By Dr. Peter Hammond, Frontline Fellowship
South Africa may be the first country in the world that had a strong Pro-Life movement mobilized countrywide before legalisation of abortion. From February 1991, African Christian Action has organised Life Chains, Sanctity of Life Sundays, National Days of Repentance, Pro-Life Prayer Vigils outside abortion clinics, submissions to parliament, weekly radio programmes, and thousands of Pro-Life meetings. We published the first Pro-Life Handbook in Southern Africa, the first Christian Action Handbook, the first books against pornography in South Africa, and the first book to expose the homosexual agenda in our country. The Pink Agenda – Sexual Revolution and the Ruin of the Family in South Africa was also the first Christian book to be censored in the New South Africa.
I have led many marches to parliament including one in which the police estimated the crowd to be in excess of 30,000. My protests against Nelson Mandela’s plans to legalise abortion-on-demand in South Africa led me to be summoned to meet the president.
It was May 1996 and we had marched tens of thousands of people to parliament to protest the paganisation of South Africa through the policies of the African National Congress. We had marched on Tuesday and on Thursday I was summoned to meet the president in his official residence. During the hour with Nelson Mandela I handed him a copy of Dr. James Kennedy’s book Foundations for Your Faith.
The first question from President Mandela was: “So, Mr. Hammond what were you doing in the years of struggle?”
“I was fighting people like you, sir.” I answered.
Nelson Mandela laughed and reached out his hand saying: “I’m so pleased to meet an honest white man! Every other white has told me how they always supported me and opposed apartheid. I wondered how the National Party stayed in power for over 40 years!”
“Well, Mr. President, make no mistake, I was not fighting for apartheid. I was fighting against communism and against terrorism.”
At this the president declared that “apartheid was the greatest evil in history of the world.”
“I cannot agree Mr. President, that prize has to go to your friends and supporters, the communists. Secular humanist, communist regimes have killed well over 160 million people during the 20th Century. That’s not 160 million people killed in war by invading armies. That’s 160 million people killed by their own governments: secular, socialist states.”
As the president was still staring at me without response, I continued and detailed out the 36 million killed under Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union, the over 68 million murdered under Mao Tse Tung oppression in Communist China. The over 2 million killed under Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The millions more killed under Mengistu in Ethiopia, under Samora Machel in Mozambique, and Agistino Neto in Angola, and under Fidel Castro in Cuba.
Nelson Mandela stared at me impassively and then, leaning back, he stared at the ceiling and started to drift off down memory lane talking about how when he was a prisoner on Robben Island, the Boers had refused to allow him sunglasses. As his eyes were very sensitive, it was most painful being outside without shade for his sensitive eyes.
I responded: “Mr. President, I also have very sensitive eyes and I can fully understand how uncomfortable and painful that must have been, but it hardly compares with the atrocities documented by Aleksandr Solzenitzyn and in The Black Book of Communism.”
And so the conversation went. At one point Nelson Mandela expressed his surprise that we wanted to “restrict the rights of women” by opposing abortion. I responded: “Mr. President you are questioning the Christianity of people who 40 years ago justified apartheid. I tell you, sir, it will not be 40 years from now and people will question your humanity for legalising abortion. You are seeking to replace apartheid with abortion. And abortion is even worse than apartheid. Abortion does not just place the baby on a separate voter’s role and restrict where they can live or swim. Abortion takes the baby’s life. Life begins at conception and abortion is the violent taking of that life.
“Abortion is the worst type of apartheid, for it separates a baby from its own mother and from its life support, at its most crucial state of development. You are seeking to replace discrimination on the basis of race with discrimination on the basis of age.”
At the end of the hour, Nelson Mandela stood up and told us that we could now take our pictures. I did not mean to be rude, but we honestly hadn’t even thought about that: “No thank you,” I said. He turned mouth agape in apparent shock. Perhaps we were the first delegation to meet with him who didn’t want to have pictures taken with him. I then hastened to add: “But we would like to pray for you.”
“No! No! That’s very private and personal.” I pretended not to hear and put a hand on one shoulder while Rev. Soon Zevenster placed his hand on the other shoulder. We prayed that the Lord would not grant Mr. Mandela any peace until he did what he knew what was right, until he introduced legislation for the protection of babies from the violence and injustice of abortion. I prayed that Mr. Mandela would find peace in Christ by bowing the knee and surrendering to Almighty God to do His will.
At the end of our impassioned prayer, we handed over the book from Dr. D. James Kennedy and Mr. Mandela thanked us and assured us that he was always responsive to the concerns of our constituency and that his door was always open should we have any other concerns. However the next week senior investigators of his Revenue Service began a seven year audit of our mission and family!
See more at: Frontline Fellowship