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We are Christians, first and foremost

I would hardly describe myself as a dedicated or devout Christian. But I was born and raised on Christian ideals and while I have no interest in Christian dogma – or any religious dogma for that matter – I do try to adhere to the basic principles of the 10 Commandments, which are common to most religions.

Which brings me to the debate which has suddenly raised its head, over the possible removal from the calendar of Christian holidays, such as, presumably, Christmas Day, the Day of Goodwill and Easter Monday.

According to The Star (“Christians ready for battle over holidays,” June 13), the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities is holding hearings to determine whether Christian holidays are given preferential treatment over other religions.

Well, of course they are! People in SA may have many differences but if there’s one thing they’re mostly united in, it’s a belief in Christianity. According to the most recent statistics, 79.8 percent of all South Africans have Christian beliefs, 15 percent of the population have no religion, so don’t really count in this debate, and a total of just 3.8 percent of the population subscribe to other religions, namely Islam (1.5 percent), Hinduism (1.2 percent), Judaism (0.2 percent), African traditional (0.3 percent) and “other” (0.6 percent).

The constitution guarantees religious freedom, for which we should all be duly thankful. But the simple fact is that those other religions are a tiny minority in this country. They should accept that Christianity is the predominant religion and thus is the one that should determine the religious holidays on this country’s calendar.

Surely that’s just simple common sense?

Jeremy Thorpe

Parkhurst, Joburg

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