Christian groups going to court over church lockdown regulations

Churches in SA are shut down while businesses like casinos, restaurants and cinemas are allowed to operate

Legal opposition to government pandemic regulations, which amount to an indefinite blanket ban of all religious gatherings in South Africa, is mounting.

Last Friday the South African National Christian Forum (SANCF), which represents a number of churches in townships and informal settlements, filed an urgent application with the Johannesburg High Court to have the regulations overturned on the grounds that they are irrational and discriminatory given that businesses like casinos, restaurants and cinemas are allowed to operate while churches are shut down.

Now Gateway News has learned that Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) also intends to intervene in the application on behalf of a number of churches — and that the SANCF is postponing its day in court to early February allowing for both applications to be argued in the High Court in Johannesburg on the same day.

Both groups are unhappy at government’s lack of consultation with them on matters affecting their constituencies. The SANCF’s court action comes after an incident on January 10 in which police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at a group of church leaders who gathered at a church in Sebokeng to convey their lockdown grievances to media.

FOR SA says that late last year government gave them  an undertaking that — in view of the fact that they represent a whopping 15 to 18 million people in the faith community —  it would include them in consultations going forward

But FOR SA was not among faith community representatives invited to a recent meeting with the president shortly before he announced the revised level 3 lockdown regulations

FOR SA told Gateway News that in its urgent application to the High Court it will argue that it is unfair and unconstitutional to impose a blanket ban on faith gatherings while allowing people to go to casinos and restaurants

And they will ask the government to show data that supports the idea that the faith community spreads Covid-19 more than any other group — a view that FOR SA hotly contests, especially considering that churches that were previously allowed to meet during lockdown  were subjected to the strictest protocols of any sector.

4 Comments

  1. Thank you Michael, Nadine & everyone at FOR SA. We are 100% behind you!

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    I am not against business’ such as Restaurants and Casinos operating, I cannot see why we cannot go to our local church. We are a confirmation of 20 – 25 congregate that meet in church to pray to our Lord, and this has been taken away from us. Our Dominee does send voice sermons to us recorded in his house to us on a daily basis, but it is not worshiping in His House.
    I support you 100%.

  3. Thank you , FOR SA !! God’s people want to come together, pray together , sing together, without masks !! We seek healing , when coming together , to be filled with new love towards our Lord !! We all ready feel like strangers to our fellow christian brothers and sisters !!! Will You help us Lord, in Jesus name !! we pray … Amen !!

  4. Michael John Higgs

    The favouring of casinos over church gatherings is a spiritual warfare matter. We must pray more fervently than ever before. Although AntiChrist has yet to be revealed, AntiChrist is already active in the world. But we also know that the kingdoms of this world [from God’s perspective] have become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ – and He will reign for ever, (Rev. 11:15).