The bible on trial

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Flashback to October 2015 when Anise Parker, Houston’s first openly lesbian mayor  ordered certain pastors to hand over their sermons

The Church in South Africa is facing a two-pronged onslaught to its mission to preach the gospel without interference from the State.

This threat comes from the CRL Rights Commission and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
The CRL Rights Commission, which interviewed church ministers and religious leaders across the country earlier this year, is now proposing strict regulations that would require all ministers of religion to be licenced. In addition, “worship centres” would need to be registered.

The second threat comes from the proposed Bill on the Prevention of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech, which opens the church to the risk of having sermons challenged because they could be construed to be hate speech. Hate speech could include something being interpreted as “threatening, abusive or insulting” to some individuals or groups of people.

At first glance that may sound quite noble, but is it?

If a pastor read some verses from the sixth chapter of the Book of Galatians where it lists a number of what God deems as sins; what would be the outcome?

The list includes hatred, murder, drunkenness, idolatry, witchcraft, and sexual immorality of all kinds – sex out of wedlock, adultery, and homosexuality. There are some further hefty sins to deal with in the list.

Now, according to Bible-believing Christians, God disapproves these actions. To flaunt these sins is to place oneself in peril of God’s judgement.

Now if the pastor warns the congregation against worshipping and making offerings to idols as some religions teach and he mentions one of these religions, is he now committing the sin of “hate speech”. Is this insulting them?

If the preacher condemns witchcraft and some of its dubious ceremonies is he offending people who practise these occult crafts?

If he warns the congregations against sex before marriage, the perils of adultery or fornication by any gender. Is he abusing the rights of someone or some group?

Now if the CRL Rights Commission or the Justice Department were to receive a complaint it would not just be the pastor in the dock, but the Bible and God. And if the pastor was found guilty that would mean cutting out every offensive scripture in the Bible.

That may sound like a far-fetched scenario, but it is beginning to happen in the nation that is so proud of their liberty – yes America.

This month (October) the State of Georgia issued a legal demand to a lay-preacher Dr Eric Walsh to hand over his sermons, his sermon notes, ministerial documentation and even his Bible.

Last year the mayor of Houston, in Texas, demanded that a number of pastors in the city hand over their sermons, following complaints about what was said from the pulpit.

So the Church needs to beware of what could happen with all this weighty proposed legislation being speeded along as we near the end of the year.

And the media needs to take careful note as well because hate speech legislation could also be used against them when comes to exposing issues of public interest that may be covered up by government and big business.

Giving the government and institutions like the CRL Rights Commission legislative powers over churches could see a diminishing of freedom of speech in South Africa.

The churches straight response to the CRL Commission s should be this: “The pulpit is governed by the Word of God.

The government and its lackeys should be careful and not abuse the pulpit of its inalienable right to proclaim the gospel.”

6 Comments

  1. This is actually the problem in churches, and not in society. The Gods in front is quick to judge other people – people that is different to them, in the way they think, speak and do – playing the condemnation card & pressurising there sheep to fit in there religious box, but little do they take the time to go to “the other people”, to get to know them a little better. Or even better, the Gods educating there sheep on what is written in the Quran, or what is the Buddhist philosophy. Isn’t that what loves suppose to do?

    That vers in book of Hosea’s fourth chapter is so applicable here, and I quote. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”

    I think this is the problem in South Africa. We do not recognise and respect our neighbours differences, but rather preach on how to condemn the people that is different to us.

    It is funny how “the church” runs to the courts about nonsens, when 22 years later the time of biggest division and segregation in South Africa is on a Sunday between 09:00 and 12:00. Love is the churches biggest “command” and yet, they can’t do it!

    • I ask u only one question. What is the church? Hence the verse, “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”. So true Chris.

  2. Warning against sex before marriage won’t constitute hate speech. However telling people that if they catch people engaging in premarital sex they should stone them or otherwise put them to death would.
    It is really quite simple.

  3. Pingback: The Bible on Trial | FOR SA

  4. It is so true.We as children of God need to stand together and fight the good fight of faith.

  5. Ps 119:105 I encourage you to know the Living God in His FULL DEPTH.
    Go to the Living God in prayer:
    Ask for Peace in RSA and wisdom SO that the doors stay open for the Gospel of the Living God for souls to be saved. As it is His will.
    Eph 5:15-17 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.