Church awakening to religious freedom threat says Selley

andrewselley2
FOR SA founder and CEO Andrew Selley.

An urgent meeting of South African church and ministry leaders in Johannesburg yesterday to address threats to religious freedom and the autonomy of the Church went “incredibly well”, says Andrew Selley, founder and CEO of FOR SA which hosted the meeting in Rosebank Union Church.

“The church is hearing and is awakening” says Selley in a Facebook post about the FOR SA Conference which was called by FOR SA leaders, Michael Cassidy, Moss Nthla and Selley.

“We had parliamentarians, commissioners & various government institutions present & all very positive -endorsing & celebrating what we are doing. The Christians leaders response was excellent as a deep sense of urgency came upon all,” he says.

He says: “We haven’t counted yet, but we have received an overwhelming response as most (nearly all) signed up for FORSA. One man alone- a key African Bishop signed bringing 1.7 million people with him. I’m not sure of total numbers but we are already well into millions of People standing united for Freedom of Religion through their leaders. Many new invitees offered today to speak to leaders forums representing over 7 million through one invite alone. Many are keen to march & act- woohooo! Many former Anti apartheid activists are wanting to rally the people of SA again for the cause of religious freedom.”

At the conference FOR SA leaders briefed delegates about laws that will be considered by Parliament this year that will make it illegal to preach certain portions of the Bible and impose fines or imprisonment upon pastors who continue to preach these “offensive” Scriptures. They also informed them about a number of cases in which churches and pastors have been taken to court and/or the Human Rights Commission for preaching the Bible. 

6 Comments

  1. Hugh G Wetmore

    This movement is overdue, and to be welcomed. We in SA are experiencing the thin edge of the wedge. Sudan’s death sentence on Meriam for apostasy demonstrated what the thick end of that wedge is like. I repeat here the comment I made in that connection:
    Islam doesn’t realise that it discredits itself by relying on force and intimidation to bolster its constituency. Jesus allowed his followers who chose to leave Him (apostatise) to do so, even though He was Creator and Supreme Sovereign of the Universe with ALL the power to coerce people. John 6:66. A bird captive in your cage is not really yours until it has been released and flies back to you. ‘Love’ can never be enforced through threats and fear, for it is only ‘Love’ when it is given voluntarily. Sharia’s anti-apostasy laws demonstrate the weakness of Islam. Let’s all do all we can to persuade oppressive governments and religions to respect Religious Freedom.
    We must guard our own nation against the incipient attempts of our government to interfere with our Constitutional Right to “Freedom of Religion, Belief and Opinion” (clause 15). The pro-homosexual practice interpretations of clause 9 illustrate this threat.

  2. Charles Webster

    Hugh – a comparison with Sudan is inappropriate. A properly run, secular state would allow all people, with or without faith, equal freedom. Our constitution is excellent – it just needs to be properly enforced. And people like Mogoeng Mogoeng need to stop making dangerous utterances about the need for religion in law. Sudan is an excellent example of why religious freedom, like any freedom, cannot be absolute. Christianity (among other faiths) has been used to justify barbarism in the past – and still is, in some places. So invoking Sudan is rather dangerous for your cause, I should think. Keep church and state separate and ensure that basic human rights are enforced first. But when people want to start teaching creationism as fact, or to start imposing biblical or Islamic law, or other abuses, then the state needs to step in.

  3. Charles – well said.

  4. Charles Webster

    I had another thought: to those outside Christianity, the impression that is created by this initiative is that the church wants a free pass when it comes to what could be deemed hate speech, simply because it is biblically “justified.” I do not believe any holy book should be exempt from criticism – whether it’s the Quran (and/or Shariah law) on issues of rape, marriage and misogyny, or the Bible on issues of homosexuality (for example). If the shoe were on the Islamic foot, would you still want to wear it. Mr Selley?

    • “If the shoe were on the Islamic foot, would you still want to wear it. Mr Selley?” – I would really like an answer to this question. This is something I have asked many religious leaders. Some answer satisfactory and in great details, some dodge it. Really like Mr Selley’s view.

  5. Unfortunately there are some portions of the bible which, when interpreted in certain ways, directly deny Human Rights to some sections of society. In fact, some religious leaders use these portions to condone discrimination and worse. South Africa is a secular democracy, and signatory to the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights, and other human rights agreements, such as the Rights of the Child. Discrimination and hate speech, even if justified by some as being scriptural,cannot be permitted, especially in a country as demographically diverse as South Africa.