Stunning LGBT Victory Against South African Afrikaner Church

Our friends at Mamba Online in South Africa have provided this stunning report: The High Court in Pretoria, South Africa,  has ordered the Dutch Reformed Church (also known as the NG Kerk) to stop discriminating against same-sex couples and LGBTQI clergy.

On Friday, it ruled that the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) must end its November 2016 policy that reversed a landmark October 2015 decision to let individual church councils recognise and bless same-sex relationships and to allow non-celibate gay clergy.

Eleven members of the church, including the Rev Laurie Gaum, took the matter to court, not only arguing that the November 2016 decision was unprocedural and in contravention of the church’s own policies but was also unconstitutional.

A full bench of the court, consisting of Judges Sulette Potterill, Joseph Raulinga and Daisy Molefe, agreed on both counts, most significantly asserting that the church’s discrimination against queer people is unconstitutional.

The decision could have major consequences for churches that continue to exclude and reject sexual and gender minorities.

“In this matter, the question to be answered is, did the LGBTIQA+ community suffer inequality in the pre-constitutional South Africa and still today? The answer is an overwhelming yes,” the court said.

The judges found that the DRC’s 2016 decision inherently diminished the applicants’ dignity “because same-sex relationships are tainted as being unworthy of mainstream church ceremonies and persons in same-sex relationships cannot be a minister of the church.” READ MORE HERE.

The Dutch Reformed Church (in Dutch: Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk or NHK) was the largest Christian denomination in the Netherlands from the onset of the Protestant Reformation until 1930. It was the foremost Protestant denomination, and—since 1892—one of the two major Reformed denominations along with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands.

It spread to the United States, South Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and various other world regions through the Dutch colonization. It has been the original denomination of the Dutch Royal Family until being merged into the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, a United church of both Reformed and Evangelical Lutheran theological orientations.

The allegiance to the Dutch Reformed Church was a common feature among Dutch immigrant communities around the world, and became a crucial part of Afrikaner nationalism in South Africa.

It developed during the Protestant Reformation, being shaped theologically by John Calvin, but also other major Reformed theologians. It was founded in 1571. The Dutch Reformed Church was shaped by various theological developments and controversies during its history, including Arminianism, the Nadere Reformatie and a number of splits in the 19th century that greatly diversified Dutch Calvinism. The church functioned until 2004, the year it merged with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands to form the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. At the time of the merger, the Church had 2 million members organized in 1,350 congregations. A minority of members of the church chose not to participate in the merger and instead formed the Restored Reformed Church.

 

POSTED BY MELANIE NATHAN

Commissionermnathan@gmail.com
Divorce and Family Mediation: www.privatecourts.com
Advocacy:  African Human Rights Coalition
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