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

FOR SA was founded in 2014 after the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) told a local Cape Town church to stop teaching certain Bible scriptures and to send its pastoral staff for sensitivity training. Since then, there have been multiple situations – both here in South Africa and abroad – where State institutions have flexed their muscles to erode and limit people’s right to freely manifest their faith by speaking and living it out in public. Many of these scenarios originate internationally and are then implemented into our laws. This can be the result of activists adopting (and then driving) these ideologies, or as a result of international agreements that South Africa has ratified, or funding that the government has accepted.

Parental rights
The right of parents to raise their own children according to their own beliefs, opinions, and values remains a hot issue. An example of how international funding and “ideology adoption” brought this issue home to South Africa is seen in the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) development and promotion of ideologically-biased content to teach Comprehensive Sexuality Education in public schools. This content was developed in close collaboration with UNESCO, providing public schools with Scripted Lesson Plans (SLPs), developed in accordance with the revised UN International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (ITGSE). Of note is that International Planned Parenthood Federation was one of the main contributors to the ITGSE content. From a funding perspective, it was revealed that USAID gave 25 million USD (approximately R400 million) to assist in the roll out of this programme in South African public schools.

Hate Speech
Hate speech continues to make headlines internationally and is another area where FOR SA is frequently engaged – specifically making presentations and submissions on the Prevention of Hate Crime and Hate Speech Bill to Parliament to ensure that the public teaching, preaching, and discussion of bona fide religious viewpoints remains properly protected. Internationally, the battle to shut down faith-based speech continues. In a recent case in Finland, the danger of such laws was demonstrated by the prosecution of a Member of Parliament and a Lutheran Bishop simply for quoting from the Bible. In another on-going case in the UK, a 76-year-old grandmother is facing a fine after she was arrested for praying silently outside an English abortion facility.

These are just two issues that show how international trends (based on ideologies) find their way to South Africa. Stay informed in the key areas of the fight for faith and freedom by subscribing to the FOR SA newsletter and support us financially with a donation.

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Date published: 21/06/2022

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