Freedom of Religion, Conscience and Home Education at Risk

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Thank you for prayers, I have now returned from maternity leave. We praise God for groups such as FOR SA who have been fighting these battles in the courts and in Parliament. The following updates come mostly from the www.forsa.org.za website.

CRL Report on the Regulation of Religion
The COGTA Parliamentary Portfolio Committee has decided (for now) not to adopt the CRL Rights Commission’s proposed recommendations for the regulation of religion. Instead, COGTA recommended (as unanimously requested by the religious community during the meetings before Parliament), that the religious community be granted an opportunity to come up with solutions by the religious community for the religious community, including a Code of Ethics.

Against this background, the SA Council for the Protection and Promotion of Religious Rights and Freedoms (who drafted the SA Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms that has been endorsed by all the major religions and faith groupings in South Africa) has prepared a draft Code of Conduct for Religions in South Africa for comment. The Code is really the “responsibility side” of the “rights and freedoms” already incorporated in the Charter. (The links to the draft Code, in Afrikaans and English, respectively, are found below.)

Comment has been invited on this Proposed Code of Ethics. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 21 May.

But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’” Acts 4:19

See also:
Freedom of Religion at Risk in South Africa

Spanking and Parental Rights
The High Court of Johannesburg delivered a judgment in (in a messy case involving a Muslim man who beat his son after he caught him watching pornography), which abolished the historic defense of “reasonable and moderate chastisement”. This has been used by parents for generations as a defense against an assault charge for (reasonably and moderately) disciplining their children.  Please note that this was never a defense to violence and abuse against children, which is clearly a criminal matter where the state has a duty to intervene. The judge effectively outlawed spanking. FORSA filed an application for leave to appeal with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). The SCA has now advised that the application should be referred directly to the Constitutional Court. FOR SA will be filing their application with the Constitutional Court shortly.

Please pray that the rights of parents to lovingly discipline their children will be upheld.

“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” Proverbs 13:24

“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” Proverbs 22:15

“The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.” Proverbs 29:15

Civil Unions Amendment Bill
Section 6 of the Civil Unions Act allows for state-employed marriage officers (such as magistrates, certain Home Affairs officers, etc.) to – for reasons of conscience, religion and belief – opt out of solemnising same-sex “marriages”.

The Civil Union Amendment Bill, 2018 which was introduced as a Private Member’s Bill by COPE MP Deidre Carter, intends to remove section 6 from the Act altogether. As a result, civil servants who are marriage officers because of their post in state institutions, will have no option but to solemnise same-sex “marriages”. (A copy of the Bill can be viewed at www.forsa.org.za/document-library, click on folder “Civil Union Amendment Bill”).

The deadline for comments on the Bill, was 28 April 2018 but we believe you can still send in your objections. Comments can be submitted to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and cc’d to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Please feel free to bcc FOR SA into the email, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). FOR SA has prepared a pro forma submission to assist religious organisations and/or individuals who wish to object to the Bill, in doing so. Download the Pro Forma Submission HERE.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

See also:
Does the US Supreme Courts Re-definition of Marriage Really Matter?
Marriage Under Attack in South Africa
Bisexuals, Gays, Lesbians and the Bible

BELA Bill
On 28 November 2017, Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) attended a briefing by the Department of Basic Education on the controversial draft Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (the so-called “BELA Bill”) at Parliament. The Bill is an attempt by the state to hijack and control home education. The purpose of the briefing was to inform, and engage with, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Basic Education regarding the proposed amendments even before the Bill makes its way to Parliament, so as to give Members of Parliament insight into a Bill that has attracted (and continues to attract) a great deal of media attention. The outcome of the briefing was that the deadline for submissions on the Bill, was extended by the Deputy Minister of Basic Education to 10 January 2018.

At the outset of the briefing, the Department stated that they have received an “avalanche” of responses to the Bill. They are now processing the responses and will be meeting with important stakeholders. There will also be a process of public input this year, whereafter they intend putting the Bill through Parliament. Once the Bill reaches Parliament, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee will call for comments on the Bill again and the process starts anew. The Bill is therefore in the early stages, and it could take at least a year before it becomes law. (Although these hearings are just the first step in the legislative process, it is vital for parents and interested persons to engage at every step of the process!)

"Wisdom calls aloud outside; she raises her voice in the open squares. She cries out in chief concourses, at the opening of the gates in the city she speaks her words." Proverbs 1:20-21

See also:

BELA Bill Facebook page
Resist Intrusive Attempts to Hijack Home Education
State Threatens Parents with Radical Education Bill
State Attempts to Hijack Home Education
The Reformation 500 Franschhoek Declaration
South Africa’s Education Crisis and the Biblical Solution
Biblical Principles for Africa
Schools and Colleges Harassed by Government
Threats to Freedom of Speech

Taryn Lourens
Africa Christian Action
PO Box 23632
Claremont
7735Cape Town
South Africa
Tel: 021-689 4481 
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web: www.christianaction.org.za/
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Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa [email protected] - 021-689-4481 - www.christianaction.org.za
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