I Will Not Be Silent

Just two days after the South African government dropped subversion charges against him, anti-apartheid church leader Rev. Allan Boesak was speaking as defiantly as ever, even calling for the removal of the South African government.

"The government must understand that we don't want the government improved. We want the government removed," Boesak told about 800 people attending a special service at his Cape Town church. Boesak said he was not afraid to face new charges for his sermon remarks. "I have promised my God I will not be silent," he said. "We have got to look for those things that lead us away from senseless violence into a resistance that is creative."

The South African police arrested Boesak in August 1985 and detained him for 27 days on charges of subversion for allegedly promoting divestment and economic and school boycotts. Over the next 14 months, the government postponed Boesak's trial four different times before finally dropping charges against him November 3, 1986. Boesak, a leader of the United Democratic Front, president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and vice president of the South African Council of Churches, was recently elected moderator of the "colored" branch of the Dutch Reformed Church.

Desmond Tutu, Nobel peace laureate and Cape Town's Anglican archbishop, helped lead the three-hour service at Boesak's church. Tutu told the congregation that white missionaries could not have brought a book more subversive than the Bible into South Africa. "We know we worship a God who will take us out of bondage. That is what Allan was trying to say. But it is dangerous to be a Christian in this country," Tutu said.

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