PROMOTING ACCESS TO AFRICAN RESEARCH

Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal/Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad

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Doctrinal sanction and the protection of the rights of religious associations: Ecclesia De Lange v The Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (726/13) [2014] ZASCA 151

Shaun de Freitas

Abstract


Scholarship on the protection of religious rights and freedoms in the context of religious associations in South Africa has gained in momentum since the decision by the Equality Court in Johan Daniel Strydom v Nederduitse Gereformeerde Gemeente Moreleta Park some years ago. Emanating from this were diverse scholarly insights on what the parameters of religious associations should be, with specific focus on sexual conduct, religious doctrine and membership of religious associations. The South African judiciary has not been confronted with a similar challenge since the decision. However, with the advent of the judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Ecclesia De Lange v The Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa in 2014, questions as to the parameters of the rights of religious associations in the context of sexual conduct and religious doctrine again present themselves. This article consequently analyses the mentioned judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal to further an understanding of the parameters of associational rights of religious institutions against the background of a truly plural and democratic society, as supported by the Constitution of South Africa.

Keywords: Religious rights; associational rights; religious associations and disciplinary action; religious associations; human rights; church and state




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