Religious licencing proposal ‘totalitarian’ — Catholic Church

Archbishop Stephen Brislin.

A recommendation that new laws be introduced to enforce registration of pastors and ministers is overkill and a response that one would expect more from a totalitarian state than a constitutional democracy”, said Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town and President of the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC).

He was responding to the proposal submitted by the CRL Rights Commission on July 11 recommending that all religious practitioners be registered under umbrella organisations that would be recognised by the state and subject to “peer-review committees, reports Agenzia Fides

“We fully understand and share government’s unhappiness with certain practices done in the name of religion, such as requiring adherents to drink petrol or eat grass. However, we believe that there is sufficient existing legislation that can be evoked to deal with most of these harmful practices”, underlined Brislin.

Freedom of Religion SA (FOR SA), which considers the CRL’s proposals “unnecessary, unworkable and unconstitutional”, has urged religious communities to urgently take up a parliamentary committee’s invitation to comment on the CRL report by August 31.

Concerns should be submitted to the parliamentary portfolio committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) — Shereen Cassiem (Secretariat) scassiem@parlians Tel: 021-403-3769, Mzameni Mdakane (Chairperson) Tel: 021-403-2911

More information is available from the executive directory of FOR SA Michael Swain at 072 270 1217 or or on the FOR SA website:

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