By Taryn Hodgson — Africa Christian Action
At The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) hearings in Cape Town today, representatives from Christian, Muslim, Khoisan and business groups present agreed that Good Friday and Christmas should not be removed as public holidays. The Christian group also felt very strongly about bringing back Ascension Day. Christians for Truth reported the same from the Durban hearings on June 21.
The CRL tasked participants from each religion to get into groups and come up with a consensus regarding religious holidays.
There were no Jewish, Hindu or Traditional African Religion representatives at the Cape Town hearings.
Abraham Warren from Christians for Truth reminded the floor that “the religion of secular humanism is unfairly favoured by government with at least nine public holidays being clearly humanist.”
The CRL CEO, Adv PS Moreroa stated that “this is not an attack on Christians” and that the purpose of the hearings was to “listen to all the views represented to determine whether there is discrimination or not; and if there is discrimination whether such discrimination is fair or unfair.”
Once all the provincial hearings have been held, the CRL will compile all the responses and present them to Parliament. The CRL hopes to have completed the country-wide hearings by the end of July. From there, Parliament will possibly need to review and change the Public Holidays Act (1994).
Despite these assurances, we do believe however, that Christians should remain on the alert, as there are secular humanists in South Africa with a clear agenda to obliterate our Christian Heritage and advance their culture of secularisation.
Rethink secular holidays
A representative from the Cape Chamber of Commerce stated that “we need a complete re-think on the amount of public holidays in South Africa. We have far more public holidays then most other countries in the world. We cannot afford to add any more holidays… that would be detrimental to our economy.”
Some Christians felt that some of the meaningless and hypocritical secular humanist public holidays such as Human Rights Day or Women’s Day could be removed. They stated that these are meaningless because the most innocent and helpless people, pre-born babies, are not given their most basic right – the Right to Life; and women are not protected from the exploitative pornography and prostitution industries.
At the conclusion of the Durban hearings a CRL spokesperson uggested that future calendars should reflect all the South African religious holidays for general information. This proposal followed appeals by representatives of various religious groups that employers and educational institutions show respect and sensitivity to their adherents on their holy days which were not public holidays.
You still have an opportunity to send in a written submission before the end of July to: Sipho Mantula: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 084 781 5587 or 011 537 7600 for more information. The CRL requests that you specify your church denomination and city.