Nation Talks

Another Jesus Christ appeared in Gogrial East county

By Kiden Stela Mandela

A national Member of Parliament (MP) has taken the law into his hands by destroying a religious symbol which is contrary to the bill of rights. It means the country’s lawmakers don’t respect the rule of law which contracting the quest to achieving peace, unity and reconciliation. The leaders need to follow the law, otherwise it is really not ethical to set a church ablaze.

The burning down of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Gogrial East County has shown a clear behaviour of obvious religious intolerance which offends the provisions of the regional and international human’s rights law of South Sudan. Article 8 of the transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 as amended clearly provides for equality of all religions in the Republic of South Sudan.

The right to practice one’s religion in the country has a wide range of non-religious beliefs including atheism, pacifism which indicate as long as such religion is very real.

It is good to protect culture but also, we should know that South Sudan is not an island, it is part of the world and also had signed some fundamental regional and international human rights instruments that must be observed in its governance approach.

In the South Sudan constitution, there are rights to religious beliefs and practices, the public authorities are not supposed to interfere with the rights of individual to hold it or practice his or her religious beliefs or change it in any part of the country. For the leaders of South Sudan to restrict or burn down churches is surely unlawful.

Article 9 (3) of our Constitution provides that South Sudan must respect all those Regional and international human rights instruments which South Sudan is a party to.

The regulation of religious practices in this Country is to restrict them in some situations.  But public Authorities should not restrict or interfere with religious beliefs or practices, they must show that their action is carried out lawfully as it is necessary and proportionate in order to protect: (1) public safety; (2) public order; (3) health or morals; (4) division caused by the religion in the community; and (5) the rights and freedoms of other people.

Religions in the context of South Sudan can be understood in terms of culture and it is treated as culture of those who practice it.  Ethnic and cultural communities under Article 33 of our Constitution are protected to have the right to freely enjoy and develop their particular cultures.

It is to that effect, Article 33 further provides that members of ethnic and cultural communities in South Sudan shall have the right to practice their beliefs, use their languages, observe their religions and raise their children within the context of their respective cultures and customs in accordance with this Constitution and the law.

The South Sudan Government Directive Policy as it is provided for under Article 38 provides that all levels of government shall (1) (d) recognize cultural diversity and encourages such diverse cultures even if so then the authority should open up a case on the church but not burning down the church completely and also church leaders must not put immorality first than serving God to avoid all problems of such kind. Jesus Christ the son of God chased away the people who were selling in his father’s temple and destroyed all properties. But you are not Jesus Christ.

Authorities should follow the law because if they are the ones dishonoring the law, how about those who are out of it.

God Bless South Sudan

Be Right there!

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