‘Zizi’s case a victory for religious freedom but biggest challenge may lie ahead’ — Andrew Selley

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FOR SA founder and CEO, Andrew Selley, at UCT with student leader Zizipho Pae who has been at the centre of a religious freedom storm on the campus. (PHOTO: Mareli Esterhuizen).

[notice]A message published today by Andrew Selley, Founder and CEO of Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) which has acted as the official spokesperson for UCT student leader Zizipho Pae in relation to her matter.[/notice]

On 2 August 2015, we received the good news that UCT Vice-Chancellor, Dr Max Price, has found the SRC’s decision to expel Zizipho Pae from the SRC “invalid” and ordered her reinstatement. This follows the Vice-Chancellor’s decision a week or so earlier, dismissing the UCT Queer Revolution’s complaint against Zizi since there was “no basis for bringing a charge against her”.

This is a wonderful victory for which we are truly grateful – first and foremost to God who has given us the victory, but also to everyone who has written letters to the Vice-Chancellor, signed the petition and/or spoken up in support of Zizi and religious freedom in SA! From FOR SA’s side, thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement to Zizi, but also to us as an organisation as we drew alongside her – it is greatly appreciated! 

This case, as trying as it has been for Zizi who has been incredible in so many ways, has granted us (the Church of Jesus Christ) a great victory in our endeavours to keep the Church free. For the first time, the Church in SA seems to be awakening and standing together for freedom. The LBGTI lobby groups which thus far have seemed almost invincible, have overstepped their mark with overconfidence and stumbled.

Importantly, we have for the first time been on the good side of secular media and have not been painted as bigots or haters. This will undoubtedly help to untarnish Christ’s name and the Church which, up to now, has been damaged by secular media.

View video of Andrew Selley delivering his message:

Also, because of the scenario with DA MP Marius Redelinghuys (who threatened, harassed and bullied Zizi on social media following her Facebook post), politicians and activists will lose confidence in the brashness of driving gay rights forward and should have a healthier respect for religious freedom, which previously seemed to be being easily overrun. FOR SA’s letter to the Chief Whip of the DA, together with the ACDP’s own efforts in this regard, have resulted in Marius Redelinghuys issuing an apology to Zizi, which was also published in the Cape Times last week as per FOR SA’s request in our letter to the DA. This is a great victory for us (Christians) in the political arena, which should cause politicians to gain confidence in speaking up for the Church and for freedom.

This unifying of the Church and Christian activists to speak out for freedom, the media shift and LGBTI activist overstep and loss of confidence, have given us a very strategic advantage (the first we have seen in a long while) for which we are grateful. It is important that we communicate with our constituencies what has happened, the victory God has granted as Christians and the Church have spoken up with one voice, and that we will need to stand united against other imminent threats to our freedom. 

Pressing case in Constitutional Court in August 2015
Importantly, while we have been granted a wonderful victory, our most pressing moment may be before us with the case of Ecclesia de Lange v Methodist Church of South Africa. This is the case of the lesbian minister who was dismissed by the Methodist Church following her announcement that she intended marrying her same-sex partner, and who then took the Methodist Church to Court for unfairly discriminating against her on the basis of sexual orientation. Having lost in the High Court and also in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), Ecclesia is now taking the matter to the Constitutional Court. Her application for leave to appeal will be heard in the Constitutional Court on Friday, 28 August and will be attended by FOR SA.

If the Court grants the appeal and we end up losing the case, it will be a major blow that will forever change the landscape of religious freedom in SA and will effectively open up the door to the Courts dictating to the Church what she may and may not believe, preach and how she should govern herself etc. We are waiting to see what will happen, but if the appeal is granted, we will have to get involved in the matter and it will also be imperative that we mobilise like never before. Our prayer is that the case will be kicked out at this stage, which will grant a wonderful reprieve to the Church in SA in matters pertaining to religious freedom. We will keep you updated in this regard, but please keep praying for this case which could be a definite ‘game changer’.

Thank you once again for all your prayers, encouragement and support to Zizi and to ourselves. Zizi’s case has been a wonderful testimony to what we (the Body of Christ) can achieve when we stand together and speak as a united voice to issues affecting our freedom and our faith!

To date, Christian leaders representing approx. 6 million people in SA have signed up to FOR SA. To protect religious freedom and the autonomy of the church in SA, make sure to join FOR SA and sign up for our newsletter, by visiting www.forsa.org.za today. Also follow us on Facebook at “Freedom of Religion SA” for regular updates on religious freedom and related issues in SA and worldwide.

4 Comments

  1. Fantastic. As I continue to warn, opposition to the ANC is not the same as support for religious freedom. Voters, especially Christians, must read the constitutional small print of the parties they support. Sometimes what seems a valid political opposition can turn out to be a negative in other ways. http://www.womensparty.co.za

  2. My hope is that after reading this, all will realise how important it is to be counted in, to be regularly updated, clearly informed and not remain scattered. Prayer works wonders but commitment should follow on, let us be easily found when the need occurs to stand up and give one great and mighty roar together in unity againt the enemy of our souls.

  3. Amen to Janet’s comment above. Every church leader should realise that the Christian faith is basically under siege on many fronts from the enemy of our faith and every committed Christian should be taking this battle seriously

  4. Colleen. Oranmore-Brown

    All Bible Believers need to stand with God’s Word. No misinterpretation will be accepted by our Mighty God.