It seems to me many organized religious organisations are bent on insuring that their particular moral, educational, social and cultural beliefs should be somehow be included in the government’s official policies.
The intersection between religion and constitutionalism has been an uncomfortable one, wether in the judicial or political arena, one has to walk a tightrope in dealing with religion, especially in a constitutional democracy like South Africa.
The country is on a dangerous path as the amendments on the South Africa constitution are continuous undermining God’s laws and african values. Section 15(1) of the SA constitution guarantees for everyone ‘the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion’.
This means one has a right to believe what he wants to believe, no matter how it is brutal and harmful to others. If one decides to follow and believe to a certain religion, one undertakes to respect the laws of that certain religion. However, several laws limits this seemingly expansive right to freedom of relegion and conscience. For example, the South African Schools Act prohibits corporal punishment in schools, despite the fact that the Christian Bible says in Proverbs 22:15 ‘Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child; [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him’ and in Proverbs 13:25 ‘He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes’.
The Equity Act prohibits discrimination against anyone on the basis of race, sex, gender, sexual orientation or marital status, despite the widespread religious sanctioned discrimination against women and gay men and lesbians. Survey have repeatedly shown that religious objects are what the most popular reason people cite when they say being gay is immoral or that they do not support legalizing same-sex marriage.
The Termination of Pregnancy Act allows women to go for abortion for any reason with or without permission from parents. Generally, churches forbid abortion as going against the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’.
Many religious traditions have taken a stance on abortion, and these stances apan a broad spectrum of disagreement with the pregnancy termination act. The Drug Act prohibits use of dagga, while Rastafarians believe in the use of cannabis commonly referred to as herb, weed, kaya, sinsemilla, they consider it a sacrament that cleans the body and mind, heals the soul, exalts the consciousness, facilitates peacefulness, brings pleasure, and brings them closer to Jah(God).
They burn the herb whe in need of insight from Jah. The National Lotteries Act, this piece of legislation makes wealth to be perceived as a matter of luck, this is against principles of wealth creation in the Christian Bible.
There also discussions taking place on a probability to decriminalise prostitution in South Africa. Recently a bill that decriminalises sex between consenting adolescents has been signed into law which states that children between the ages of 12 and 15 can consent to sexual acts with each other.
The government should be building schools so children should go attend school instead of enganging themselves in sex at an early age. This law is very brutal and does not present interests of children. Good government is not posible without religion and religious values, so the introduction of religion into government is necessary.
Almost everyday Christians are faced with legislation that directly opposes their Jodeo-Christian ethos. We can only be a better society if religion is allowed to influence the laws that govern our everyday lives, more especially the constitution of the country.
Those in public office need to be carefully about what they say about religion as they represent a diverse and multireligious society.
By PETER BANDILE
WALTER SISULU UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES STUDENT