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FOR SA – The CRL Rights Commission’s Report & Proposal to Regulate Religion in SA – 9 Feb 2017

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, Executive Director of FOR SA, unpacks the issues surrounding the ’s report and proposal to regulate in South Africa.

FOR SA

“A voice for the Christian Church in South Africa”

Serving as a voice to government and society for Christians in South Africa on issues affecting religious freedom.

ABOUT FOR SA

“The constitutional right to practice one’s is of fundamental importance in an open and democratic society. It is one of the hallmarks of a free society.”
— The Honourable Justice Sachs in Christian Education SA v Minister of Education v Minister of Education (2000) (Constitutional Court)

FOR SA (Freedom of South Africa) is a non-profit Christian organisation working to protect and promote religious freedom in South Africa. This it does by creating awareness and influencing government and society regarding issues that affect our religious freedom.

Increasingly, laws are proposed that make the State rather than the Bible the highest authority on what Christians should believe, and how they should act according to those beliefs. Many of these laws subscribe to a secular liberalist world-view and as such, are in direct conflict with Christian and family values.

This is a serious threat to the constitutional rights of religious freedom, freedom of religious expression, freedom of association and the rights of religious communities. Our Constitutional Court has recognised that together these rights give churches a degree of autonomy to govern their own affairs.

The Real Threat

The real threat lies in that these laws open the door to of Christians in South Africa. Religious is often thought of as extreme physical acts of violence directed at adherents of a particular faith. As a result of this limited understanding of religious , it is often not recognised until it is too late. A common but more subtle form of persecution is the outlawing of Christian teachings and practices that are seen to contradict the secular liberalist world-view. As a result of the criminalisation of such teachings and practices, Christian pastors and members of the faith are forced to choose between obeying the law and obeying their faith, with potentially harsh consequences should they choose to disobey the law. This is a situation that should be avoided in an open and democratic society built on human dignity, equality and freedom.

Against this background, FOR SA serves as a voice for Christians in South Africa to government and society on issues affecting the autonomy of the church and our constitutional freedom as Christians to:
believe what we believe according to our interpretation of the Bible;
declare our religious beliefs openly and without fear of interference or punishment by the State; and
manifest our religious beliefs by worship and by practice or by teaching and dissemination.

Calling Christians to Stand Together

According to Isaiah 59:19 (NIV),

“[w]hen the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”

FOR SA believe that the Lord is calling all Christians, irrespective of doctrinal differences, to stand together against the ungodly laws threatening to flood our nation and to stop government from systematically removing our freedom to believe, teach and live out the Word of God in its entirety and according to our interpretation of the Bible.

There are without a doubt many battles ahead for the Church in South Africa. It is not an option for the Church to stand on the sidelines and to watch secular forces who drive an anti-religion agenda, determine what she may believe and how she should act according to those beliefs. If we as Christians do not speak up, we may soon find ourselves in a country that embraces freedom from religion, rather than .

FOR SA believes that together and with God for us, Christians in South Africa can make a difference to the glory of God and the good of our nation.

VISION AND MISSION

FOR SA’s vision is to be a voice for the Christian Church in South Africa to government and to society, on issues affecting our , freedom of religious expression, freedom of association and the rights of religious communities in South Africa. All of these are fundamental rights entrenched in our Constitution. As such, the State as well as the citizens of South Africa have an obligation to respect, protect and promote these rights.

FOR SA’s mission is to:
Discern the issues that affect the religious freedom of Christians in South Africa;
Create public awareness and rally the support of the Church and Christians in South Africa;
Address the relevant issues as a united Christian voice, doing so in the proper forum, in government or in society.

FOR SA is a non-profit, non-denominational Christian organisation, whose ethos is Bible-based.

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