Christian guesthouse owner ‘standing firm” in face of gay couple hearing

stephmarina
Steph and Marina Neethling, the Christian owners of The House of Bread Guesthouse in Wolseley, Western Cape. They face a hearing in the Equality Court in Bellville on Monday (April 14) for turning away a gay couple in November, 2013.

Western Cape guesthouse owner, Steph Neething, 58, says God has told him to stand firm and be a witness for Him when he appears in the Equality Court in Bellville on Monday (April 14, 2014) for turning away a gay couple in November 2013.

The court hearing follows an investigation by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) following a complaint by the gay couple after they were not allowed to book a room at The House of Bread guesthouse in Wolseley. 

According to a report in Eye Witness News the couple say they reported the guesthouse to the SA Human Rights Commission after they were told by the owners that the venue was not “gay friendly”.

Unmarried couples
In an interview yesterday, Neethling, who runs the guesthouse together with his wife, said that for the past six years, in obedience to God’s calling on their lives, they have taken a stand for Biblical righteousness and against tolerating any form of sin, including abuse of alcohol and sexual sin. 

houseofbread

He said the guesthouse’s income was only about a third of what it could be because they did not allow men to book in with prostitutes. He said that many people would be surprised to know that  prostitution accounts for a sizable proportion of the income of a number of guesthouses.

Neethling said that there is a prominent sign on the front of their guesthouse which makes it clear to anybody who visits that it is a Christian establishment: referring to the Bible verse John 6:35, the sign reads ‘Welcome to The House of Bread. Jesus said: I am the bread of life’.

“We are never against any people. We are against sin,” Neethling said.

He said that God told him in a dream that he must stand firm during the court hearing and be a witness for Him. God has assured him that he will give him the words (including words from the Bible) to speak in court.

He thanked everybody who supported them with encouraging phone calls and with prayer. 

Monumental case
According to Andrew Selley, Founder and CEO of FOR SA (Freedom of Religion SA), “this is a monumental case for Christians and Christian businesses in particular in South Africa. Increasingly, Christians are coming under fire for holding to their Christian beliefs and refusing to cave to demands that are in conflict with their beliefs. Depending on what the court decides in this case, Christians in our country will in future either be free to obey the Bible or be forced by law to violate their conscience (and face the consequences if they don’t).

“As this important case will set a legal precedent for future cases, FOR SA and other organisations have offered to assist the guesthouse in presenting their case to court. The owners are feeling however to conduct the case on their own, and the best help that we can offer at this stage is to pray for favour and a good outcome. Their victory will be a victory for all Christians in South Africa, but so will their loss be a loss for all. Let us not be divided on whether or not we agree with the owners’ decision not to make a room available to the couple in question. The bottom line is that the State should not force anyone to act against their moral beliefs, and this is why the outcome of this case is so critical.”

Eyewitness News reports that SAHRC CEO Kayum Ahmed says they’ll be supporting the gay couple as they take The House of Bread to court.

Referring to a recent incident in which two lesbian women were prevented from hosting their same-sex wedding on a farm near Wellington, the SAHRC says its investigation has stalled because the women involved don’t want to take the matter forward. 

38 Comments

  1. Pingback: Christian guesthouse owner ‘standing firm” in face of gay couple hearing - United News Watch

  2. Clayton Caroline

    Section 9 of the Constitution trumps the Bible,Koran,Book of Mormon etc. This is a secular democracy not a theocracy, learn the difference.

    • Legally incorrect statement.

    • In a theocracy the government would have made homosexual realations illegal and not allow the couple to stay there. In this democracy they ought to allow the guest house owner that decision.

    • I think Caroline is closer to the truth then we think – truth of the underlying issue that is. Does a piece of paper written by man trump the T&Cs of an almighty Creator? That is the question every man has to ask and what is really at stake here.

      • @Vermon: Before one can say “No” to your question, first provide evidence that 1) deities exist 2) your deity is the only deity 3) your deity has better morals than me.

        • @SA_Citizen. 1)&2)Sit still for a second and look around you. There is proof of deities all around us. Hatred, violence, murder, corruption, greed, lust and worst of all pride, is not evidence of an intelligent specie; this is evidence of a multitude of deities at work with one common goal – to corrupt our souls. 3) my ‘deity’ don’t care about my morals. He personally (yes, here is that ‘personal’ thing again – but trust me when I say ‘personally’) convinced me that my rightstanding with Jesus is more important than life itself (I’m going to loose this one anyway). However, in finding peace with my saviour I also learnt how much He loves all His creation (this includes you). This revelation combined with the fear of God now allows me to love my neighbour to death (my own not his). I therefore put others first and treat them the way I would like to be treated; knowing that this is the heart desire of the God of the Bible. Although that trumps it as far as morals are concerned, it does not give me the ok to agree to immorality. In fact, if I didn’t love, I wouldn’t warn. Also, please don’t confuse the warning bells from loving believers with judgement; that is still coming.

    • Nothing trumps God’s Word Clayton.

    • I will not force my beliefs on anyone and do not expect or accept anyone attempting to force their beliefs on me. Rights come with responsibility and works both ways. No law of any land can force me to compromise my belief in God and His Word. This is what many who persecute Christians do not understand….we are prepared to die for our faith. We are also not standing in judgement of those who do not share our faith and we also do not hate those who do not share our faith. Those who do not share our faith should not force their secular/atheist/non biblical beliefs down our throats. We will not compromise this as it is our right and should be respected. Why some gay people insist on approaching openly Christian establishments must be questioned. Why would I approach a Muslim establishment knowing as a Christian that their belief is different to mine. Yet I allow that Muslim establishment to continue. How could I go to such an establishment and insist that they do not use the name of Allah when I am around.I have known and do know gay people who would never do something like this as they are respectful of the beliefs of Christians and understand that they cannot judge as we cannot judge. Just saying…. Blessings to all who read this and may you understand my sentiments to be my belief in good faith and without any disrespect to any sector of our society.Lastly, for those who point towards the law as justification for “trumping” my faith I must ask this. Would you be so accepting of a law if it in fact accepted my faith or would you defy such a law. As I said, it works both ways.

      • I agree with everything you said. Could not have said it better myself

        • I do believe one of the reasons they do it, is BECAUSE THEY WANT TO STIR UP TROUBLE! This happened overseas and they KNOW IT, so now they want to try this in SA..

    • Interesting, though, that your concept of democracy is apparently to grant freedom to all except those who prefer to believe in something you don’t. Don’t tell me you are agnostic – even they believe in themselves! The couple had freedom of choice. Rather than find a place happy and welcome to have their business, they prefer to persecute this establishment. Why? The fanfare, the spotlight, the ‘woe is me?’ So who are the culprits? And do you stand outside a church and deride the people as they come out every Sunday? No? Why not? You do it here on this site, don’t you?

      • @Theo, please stop playing that sad little tune of yours.

        The couple did not have freedom of choice did they?

        If they did they would have had a night’s sleep at the guesthouse?

        You make it sound like all gay people want to convert you and trick you into gay sex? Grow up.

        • @SA Citizen. Your comment is interesting, if devoid of sense. Interesting how it is always the Christian view point that must ‘grow up’. Your couple had rights. So too the guest house. The right to decide how their business should run, to name one. The gay and lesbian community who like to run to the likes of the HRC like spoilt childen crying ‘mommy, mommy!’ are the ones to grow up. And while they’re at it, you can tag along.

        • This is a democracy. We are supposed to have a free economy. Surely in a free economy any business person should be free to do or not do business with whomsoever they choose! If they wish to loose buisiness bu turnibg away customers for whatever reason, surely it is thier right! Anyway, I am sure that there are many other guesthouses who would have accepted them. It is a person’s right to be a homosexual but it is not their right to force their beliefs and lifestyle on others.

  3. When, back in the 1990s, churches opposed the inclusion of “sexual orientation” in the Bill of Rights, they forecast that this inclusion would be used to infringe on and override the rights of those who did not endorse homosexual relations. This prediction has proved correct, as homosexuals have moved from demanding “tolerance” to demanding that all society condone and endorse their lifestyle. The only reason that there is any “case” here is because human rights have been abused to endorse what is essentially immoral and that this has been entrenched in the law of the land. As with apartheid, abortion on demand, etc., just because something is legal, does not make it right.

  4. Clayton Caroline

    Explain how I am incorrect. I’m not afraid to be proven wrong.

  5. plainly and clearly 1Sam17v47 ….for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.

    Victory in House of Breads name!!!

  6. Leviticus 18:22
    No matter what is said and by who the Bible is clear.
    King James Version (KJV)
    22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
    I will personally bless this couple with Mighty Men Tartan for their steadfastness in The TRUE Word of God! Love to all from Pipey.

  7. Clayton Caroline

    All I hear is “Godsaidso” which isn’t a rational arguement. There are 613 laws in the Bible so why are you so obsessed with LGBTIAQ people when you ignore so many of the other ones? If you can ignore some of them then might as well ignore all of them. PS all this anti gay talk is destroying religion.
    http://www.alternet.org/belief/religion-america-great-decline-christian-right-has-major-role-hastening-it?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

    • It is quite clear, Clayton, that you have no idea what you are talking about on at least two fronts: (i) There is no 613 laws in the Bible. (ii) Religion. Christianity is not a religion, its a relationship. Rather than shoot your mouth off and comment on various entries on this site (why do you read it anyway – for kicks?) go do your homework and then come back so we can have an intelligent discussion.

      • Ek kry nie my woorde in engels nie rn vra onverskoning daarvoor. In die Bybel se God dat ons die wet van ons volk of land moet onderhou. Maar Hy se ook uitdruklik dat as dit teen Hom en Sy woord gaan is ons vry van daai wetgewing.
        That guesthouse did nothing wrong its there right to accept any people they want and they did make it clear what their beliefs are. Its their loss in income. The Gay couple are only doing this because they feel offended or were looking for a fight against our God. Stop putting yourselfs above our God. It does not matter how anyone feel or think. It does not matter about the people’s right. The only thing that matters is our God and what his word says.
        This whole thing just proves how near the end is and instead of debating about who is wrong or right. We as believers should pray for those who does not understand God Word as He meant it and for ourselfs for never taking our focus of Him. We should pray for our world, government, leaders – so that they too will lead their people (all of us, even those that don’t believe are God’s people) by the Will of God. He only has the right to judge.
        everyone will be in my prayers

  8. The big law that trump all laws says that all men must love the Lord God and their neighbour as themselves. What I see is God fearing believers doing just that by pointing, in love, towards the consequences of lifestyle choises in an attempt to warn their neighbour. What I don’t see is believers ‘obsessed’ with LGBTIAQs; rather the opposite. It is LGBTIAQs taking believers to court in an attempt to deprive them of the freedom and rights they now enjoy. Be it as it may, what really excites me is that, the more people are persecuted and have to stand up for their faith, the more Jesus gets glorified and that makes it worth while. Blessings to you.

  9. @Theo: The standard defence when a Christian is trying to distance itself from their many, many historical and current atrocities: “Christianity is not a religion, its a relationship.”

    • @SA Citizen. Your comment is nonsensical. And the rest of the world, i.e. people like you who obviously don’t share a belief system – what is your excuse for the mess the world is in since you have been ‘in control?’ No, rather think a little longer before you take to the keyboard. There is no point in responding to incoherent comments like yours.

  10. What happened to right of admission reserved? The disrespect of personal religious belief that those who don’t share our beliefs is becoming more apparent in this modern world as satan starts to enforce his will

  11. Rev Ian Karshagen

    Whether you like it or not, homosexuality is a sin! No amount of criticism against true Christian values will change that. God has given us the freedom to choose, so we have chosen God’s Word. You (gay supporter) also have the freedom to choose! Seems to me God’s Word is too hot to handle!?

  12. All I can say to SA_CItizen & Caroline is.
    I pray that the almighty God, Creator of the heavens and the earth will remove the shutters from in front of your eyes, so that you can finally SEE the GLORY of the FATHER and know the TRUTH. AMEN. God has changed my life, He has filled me with his truth and peace and He can and wants to do the same for you, all you need to do is ask!!!

  13. @Observer and Stuart – well said!

  14. I stand in agreement with Stuart Wragg and “The Observer. To the Netheengs I remind them that they must ,”be still and know that I am God,” says the Lord. And stand by God’s Word in 2Chr.20:4 So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord. 5 Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, 6 and said: “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? 7 Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? 8 And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, 9 ‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’ 10 And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them— 11 here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” 13 Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the Lord. 14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”•
    Let us just praise the Lord today as He defends Himself.

  15. Pastor Elvin Davids

    To my brother Steph and sister Marina Neethling in the Lord Jesus stand firm in the calling that God has called you,in the face of the world,the flesh and the devil and be like the apostle Paul saying ”I would rather obey God than man…’God bless you as you will be vindicated Amen

  16. WELL DONE to you Steph and Marina! God blesses obedience and we’ll be praying for you!

  17. I personally believe God made some people gay. Jesus said do not judge and do not condemn. As a Christian I cannot support homophobics, because of all the hateful unloving sentiments that underiie homophobia. I personally believe that homophobic Christians have got their priorities all wrong. Love first. Don’t hate.

    • A belated response: People are born either male or female. However, because of corruption of the genetic code, some people are born physiologically intersex (aka hermaphrodites). Same-sex compulsion is in the mind, just as kleptomania, dysphoria, transsexualism, transvestitism, paedophilia, OCD, and other compulsions are psychological. The American Psychological Association’s decision to deny this was a politically orchestrated exercise, with no scientific or medical proof.
      The fact that people can change their “sexual orientation”, some at will, indicates that it is not genetic. Those whose emotional wounds, sense of alienation, degree of anger, etc., are tied to their compulsion, and whose whole identity revolves around it, find it more difficult to break free. Often sexual addiction is also involved.
      Interestingly enough, the gay activists, who demand not only tolerance but endorsement of their sexual proclivity and lifestyle, are the most intolerant of and vitriolic towards those who do change their sexual orientation.
      You may find some of these accounts of interest: http://pfox.org/stories.html
      P.S. You need to learn the difference between judgment and discernment. Judgement condemns, while discernment involves knowledge and revelation of what is of God and what is deception. Jesus preached, “Repent and believe in me”, not “Believe in me and carry on sinning”.

  18. I also will not admit a gay couple in my establishment and I don’t care who says what. The people who are gay defenders can shout all you want but you will not change my view or interfere with my relationship with God.
    You can have human rights on your side but I have the Bible on mine. Sneering and provoking Christians is not going to change our faith position. This is not an issue of human rights but of sin and righteousness. These guesthouse owners are not against homosexuals (or homophobic) but against sin. They would have refused any unmarried couple from using their establishment and this is their choice. This manipulation and misuse of God’s word is just pitiful because God’s word is not going to change to fit your own debased level. Your personal opinion does not take precedent over God’s word