Two ministers' polar views on South Africa

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Two influential voices from the pulpit agree South Africa must end its racist policy of apartheid. But Jerry Falwell and Jesse Jackson disagree over the best way to help that change come about. During a televised debate yesterday the Rev. Mr. Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, said he opposes South Africa's policy of racial discrimination but believes United States economic sanctions would harm South African blacks.

Without sanctions, ``we have hope not to starve little children, minority children . . . by disinvesting, closing down the Ford plants, closing down the various American investments,'' he said.

But the Rev. Mr. Jackson, stating his concern for the ``dignity'' of black South Africans, said Falwell's views are ``an insult to those of us who are Christian and who care.'' He charged Falwell with supporting a government that has granted blacks, who are about 70 percent of the population, political rights in only 13 percent of the land.

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Both appeared on ABC-TV's ``Good Morning America.'' Jackson, speaking later at a peace conference at Harvard Divinity School, said the two will again debate the issue in Falwell's hometown of Lynchburg, Va. ``He will set the date,'' Jackson said.

Falwell returned Tuesday from a five-day trip to South Africa -- and was hit by a storm of protest from American black leaders for his comments about Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner. ``I think he's a phony, period, as far as representing the black people of South Africa,'' Falwell had said.

``It's not surprising for someone like Jerry Falwell, who did nothing for poor people during the civil rights revolution, to take the wrong position on South Africa now,'' said Benjamin Hooks of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, speaking from New Orleans. Falwell said the Moral Majority will spend $1 million to encourage US investment in South Africa.

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