Religious Freedom Under Attack Again - Cape Town Church Targeted by SAHRC on Spanking
SAHRC Claims Spanking is Abuse
In brief, the complaint against Joshua Generation Church is that they support the use of corporal punishment by means of spanking, and that they imply that corporal punishment has no detrimental affect on a child. In a letter sent to Josh Gen Church, the SAHRC claimed: “the SAHRC does indeed regard corporal punishment (the infliction of physical pain) as falling within the definition of abuse maltreatment, neglect and degradation.” Considering the tremendous problems caused by undisciplined juvenile delinquents, many ending up in violent gangs, one would have thought that parental discipline was a good thing.
This is an attempt by the SAHRC to further limit religious freedom, and to enforce its anti-family views upon Christians. If we do not act in this milestone moment, the religious freedoms that we have left could be progressively and swiftly taken from us. This could no doubt also have grave implications for parents. This could be a test case, and could be used by the Constitutional Court, or Parliament, to pave the way for enacting legislation to outlaw corporal punishment in the home. With the amount of broken homes and dysfunctional families eroding the foundations of social cohesion, one would have expected government agencies to help families, not undermine them.
Will Parents be Jailed?
Various NGOs have recently called for spanking to be banned. If Parliament enacts such a law, will ordinary parents risk jail for spanking their own children? Given what has already happened to some parents under existing anti-spanking laws in Sweden and Scotland, we do not think that this prospect is far fetched. In 2010, a Swedish district court sentenced a couple to nine months each in prison and fined them the equivalent of US $10,650 after they admitted to spanking three of their four children as a normal part of their parenting methods.
The government says that they want to stop “cruel and degrading treatment” (1) of children and claims that non-abusive parents who spank their children will not be jailed. This sounds good on the surface, but the problem is that many social workers and childcare “experts” openly believe that ordinary spanking and “harmful and degrading treatment” are one and the same thing. They will be the people who implement the new law. They will be the ones investigating parents. They will be the ones reporting cases to the police. They will be the ones giving evidence in court. This is cause for grave concern.
Religious Freedom Under Threat
This is not only about the right of parents to discipline their children, but about religious freedom. If we do nothing then evil will triumph and soon other freedoms we still enjoy will vanish, as has been the case in the UK and Sweden.
An Urgent Call to Action
Let us therefore not be caught sleeping, but let us join together and stand united in Christ to boldly defend the religious freedoms that remain in South Africa. Let us join hands against evil and work to ensure that we can bring up our children according to God’s Law. May we fight peaceably and pray unceasingly for the right to continue to practise and preach God’s Word. Abortion is the ultimate child abuse. Pornography exploits, dehumanises and degrades. Human trafficking is a real human rights issue. Demand that the SAHRC stop wasting everyone’s time with trivial non issues and tackle real human rights threats.
What You Can Do
- 2.Write a letter to your local newspaper, favorite magazine or phone your local radio station and voice your concerns about this threat to your family. This is an opportunity to educate the public on Biblical methods of discipline, and draw attention to real human rights issues such as abortion, pornography, and prostitution.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His Commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9
For practical advice for parents on discipline, see the following articles from Focus on the Family:
Reforming Our Families (118 pages, R58) – Lenora Hammond.
PO Box 23632
7735 Cape Town
Tel: 021-689 4481
 These were the words used in the Children’s Amendment Bill in 2007, later dropped from the Bill.