ACDP Sounds Alarm as Threat to Freedom of Religion Escalates in South Africa

by Daniela Ellerbeck
5 May 2014

With only a few days left before South Africans go to the polls, the ACDP is alerting Christians to the current threat to religious freedom in South Africa, urging Christians to vote for a party that will protect and uphold their freedom of religion and freedom of religious speech.

The ACDP released a statement saying: “The ACDP is seriously concerned about the escalating threat to religious freedom in South Africa. Left unchecked, Christians in South Africa will join those around the world who are victimised and persecuted for believing, teaching and living their lives according to the Bible.”

“Increasingly the SA government under pressure from the United Nations is passing legislation that undermines Judeo-Christian values and imposes a secular humanist worldview on its citizens.  Following the general elections on 7 May 2014, the government will consider a number of Bills that will again directly challenge the authority of the Bible and if passed, will outlaw certain portions of Scripture.”

“These Bills include:

Amendments to the Children’s Act that will make it illegal for parents to spank their children. Parents who continue to do so will face criminal prosecution even where no abuse has occurred. Parents will be forced to undergo parenting programmes that will prescribe to them how they must raise their children;

A Hate Speech Bill that will potentially make it a “hate crime” to say that the practice of homosexuality is sinful according to the Bible. Pastors who preach according to the Scripture may find themselves arrested and upon conviction, be fined or imprisoned.”

“Already in South Africa, Christians are being harassed for obeying their conscience in matters of moral conflict. A number of so-called “sexual orientation discrimination” cases are pending before our Courts and equality forums and if recent judgments are anything to go by, Christians will have a hard time reminding decision-makers that they too have constitutional rights – including the right to follow their conscience and belief, and the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of religion. More and more, “tolerance” as one of the core values of our constitutional democracy seems to mean that, while Christians should tolerate and accommodate all beliefs and practices even when these violate their conscience, persons of other (or no) belief do not have to tolerate or accommodate Christianity. The hypocrisy of this argument is self-evident.”

“The ACDP is particularly concerned about the Human Rights Commission’s interpretation and execution of its constitutional mandate. The HRC was established in terms of the Constitution as a body committed to promoting respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour – and this includes the constitutional right to freedom of religion (s 15 of the Constitution) and the right to freedom of religious expression (s 16 of the Constitution). Increasingly the HRC presents as a mouthpiece of liberal activists seemingly determined to drive Christianity from society.”

Moss Ntlha, a member of the Executive Leadership of FOR SA (Freedom of Religion SA) commented, “FOR SA views the issue of religious freedom as a fundamental human right. We are not free if we are not free to believe as conscience dictates. ‘Human rights’ is a foundational tenet of our Constitution and is part of our nation’s transformational DNA. For this reason, resolving the inevitable clash between mainstream Christian ideals on matters of sexuality and family values espoused by the majority of the people of SA on the one hand, and those determined to overthrow the majority consensus on the other, is arguably the most pressing constitutional and public policy problem to address in South Africa today.”

The ACDP statement further reads: “Against this background, the ACDP urges Christians to vote responsibly and wisely in the upcoming election. The vote that citizens will bring out on 7 May will put in place the leaders that will make our country’s laws for the next five years – laws that could forever change the fabric and the future of our nation. This election is truly a “watershed” in the history of our country and for Christianity in particular. Depending on who South Africans vote for, our country will reflect god-fearing traits or god-less ones in which the generations to come will grow up under laws that are contrary to those of God and the Bible.”

“The ACDP believes that Government has no place interfering in the Church. We believe that Christians should be free to believe, preach and live their lives according to the Word of God – without fear of being sent to jail, having their children taken away from them, or losing their jobs, for doing so.

“In the remaining days before the elections, political parties have stormed the Church in a bid to woo her vote. While it may be true that there are Christians in every party, the ACDP reminds voters that when voting on legislation, party members are bound by party lines and are required to bring out a vote in line with the party’s policy rather than their own, standpoint. The ACDP encourages South Africans to consider carefully which parties, aside from the ACDP, have a track-record of protecting and upholding Judeo-Christian beliefs and family values – not just in the few days before election, but in the five years between elections. “

“History has shown that persecution has a way of sneaking up, and is often not recognised or acted upon until it is too late. As a Christian party, the ACDP recognises and is able to oppose the anti-Christian forces that bring persecution before they become irreversible. As a party that stands for and is itself governed by godly principles, the ACDP is committed to protecting the freedom to believe, teach and live according to God’s Word.”

“A vote for the ACDP is a vote for religious freedom and freedom of religious expression in SA,” said Cheryllyn Dudley, ACDP MP and Whip.

*Note:  While FOR SA as an organisation does not endorse a specific political party, the organisation commends the ACDP for identifying religious freedom as one of the most pressing issues affecting Christianity today.

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