Dear Professor Jansen,
This is in response to your recent Facebook post on the Chief Justice. Let me start by saying that I appreciate the work that you do for our nation. However, on this particular point I disagree with you.
The last time I checked public expressions of any religion under the South African Constitution are allowed, including the religious expressions of Public Office bearers.
My understanding of a living, working and healthy democracy, is that it is built on the understanding that we are different in every sense of that word, but we are also equal at the same time, and therefore we should practice tolerance towards what seems to be in conflict with what we think is right, according to our window of the world.
Secularism is not a neutral position in a faith context. It is clear statement of faith in itself. It is believing that you do not believe. It is not a neutral position away from institutional religions, Secularism is a religious institution on its own and does not need a physical building to prove that.
So, expecting the Chief Justice to not express his religious position as a Christian at work, is instructing him to denounce his Christian faith for Secularism – another faith. The very same faith that is the anchor of his ethical and moral conduct, which his position at work so demands. This is bluntly intolerant from you and those who hold your view.
If we are to mature as a democracy, we should learn to not manufacture problems. When the Chief Justice took office, we knew he was Christian and that has been tested several times, on various positions that would seemingly be in conflict with his faith. And all occasions he has proven that he knows the balance. Is it not time that we accepted, appreciated and most importantly respected his views as a Christian, like we do with many representatives of this nation? Is it not time for us, maybe, to judge him based on his work performance?
All I am saying is that our standards as a nation on this matter are really low.
Lastly, Hashim Amla our Muslim brother experienced the same sour treatment, when he expressed his religious views about wearing alcohol branded uniform on the cricket pitch.
Is Secularism the standard of – our nation – because it is a statement of faith? Do you have the right to be intolerant towards the faith of Public Office bearers, especially when they DO NOT impose it on anyone?