For people of faith, this is a call to action. The June 17 "March for the Children of South Africa" in Washington, D.C., will dramatize our response to the desperate cry for help that has been sounded by the persecuted churches in South Africa.
In that land of increasingly blatant injustice, more than 10,000 children have been imprisoned without formal charge trial since the state of emergency was imposed in June 1986, and peaceful organizations have been condemned as treasonous because they reject the cruel policies of apartheid. The South African churches are standing fast against the terror and violence wrought by an illegitimate government, and as a result have been targeted as its next victims.
"Let there be no doubt about it. The churches are under fire!" proclaimed Rev. Frank Chikane, general secretary of the South African Council of Churches. "We are determined to stand fast against whatever the South African government tries, but we will not be standing alone. I call upon all Christians of good faith to stand with us in our struggle for peaceful change in South Africa."
The call for support could not have been more clear. In the spirit of the concept of the universal church, countless persons of faith in this country will mobilize in support of our brothers and sisters who are facing the ominous prospect of martyrdom. As they stand in the shadow of the cross, we are called to demonstrate our spiritual solidarity with them. We can do nothing less.