Freedom of Religion SA (Forsa) has called on the public to help protect religious and parental freedom as the controversial Joshua Generation Church, which was recently reprimanded for promoting corporal punishment in the home, continues to fight for the right to spank children.
Forsa, a non-profit, non-denominational Christian organisation, says its ethos is Bible-based.
Its chief executive, Andrew Selley, is the founder and lead pastor of the Joshua Generation Church.
The organisation said for the last two years it had consulted legal and psychological experts to put comprehensive research and arguments before Parliament in support of retaining chastisement in the home.
In January, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) found the church’s “Raising Children – Transformation through Truth” manual, which promoted corporal punishment, to be in violation of the constitution.
It recommended, among others, that the church make a written agreement to desist from advocating corporal punishment.
“While there is no bill as of yet, all indications are that the proposed amendments to the Children’s Act will make it a crime for parents to spank their children – in all circumstances…
“Forsa encourages you to stand with us in protecting parental, and religious, freedom by giving us your mandate to speak on your behalf to Parliament,” the statement read.
Department spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said there was a discussion paper on the issue, which focused on corporal punishment in the home.
Church spokesperson advocate Nadene Badenhorst said it had until March 30 to appeal the SAHRC’s findings.
SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena said the commission stood by its report and allowed for the church to appeal.
“Corporal punishment in the home is wrong,” Mangena said.