A national summit of all religious and church leaders is being held today, 13 February 2019, at the Rhema church in Randburg. This summit is to discuss the proposed regulation of religion (licensing of all pastors and places of worship) in South Africa. It is a very heated issue, and potentially very dangerous for the church and for religious freedom.
At a media briefing by the CRL Rights Commission (CRL) in November, pastor Ray McCauley, who (in his capacity as Chair of the National Religious Leaders Council (NRLC)) has been appointed by the CRL to drive the process, read out the following: “the Commission has given the religious sector the task to chart the way forward with their help”. The plan for the Summit is to be “inclusive of every religious organisation” and will focus on the following six streams:
- Legal / Constitutional Framework
- Developing Code of Conduct
- Developing an accountability system to society and ourselves
- Developing healthy relationship with the CRL
- Developing core values for our multi-faith society
- Creating a working partnership with Parliament, Department of Home Affairs, SAPS and SARS.
According to pastor McCauley’s Statement, the purpose of the Summit is to “adopt a document that speaks to the aforementioned streams and we will obviously ask Parliament to assist us with any necessary legislative aspects of these considerations”.
The Statement also explained that a Task Team headed by Bishop Moso Sono of Grace Bible Church has been formed, and that the responsibility of the Task Team is the planning of, and extending the invitations to, the Summit. The Task Team, who will be supported by a team of experts, will also be responsible for finalising the document that will be adopted at the summit.
At the briefing, a statement by the Chairperson of the COGTA Parliamentary Portfolio Committee (who was not present) was also read out, extending its “full support to the process … As a committee, we applaud the fact that the religious leaders themselves are taking the leadership role in ensuring that there is order within this sector.”
FOR SA’s comments on the Summit:
FOR SA has always called for, and supported, a broadly representative and inclusive process whereby the religious community can discuss solutions by the religious community for the religious community.
We believe that it is imperative that the Church stands united on the issue and the proposed solutions – a house divided against itself will not stand. (Mark 3:25). If we do not work together, and it seems as if we are not united, government may well take this matter out of our hands and decide / legislate it for us. It is therefore essential that, as the Church and for the sake of the Church in South Africa, we do try find solutions together.
Dear friends, a national summit of religious and church leaders is taking place at Rhema church in Randburg today to discuss the proposed regulation of religion (licensing of all pastors and places of worship) in South Africa. It is a very heated issue, and potentially very dangerous for the church and for religious freedom.
Please pray that truth will prevail, that the schemes of the enemy will be exposed, and for great wisdom and unity in navigating the way forward.
Adv Nadene Badenhorst
Freedom of Religion SA