For months the British secular and religious press had hummed with controversy because a South African cricket team chosen on apartheid lines was due to play in England this summer. Bishops who had no known views on the new morality and who had maintained stoical reticence at rumors of God’s death showed that after all some things are too sacred for silence: there followed the wondrous spectacle of bishop pitted against bishop, expressing themselves on this issue with that deadly English courtesy which can be more terrible than any medieval malediction.
Last year the white South African rugby football team was here. Match after match was marked by uproar. Thousands of police were deployed, hundreds of anti-apartheid demonstrators were arrested. As in recent American and present Ulster and South African occasions, the left wing came under suspicion (what would we do without “subversive elements”?). Then it was noticed that some leading churchmen and a fair proportion of the respectable middle-aged were marching, too. Perhaps the full implications of the Rhodesian tragedy (it is no less) were making themselves felt. The argument that relations with South Africa, never cordial since that country’s withdrawal from the British Commonwealth in 1961, could be improved through sporting links became less convincing in the context of two white teams in competition.
Demands came from many quarters, including the British Council of Churches, that the 1970 cricket tour be canceled. Young hotheads defaced cricket grounds and promised physical disruption of the matches. Freelance entomologists claimed to be breeding locusts, half a million of which would devour the grassy surface so necessary for the game. Kidnap ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more