Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Modern Martyrs and Republicanism

The following is from the Libronix Digital Library:

In 1971 Idi Amin overturned the government of Uganda while President Obote was out of the country. He immediately dissolved Parliament, suspended the constitution, and outlawed political activity. His army began raiding homes and arresting foes. All Asians were expelled. Americans were killed. Robbers were shot on sight. A reign of terror ensued.
On January 30, 1977, Anglican Bishop Festo Kivengere preached to a large outdoor crowd, charging, “God entrusts governments with authority. But authority has been misused in our country by force.” The audience trembled, for in the crowd were officers of the dreaded State Research Bureau. The following Saturday, soldiers arrested Anglican Archbishop Janani Luwum, dragging him from his bed at 1:30 a.m. Church leaders immediately sent a letter to Amin, saying, This is the climax of what has been constantly happening to our Christians. We have buried many who have died as a result of being shot and there are many more whose bodies have not yet been found.
On February 17 Uganda Radio announced Luwum’s death in a car wreck. The real story was pieced together later. Luwum had been taken to Amin’s torture chamber and permitted to hold a brief prayer meeting with other prisoners. Then he was shoved into a Land Rover and driven to a compound near the capital. Amin himself came to the lodge, demanding Luwum sign a prepared confession of plotting to overthrow the government. A war of wills followed, and at length Luwum was forced to strip. He was whipped mercilessly.
Still Luwum refused to sign the confession, praying for his tormentors instead. This sent Amin into a rage. He screamed obscenities, struck the archbishop, and commanded the soldiers to repeatedly molest him. Finally Amin drew his pistol and shot Luwum twice through the heart.
Ironically, Protestants in Uganda had been planning for the 100th birthday of Christianity in their country. A group of gifted young Christians was producing a play about the first martyrs in Uganda. A week after Luwum’s death, the young people themselves became martyrs, their bodies later found a few miles outside Kampala. (Morgan, R. J. 2000, c1997. On this day : 265 amazing and inspiring stories about saints, martyrs & heroes (electronic ed.) . Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville)

"Be on your guard! You will be taken to courts and beaten with whips in their meeting places. And because of me, you will have to stand before rulers and kings to tell about your faith. But before the end comes, the good news must be preached to all nations." (Mark 13:9,10)

As if nationalising anything will improve conditions, last night it was suggested that the hospitals of the states be taken over by the Federal Government. What began as a trickle is now gushing as a flood, with the States of Australia being raped of their sovereign identity. Australia began as a Federation of States, but is now emerging as a Stateless nation: a centrally, bureaucratised dictatorship. Should the the checks and balances of our Constitutional Monarchy be stolen from us through an amorphous string of plebiscites, then the last nail in our coffin will be driven home.

We are only a hairbreadth away from an Amin-styled dictatorship. Where are the church leaders who understand that it was for freedom that Christ set us free? Too many celebrate the tyranny of Statism and its promise of cradle to grave security. If you catch a ride on the back of a crocodile, half way across the river he may open his mouth.

1 comment:

Steve from the Alice said...

Similar moves are afoot in the USA under President Obama and Congress. There is talk of bank nationalisation, nationalising the auto indrusty, etc. I'm sure Europe and Japan are in similar discussions, particularly the latter where a 2008 last quarter fall in economic production of about 12% was recorded--Japan is officially in depression.

This seemingly inexorable slide into slavery is not necessarily all bad news for Christians. The Jews in Egypt were enslaved only after the entire nation of Egypt fell into famine-induced slavery. We are falling into falling-economy-induced slavery. From that, the true people of God can and will arise.

So yes, the battle to preserve our constitutional democracy may be already lost, but the war is not!

Hold fast and firm, Bridge, our redemption and our Redeemer are nigh!