Was Nelson Mandela a champion of human rights ?

Photo: Laat mens dink nê!

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children. … A Nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it’s lowest ones” – Nelson Mandela

In my previous article, a sermon I preached this weekend from Hebrews 13:7, I showed from Heidelberg Cathechism (q/a 91) why mr. Mandela could not be a example or hero for believers to follow:

Vertrou nie op mensehelde nie, maar op Christus alleen

Most believers would acknowledge the following:

– he never confessed Christ openly in public (contra Ps.2:10-12; Luke 9:26)

– he never used or referred to God’s righteous good Law in his presidential service as a standard for all political laws in our country

– he never repented or rejected the marxist ideology and his part in the acts of terrorism which caused the death of many civilians in the apartheid era.

– he were a prominent member of the ungodly atheistic SACP (South African Communist Party)

But, many would still say, he was at least a champion of human rights and justice, and at least that example we must follow.

One Christian leader in the USA, dr. Al Mohler, writes as follows:

When it comes to human rights and human dignity, Nelson Mandela has to be put on the side of the heroes, not only of the 20th century, but of any recent century. 

Now, if we must follow Mandela’s example of rejecting racism and hate and bitterness, then I think I can agree with that.  Talking and living in peace with our neighbours, irrespective of race, religion and gender, is what the Bible wants us to do (Rom.12:18).

But unfortunately, that is only part of the story.

To use the New World Order’s own standard: the greatest abuse and trampling of human rights and human dignity were signed into law in 1996/1997 by the current icon of human rights, Nelson Mandela.

Mandela is quoted many a times as a freedom fighter for all of South Africa’s people, standing up for ‘justice for all’.

Not true for 1 million citizens of SA that has been murdered since 1997 by the abortion holocaust.

Antoine Theron, a South African citizen doing his doctorate in theology at Calvin Theology Seminary in the USA, wrote the following letter to dr. Mohler:

Dear Dr.Mohler,

 Nelson Mandela, abortion, and human rights

I have been privileged to read your recent blog post “Nelson Mandela and the Ironies of History.”

Please allow me, a theology student and South African citizen who has long benefited from your articles, books and opinions, to briefly react.

I agree with many of your remarks, and can say “amen!” to your final conclusion. But I am disappointed that you write, after weighing the moral complexities, “When it comes to human rights and human dignity, Nelson Mandela has to be put on the side of the heroes, not only of the 20th century, but of any recent century.”  This entirely ignores Mr.Mandela’s promotion of abortion, which was heroic only in a perverse sense.

One of the first laws of parliament that President Mandela’s government passed was a very liberal abortion law. South Africa’s Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act, Act 92 of 1996, signed into law by President Mandela, states in the preamble that it “repeals the restrictive and inaccessible provisions of the Abortion and Sterilization Act, 1975 (Act No. 2 of 1975), and promotes  reproductive rights and extends freedom of choice by affording every woman the right to choose whether to have an early, safe and legal termination of pregnancy according to her individual beliefs”

You can read the Act, signed by President Mandela, on the South African government website: http://www.info.gov.za/acts/ 1996/a92-96.pdf

Abortion according to the 1996 Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act is legal, for example:

* “upon request” up to 12 weeks of pregnancy

* up to 20 weeks of  pregnancy if “the continued pregnancy would significantly affect the social or economic circumstances of the woman”

* up to full term if the continued pregnancy “would pose a risk of injury to the fetus” (yes!) (See art 2(1)(c) ), and under other circumstances.

According to estimates, up to half of all pregnancies in South Africa now end in abortion; and more than half a million women (some figures estimate one million) have had “safe and legal abortions” since the introduction of the Act. The vast majority of these aborted babies are black.  Almost a quarter of all abortions are second trimester. See http://www.hst.org.za/news/ half-sa-pregnancies-end- abortion.   Here are some statistics: http://www.johnstonsarchive. net/policy/abortion/ southafrica/ab-sap.html  

Did you forget about President Mandela’s abortion legacy when you advised Christians in your article that Mandela belongs on the side of the heroes of human rights and human dignity “not only of the 20th century, but of any recent century”?  

Is abortion not a crucial issue of human rights and human dignity? 

When you write, “American Christians looking at Nelson Mandela must eagerly affirm that we are thankful that he was used in order to achieve freedom and human dignity for his people,” are you disregarding abortion as an issue of freedom and human dignity for black people in South Africa and America? 

Has legalized abortion not unleashed death, bondage and indignity in South Africa rather than freedom and human dignity?

And in Scriptural terms, are champions of abortion to be classed with heroes of human rights and dignity, or with him who “was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44) ?

Or perhaps you think the right to life sometimes has to take a back seat in the fight for justice and equality?

Perhaps you think legalizing abortion, like promoting Marxism and Communist revolution and terrorism, is a sad part of what your article calls (quoting Niebuhr) “the inescapable irony of the human condition”?  

Perhaps this “inescapable irony” means that what you have elsewhere described as the “perverse logic of abortionshould sometimes make sense to Christians?

Please consider publishing a follow-up article to give Christians in America and South Africa a fuller perspective.

Your brother in Christ, rejoicing with you that it is in Christ alone that women and men, unborn, infants and elderly, black and white, African and American, find true freedom (John 8:31-36) and restoration of dignity (Gal.3:28),

Antoine Theron (Calvin Seminary, Grand Rapids



See also the following  articles of pro life leaders warning against the unbalanced view of Mandela as a champion of human rights:

Pro life leaders urges caution

U.S. Catholic bishop calls Mandela’s support of abortion ‘shameful’, black leaders concur

See also the following articles on the topic:

Mass Marketing the Mandela Myth

Mandela Day and the making of a new religion

On apartheid:


2 Februarie 1990 ?


“How can a man who has committed adultery and left his wife and children be Christ? The whole world worships Nelson too much. He is only a man.” – Evelyn Mase (first wife of Nelson Mandela)

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.” – Jesus Christ (Luke 9:23-26)

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