Christian ethics in South Africa : liberal values among the public and elites

Kotze, Hennie ; Loubser, Reinet (2018)

CITATION: Kotze, H. & Loubser, R. 2018. Christian ethics in South Africa : liberal values among the public and elites. Scriptura, 117(1):1-10, doi:10.7833/117-1-1356.

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This article uses statistical data from the World Values Survey (WVS) and the South African Opinion Leader Survey to examine liberal values and attitudes among the following samples of South Africans: Afrikaans, English, isiXhosa and isiZulu speaking Protestants, Catholics, African Independent Church (AIC) members and non-religious people (public and parliamentarians). We find that South Africans have softened in their traditionally conservative attitudes toward homosexuality, prostitution, abortion and euthanasia (but not the death penalty). We conclude that the South African public has gradually become more accepting of the liberal values of the constitution (the product of elite-driven transition to liberal democracy). That being said, South Africans have not become liberals as such and many mainline Protestants and members of the AICs (in particular) have remained fairly con-servative in their views. Additionally, elites (parliamentarians) continue to outpace the public with regards to the acceptance of liberal values and practices.

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