Original Research

Does the offence of blasphemy have a future under the South African constitution?

Kobus van Rooyen
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 51, No 4 | a1461 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v51i4.1461 | © 1995 Kobus van Rooyen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 December 1995 | Published: 11 December 1995

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Kobus van Rooyen, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

This article reflects upon the question of whether the offence of blasphemy is valid in terms of the Constitution of the Republic which guarantees equal protection and freedom of religion, opinion, conscience and belie! Blasphemy protects only the Christian and Judaic perceptions of God. Would a Muslim, for example, not be entitled to protection under a broadened offence? And does the offence not discriminate against religions not protected by blasphemy? The author contends that Parliament has a duty to either broaden the scope of blasphemy or to scrap the offence. He is, however, of the view that the offence is not, in itself, unconstitutional and that Parliament should, given the sensitivities in this sphere, not scrap the offence but rather protect the religious convictions of all sections of the population.

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