Listening today on SAFM and watching later on the news as broadcasted by SABC3, I could not help concluding, the nominated Chief Justice Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng was not on trial but his Faith. Some of us have long understood that there is a concerted effort on the part of some to necessarily target Christianity as an Apartheid religion. The last five weeks since the president exercised his constitutionally endowed prerogative as stated in Section 174 of the Constitution to nominate, consult and appoint a Chief Justice, have made this my claim a glaring one.
It is now history that the President outfoxed all those who thought they could read and direct his mind when he opted to nominate his preferred candidate.
No sooner, did President Zuma make known his nomination and a cohort of self-appointed democracy crusaders began to research the candidate. It is clear as I always contend research is necessarily a convoluted term that can be abused, used, or manipulated dictated by a fixed desired outcome. The research’s mission was clear it started by asking who is Mogoeng Mogoeng? This question necessarily led us to where we are today for that question will tell us he is practicing Christian and a lay pastor of a Congregation. Once they had this, you now use that as the premise to interpret his views on gender judgements, he had made.
When you have done, your ‘research’ prove through such what you want the world to believe, that this nominated candidate is not fit. Use anything, say he is a junior, and say he is too young (the Paul Adams Cricketer story – who was always too young to play for the Proteas until he was too old to play for a Pat Symcox needed to retire in honour).
The newspapers ran to overflow with the coverage of this orchestrated campaign in which journalists overnight became constitutional law experts, and public intellectuals begin to set the contours of discourse on the subject matter. For five weeks non stop the nominated candidate was called inexperienced, not fit, incompetent, weak in administration, incapable of running the esteem CC court, the same the Deputy Chief Justice bemoaned in the last days of Justice Ngcobo they can cope without the latter.
No Chief Justice has ever in our short history of democracy been so targeted, rubbished, vilified and abused in stark silence on the part of the entire judiciary. Notwithstanding the fact that those before at least Justice Chaskalson and Langa were not judges before they began to serve in the CC. Regardless to how people like Presidential representative Dr. Mac Maharaj was at pains to explain it is simply mendacious to claim Mogoeng a junior when he is the third longest serving judge after Froneman and Cameron serving in the Constitutional Court. The lobby groups threatened with court cases on process, and added even criteria that are not a part of the current prerequisites. Such was the last weeks as we were fed with catchy lines; Mogoeng will be ‘grilled’ by the JSC.
In all of this, I wanted to know what were the real issue and my analysis I may share now without reservation. Mogoeng public declaration of his faith is the sole reason for this vilification. Mogoeng’s unequivocal stand on his Christian Faith as a practicing Christian is the true and only reason why he had been subjected to and continues to be the subject of scrutiny.
It would appear that in South Africa, the Chief Justice could be a Satanist and that would be more acceptable than the vexed Christianity. In SA for some, you could be a Jew even a Muslim who necessarily share similar conclusive views on critical issues our constitution as rights protects, you could be accepted but just do not be a Christian.
You could be an atheist, or agnostic it is for some very acceptable as long as you not a Christian. Alternatively, if you are a Christian you must necessarily be a closet one, to prove sensitive and less clouded in your judgements.
I contend Mogoeng’s sin is his FAITH, the same the Constitution defends yet for some who claim an illegitimate custodianship of our Democracy, Christianity as a Faith is only good in as much as it is buried with Apartheid.
The truth is these ignore the last census that clearly indicates that over 69% of South Africans are necessarily Christian. To therefore act as if Christianity is an outdated yesteryear Faith that is backward is correct a claim at least for those whose pet hate is Christianity.
The irony is that in South Africa you can be practicing homosexual / gay judge and you will not be scrutinised or questioned as potentially bias against a heterosexual lifestyle or belief system, but if you a Christian you necessarily will be tempted to prove bias as some ad-nauseum have been force-feeding us over the last five weeks. The major religions of this Country are in unison on many things such as sexuality.
We have an equal less clear traditional customs on intimacy and marriage that defines marriage in diverse ways. We have cultural expressions in which young girls as old as 12 years can be forced to marry older men, even forced to sleep with them. We have arranged marriages for example amongst Africans and Indians – these are all highly contested issues if seen through the lens of the bill of rights.
Yet only Christianity is singled out to be outdated, outmoded, archaic and not progressive. I am to be proven wrong as to whether the Jewish and Muslim faiths have in last 17years proved transformative on the contested subject of sexuality, marriage and cultural expressions associated with these.
However in spite, these Faiths sharing the same stance as Christianity only Christianity is singled out as backward, and therefore if a nominated Chief Justice is a Christian he must be scrutinised and made a public spectacle. He warrants being lied on, reduced to a junior, told he is backward and compromised, when former ones were not so scrutinised.
My conclusion Christianity went on trial today and not so much President Zuma or the nominated Justice Mogoeng. Perhaps we must start to deal with this issue for Christians constitute the only true majority but small gay lobby groups have such a presence as if the nation in majority is gay.
Bishop Clyde N. S. Ramalaine
In his personal capacity