Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Of Satanism, scapegoats and human rights part 3: Positive response from the NP

To my surprise, the NP responded very positively to the Pagan community in a press release. I am pleased that they state that Paganism is "wrongly associated with Satanism" and a "force for good in society". Even if I do think they are still confusing Reverse Christianity (which can be a source of problems) with LaVeyan Satanism (which is a valid religious path). However they didn't mention Witchcraft, which was specifically targeted by another NP National Executive member.

NATIONAL PARTY SOUTH AFRICA (NP) ON PAGANISM

http://www.nationalparty.co.za/0018.htm/
September 01, 2008

We have noted with great concern that there is a misunderstanding amongst the Pagan community regarding the NP's statement on Satanism.

We would like to state it unequivocally that the National Party does not hold any ill feeling against the pagan community. On the contrary, the National Party would endeavour upon election to protect the rights of the Pagan community. We understand the response from the Pagan community regarding our policy towards Satanism. It is well known that paganism has wrongly, and to the great detriment of the Pagans, been associated with Satanism by ill-informed officials.

However, the National Party wishes to advise that we fully support freedom of religion and that there would be no witch-hunt of any practitioners of Wicca, Odinic Rite or any of the other Pagan practices. Pagans are welcome to celebrate Imbolc, Beltane or any other festival in public, as long as the particular group does not break any of the laws of the Republic.

The reference to Satanism refers to destructive religion that developed as an inversion of Christian beliefs and is an open worship of evil. Paganism does not worship evil and it is a force for good in society. The senseless killing of a 16-year old boy at a school in Krugersdorp under the alleged influence of Satanism has prompted the suggestion that there should be acted against Satanism.

Finally, again we wish to advise that the Pagan community can rest assured that their rights to worship will be protected by the National Party once we have been elected to office.

We sincerely hope this statement has clarified all misunderstandings regarding our religious policy.

JMT Labuschagne
Spokesperson for Religion & Culture Affairs,
NP
http://www.nationalparty.co.za/0018.htm

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Damon Leff, the convenor of SAPRA, responded as follows:

Dear Mr. JMT Labuschagne / JD Uys

Your press statement of 1 September - http://www.nationalparty.co.za/0018.htm - refers.

The South African Pagan Rights Alliance welcomes your statement of tolerance with regard to Paganism in South Africa.

This Alliance notes however that it is, according to correspondence received from Mr. Uys dated 18 August, the intention of the National Party to suppress Witchcraft - an internationally recognised Pagan religion.

Note with reference to accompanying correspondence between myself and Mr Uys dated 18 August.

Clearly the misunderstanding, to which you refer in your press release, wholly belongs to Mr. Uys who, on behalf of the National Party, undertook to promote a religious policy that clearly and plainly intended to discriminate against identified religious minorities - Satanism and Witchcraft.

I therefore seek further clarification regarding the National Party’s religious agenda, in light of statements made by Mr. Uys which contradict your own statements in this regard on the subject of Witchcraft and self-defined Witches in this country.

I look forward to your considered response.

Yours Sincerely

Damon Leff

with reference previous correspondence between Damon Leff and Mr. Uys

**************************************

Original Message
From: "Damon Leff" <damon@gardenroute.com>
To: <mail@nationalparty.co.za>
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 11:12 AM
Subject: National Party Policy on Religion

Hello

I note that the National Party has made the following statement on its website:"The National Party respects the practice of all religions in our country, but will not tolerate satanism. The NP will outlaw all practices directly linked to satanism."

I would like to enquire the following:

1. What are the practices "directly linked" to Satanism that the National Party will outlaw?
2. Will the National Party recognise Paganism and Witchcraft as bone-fide religions in South Africa?
Yours Sincerely
Damon Leff

National Party South Africa (NP) wrote:

Damon.

We will not allow witches to operate in South Africa under NP Government. We and our supporters can not associate ourselves with anything that are linked to Satanism.

Regards

Juan-Duval Uys
Member of the NP National Executive.

**************************************

Original Message
From: "Damon Leff" <damon@gardenroute.com>
To: "National Party South Africa (NP)" <mail@nationalparty.co.za>
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 12:46 PM
Subject: Re: National Party Policy on Religion

Dear Juan-Duval Uys

I saddens me to see you repeat Nationalist Christian propaganda and discrimination against Witches and Witchcraft in South Africa.

You aught then to be aware of the fact that in South Africa self-defined Witches represent a small but visible religious minority. We have government appointed religious marriage officers and officially recognised religious groups and faith-based organisations. Our own faith-based organisation was formed in 2004 in order to protect the constitutional right to religious freedom and belief of self-defined Pagan Witches and to defend and protect Witchcraft as a bone-fide religion. South African Witches do not self-define as Satanists and do not regard Satanism as a Pagan religion.

The South African Pagan Rights Alliance regards your statement to "not allow witches to operate in South Africa under NP Government" as intent to suppress and discriminate against Witchcraft and Witches in South Africa.

This Alliance will therefore not support the Nationalist Party in any form and will, at every available opportunity, denounce the religious prejudiced policies of the National Party.

Yours Sincerely

Damon Leff

Convener: South African Pagan Rights Alliance
http://www.paganrightsalliance.org


**************************************

National Party South Africa (NP) wrote:

Sir,

We dont have a problem with your view on our policy, but we will NEVER regard Satanism or witches as a form of religion.Our major support comes from Christians and Muslims etc, we will never link this party to Satanism or witchcraft. We will make this very clear during elections 2009.

Kind regards

Juan-Duval Uys

1 comment:

mallencolly said...

I'm a bit dissapinted that they specified that celebrations have to be within the law of the republic. A bunch of pagans celebrating Beltane in public would have been a giggle. Almost worth voting NP for...