South African Constitutional Court: New Chief Justice belongs to anti-gay Mega Church

Johannesburg, Aug 25, 2011,

South African President, Jacob Zuma has nominated Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng as the Chief Justice to the South African Constitutional Court. A social conservative will now be responsible for upholding one of the most progressive constitutions in the world.

Critique comes as some believe others are more qualified; 0ne wonders why the ANC President would choose Mogoeng.

Zuma, once himself accused of rape, seems either to have failed to do his homework or is simply not concerned with upholding the Constitution in its current form, risking precedent under leadership of a Judge who has already provided rulings that reflect views on gender and rape that are disdainful of the country’s constitution.

The  UK Guardian: discusses  some of Mogoeng’s rulings and which include statements that are incongruous with the intent of the SA Constitution. Read more …. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/25/south-africa-jacob-zuma-choice-top-judge

In one appeal, heard in the Bophuthatswana High Court (subsequently renamed the North West High Court) in Mafikeng in 2007, Mogoeng suspended a convicted rapist’s two-year jail sentence on the grounds that he had been “aroused” by his wife and had used “minimum force”.  Mogoeng was among the judges who suspended the man’s sentence, stating: “The desire to make love to his wife must have overwhelmed him, hence his somewhat violent behavior.”

“Louise Olivier, the law program manager at the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, said: “To appoint judge Mogoeng Mogoeng as its chief justice makes a mockery of the substantial constitutional advances made by the court. His previous judgments on gender equality and marital rape indicate that he has scant regard for legal protections that most South Africans hold dear.”

To add to the bewilderment of the SA Civil rights groups, Mogoeng belongs to the Winners Chapel International church, which preaches that homosexuality is a perversion that can be cured.  The City Press newspaper said Mogoeng is a member of the Johannesburg branch and provides “pastoral services”, such as house visits, but does not preach.

The Church and its History:-

n May 1 and 2 !981, in a long drawn out 18 hour vision in a certain ‘International Hotel’ in Ilesa, Old Oyo State, Brother David Oyedepo, a native of Omu-Aran in Kwara State,Nigeria received a mandate that “The hour has come to liberate the world from all oppression and wickedness of Satan through the preaching of the word of faith; and I am sending you to undertake this task”.

Immediately after this, he sent the message to all his friends and the ‘Powerhouse’, a group of about 70 members, praying and fellowshipping under the aegis of ‘Faith Liberation Hour’, a weekly programme was established. The church had its first and commissioning service in Ilorin, Kwara State, Northern Nigeria on September 17, 1983 and Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God commissioned the ministry. At inception, there came an instruction to move to ‘Damascus’ which was understood to be Kaduna.

The Kaduna branch consisted of four members and is now known as the “Garden of Faith”. During a Powerhouse meeting in April 1982, Brother David Oyedepo listed seven areas where God had spoken to him concerning the future of the ministry. He stated that “at the base of the commission will be a tent which will sit 50,000 people”. He stated that very soon there will be millions gathering at the base to listen to the gospel. He added that he saw them flying with the gospel on wings which showed that soon the ministry will have her own aircraft.

He added that the whole world will soon be able to hear the message of the commission from the base. At that time, the internet as we know it today was not in view. At the inception of the ministry, David Oyedepo got instruction to commit the spoken word into writing with the same measure of proof.

In 1987 while in the United States he got an instruction from God to “Get back home and make my people rich”. This served as a major thrust for the prosperity message of the commission. He was ordained as a “Bishop” by the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa of the Church of God Mission in 1988. The church began to spread and on 27 May,1987,  the first five branches of the church were established in 5 Nigerian towns.  This set the stage for the Lagos branch to start up in September 1989 with the name “Winners Chapel”. The first service in Lagos had about 300 people in attendance. By December 1993, the Lagos church had 3,000 worshippers and by December 1994 it had increased to 10,000 members.

In 1996, Archbishop Benson Idahosa was invited to dedicate the church’s Iyana Ipaja facility located at Raji Oba street. This consisted of a 3,000 seater auditorium with overflow facilities for 30,000 as well as an eight (8) floor tower which was the World Mission Agency headquarters. This $50 million  facility was already largely inadequate in less than 2 years of its existence. The church membership increased to 75,000 in single services by the middle of 1999. The name “Winners Chapel” soon became the popular name of the church even more so than the original name “The Living Faith World Outreach Centre” (LFWOC). Kaduna worshippers however still love to go by the name ” Garden of Faith”.

The Garden of Faith is the national headquarters of the church. In 1993, the Vice-President of the Living Faith Church and then senior Pastor of the Maiduguri church, Pastor David Abioye was ordained “Bishop”.. Driving back to Kaduna from Zaria after a meeting on May 4 1994, Bishop Oyedepo heard a call from God that “The harvest of Africa was over-ripe and that he should rush in and preserve it from decadence”. On May 8, 1994,the mandate was dedicated with a giant map of Africa and on January 15, 1995, the first missionaries left the shores of Nigeria. As at September 2010, Winners Chapel has branches in at least 63 cities in 45 African countries.

This is the latest message to which the Justice probably subscribes, especially given the measure of “understanding” he has displayed toward the men convicted of raping their wives, as can be seen from the case examples that he ruled on.

“Talking about covenant obligations expected of the couple to successfully manage their home alone, the man is the principal figure in the family unit. God reckons with his position as head of the home. So, the love weapon is the master key for the man to build the home with his wife successfully.

Love is the price a man pays for a glorious home. It must be without hypocrisy, but rather sees good even while assessing a wrong situation. My husband confessed that he can boldly say that he doesn’t know if I have done anything wrong, because even if I have, he knows that it must have been in a bid to do the right thing.

To the woman, when you give room to your husband to fulfil his covenant role of headship, you have automatically enabled him to play his messianic role over you. If you are not reciprocating your husband’s love with submission, he will become weary of loving you. But by submitting to him in everything, you give him the co-operation he needs to fulfill his “messianic” role in your life.

Principally, order your priorities right. When you learn to do that, you will discover that things will work out without any problem. Obey what the Word says, and you will have what God has promised.”

This appointment would certainly seems odd in a Country where the Constitution specifically protects sexual orientation, gender equality and gender identity. Yet, Zuma is notorious for his anti-gay appointments; as evidenced by the ambassadorship to Uganda, now filled by Jon Qwelane, who has since been convicted for his anti-homosexual hate speech in an article he wrote as a journalist.

Indeed as fate would have it, the new Chief Justice will serve on a bench with South Africa’s first openly gay Justice , Edwin Cameron, also the first senior South African official to state publicly that he was living with HIV/AIDS.

This will be an interesting Bench!

Inside the South African Constitutional Court
photo by Melanie Nathan


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