SA pastor gets a suspended jail sentence for hate speech

SA pastor gets a suspended jail sentence for hate speech May 19, 2018

Back in 2014 South African pastor Oscar Bougardt, above, was ordered by a court to stop preaching against homosexuality.
He didn’t. And yesterday Judge Lee Bozaleck in the Western Cape High Court handed him a jail sentence of 30 days, suspended for five years.
Bougardt was found guilty of hate speech and contravening the 2014 court order which told him to stop inciting hatred towards LGBT communities.
Judge Bozaleck ruled that he was found in contempt of court:

The respondent is found to have been in contempt of this Court’s Order of 11 August 2014 and he is committed in prison for a period of thirty days in respect thereof.

Bougardt said after the sentence:

I’m going to be very careful of what I say or publish in the future.

Last week it was reported that Bougardt, of the Calvary Hope Ministries, had been hauled to court by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) after he said on Facebook that homosexuality was a “curse”, a “disgrace”, that gays were “perverts” and that homosexual relationships were “from hell”.
Bougardt was supported by a group of pastors who insisted that the SAHRC, together with the court, was attacking the word of God. Said pastor Ferlon Christians, the leader of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP):

I am here because I wanted to see first hand what this is about. For us as the ACDP, is this an attack on Christianity, this is not about individuals. It is an attack on our Christian belief. If there is an attack, we must defend that. If pastors are prohibited from preaching what is in the Bible, we need to protect that.

Pastor Joe Sellidon said the courts will not gag the church:

We have instructions from God, to go out and tell everybody, they need to know that Jesus saves from any sin. The church needs to look past Oscar because the next pastor is in line to appear here.
We need to get support from the churches to support the matter, not the person. He is representing all of us. They won’t shut his mouth, if he goes to prison, he will still preach the word of God.

Hat tip: Paul Duveen

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  • barriejohn

    I’m going to be very careful of what I say or publish in the future.
    Exactly. Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the original prosecution, he was not sentenced for what he said but for contempt of court, which , in every country, is a serious matter. If he was worried about freedom of expression issues, then ignoring a court ruling was not the way to go about it.

  • L.Long

    ALL preachers do hate speech! If no other than just that you are a sin filled pile of crap….just more polite.

  • Rob Andrews

    For me, this is conflicting. I’m gay, but I’m also a libertarian and hence believe in no restrictions on free speech–in peace time. So I don’t know which way to go on this.
    I don’t want to see South Africa turn into another Uganda….. If he’s smart he should move there.
    “My right to swing a club, ends where the other persons body begins” –Abraham Lincoln.

  • Jim Baerg

    Rob Andrews:
    I’m not sure what you mean about the ‘in peace time’ restriction. Revealing secrets to a hostile power would be reasonably restricted even if there is not outright war at the time. Saying that war against country X is a mistake, should not be a crime even or especially when the war is already ongoing.

  • Rob Andrews

    @Jim Baerg:
    You’re right. I guess I was thinking about WWII. The U.S. couldn’t allow PRO Nazi propaganda to spread. That would be helping an enemy which we were in a life-or-death struggle!
    Your example sounds more like the Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam. But that’s incidental to the point I was trying to make about gay vs libertarian.

  • 1859

    ‘They won’t shut his mouth, if he goes to prison, he will still preach the word of god.’
    Then it must be god who is in contempt of court? The ‘words’ are god’s, which, after all, means the ‘hate speech’ is god’s. The pastor is just the mouthpiece, the echo-chamber of god’s words. Hummmm I think I’ll ask Billy Connolly how he got on with his lawsuit.

  • gedediah

    The original court order should have been made on the basis of incitement – i.e. that he said those things with the expectation there were people out there ready to act on his words and commit criminal offenses. That seems like a reasonabe limit to free speach.

  • Robster

    It’d be great fun finding a priest that can sermonise without hate filled rhetoric. If ever I go to a church facility again, I’m looking forward to recipes and limericks from the priestly type up the front, near the table with the blender and mixmaster.