South Africans parents and non-parents alike are up in arms over the recent ConCourt decision to make all forms of physical discipline illegal, taking to social media platforms to air their opinions.
The Twitter response below is a neat summary of the general public consensus regarding the case:
"My house, my rules, case closed."
For many, religious reasons have been at the core of the heated debates playing out in homes, schools and, of course, online.
The case itself was driven by the non-profit Christian organisation Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA), who had led the unsuccessful appeal in favour of the "reasonable chastisement defence."
Calling the judgment a "blow to religious freedom" FOR SA commented that the ruling "makes criminals of many people of faith who believe that the scriptures permit (if not command) them to physically correct their children."
"This will destroy families as the bedrock of our society," the organisation warned in a statement to the press.
Many parents emailed us in support of the ConCourt judgment, while other religiously inclined parents wrote in support of the FOR SA stance.
We asked readers how they would respond to the ruling, and the majority were clear: "I'll discipline as I see fit".
Infringing on the rights of Christians
Dad Stephen laid out his thoughts in an email to Parent24:
"It is sad that the courts have ruled as such yet at the same time understandable because South Africa is no longer a godly country.
As Christians, it is our duty to train a child up in the way he/she should go, and in doing so, we have to discipline our children as well in order for them to grow up as decent God-fearing individuals.
Discipline comes in many forms, one of which is discipline by means of a hiding.
The Bible instructs us as follows:
- Proverbs 13 v 24: He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
- Proverbs 22 v 15: Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
- Proverbs 23 v 13: Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
- Proverbs 29 v 15: The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
Now, when one reads the above verses, it shows that a hiding is more helpful to a child than harmful.
I am not saying that having laws is wrong, but I am saying that when the laws of the land are contradictory to that of God, we are bound to head for problems.
I do not expect the ConCourt to have a change of heart, but I can assure you that men and women in this country who love God above all will honour his word and not these laws of man.
I foresee great challenges in the future due to this, and some of these challenges will arise due to the fact that the ConCourt ruling has now indirectly infringed on the rights of Christians, their beliefs and biblical convictions."
On social media, debate was heated:
'Our Constitution is the Bible'
"Our Constitution is the Bible. God's FINAL authority on all things pertaining to life. In other words: to hell with the constitution!"
- Bill S
'Christians should challenge this'
"This ruling is contrary to my belief as a Christian, that I am allowed, even instructed by God, to chastise my kids, to set them on the right path.
Chastisement is the act of scolding or punishing someone. It can include physical punishment, or a beating — when it's used in the Bible, that's almost always what it means.
'Chastise' means 'to set or keep right', or 'to make pure'. Christians should challenge this ruling in the courts."
- Conrad M
'Against our age-old religion'
"Our Christian teaching from the Bible and belief is to use the rod or spoil the child. How can the court go against our age-old religion and beliefs?"
- Elizabeth D