As we mourn the death of Nelson Mandela, we must not forget that he was not considered a hero to the American conservatives.
American Right Wingers and Christian Zealots labeled Mandela a terrorist.
The African National Conference [ANC] relationship with the U.S. has been a complicated one. The U.S. has not always supported the efforts of the ANC to gain their freedom from oppression. There were many conservative groups and Christian right groups that had strong lobbies in Washington, D.C. during the 1980’s who urged Congress not to give any aid to the anti-apartheid cause.
The George W. Bush administration removed ?Mandela from the terrorist watch list imposed by Reagan just prior to Mandela receiving the Nobel Peace Prize on his 90th birthday in 2008?. Even so, some Republicans supported the Mandela movement — 21 Republican senators voted to sustain the Reagan veto.
Despite a growing international movement to topple apartheid in the 1980’s, President Ronald Reagan maintained a close alliance with a South African government that was showing no signs of serious reform. And the Reagan administration demonized opponents of apartheid, most notably the African National Congress, as dangerous and pro-communist. Reagan’s bill to impose sanctions on South Africa, was overruled by Congress. (Salon)
Pres. Jimmy Carter (D-GA) imposed sanctions on the South African government and publicly spoke out against apartheid.
Republican VP Dick Cheney labeled the ANC as a “terrorist organization.” ?The Christian right front? has been vocal in opposition of Nelson Mandela and his ANC organization directing the flock to write their congressman and senators to oppose sanctions against the apartheid South African government. Notably, Christian right patriarch Jerry Falwell commented:
South Africa is torn by civil unrest, instigated primarily by Communist-sponsored people who are capitalizing on the many legitimate grievances created by apartheid, unemployment and policy confrontations.
Finally, we should, if possible, invest in South Africa, because this inevitably improves the standard of living for nonwhites there. Now is not the time to turn our backs on South Africa. The world has witnessed the Soviets capture nation after nation. They have been particularly aggressive in Africa. South Africa must not be the next victim! (Source: Right Wing Watch)
According to Right Wing Watch article?Remembering The Religious Right’s Attack On Nelson Mandela:
In 1986 the 700 Club did a series of reports on South Africa and the white government’s struggle against the African National Congress. While many socially liberal religious leaders decried the apartheid regime, Robertson openly supported it because he felt that it was a bastion against communism. For Robertson, everything else was secondary to defeating what he saw as the enemies of God. Robertson sent a copy of The 700 Club program to Freedom Council’s Dick Thompson to have it forwarded to Pat Buchanan, who in turn promised to show it to the president. Reagan’s attitude toward South Africa was one of his most controversial foreign policy stands, and Robertson was one of Reagan’s few allies on the policy.
One could argue that this issue along with abortion [social issues] was the genesis of the modern-day influence of the “Christian Right ‘ in the political mix. However, ?the man we know as Nelson Mandela confounds the passage of time and his legacy will endure in the hearts of all the people of the world. Where there is such a parallel is the close resemblance of the tactics used by the South African apartheid government and that of the “Jim Crow” southern states. What raises this writer’s eyebrows is the trend in those same southern states to regress back to the “Jim Crow” era.
Those same forces that have been at work since the influx of the “George Wallace Democrats” over civil rights legislation and now the evangelicals spurred on by the Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson 700 Club, and others all who deemed this very much-loved “soldier of love” man a communist terrorist are the same identities of today who have done nothing but obstruct and demonize President Obama. The same ones that called Martin Luther King, Jr. a communist, home-grown terrorist, and urged Hoover to put him under FBI surveillance.
Nelson Mandela’s life was an example for all of us to follow. While we mourn his death, we rejoice in his spirit and may it give us all renewed strength to never give up.
Watch the original speech from when Mandela was released from prison:
Edited/Published by: SB