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On the Declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation

 

On the Declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation
 
PRESS STATEMENT
 
16 January 1992
 
 

A “Nation is not Christian by declaration, but by deeds”, is the key message of the Christian Church leaders. This is the central message in this Statement. This was in response to President Chiluba’s unilateral declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation.

The legitimacy of any public pronouncement and policy depends on the quality of consultations done prior to the announcement. It also requires a time of preparing the Nation so that citizens understand what they are getting into. In the declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation, these elements were missing. This is why the Church leaders only welcomed the declaration cautiously.

The leaders also voice concern that there should be adequate guarantees that the declaration would not compromise the freedom of conscience and the freedom of worship. The environment where minority groups felt secure and included was to be promoted within the reality of the declaration. The Church leaders hope that the separation of the Church and State, even in the context of the declaration, would remain intact.

    We, the representatives of Christian Council of Zambia, The Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and The Zambia Episcopal Conference in consultation have agreed upon the following Statement:-
  1. We affirm our faith and love in God who sent his Son- Jesus Christ to give life, freedom and hope to all and we submit ourselves to His Lordship.

  2. The Christian Church has been instrumental in forming the peaceful history of our Nation through the promotion of worship, education, health, and in times of disagreement - dialogue, all for the development of the whole person and which has given us the Christian values we now enjoy in our everyday life and which are enriched in the Country’s constitution.

  3. We believe it is in this context that the President has declared Zambia a “Christian Nation” based on the righteous principles of the word of God.
  4. While most Christians wholeheartedly welcome the declaration of President Chiluba others have expressed their reservations. Given the complexity of the matter and of its implications a diversity of opinions is legitimate. We take the declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation as a serious challenge and we want to answer it. Our unity is greater than our diversity.
  5. Although we regret the lack of consultation with the Churches and lack of preparation of the Nation. We however noted the very positive points in the declaration and subsequent television interview given by President Chiluba which affirmed freedom of conscience, and the freedom of worship and expression in an environment of Christian love which excludes the persecution of minority groups.
  6. The provisions and guarantees of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia should be adhered to at all times and the Church and State should continue to remain separate. The Christian Church in Zambia will continue to collaborate and offer constructive criticism to the State where necessary as it is felt that Christian principles have had and should continue to have a positive impact on the development of the Nation.
  7. In view of the fact that Christianity is the main religion in Zambia, and of the assurance that the rights of those practising other religions will be respected, we endorse the President’s declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation and we accept his challenge to rededicate ourselves to the Glory of Almighty God.
  8. We appeal to all to take up the call to hard work and to fight corruption and other evils in our Country and to follow the Christian values of love, respect, justice and tolerance for all.

16th January 1992

  Rev. V. Sampa-Bredt   General Secretary - CCZ   Rev. J. Imakando   General Secretary - EFZ   Fr. J-L Calmettes   Acting Secretary General - ZEC