In this 20–minute interview, Nadene Badenhorst (FOR SA’s Legal Counsel) speaks to Kingfisher FM regarding some of the most pressing threats to religious freedom and the autonomy of the Church in SA.
Badenhorst briefly shared about FOR SA’s work in Parliament, and before government commissions and the Courts. She then speaks about FOR SA’s intervention in the case of Ecclesia de Lange v Methodist Church of South Africa (a Constitutional Court case involving a direct clash between sexual orientation rights and religious freedom rights), and the dire implications that this case could have for religious freedom and autonomy in the event of an adverse finding against the church. Badenhorst explains that, because of the Court’s duty to balance constitutional rights against each other, it is possible for the Court to find against the church and against religious freedom.
The interview proceeds with a discussion of the recent decision by the General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church (“NG Kerk”), regarding the practice of homosexuality. Badenhorst explains that while the church should be free to decide for itself what it believes, it will not be free of the consequence of that choice. Also, the Synod’s decision will impact on the freedom of churches holding to a strict interpretation of the Bible on the issue of homosexuality, to do so as they will increasingly be seen as “fundamentalist” and “narrow-minded”.
Badenhorst explains that an immediate concern, is the State’s proposed regulation of churches and that FOR SA will be working with the commission to ensure that religious freedom is protected and that there is no undue interference by the State in the doctrines of the Church.
Finally, Badenhorst warns that a rocky road may be ahead and that it is a time for churches to be aware of the challenges and wise in their response. She encourages believers to be strong and courageous, and not to compromise or capitulate, knowing that an eternal inheritance is being stored up for us if we remain strong through many trials.