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Press Release - the Church does have a Voice

Source: NMB: Transformation Christian Network
Date Added: 2008-09-19

Category:

Dear Friend

The following “Letters to Editor” were forwarded to the Herald and Burger for publication this morning. The Herald did what we asked them to do and printed our letter word for word. Regrettably, the Burger got a little excited and decided to do their own thing. Needless to say they got a little mixed up with networks and signatories.

More important was the unity shown by the church leaders in our city. (Psalm 133)

Blessings
Trevor Jennings

Chairpersons: Bishop Lunga ka Siboto, Bishop Bethlehem Nopece
Executive: Pastor Carol Burton, Pastor James Duffey, Pastor Mvusi Gwam,
Pastor Afrika Mhlophe, Mrs Lynn Page, Bishop Zipho Siwa, Bishop Nkosinathi Vika
Co-ordinators: Trevor Jennings, Joan Keeling, Zwai Ntanjana, Mike Smith,
Tyrone Strydom, Pierre van Wyk, Sugnet van Wyk

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For attention: Ismail (ismailm@avusa.co.za)
heraldletters@avusa.co.za
From: Trevor Jennings 082 825 8581

THE CHURCH DOES HAVE A VOICE

The recent court case between Strydom versus the Dutch Reformed Church Moreleta Park raised massive Christian concern regarding the church’s right to formulate its own code of conduct, based on its interpretation of the Bible.

After careful study, we as a number of Port Elizabeth church leaders, conclude that the constitutional right of freedom of religion was never at stake in this particular case. The matter at stake here was the individual’s right to equality in the workplace. The judgment simply means that the church, in its labour practices, cannot operate above the laws of the country, and with this ruling we stand in full agreement.

However, no other constitutional right was affected by the ruling at all, least of all the right of freedom of religion. The judge acknowledged this principle in his ruling. If a church believes that certain relationships or lifestyles are not acceptable according to their sincerely held beliefs, then, in terms of our constitution, the right of religious freedom affords the church the right to act against those who do not endorse or hold to those same beliefs.

Because this case dealt with the fairness of discrimination in a labour context, some valuable lessons have been learned such as that in future employment interviews and adverts, it would be wise to clearly spell out more than just a job description, but also a moral code / statement of faith. This also places the onus on the employee to disclose all known factors that could potentially prejudice the employer / employee relationship because of a clash with the employer’s belief system / code of conduct.

The church in Port Elizabeth is committed to this city and its people and to upholding truth and justice as expressed in our constitution. We do have freedom of religion and we do have a moral voice, a voice that needs to be vigilantly made heard in the interest of our country and our people.

In order to actively promote truth, freedom and healing in our city, we welcome the initiative by Prof Pieter Coertzen and others to propose a Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms in SA for inclusion in the Human Rights Bill.  May the truth and grace of the Gospel message always prevail and make a lasting difference!

Pastor Braam Botha, Doxa Deo

Bishop Michael Coleman, Catholic Diocese of PE

Pastor Jimmy Crompton, Word of Faith Christian Centre

Pastor Patrick Douglas-Henry, Apostolic Faith Mission

Pastor Neville Goldman, Ebenezer Centre

The Most Reverend Lunga ka Siboto, Presiding Bishop Ethiopian Episcopal Church

Pastor Jerome Liberty, Victory Ministries International

Rev Danie Mouton, NG Kerk

Bishop Bethlehem Nopece, Anglican Diocese

Dr Dave Pedersen, Fountain Vineyard Christian Church

Pastor Richard Preston, New Covenant Church

Pastor John Scholtz, Harvest Christian Church

Bishop Zipho Siwa, Methodist Church

Bishop Nkosinathi Vika, Presiding Bishop Ethiopian Charismatic Church
 

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Vir aandag: Yvonne (oos@dieburger.com)
Van: Trevor Jennings (082 825 8581)

DIE KERK HET STEEDS ’N BOODSKAP

Die onlangse uitspraak in die hofgeding tussen Strydom en die NG Kerk Moreleta Park is in kerklike kringe met kommer begroet: het die kerk steeds die reg om haar eie gedragskodes te formuleer, gebaseer op haar interpretasie van die Bybel?

As ‘n groep Port Elizabethse kerkleiers het ons die uitspraak sorgvuldig bestudeer, en besef dat die grondwetlike reg van godsdiensvryheid nie in die hofsaak ter sprake kom nie. Hier gaan dit oor die indiwidu se reg tot gelykheid in die werkplek. Die uitspraak beteken dat die kerk, in haar arbeidspraktyke, nie bo die wette van die land verhewe is nie. Ons ondersteun die hof hierin.

Geen ander konstitusionele reg word deur regter Basson se uitspraak geraak nie, veral nie die reg op godsdiensvryheid nie. Indien kerke van die oortuiging is dat sekere verhoudings of lewenstyle onaanvaarbaar is, het die kerk die grondwetlike reg om (met reg) te diskrimineer teen diegene wat nie dieselfde oortuigings onderskryf of handhaaf nie.

Die saak tussen Strydom en Moreleta Park het gehandel oor die billikheid van diskriminasie in die arbeidsomgewing. As kerke kan ons waardevolle lesse hieruit leer. Een daarvan is dat dit verstandig is om in pos-advertensies en werksonderhoude nie net ‘n posbeskrywing uit te spel nie, maar ook ‘n morele kode en/of ‘n geloofstandpunt in te sluit. Dit sal ook die onus op die voornemende werknemer plaas om alle bekende faktore uit te spel wat moontlik ‘n impak op die werkgewer-werknemer verhouding kan maak, omdat dit in stryd met die werknemer se morele kode en geloofstandpunt mag wees.

Die kerk in Port Elizabeth is verbind aan die heil van die stad. Die kerk wil geregtigheid en waarheid dien, soos dit ook deur ons grondwet verteenwoordig word. Ons het godsdiensvryheid en ons het as kerk ‘n morele stem: ‘n stem wat ons waaksaam en energiek in die belang van ons land en sy mense hoorbaar wil maak.

Ons werk onverpoosd om waarheid, vryheid en genesing aktief in ons stad te bevorder. Daarom verwelkom ons die inisiatief van prof Pieter Coertzen en andere om ‘n Handves van Godsdienstige Regte en Vryhede in SA by die Wet op Menseregte in te sluit. Indien so ‘n handves behoorlik benut word, kan dit die kollektiewe stem van die kerk versterk. Mag die waarheid en genade van ons geloof, ‘n blywende impak in ons stad maak!

Pastoor Braam Botha, Doxa Deo

Biskop Michael Coleman, Katolieke Diosees van PE

Pastoor Jimmy Crompton, Word of Faith Christian Centre

Pastoor Patrick Douglas-Henry, Apostoliese Geloofsending (AGS)

Pastoor Neville Goldman, Ebenezer Centre

Biskop Lunga ka Siboto, Dienende Biskop Ethiopiese Episkopaalse Kerk

Pastoor Jerome Liberty, Victory Ministries International

Ds Danie Mouton, NG Kerk

Biskop Bethlehem Nopece, Anglikaanse Diosees

Dr Dave Pedersen, Fountain Vineyard Christian Church

Pastoor Richard Preston, New Covenant Church

Pastoor John Scholtz, Harvest Christian Church

Biskop Zipho Siwa, Metodiste Kerk

Biskop Nkosinathi Vika, Dienende Biskop Ethiopiese Charismatiese Kerk

Source: NMB: Transformation Christian Network
Date Added: 2008-09-19

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