Arlene and I were privileged to join the “March for Marriage” in Washington DC on 19 June. We were also privileged to pray on the steps of the US Supreme Court with thousands of Christians.
The timing of those prayers turned out to be significant. On 30 June the US Supreme Court handed down a major ruling upholding the religious freedoms of Christian business owners.
The ruling is not only significant for Christian business owners in the US, but also across the world.
In the New Democratic South Africa, Christian business owners are hauled into court by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) with alarming regularity – for their Biblical beliefs and convictions.
The most recent case involved a Christian couple who own a Guest House in Wolseley in the W/Cape. They were dragged before the Equality Court for daring to uphold their Biblical beliefs.
The Equality Court Judge referred the case to an agreed institution for conciliation and mediation.
However, the SAHRC appears to be taking an increasingly aggressive stance against Christian business owners who decline to host same-sex “weddings” at their venues.
Instead of trying to balance the constitutional rights of both homosexual and Christian citizens, the SAHRC have sided with the homosexual complainants in almost every case and dragged the Christian defendants before the courts – ignoring their rights to religious freedom and conscience.
A few weeks ago the W/Cape High Court referred another case, involving a Pastor, for conciliation and mediation – when the SAHRC hauled him before the court seeking severe punishment.
The most alarming aspect of the SAHRC’s apparent vendetta against Christians is that it is constitutionally required to protect and uphold the constitutional rights of all South African citizens.
Just like the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby in the US challenged the Obama administration’s health-care mandate requiring them to dispense abortion causing drugs to their employees – South African business owners will have to challenge the bullying tactics of the SAHRC.
Religious freedom is a cornerstone of our young democracy. Those who demand tolerance and equality are becoming increasingly intolerant of the beliefs and convictions of Christian citizens.
If the Christian Church in SA fails to urgently respond to the growing attempts of intimidation & bullying – freedom of religion, conscience and belief will have very little meaning or effect in SA.
The Institute for Public Justice (IPJ) was established to uphold and defend religious freedoms in SA. Consisting of Christian legal professionals, the IPJ will provide legal advice and assistance to South African citizens being persecuted for their religious beliefs and convictions.
The Christian Church – of all backgrounds and denominations – must unite and rally around the vision and objectives of the IPJ to defend and strengthen the constitutional rights of all Christians.
If the Supreme Court upheld the religious freedoms of Christian business owners in the US, I believe our Constitutional Court will make a similar ruling protecting religious freedoms in SA.
Significantly, however, if one Christian citizen is stripped of his religious freedoms, every Christian citizen will lose their right to exercise their religious beliefs and convictions in South Africa.
Please pray for the IPJ and all the Christian citizens currently being prosecuted for their faith.