Last Saturday, I joined other Christians in a march from Constitution Hill to the offices of Home Affairs. This was a rare occasion as Christians of different hues set aside their differences and held hands in a march in defence of our heritage.
I joined the march out of a conviction to take a stand against what I strongly feel and believe is fundamentally wrong and potentially constitutes a gross violation of our rights as Christians. What irritated Christians so much that they decided to sacrifice a good part of their Saturday to go and serve notice on the government not to even think of taking away a significant part of the Christian faith?
Let us backtrack to last June. The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) announced that it had received complaints from some quarters concerning what they perceive as preferential treatment of Christians due to “Christian holidays being the only religious holidays recognised in our country”.
The said complainants even went as far as to allege discrimination against them, the basis of which has never been substantiated. The absurdity of the complaint was underscored by the assertion that there were too many Christian holidays on our calendar.
The CRL continued to indicate that it was embarking on a public participation process to review the Public Holidays Act (PHA). The initiative to review the PHA would have been noble if it was not driven by malice on the part of the yet-to-be identified complainants. Legislative review is a good thing as it keeps our laws up to date with developments and needs to not only be encouraged but also supported. However, what are the facts as opposed to fiction regarding the review of the Public Holidays Act? Is there discrimination (fair or unfair) against religions other than Christianity and preferential treatment of Christians? What of Christian holidays being too many?