|Bishop William Muchombo with worshippers in Zambia|
Zambia is facing elections in 2011. The Church is trying to tread a careful line of encouraging debate - but debate that is neither partisan nor acrimonious.
Bishop Muchombo said,
“The clergy are free to speak on any issue concerning the running of the country but what we advise against is being partisan at any time,” he said.
Recently, some outspoken Anglican clergy have been quoted in sections of the media denouncing the Government and speaking on lines bordering on partisan inclination.From the Times of Zambia
The church (not just in Zambia) has always had to have a careful relationship to the state - not least because churches are state-like structures which have within them an inherent threat to the sovereignty of any secular state.
The Anglican Church has been on the side of the ruling power ever since Henry VIII enforced the submission of the clergy and the church had to make the best of a bad thing.
On the other hand the expression of Christianity and its implications is inherently political or it's vacuous - yet stepping from Christian generalizations to endorsing specific policies or parties is always hazardous. Supporting the government in the name of being non-partisan is not necessarily any better than taking sides against the government.
Let us hope that the Church in Zambia can find the right balance.