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South African church probe is branded ‘anti-Christian’

South African church probe is branded ‘anti-Christian’

A government investigation into the practices of churches operating in South Africa has been slammed by evangelist Mervin Reddy, above, and other religious leaders who fear that the authorities intend to exert ‘heavy-handed control’ over the way they operate.

Their misgivings relate to a study by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities into the commercialisation of religion, “healing”, and bizarre practices such as congregants being made to eat grass, snakes or rats.

A woman pictured eating grass at the Rabboni Centre Ministries Church in South Africa.

A woman pictured eating grass at the Rabboni Centre Ministries Church in South Africa.

Speaking at an information-sharing meeting with religious and traditional leaders in Phoenix earlier this month Reddy said “corridor talk” had been that the commission was out to “hunt and close down” churches because it was believed the government was becoming “anti-Christian”.

Founder of the Christian Revival Centre, Dr Paul “Jesus for Africa” Lutchman, accused the commission of duplicating the work of the taxman, saying if the commission wanted to check their finances they should go to the South African tax authority, SARS.

“Apostle” Bheki Buthelezi questioned the commission’s “qualifications” to investigate the religious fraternity, asking whether any of them had the theological knowledge and expertise to question them.

“Bishop” T B Ngcobo agreed, saying the commission did not understand the doctrines of the different churches.

We are scared. When your submissions reach Parliament, they will become law and we can’t change the law. The religious sector will find itself oppressed, we’ve seen it done in other countries.

Acting Chief Executive of the Commission, Edward Mafadza, explained that the purpose of the study was to investigate and understand issues around religion and traditional beliefs. This included worrisome practices, including the “supermarket approach” (with card swiping machines at places of worship) and the abuse of people’s faith.

The underlying issues driving people to buy into the promises of riches and miracle cures would also be probed.

He said:

There must be serious issues, perhaps desperation or poverty, which make our people vulnerable to doing these things. To believe someone when they say petrol tastes like juice for example, if that is the case why do we spend money on petrol and not run cars with juice?

Like the South African Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Public Protector, the Commission was established under chapter nine of the constitution. Its enabling act allows it to subpoena people to appear before it.

Mafadza gave an assurance that the commission was guided by the South African Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms and it was not for it to challenge doctrines or tell leaders how to practise their religions or traditions.

We are concerned with governance issues, processes followed, financial management and whether you are trained or ordained by another person or an institution.

Mafadza said more Christian leaders would be summoned than others because the faith had an overwhelmingly high presence in the country.

African religious leader Themba Shangase thanked the commission for “settling the dust” by explaining its intention as did Pastor Nathi Zondi who said the “uproar” and defensive stance had been caused by a lack of clarity on the purpose of the study.

A final report is expected to be completed by April next year and be presented to Parliament with recommendations for “self regulation” in the sectors.

Hat tip: Ate Berga

8 responses to “South African church probe is branded ‘anti-Christian’”

  1. Smokey says:

    If your religion (or your priest/pastor/authority figure) tells you to eat grass, and you actually do it, you’re stupid beyond words.

    “To believe someone when they say petrol tastes like juice for example, if that is the case why do we spend money on petrol and not run cars with juice?”

    If petrol tastes like juice, you should drink petrol, not run your cars on juice. If you don’t understand that, then suck my cock and tell me what it tastes like.

  2. Gerald says:

    Smokey … Not everyone is as smart as you and most people are indoctrinated with religious supernatural woo and many people are coerced to do stupid things for fear of being ostracised or even getting a severe beating. That’s why I revile religion and those who exploit it for power and lucre … which is nearly every pastor vicar pope imam cardinal bishop priest reverend canon mufti and overdressed pounces in mitres.

  3. Broga says:

    Religion, that is all religions, are about two things: money and power. They are not about faith, belief or adhering to their holy books. These, with ritual and fancy dress, are the tools of their trade.

    The leaders of religions are clearly not believers themselves who believe there is an all knowing God. If they were they would not sexually abuse children and steal from their churches.

    If the truth were known I think you would find most church leaders have as much belief in their religion as I have.

  4. Health and Safety says:

    Want to make easy money. Set up a religion. Actually that could be a good idea. Set up a fancy website …set up some crazy wild religion cult denomination, probably best to stick with a christian type thing …make some videos, make some wild claims …. and if its any good people will expect that it costs a few bob to participate … set up a Pay Pall Pay per View … watch the dosh come in. plough some of it back into the Website … more features, merchandising etc and whaay haaay easy dosh.

  5. Rob Andrews says:

    To keepa few suckers around there are preachers.
    Outragious rubbish spewing creatures
    To attract attention
    Nothing too stupid to mention
    Religion of any sort isn’tone of their features

    The foundations of some religions
    Is in essence to fleece the pigeons
    For a slight fee they prAY
    Which actually means prEY
    This epitomising manipulative derisions
    credit to poster at: http://www.jesusandmo.net

    I have to laugh to stop from being sic at this kind of thing!

  6. 1859 says:

    To see fantasies – religious or psychotic – as true you have to be able to turn your reality into a clairvoyant dream, a trance where anything is possible. This is the hypnotic power of superstition and it is very powerful. You need only remember that of the 2 million years of our existence it is only during the last 500 years that have we used evidence-based reason to guide our understanding of the world.The world’s major religions are just manifestations of institutionalised superstitions that need money and power to survive. Of course, just because they have been around for so long doesn’t mean they are right – they are just massive tumours in the general cancer of religious superstition.

  7. Dennis says:

    The grass eaters love to exalt their eating tribute and the preacher counts his winnings. I had to indure this grass eaters enjoyment at her belief in creationism. she then had to eat hay and not grass. i will not be invited back to her home.