Written by: Michael Swain, FOR SA Executive Director
Article source: JOY! Magazine

As we emerge shaken from the nightmare created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we face a new and uncertain world. No one is in any doubt that the fabric of our society has been shaken to the core. It may be possible to look back and remember how life was before, but it is impossible to return. It is now two years after the state of national disaster was declared and we were asked to stop our lives for “15 days to flatten the curve”.

A deeply fractured society
In the interim, the societal norms and standards that were familiar have been deeply fractured. For nearly two years, we have lived under some level of house arrest, our basic civil liberties removed at the stroke of a pen, our churches closed and attendance restricted. Over 465,000 otherwise law-abiding people have been arrested for infringing draconian lockdown regulations while other crime runs rampant. Prayer meetings were broken up by police with tear gas and rubber bullets, while billions of relief aid were siphoned off through corruption. Heavy handedness and rule by an unaccountable executive have been the order of the day.

So what is the legacy of the pandemic? And where to from here?
Perhaps the greatest casualty of the pandemic is trust. People are deeply divided and isolated from one another, both physically, and in their opposing viewpoints. Trust in all our institutions, from our Government leaders to our judiciary, from our scientific experts to our media, has been severely eroded. Of equal concern is that Government has found how easy it is to rule by executive fiat, and how compliant people are in accepting the loss of civil liberties and the most irrational and illogical dictates of the State apparatus. The impotence of parliamentary oversight and the ineffectiveness of any form of effective judicial review have been chilling indicators of the failure of democracy to stand against Government overreach.

Fighting for religious freedoms
It has, therefore, never been more important for us to engage and to protect the freedoms and rights that we still have. FOR SA expects that attempts to erode religious freedoms will continue. Although tens of thousands of people and organisations made submissions on the PEPUDA Amendment Bill and the “Hate Speech Bill”, we must be ready to engage with any revised versions. We must demand that religious freedom and conscience rights be enshrined in the Marriage policy and Single Marriage Statute to protect religious marriage officers. A new “Learner Pregnancy Policy” further threatens parental rights. Court battles continue, with FOR SA defending people’s right to publicly share their faith (in the Chetty case) and to prevent them from being forced to work in conflict with their sincerely held beliefs (in the Beloftebos case). The isiphandla case will likely decide the autonomy of faith-based private schools.

Stand with FOR SA today
FOR SA is committed to standing in the gap in the frontlines of the battle for faith and freedom. But we cannot do so without your partnership and support. Stay informed! Be ready to engage! Support us financially! Together, we can prevail and push back the tide!

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Date published: 16/03/2022

DISCLAIMER
JOY! News is a Christian news portal that shares pre-published articles by writers around the world. Each article is sourced and linked to the origin, and each article is credited with the author’s name. Although we do publish many articles that have been written in-house by JOY! journalists, we do not exclusively create our own content. Any views or opinions presented on this website are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. 

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