The disturbing spectacle of the rape and sex-trafficking trial of alleged “pastor” Timothy Omotoso is currently playing out on our TV screens. Judging by the comments by journalists and social media posts, it appears the greater Christian Church is also on trial.
 
There is a growing list of so-called “pastors,” “bishops,” “prophets” and “apostles” accused of sexual exploitation and abuse of women in their congregations. These charlatans are worshiped and exalted as gods as they mercilessly exploit the poor for their hard earned money.
 
The revelations of sexual exploitation, abuse and financial scams in many so-called “churches” in South Africa follows the global exposé of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. Tragically, the image of the Christian Church as a place of love, safety and refuge lies in tatters.

Several dangerous precedents are being established by the Omotoso trial in the Port Elizabeth High Court. ANC inspired mobs demanded Omotoso’s Jesus Dominion church in PE be shut down. They also attacked and intimidated the defence attorney and co-accused in full view of the police.
 
When a democracy like South Africa embraces mob justice and rejects the rule-of-law and the judicial process – the consequences can be far-reaching and potentially catastrophic.
 
If politically driven mobs determine the guilt of the accused – instead of a fair trial – and churches are shut down in response to their demands – then the rule of law fails.
 
Significantly, Omotoso’s church in PE was shut down prior to the conclusion of his trial and any pronouncement of guilt. Only law courts may legally order the closure of institutions.
 
Please note I believe Timothy Omotoso is a charlatan and a sexual predator who used the Church as a cloak for his evil deeds. There are many like him in churches across South Africa.
 
Imposters like Omotoso provide the enemies of the Church the justification they need to invalidate the beliefs and convictions of Christians and severely restrict religious freedoms.

But Omotoso must be found guilty of his crimes by a court of law and sentenced accordingly. The court must also order the shut down of his cult – based on evidence of criminality.
 
Bathabile Dlamini, the grossly incompetent former Minister of Social Development exploited the trial for political gain. As the current Minister of Women in the Presidency, she undermined the judicial process by passing judgement on a High Court case not yet concluded.
 
She also opportunistically announced the launch of nationwide hearings into alleged sexual abuse in religious institutions in conjunction with the Gender Equality Commission.
 
The Gender Equality Commission has already challenged the autonomy of Churches at the Pretoria High Court in August. A UDM member demanded, “All Churches must be investigated.”
 
The CRL Commission has threatened to challenge the extent of religious freedoms of Churches at the Constitutional Court soon. The gist of their argument is, “Are religious freedoms limitless?” 
 
Clearly, the criminal behaviour of charlatans like Omotoso and others is being exploited to further a political agenda to persecute the Church and severely restrict religious freedoms.
 
The leadership of the legitimate Christian Church must recognise this threat and act swiftly to resist the growing opportunistic attacks against religious freedoms in South Africa.
 
Standing
 
Errol Naidoo

http://familypolicyinstitute.com/

#OmotosoTrial  @RevMeshoe

@A_C_D_P  #ACDP

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