Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is on a mission to put the fear of God into us. He believes South Africa would be a far better country “if religion could be allowed to influence the laws that govern our daily lives”.
Bear in mind that this is the same man who told the Judicial Service Commission that his God – the Christian God – wanted him to be Chief Justice.
Seemingly hellbent on turning South Africa into some kind of weird secular theocracy, Mogoeng said the religious oaths ministers took when they were sworn into Cabinet were provided for in the Bible and an understanding of the scriptural consequences of making promises and breaking them would help many to live up to their promises.
Actually, no. Our politicians don’t break their oaths because they lack an understanding of the scriptural consequences. They do it because there is no evidence that God even exists. They may as well say, “So help me Teletubbies” for all it serves to keep them on the straight and narrow.
The words themselves are all wrong. So help me God. Why the cry for help? This reeks of victimhood, the first defence of the truly guilty. When being sworn in, the president, cabinet ministers and parliamentarians should have concluded their oaths of office with, “… and should I fail to do so, may God make my head explode.” Or, worse, “May God render me destitute.” Or impotent.
It’s all too easy to easy to break your oath of office if you’re entrusting your promise to a supernatural entity whose method of ensuring obedience is to do nothing, even in the face of the most heinous acts of evil. Who wouldn’t be tempted to fiddle their expenses knowing that God is disinclined to stop or punish those responsible for child rape and chemical warfare?
And don’t tell me that God moves in mysterious ways. If anyone moves in mysterious ways, it is we humans. God, as far as we can tell, doesn’t move at all.
The head of the country’s judiciary went on to say: “A legal framework that frowns upon adultery, fornication, separation and divorce … would help us curb the murders that flow from adultery (and) help us reduce the number of broken families …”
I don’t know about your neighbourhood, Judge, but where I come from, bonking the plumber’s wife three doors down doesn’t always lead to machete fights at dawn.
And outlaw divorce by all means, but then you can expect an increase in homicides. And adultery. Which, as we all know, involves lashings of fornication. Going to be a tricky business, this framing laws forged in the hellfires of eternal damnation.
He also said perjury was “on all fours with the … biblical injunction that ‘thou shalt not bear false witness’”. And this: “Theft is the semen that breeds fraud and corruption”. There’s a bit too much focus on jiggery-pokery here. One more ejaculation of messy metaphors and I’m leaving.
Instead of swanning about quoting from Romans, Mogoeng would serve this country better if he spent his time identifying the plethora of legal loopholes through which so many lawyered-up lowlifes manage to slip.
Here are some rules embedded in religions which may or may not one day find their way onto our statute books.
No wearing of clothes made from a mix of wool and linen.
No sleeping with a woman who has her period.
If you are fighting with another man and your wife tries to rescue you by grabbing your opponent’s goolies, you must cut off her hand.
There will be stoning in the event of: Homosexuality, astrology, being a disrespectful child, being a drunken son, blasphemy, breaking the Sabbath, perjury, incest, bestiality and witchcraft.
No eating pigs, camels or assorted seafoods.
One hundred lashes for pre-marital sex.
No wearing of the colour yellow.
No black dogs as pets.
No lying on your back and crossing your feet.
Women may shave but not pluck.
No blood transfusions.
A Moabite may not marry the daughter of an Israelite.
Women shall not wear pants.
No lamb for the uncircumcised.
No wine for the Nazarites. Or grapes.
No selling of beautiful women.