address the root cause of a problem.

Malawian Thinker
Guest
Investment in education, security and empowerment comes with development. We can’t develop with the current mindset of Malawians and Africans in general. You would be surprised and disappointed that today, girls as young as 14 are being married off to old men by their proudly-African-cultural-custodian kinsmen. If we have to “adress the ROOT cause not the symptom” then we have to focus on how we can develop as a people first rather than going around policing what people do in theit bedrooms and with their lives. Otherwise, I bet you we are going nowhere, decades later we will still be… Read more »
Malawian Thinker
Guest
Investment in education, security and empowerment comes with development. We can’t develop with the current mindset of Malawians and Africans in general. You would be surprised and disappointed that today, girls as young as 14 are being married off to old men by their proudly-African-cultural-custodian kinsmen. If we have to “adress the ROOT cause not the symptom” then we have to focus on how we can develop as a people first rather than going around policing what people do in theit bedrooms and with their lives. Otherwise, I bet you we are going nowhere, decades later we will still be… Read more »
Mw Thinker
Guest
Investment in education, security and empowerment comes with development. We can’t develop with the current mindset of Malawians and Africans in general. You would be surprised and disappointed that today, girls as young as 14 are being married off to old men by their proudly-African-cultural-custodian kinsmen. If we have to “adress the ROOT cause not the symptom” then we have to focus on how we can develop as a people first rather than going around policing what people do in theit bedrooms and with their lives. Otherwise, I bet you we are going nowhere, decades later we will still be… Read more »
Malawian Thinkerr
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Investment in education, security and empowerment comes with development. We can’t develop with the current mindset of Malawians and Africans in general. You would be surprised and disappointed that today, girls as young as 14 are being married off to old men by their proudly-African-cultural-custodian kinsmen. If we have to “adress the ROOT cause not the symptom” then we have to focus on how we can develop as a people first rather than going around policing what people do in theit bedrooms and with their lives. Otherwise, I bet you we are going nowhere, decades later we will still be… Read more »
Malawian Thinker
Guest
Investment in education, security and empowerment comes with development. We can’t develop with the current mindset of Malawians and Africans in general. You would be surprised and disappointed that today, girls as young as 14 are being married off to old men by their proudly-African-cultural-custodian kinsmen. If we have to “adress the ROOT cause not the symptom” then we have to focus on how we can develop as a people first rather than going around policing what people do in theit bedrooms and with their lives. Otherwise, I bet you we are going nowhere, decades later we will still be… Read more »
Qwerty
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What does it mean to be secular? In his book A Secular Age, Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor identified three different forms of secularism. First, secularism can mean the complete removal of God and religion from the public sphere. France has this version of secularism. Children attending government-funded schools in France are prohibited from wearing overt religious symbols – as are public officials. This version of secularism is sometimes described as a strict separation of church and state, or in France as laïcité. This form of secularism does not necessarily mean a decrease in religious belief by the population. Instead, religion… Read more »
Ndumanene Silungwe
Guest
Well defined, Thank you. And yet as you have concluded, it is truly a wachiona ndani situation? Thus even to make a conclusion that Malawi is a SECULAR STATE begs the question of what is a RELIGIOUS STATE? In which case, a number of the similar definitions as the ones above will emerge – from completely religious, somehow religious, low religious. Can’t you then agree with me that even countries that call themselves CHRISTIAN or ISLAMIC do not meet there touted definitions 100%? In short the third definition gives away Malawi to a highest degree of a RELIGIOUS country, not… Read more »
mmc
Guest

Well well well! I think the problem at hand is much more deeper…such that a demonstration on a bill will not result to women or girls stopping abortion. The church should ask itself hard questions such as: why is their own flock aborting pregnancies in excess of 70,000 per annum? My take is not against the church for we are indeed religious people. But the church has a much bigger challenge/role more than just the demonstrations!

Ndumanene Silungwe
Guest

I agree, I have pointed this out in the conclusion how these are difficult days. As long as the church is seen as part of the solution not a problem that is OK. An eye, ear, mouth, hand, legs must all contribute to making things happen. They are both strong and weak in their individual capacities. Aren’t they?

santana
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Well articulated post and comments indeed. But I have a problem which I need the writer of this post to guide me. If you have a situation where armed robbers find a lone woman in the house and after the robbery the woman is raped resulting into pregnancy. This woman has a husband who is in his third year in J’burg. What can be the right solution for the two(wife and husband)? Another scenario can be that a well known mad man in the area rapes your wife while you are away for a 2 months relief. After a week… Read more »
Ndumanene Silungwe
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My brother, what you have indicated are RARE cases. That is the problem of INSECURITY and those that deal with issues of INSECURITY in a country must take responsibility to secure you and me. You cannot use a laxity of another responsibility holder to legislate a law elsewhere due to their incompetence. There is a much more greater syndicate and sinister agendas about anti-abortion law than meets the eye!! Talk of population engineering of certain groups etc.. Lets address the ROOTS of abortion not SIGNS and SYMPTOMS of it! Crooks will take advantage of the law to undertake abortion for… Read more »
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