Cape Town – Christian leaders have called on their religious counterparts to help fight a new “demon” attacking the word of God.
The Christian Ministers Council of South Africa says two new pieces of legislation relating to religion and hate speech by the Department of Justice would effectively gag the Bible, Qur’an and any other holy scripture preaching against sin.
According to spokesperson, Apostle Julius Moloi, if passed, these bills could see holy men locked up in jail for 10 years “for speaking the word of God”.
The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (the CRL Rights Commission) and the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill's report on the Commercialisation of Religion in SA will be discussed in parliament in the next few weeks.
Bishop Dag Heward-Mills has spoken openly against homosexuality.
Moloi says people should unite and protect their faiths.
“The Christian Ministers Council of Southern Africa appeals to all religious leaders in South Africa and elsewhere to set aside our vast differences and take action against this demonic process which is about to affect all faiths,” he says.
“Two agencies of the South African government are standing ready with two documents which will be pushed through to parliament before March 2017."
“The Department of Justice wants to prosecute anybody who preaches or presents material [Bibles, Qur’ans, religious books, CDs, DVDs] which the government may see as hate speech."
“If anyone can find any communication or hear any sermon which they say is discriminatory towards them, then they can take you to court and have you criminally charged for hate speech, you will serve time in jail for saying sin is sin if anyone can take offence at what you say.”
Moloi’s plea comes days after Idols judge Somizi Mhlongo took to social media to slam a preacher for calling homosexuals “unnatural and disgusting”.
Somizi Mhlongo stormed out of a church sermon in Soweto last week.
Somizi stormed out during the sermon of Ghanaian Bishop Dag Heward-Mills at the Grace Bible Church in Soweto last Sunday, saying he was upset as some congregants cheered the minister on.
Meanwhile, the CRL Rights Commission wants government to regulate religion.
“They say anybody who holds any position in the church or mosque has to be licensed before they can preach or take leadership,” says Moloi.
They are also recommending that “all religions in SA be controlled by one body” and that places of worship be licensed or shut down.
Moloi says while the deadline for public participation on the bill is on Tuesday, people have until February 28 to comment on the CRL report.
Moulana Shu-aib Appleby of the Muslim Judicial Council says in light of the recent attacks on mosques in Cape Town, Muslims should make their voices heard in parliament.
“The MJC [SA] will intensify its campaign for public participation on the Bill as we wish to see that the South African society be infused with the spirit of the Constitution and shaped by the Bill of Rights,” he says.