The Sunday Independent
Secular rights trump religious freedoms
IT IS NOT with the learned judge, Dikgang Moseneke, that I take issue (“The right to differ religiously”, Sunday Independent, October 24), but with the pernicious document he discusses, The Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms.
The disingenuous title of this text is a good example of logocide: the murdering of words. The very notions, rights and freedoms, are antithetical to the religious enterprise. Religion’s charter is predicated on unquestioning obedience to mindless dogma.
Judge Moseneke is acutely sensitive to the danger this charter poses to our democracy: “Most of the provisions of the charter may appear uncontroversial, and yet as a sitting justice of the Constitutional Court moments may present themselves when I may be duty bound to proffer judicial opinion on the remit or impact of its provisions… I am thus honour bound to keep an open mind on the constitutional appropriateness of its provisions.”
This far-too-nuanced response will have no effect on the clergy who, rightly, see their hegemonic stranglehold over the people threatened by the bill of rights. Thus the need for a spurious document ostensibly protecting the people – while it is precisely against the clergy and their blatantly unconstitutional document that protection is needed.
Judge Moseneke gets to the essence: “The 1910 constitution proclaimed that South Africa was a Christian nation. Justification for racial, gender and economic exclusion was sourced from the scriptures.” And such justifications still exists in the scriptures, which are saturated in hate speech and unfair discrimination. It is against these sorts of toxic abuses of human rights that the bill of rights is an antidote.
What the clergy must be made to understand is that… when the exercise of a religious right causes harm, as it so often does, it will be quashed by the secular right it infringes.