The Commission for Gender Equity (CGE) has asked the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to investigate disparaging comments about former homosexuals that were posted on Facebook by Dr André Bartlett, a gay activist and Dutch Reformed Church minister, and two others, says André Bekker, a former homosexual and founder of New Living Way Ministry.
Bekker complained to the CGE about the comments posted on July 1, 2015, by Dr Bartlett, Jean Oosthuizen (a former news editor of Kerkbode) and Nelda Els, in which they accuse former homosexuals of lying about their experience and say that their claims of a changed sexual orientation and identity should be subjected to testing by psychologists. The CGE says in a letter to Bekker that it found the remarks to be “a direct violation of human rights as it has elements of hate speech which have a negative impact on your dignity” and that he should take up his complaint with the HRC. He has submitted a complaint to the HRC.
Bartlett has played a leading role in the recent decision of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) General Synod’s decision to allow practicing homosexuals to lead churches subject to the approval of individual church councils: he proposed the motion that was accepted by the Synod.
Commenting on the DRC’s same-sex relationships policy shift, Bekker says Bartlett’s proposal, which was accepted by the Synod, was based on his interpretation of Jesus’ radical inclusion of people who for one or other reason were marginalised in society, and the manner in which Jesus used the Law as a yardstick for human behaviour.
He says: “In respect of the latter aspect, Jesus’ use of the ‘double love commandment’ (i.e. to love God and to love our neighbor – Matt. 22:37-40) as the fulfillment of the Law, is used as a starting point. Reasoning from this perspective, Dr Bartlett sees ‘love’ as the yardstick by which human behaviour is gauged as wrong or right.
“With the ‘love commandment’ as the norm then, the two questions to be asked in evaluating any relationship is: Does it do harm to your neighbor, and does it serve the purpose of giving life to its fullest? I firmly believe that the only way in which one can arrive at this conclusion, is to downgrade the authority of Scripture. Further, tampering with the authority of Scripture, leads to the irresponsible use of Scripture and applying Dr Bartlett’s reasoning, leads to a sinning church.
“This is easily demonstrated by the hypothetical example of a 45 year old mother and a 21 year old son who fall in love with each other. They decide to engage in a consensual relationship where they love each other, are faithful to each other, do no harm to each other and enrich each other’s lives. According to dr. Bartlett’s reasoning, this obviously incestuous relationship should ethically be just as acceptable as a same-sex relationship. One needs to ask: on what grounds could the church reasonably refuse incestuous relationships, and if the church argues that incestuous relationships are sin before God, does it not leave same-sex relationships also as sin which the church cannot condone?
“In this frame of reasoning, the ‘love commandment’ becomes a ‘hate commandment’: the church is silenced from speaking out against the sin of same-sex relationships, and in so doing is forced to break the ‘love commandment’ which includes ‘[y]ou shall surely rebuke (reprove) your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him’ (Lev. 19:17). The failure to rebuke leaves the person sinning to sin, and the person not rebuked is deprived of the opportunity to repent and be saved from the consequences of his sin. Not warning a person about his sin, thus becomes a loveless act because ‘the wages of sin is death.’ Jesus demonstrates this clearly by loving and reaching out to all marginalised people in society, yet putting forth the message ‘go and sin no more’ (John 8:11) and again, ‘[s]in no more, that something worse should not happen to you’ (John 5:14).
“For a sinning church, the testimony ‘such were some of you’ (1 Cor. 6:11) becomes offensive and an indictment against its sin. It is then that a repented sinner is made out to be a liar. The same people who so vocally campaigned for the acceptance of sin in the church, now become the intolerant and loveless ones who no longer practice what they preach.”
Explaining his decision to go to the CGE, he says: “This offensive matter should have been brought before the spiritual leaders of the church to resolve, but the church no longer has authenticity or authority to give judgment in such matters. This shameful condition of the church caused me, as an offended former homosexual, to take my grievance to the Commission for Gender Equality.
“It is a sad day in the history of the church when the religious community can no longer be trusted with their own affairs and an offended Christian brother should solicit a worldly system to resolve his grievance. The church did not arrive at this point over night however. For years, gay activists placed the church under immense pressure to conform to their demands until eventually it gave way. This sad state of affairs places a shadow over the church, its leadership and its authority.”