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Christian guest house owners ask Court for an opportunity to conciliate with homosexual couple

 

On Tuesday, June 17, the Equality Court in Belville convened to hear legal argument on the extent to which Christian business owners may obey their conscience, religion and belief in the conduct of their businesses, if at all.

At the centre of the dispute, are the Christian owners of “House of Bread” guest house in Wolseley. The owners have been taken to court by a homosexual couple as a result of their inability to offer a double room to the couple and referral to another guest house instead. The Christian couple believe that if they willingly and knowingly make a room available where homosexual sex will be practiced, this will make them liable to sin as they would in effect be helping the homosexual couple to sin. While they would therefore have been willing to make two single rooms available to the couple, and have done so in the past, their moral conscience, religion and belief unfortunately did not allow them to offer the couple a double room — for the same reason that they do not allow unmarried couples to sleep together in the same room, or a married person with someone who is not his/her spouse, or do not allow prostitution or alcohol abuse on their property which they consider to be God’s domain entrusted into their care and for which they will have to give an account one day.

Explaining the moral quandary that the Christian owners find themselves in, Andrew Selley (CEO of FOR SA) commented that “while Christians would agree that the forgiveness and mercy of Jesus are available for all sinners (and we pray that the homosexual couple in this case finds His mercy and His grace), some struggle to understand why the Christian owners hold the conviction they do, often quoting the story of the woman caught in adultery to try show that Jesus would have acted differently to the guest house owners in the situation. It is not however that simple and the example falls short in properly reflecting how Jesus might have responded. In this case, the guest house owners face the difficult question of what Jesus would have done if the woman caught in adultery, had asked Him if she could use one of His rooms to commit adultery with another woman’s husband before she committed the sin. The guest house owners believe that Jesus would have lovingly and compassionately told her to turn from sin, rather than make money by offering her a place to fornicate. As His disciples, this is the quandary that the Christian guest house owners face with the couple practising homosexuality.”

Court forced to decide
In Court on Tuesday, Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) who acts as First Amicus Curiae in the matter, argued that the matter ”is a difficult one. What the Court is really being asked to do in this case, is to decide between two conflicting and irreconcilable world views, and to sit as judge on controversial and complicated questions of moral judgment. In the end, the nature of the proceedings being litigious, there will be a winner and a loser and ultimately, a ‘correct’ and a ‘wrong’ world view or moral framework as decided by the Court. This, when our Constitution is founded upon the very concepts of pluralism, diversity and tolerance which allow for and embrace different world views existing alongside and making space for each other.”

Against this background, FOR SA together with the Christian owners of the guest house requested an order that the parties “meaningfully engage” with each other with a view to resolving their dispute amicably. “A conciliatory approach is in the interest of both parties, as well as in the interest of building a bridge of mutual respect and acceptance between the broader gay and lesbian community on the one hand and the Christian faith community on the other, rather than drive a wedge between these communities as this case unfortunately has the potential to do irrespective of who comes out the winner”, said Advocate Badenhorst of FOR SA.

Unfortunately, the request for conciliation was not supported by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) appearing as the legal representatives for the homosexual couple, or the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) appearing as Second Amicus Curiae in the matter. The SAHRC and CGE insist that the Court must order the Christian owners to: unconditionally apologise for their “unfair discrimination” against homosexual people; pay a fine to Pride Shelter Cape Town; and in future always make (double) rooms available to homosexual couples – even if to do so, would violate the owners’ conscience, religion and belief.

Case postponed
The case has been postponed until next week Tuesday 24 June, when the Court will give its ruling. If the Court decides that the parties should have the opportunity to “meaningfully engage” with each other, the matter will be postponed further for this purpose. If the Court decides that conciliation would be a futile exercise, the matter will go ahead and the parties will be expected to present legal argument on the issues on that day.

Commenting on the matter, Advocate Badenhorst said that “it needs to be made clear that the guest house owners are not homophobic or ‘gay-haters’. At no point, did they kick the couple out or show any animosity towards them because of their sexual preference. At all times, they treated the homosexual couple with respect and kindness, while trying to obey their moral conscience and Biblical conviction for which they cannot apologise and which they cannot simply change because ‘times have changed’. No person should be forced to act against their conscience, religion and belief.”

Advocate Badenhorst comments further, “what really saddens me about this case, is the sharp criticism that the Christian owners have received from Christian brothers and sisters (on social media and otherwise), for doing what they believe to be right before God. While some Christians may believe that it is good and right for the Christian owners not to allow behaviour that grieves God under their roof, other Christians may disagree. Romans 14 warns us of the danger of criticism, and commands us repeatedly not to condemn another believer and argue with each other about what is right and wrong. As believers, we are responsible to the Lord to whom we will each give a personal account, and He will judge whether we are right or wrong. So, let’s stop condemning each other, and aim instead for harmony and try to build each other up (Romans 14:19).

“For the Christian owners in this case, they are following their convictions, what they believe to be right before God. To expect them to do otherwise, would be to expect them to sin (Romans 14:23). While as Christians we may not share similar convictions regarding the practical outworking of our faith, we share a common conviction that our lives should bring glory to God who saved us and who wants to draw all men unto Himself. May this cause us to stand united behind the Christian guest house owners rather than divided, and move our hearts to pray rather than to criticize. ” she concluded.

 
 

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35 Comments

  1. Patrick says:

    I am in agreement with the guest house owners……. Love thy brother but not the sin. Jesus did not go with the people who wanted to market their products in the church, He agressively went against it. The lady at the well…..though He knew of her sinful live….drank water from her hand but gracefully shared the eternal truth with her that He is the eternal water whoever drink from Him will never thirst again….

    • Ashley says:

      Patrick, Jesus was not against the selling of ‘products’ he was agaist it happening in the court of the gentiles because it was the place reserved in the temple for other nations. Denying non jews from worshiping God in the temple was the sin not the commerce.

  2. Greg Barnard says:

    In light of all that has happened till this point, I still do not understand what the point of all is, besides blatant persecution. I would not accept unmarried couples sleeping together under my personal roof either. Does that mean that because it is accepted practice in today’s world that I too am bias?

    • Dr Theo says:

      Greg, you have said it. If you look at the outcome sought by the couple’s counsel and support, it is exactly that. Contrary to what our constitution say – if you uphold a Christian view in your lifestyle, you are royal game. And add to it the misinterpretation of God’s Word by well-meaning but somewhat deluded ‘brothers and sisters’ who do not understand context and go off half-cocked

  3. Mark says:

    The laws of the world and the laws God write in our hearts are not the same. No matter what the court rules the bible is clear on homosexuality. It is simply wrong and good to those who stand up against evil practises. Buy the way what might be next is being forced to allow a 65 year old man to bring his 16 year old prostitute to the room or a pedophile his victim and their rights will be protected by a worldly court. Remember it was a wordily court who washed it’s hands and crucified my Lord. Our courts are no longer there to provide moral and spiritual guidance, but intellectual laws.

  4. Andrea says:

    Yes, it is indeed very sad that our country’s laws mislead us to compromise Gods standards. The general public, even christians, do not realise the danger of ‘majority rule’. It is sad that many believers become ‘ashamed of the Gospel of Christ even though it is the Power of God to Salvation to EVERYONe who believes!!

  5. Hugh G Wetmore says:

    The guest house owners are Christians behaving as Christians in seeking conciliation with their persecutors. The homosexual couple are behaving like homosexual sinners in persecuting the Christians. Jesus told us to expect the enmity of the world. What is sad is that some “Christians” are not behaving as Christians, but are behaving as the world-in-sin by siding with the homosexuals against the Christians.

    • Adriaan Mostert says:

      Wow, just wow. I was at the court proceedings. I spoke to the couple. How on earth can you even say these things? Do you know them? Do you know what is in their hearts or why they are doing this? Do you have access to the facts?

      Are you aware that you are speaking about another human beings who love, hurts, bleeds, have hopes and dreams, goals, … just like you?

      I shall refrain from commenting on the rest of the article, but this comment…

  6. Regardt says:

    He will look after His own! We stand and pray with you so that He will be glorified. Mat 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

  7. Assie Van der Westhuizen says:

    I can only agree whole heartedly on all the above comments, and “Amen!” to Adv Badenhorst’s arguments. let us pray for next Tuesday’s court hearings.

  8. Vernon Tait says:

    SAHRC have shown their true colours for all to see.

  9. Willem says:

    Please do not comment on something you know NOTHING about. To compare gay love with adultery is an insult. It is not a choice to be gay. It is the way God made us – to want love from somebody of the same sex. And why will He make me this way and FORBID me to have love??? You all are judging – something God says we should not do. Who gave you the right to do that? Jesus never said anything against gay people, but he did say lots about pride. Get to know gay people and you will see many broken souls who has been driven to things like the occult because they have been rejected by people who call themselves children of God. Maybe I should be blunt. If you are like that, have a long and good introspection. You may be the cause of a broken human being. That is a terrible sin…….

  10. Freda Farr says:

    We totally agree with Advocate Badenhorst’s summary of the whole situation. May God strengthen all those concerned with maintaining the integrity of God’s standards in the Word. We need to pray for all concerned – including the chaps who need God most, but also for the witness throughout S.A. Matt. 10:32.

  11. wymand says:

    We agree whole heartedly with the geusthouse owners. May God give favour in the court hearings and that His name will be glorified and those two people might find God in there confusion.

  12. Maxie van Rensburg says:

    if this was a worldly guest house, there wouldn’t even be a case. any hotel or guest house has the right to allow who they want or not want in their guest house. i say AMEN to all the above comments, and believe that God’s name will be lifted up through the outcome of this.

    • Meme Man says:

      What you’re suggesting is that Apartheid principles are still alive and well… you’re saying that one could run a ‘whites only’ guest house, and you reckon it’s a good idea.
      I’m afraid we left that in our dark past.

      • Andrew Selley says:

        Meme Man. We cannot equate the colour of skin, with the moral decisions a person makes.This is not scientifically the same situation as has been shown by the indecision of the Science world & the disagreements scientists have on wether a person is “born” gay. On the contrary, the Bible & experience show that while people may have lustful desires, that they do not need to act upon them. Also our Church alone has over 20 members who once practised homosexuality & called themselves gay, but who no longer do so. We also have many black, white & indian folk-none of whom have changed the genetic make up of their race.To equate race & choice is a massive jump, which is not integrous.

      • Maxie van Rensburg says:

        Meme Man, how has this issue became a racial thing again? THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE. if i were the owner of a guest house i will not allow people in my place if they cannot behave themselves according to moral and ethic standards, and this has nothing to do with racial issues and apartheid

  13. Cathy Stewart says:

    Totally agree with the Christian guest house owners. Let’s look at this another way. What if there was a guest house run by Muslims and non-Muslims wanted to have a drinking party there. That would not be tolerated. I bet the SAHRC would be too scared to take them on.

  14. Wendy says:

    Although I’m agnostic and a champion of gay rights I think the guest house couple do have a valid doctrinal point and should be allowed to follow their conscience as far as what they permit on their own property. They should however make their position clear in signage and advertisements so as to avoid embarrassment.

    • Meme Man says:

      Wendy – there is one law in the land and that law says you cannot discriminate; you may not put “rights reserved” on your door. That is an old and outdated concept.
      It’s very simple. If you want to run a business for the public, you abide by the law. If you want to turn people away from your door, simply don’t open a business.

      • Andrew Selley says:

        Meme Man. This is a gross oversimplification of both the law & the situation. It is more complex than you make it seem. We live in a multi cultural country & the law must try balance the rights of all citizens & world views, including Gay & Christian.

      • Stuart Wragg says:

        Meme Man – You are wrong. You cannot force the world to be the way you are just because it is the way you want it. The law is against discrimination but it is also for freedom of religion. This is a lot more complex an issue than you are wanting it to be. Out of all the comments above, Wendy’s are the most credible because she can clearly prove her objectivety because of her differing beliefs but reasonable and mature approach to this matter. Otherr comments of course I also support for their content. With respect to you and the gay couple, get over yourselves and accept that others also have rights. You of course must be respected but the same applies to Christians. It is about behaving in a mature, respectful and tolerant manner that people with differences will get along. Act emotionally and you are asking for conflict. If I run an establishmentt with Christian principles, I will apply Biblical standards and people such as yourself need to respect that.You have the same rights to do the same of course. This is not discrimination because it affects you personally because if it is then many other entities which are non Christian would also be in trouble. Blessings to you.

  15. Chris & Louise Spengler says:

    Hey guys! My wife & I love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind. We would desire, as Jesus said, “that none should perish without a knowledge of God” . We ran a Guesthouse for 18 years and in that time hosted (unknowingly or knowingly) many couples who may have been gay or not. Our mission was to love them all with the love of the Lord. “To build a better house” Show them that our lifestyle is more attractive, and in so doing win them to Christ. Let us not be the Judge but God alone. The Lord has drawn many “so called” gay couples across our paths and we love them all. Let’s win them through unconditional love rather than Judgement which is for God alone. I love all human beings. “Let the one who is without sin cast the 1st stone.” In this case the “Christian Guest House owners have (probably unknowingly) cast the 1st stone and I believe they should accept that their God given mandate is to love unconditionally.
    Let us not become involved in the ways of this world. We have an unGodly constitution and let’s pray against it and not confront it! Love in Him – Chris Spengler

  16. Meme Man says:

    “for the same reason that they do not allow unmarried couples to sleep together in the same room”

    > For the record – and it is a material issue – the couple in question are duly married and have a marriage certificate issued and sanctioned by a priest.

    The issue is simple – the Constitution of South Africa is the highest law in the land, it supersedes

    • Andrew Selley says:

      Meme Man, again you oversimplify the matter. The SA courts recognise that marriage officers can refuse to marry same sex partners for issues of conscience, thus the law allows for differences of belief & values.Christians that believe the Bible is Gods word & standard do not believe that same sex marriage is proper.Christians acknowledge that God gives all men freedom in this life to live as they please,but know that all men will one day give an account before Him for every decision we make.Thus Christians allow men freedom to sin & do not judge men,but must themselves make judgement about what they do lest they themselves fall under Gods judgement. Christians also are obliged to tell all men about what God says is right based upon the revelation He has given & can say that the Bible calls something wrong. thus it is scripture which judges, not mortal man.Regarding the law of the land superseding Truth-if we use your reasoning, then was it wrong for people to speak out about the wrongness of apartheid, because it was the law of the land? should everyone just have buckled to an ungodly oppressive wrong because it was law?The law changes constantly for good & bad & is not the highest truth! One day law itself will be judged by God, along with all men.That makes Gods law higher than any law man can come up with. While christians will do their utmost to honour the law of the Land, history & scripture shows that when Gods law & secular law disagree, believers are forced to obey Gods law. This is why Christianity is the most persecuted group on the planet, with hundreds of thousands being martyred for their faith annually.This generation is far more cruel to christians, than to those who practise homosexuality.

  17. Hennie says:

    Onderskei die eienaars van die gastehuis tussen groter sonde en kleiner sonde? En dit is net mense wat groot sondig, soos in hulle oë as jy gay is, wat volgens hulle christelike gaste reëls geoordeel word. Wat van couples wat getroud is wat daar gehuisves word en waar een van die partners ontrou was…? Waar trek die gastehuis eienaars die streep?
    Blote belaglikhied om teen mense op grond van jou verstaan van jou godsdiens n publieke besigheid te hê en te diskrimineer teen ander wat anders is en glo. Ek hoop hulle verloor die saak!

  18. vulani maswanganye says:

    this is a hard one…but i pray dat may God take charge of it all. and although its a win / loose for both parties, although winning is great, but one party shud accept a loss if granted by da court…my point is let da court decide bt stand for wat u blv in…some arguments are nt worth it…and life goes on.
    i pray fr both parties to b strong and to understand and accept the court’s decision at the end…they are the judges we’r not.

  19. Maxie van Rensburg says:

    Hennie, in die Naam van Jesus sny ek hierdie wrede woorde van jou af van die eienaars van die gastehuis. Jesus het reeds die oorwinning oor satan behaal aan die kruis, en enige pyl wat deur hom afgevuur word teen hierdie christen paartjie sal omdraai en teruggaan na waar dit vandaan kom. Here ek bid U beskerming af op hierdie paartjie. Laat U wil geskied, en laat U naam verheerlik word. Amen

  20. phil b says:

    This debate is regrettably like dealing with children. Forget the vitriol and hatred from both sides of coin – Christianity on one side – Gay rights on the other. From a legal perspective, anywhere in the world, one simply cannot refuse someone a room on suspicion of what may, or may not occur in the room. For example, 2 smartly dressed men arrive at a PUBLIC guest house, and request a room. Now the owners cannot, and will not ask the men if they are gay – apparently what this particular couple will do is look at the men, and if they appeared “non-homosexual”, then they would supposedly give them a room. If they appeared gay then they wouldn’t. So it up to the guest house owners to draw some conclusion as to the 2 men’s sexual orientation. What absolute rubbish. It’s like expecting the garage attendant refusing to sell a litre of petrol in a can, to a man, “because he looks like he may be a terrorist” and could make a petrol bomb from it. Laughable isn’t it??
    The 2 men could for all intents and purposes be travelling preachers. What then?
    I wonder if the night Mary and Joseph came to the inn with baby Jesus, whether the housekeeper asked is they were married or not??
    Running a guest house is a business enterprise, which requires a business license, and must be run according to the laws of the particular country. The business enterprise must be conducted on economic principles, and NOT based on prejudice under the widely done guise of “Christianity”. If the guest house owners, have such strong resentment against homosexuals, which I might add they are entitled to, then they should rather use their “Christian” time and efforts to try to bring “Christianity” to people in the world. They should NOT use their guest house as a means of showing their disgust, bigotry or hatred of someone else with different beliefs or practises.
    DON’T MIX RELIGION AND ECONOMICS. CHRIST CLEARLY SAYS TO THE DISCIPLES – “GIVE UNTO THE LORD WHAT IS DUE UNTO THE LORD AND TO CAESAR WHAT IS DUE UNTO CAESAR.” Q.E.D.

    • Cheryl Saunders says:

      I find it strange that homosexual people would go specifically to a place that clearly depicts Biblical values. Are there no other guest houses in the area? Just sayin’.

  21. Alice Haruvisi says:

    Jesus loves us all. Without salvation you can’t separate the sinner from the sin unfortunately, even though homosexuality is an abomination. So I would allow them in and then hold an all night prayer! Seriously, the devil has challenged you and you react with fear and avoidance? This is straight spiritual warfare. Leave your feelings and judgments aside and obey the word of God. These owners were not fighting against the flesh and blood of those men but against the powers of darkness!! So the devil brings the fight to your door step, just armour up and declare war in Jesus name! Satan rules the courts so that’s a useless route, use your God given armour and pour out the blood of Jesus in that place. They will either go out running, be delivered, confess Adonai is their Lord or simply have a seed planted in their hearts but you must deal with it spiritually. Even if 2 satanists came wanting a room… same thing, let them in and engage it in the spiritual realm. They could be invoking demons and it would not even matter! We are children of the Kingdom, have different rules and need to start operating as such!! I plead the blood of Jesus over you all, stay blessed in Jesus name.

  22. Alice Haruvisi says:

    Oh and by the way to all who claim they were ‘born’ gay… I believe you. However, God did not create you that way!! Sorry, its a demon passed on through generational curses, soul ties etc. The same way someone could have any spirit afflict them from when they were a child (Serial killers, Epilepsy, Cancer etc). It can very well have entered you as a baby etc but it is not part of your incorruptible creation by God. That’s why people CAN and HAVE been delivered in Jesus name. Get to KNOW God (research Greek word “Ginosko”) and be set free in Jesus name! He loves you and will deliver you from anything.