Eastern Cape school closed for exorcism
On April 13 news headlines read “Eastern Cape school closed for exorcism after pupils captured by evil spirits“.
This is not the first case of hysteria in public schools in South Africa. In the past, pastors were invited to schools as a matter of course in order to deal with untested and unproven allegations of supernatural activity.
SAPRA is horrified to see that despite the 2017 Organisasie vir Godsdienste-Onderrig en Demokrasie v Laerskool Randhart and Others judgement, public schools are still being used by Christians to spread the gospel.
In paragraph 102 of the judgement, van der Linde J wrote:
“(a) It is declared that it offends s.7 of the Schools Act, 84 of 1996 for a public school –
(i) to promote or allow its staff to promote that it, as a public school, adheres to only one or predominantly only one religion to the exclusion of others; and
(ii) to hold out that it promotes the interests of any one religion in favour of others.”
No public school may promote, or allow its staff or its School Governing Body to promote any public school as a Christian or ‘Christian ethos’ school, nor exclude a diversity of religious faith and diverse religious practices from any public school.
By inviting pastors (and a Traditional Healer) to give credence to mass hysteria as “evidence of supernatural activity”, Ntsika Senior Secondary School has unwittingly reinforced religious bias against a fictitious prop, a prop that may well engender further baseless allegations of supernatural activity against an unwitting person who will be blamed for the hysteria.
Will Christian exorcism prevent vigilante violence against the falsely accused?
We doubt it!
SAPRA appeals to the Minister of Basic Education Ms Matsie Motshekga, MEC Mr. Gade David Fundile, and the Eastern Cape Department of Education, to put an end to the charade of pandering to the fantasies of teenagers. Stop using public schools to proselytise religious prejudice and bigotry.