The FF Plus supports the actions to oppose a planned court case which is directed at prohibiting six South African schools from exercising Christian values as it is in conflict with the essence of democracy in the country, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on basic education says.
According to Adv. Alberts, the reaction from church circles and the social media is proof that the court action of a group under chairmanship of Johannes de Klerk Pietersen is seen as a witch-hunt on Christians.
Prof. Nelus Niemand, the moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, told the Freedom Front Plus that the church feels so strongly about this issue that it will be joining the court case as a Friend of the Court.
He also said that he would welcome it if the case is eventually decided upon by the Constitutional Court so that a final decision about this issue could be handed down.
Adv. Alberts says it is clear that the court case is threatening the freedom of religion and clashes with the essence of democracy.
“Freedom of religion is of cardinal importance in South Africa. It is part of any mature democracy. In model C schools the principle of parental input, management and democracy is in place. In those schools the majority vote counts and the ethos of the school is determined in that manner.
“The schools are actually public/private partnerships as the parents also contribute financially to the schools. To want to smother the majority vote in educational institutions against this background is contrary to the constitutional principles of participatory democracy.
“There is however a responsibility on school’s governing bodies to also protect minorities in those schools and allow for freedom of choice. Therefore, learners who do not wish to be part of any religious actions should have the right to withdraw from it.
“Similarly, schools and governing bodies should see to it that sufficient discipline exists to address bullying on any level, whether it arose from non-participation in religious practices or otherwise. Bullies find various excuses for their actions and the motives are not restricted to religious practices only.
“The organisation’s court case is therefore incorrectly motivated and is aimed at merely replacing one philosophy of life with another.
“Learners should be able to learn from different existing philosophies of life but a democratically chosen school governing body should have the right to condone certain practices which aligns with its life views,” Adv. Alberts says.
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