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20141204 Religion in Education: When Government Officials Violate The Law

The following article was posted by  on December 4, 2014 on his blog “Synapses”:

For the full article, click here.

Excerpts below, with kind permission of Mr Rousseau. Comments by us in green:

“Earlier today, Barry Bateman sent me this:

barrybateman_2014-Dec-04

For those of you whose Afrikaans is as poor as mine, a rough translation would look something like this:

Instead of a moment of silence, schools under his leadership can have a moment of prayer. Preachers were previously not welcome at schools, “but I’m opening schools up to preachers”, said Panyaza Lesufi, MEC for Education in Gauteng.

“Schools can decide for themselves which prayers they would like to offer at their school. Each school has the right to practice religious activity, so long as it’s not harmful, like Satanism. If Satanism is followed, I’ll bring the police into it. Why do we find Bibles in hotels, but not in schools? In my first 100 days in office, I distributed 50 000 Bibles to schools.”

Lesufi also said that if we want to understand problems in schools, we need to understand the souls of schoolchildren. In answer to a question regarding the pending court case, brought by OGOD against six schools in light of those schools’ Christian characters, Lesufi said that 85% of South Africans are Christian.

“As I last understood the Constitution, it was the majority that won.”

The same Department of Education recently held a [Christian] prayer meeting for prospective matriculants, at which Lesufi remarked that “We support all the [Christian] pastors and reverends in our school”.

2012_5$thumbimg131_May_2012_092556310-llLesufi is not the first Gauteng Education MEC that seems to have difficulty keeping their personal religious views out of the frame when doing their jobs – last year, Barbara Creecy singled out Satanism and “the occult” as dangerous, despite the fact that we have a community of pagans, Wiccans, Satanists and the like who pose no threat to anyone, and whose religious freedom is Constitutionally protected.”

Yet it is this same “community of Pagans, Wiccans, Satanists and the like” that perpetually bears the brunt of slanderous attacks such as these upon the core of their civil rights under the South African Constitution.

Despite this glaringly obvious fact, no government official nor any Opposition political party appears thus far to be moved to contradict the conduct of fanatically religious government officials acting unilaterally and in conflict with the Constitution when it comes specifically to defending the dignity and civil rights of those being persecuted on religious grounds – barring the LGBT community of course.

It seems that defending one group against religious bigotry is now more acceptable than defending another group which it seems, ‘nobody’ on the political landscape feels inclined to defend.

“If Lesufi were to do the same thing with regard to a building contract, or somesuch – i.e. use his authority to get a mate some lucrative deals for building schools in Gauteng – he’d be investigated, and hopefully fired.”

This sets the baseline of what would be expected of a representative of the Department when dealing with contracts and other matters commonly infected with corruption, fraud and other forms of misconduct. Rousseau puts the heart of the issue beautifully into context when he continues to say:

It’s an abuse of power and authority to introduce Christian prayer, and Christian texts, into public (and thus by definition, secular) schools.

“Furthermore,” Rousseau notes, “who is paying for these 50 000 Bibles? Presumably, the Department of Education or the Gauteng government. Either way, that would be an abuse of public money.”

Perhaps the most important points raised by Rousseau on this matter are these:

Two final points: Lesufi violates the religious freedom and dignity of non-Christians, specifically Satanists, in the quote above. You cannot threaten someone with the police for holding religious views you don’t like. And, Satanism is not a synonym for certain (or, any) criminal activity.

More importantly, Rousseau points out the following fact – that the ‘satanism’ so frequently referred to by these hysterics is not real de facto Satanism at all – but the bible-puncher, media and ‘religious police’ inspired variety:

As I’ve written before, Satanism does not encourage human sacrifices – it’s Christian propaganda versions of Satanism that these confused kids who commit murders and sacrifices are falling prey to. And this is again why the National Policy on Religion and Education gets things right, in the sense that it calls for instruction on allreligions. If we do that, fewer kids will have the false beliefs that might encourage criminal activity like that.

This is one of those articles that lays all the cards on the table in a matter-of-fact, no-bullshit manner that is easy to understand – for those who are actually open to rational thinking.

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