Takudzwa Mazwienduna is the informal leader of Zimbabwean Secular Alliance and a member of the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe. This educational series will explore secularism in Zimbabwe from an organizational perspective, and some more.
Here we talk about areas of concern in legislation.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: If we look at a Canadian context, one soft spot is the possibility for removal of the tax exemptions for churches or the creation of a single, secular, and public school system for all children and adolescents.
Roman Catholic Christians acquire privileges in society through public taxpayer monies due to the dominance of the faith at the foundation of Canada. Any comparable cases with Zimbabwe?
Takudzwa Mazwienduna: Such cases in Zimbabwe have been dealt with, the government is very secular and as from 2015, churches were taxed. Taxing churches has however posed a threat to secularism because they have now acquired a legal voice in political issues as taxpayers.
Jacobsen: Any possible starting points for these efforts? Any radical ideas or notions from not just the leadership but the membership of the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe?
Mazwienduna: We have raised our concerns when we have seen something like that happening and the government knows better than to repeat the same mistakes. Current threats to secularism from the political establishment are nothing more than stunts to get votes or scapegoat the government’s incompetence, corruption and violence, such as the recent National Prayer against sanctions.
Jacobsen: Could there be risks of violent reprisal on the part of the religious against the humanists and the secularists?
Mazwienduna: The religious stunts by the government are something we could speak against, if it was not for the fear of violence. We know just as well as everyone that religion is not at the core of the issues, rather political scapegoating. The government has a record for abductions of activists or opponents that contest them on any issue. The religious stunts are clearly not to endorse Christianity however, but an advancement of government propaganda.
Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Takudzwa.
Mazwienduna: It’s always a pleasure Scott.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.
Canadian Atheist Associates: Godless Mom, Nice Mangoes, Sandwalk, Brainstorm Podcast, Left at the Valley, Life, the Universe & Everything Else, The Reality Check, Bad Science Watch, British Columbia Humanist Association, Dying With Dignity Canada, Canadian Secular Alliance, Centre for Inquiry Canada, Kelowna Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Association.
Other National/Local Resources: Association humaniste du Québec, Atheist Freethinkers, Central Ontario Humanist Association, Comox Valley Humanists, Grey Bruce Humanists, Halton-Peel Humanist Community, Hamilton Humanists, Humanist Association of London, Humanist Association of Ottawa, Humanist Association of Toronto, Humanists, Atheists and Agnostics of Manitoba, Ontario Humanist Society, Secular Connextions Seculaire, Secular Humanists in Calgary, Society of Free Thinkers (Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph), Thunder Bay Humanists, Toronto Oasis, Victoria Secular Humanist Association.
Other International/Outside Canada Resources: Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an Agnostiker, American Atheists,American Humanist Association, Associação Brasileira de Ateus e AgnósticoséééBrazilian Association of Atheists and Agnostics, Atheist Alliance International, Atheist Alliance of America, Atheist Centre, Atheist Foundation of Australia, The Brights Movement, Center for Inquiry (including Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science), Atheist Ireland, Camp Quest, Inc., Council for Secular Humanism, De Vrije Gedachte, European Humanist Federation, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, Foundation Beyond Belief, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Humanist Association of Ireland, Humanist International, Humanist Association of Germany, Humanist Association of Ireland, Humanist Society of Scotland, Humanists UK, Humanisterna/Humanists Sweden, Internet Infidels, International League of Non-Religious and Atheists, James Randi Educational Foundation, League of Militant Atheists, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, National Secular Society, Rationalist International, Recovering From Religion, Religion News Service, Secular Coalition for America, Secular Student Alliance, The Clergy Project, The Rational Response Squad, The Satanic Temple, The Sunday Assembly, United Coalition of Reason, Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.