AfriForum thanks members, collaborators for support in school case to protect religious freedom

AfriForum wishes to thank all members and collaborators for their support in the so-called school religion case.

The case between Laerskool Randhart, Laerskool Baanbreker, Laerskool Garsfontein, Hoërskool Linden, Hoërskool Oudtshoorn and Oudtshoorn Gimnasium on the one hand, and the Organisation for Religious Education and Democracy on the other was heard in the South Gauteng High Court in May 2017 after these schools had been taken to court by this fundamentalist, atheist organisation at the end of 2014 as a result of the schools’ religious ethos. FEDSAS supported the schools, while AfriForum covered the legal costs.

The schools’ legal representatives indicated in a letter today that their clients will not be applying for leave to appeal or for any further legal processes in terms of the case. In the ruling that was delivered on 28 June 2017, the schools – who, just like AfriForum, advocate freedom of religion – obtained a conclusive victory. Thanks to contributions from AfriForum members and input from collaborators such as Hykie Berg, Rev. Henk Stavast and Derick Francis (respectively through fund-raising actions and an awareness bicycle tour that covered more than 6 000 km across South Africa), an extremely competent legal team could be appointed to argue the best case possible and successfully protect freedom of religion in schools.

The opponents essentially failed in the legal advice that they had sought, which includes that religious performances be declared unconstitutional, national policy be elevated to legislative status and 71 interdicts be implemented against these schools. The legal process, however, unmasked the organisation’s intolerance towards other religious stances.

The Court’s ruling, on the other hand, confirms that religious observances are not unconstitutional, but may not be exclusive. This is also a guiding principle for any school who may be harassed in future by this intolerant group.

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