Sent to The Star, Johannesburg, Tue 11/08/2015 08:17. Published Wed 12/08/2015 as “Right to religious freedom abused”.
On Sunday, EFF members went to the Soshanguve meeting of the End of Times Disciples Ministries, where they threatened the “Snake Pastor” and his followers, and burned the tent used by the church. According to reports, SAPS members watched and did nothing.
It appears that the local EFF and SAPS members do not understand the concept of religious freedom in clause 15 of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. Everyone has the right to practice their religion free of interference, if they do not break the laws of the country.
If the pastor is causing cruelty to animals, breaking the food health and safety regulations, or endangering the health or lives of his followers, then the law should be applied. If the church is disturbing the peace, there are by-laws that should be enforced.
It is completely wrong for anybody to force their way into the gathering, threaten violence, and commit arson. The EFF members who took part must be arrested and prosecuted, and buy a replacement tent. The SAPS members who failed to act, must be disciplined.
The behaviour of other sects may seem barbaric and bizarre to you, while the brutal and strange practices of your own religion seem normal to you because you have grown up with them.
Oh, your religion has no such practices?
If you are a Christian, have you ever received Holy Communion? You pretended to eat the body and drink the blood of Christ? To me, this looks like ritual cannibalism. If, outside of religion, your children made a game in which they pretended to consume human body parts, you would probably be horrified.
Various belief systems mutilate the genitals of children –and dignify it with the term “circumcision”.
A final example, one that causes untold harm, is when children, too young to think for themselves, are indoctrinated into a fear of Hell. There is no evidence that Hell exists –-nor Heaven, for that matter. Forcing irrational fears on children is child abuse.
You get away with these practices because they are part of your religion. In return, you have to accept that other religions are allowed to practice theirs.