File picture - Leader of the Christian Democratic Party, Thenius Botha, and CDP Councillor Richard Botha during a press briefing. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Johannesburg - The concept of a Christian university was defended by the Christian Democratic Party on Tuesday.

“The idea of the project is not... to create a white university, but a university that will draw students from all over the world,” party leader Theunis Botha said in a statement.

He was responding to criticism of the idea from Professor Jonathan Jansen, rector of the University of the Free State, in an editorial published on Die Burger's website.

“The CDP is in favour of a university with a clear Christian ethos presenting education of top quality and sound science,” Botha said.

In his column, Jansen dismissed the idea of a Christian university as an oxymoron.

“University does not exist for any religion; it is by definition a place for the expression of ideas beyond the boundaries of faith...,” he wrote.

Jansen said it appeared the idea was intended to cater for white youth and was dangerous in a country long divided by race, language, and religion.

Botha said religion was frequently undermined in contemporary society.

“Our problem with the present interpretation of religious freedom is that it often culminates in efforts to completely do away with religion outside the four walls of the church.

“We trust that Die Burger will assist in undoing the harm caused by Jansen’s misrepresentation of facts,” Botha said. - Sapa