Pastor Oscar Bougardt
The notoriously homophobic Pastor Oscar Bougardt has told the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) that, despite unashamedly calling for gays to be killed, he is not guilty of hate speech.
Bougardt is under investigation by the commission following a complaint by forensic investigator and blogger Pierre Le Roux that he is advocating “hatred and intolerance” through virulently anti-gay statements and e-mails.
A Christian minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and senior pastor at Calvary H.O.P.E Ministries in Mitchells Plain, Bougardt has not only supported the execution of gay people but has also stated that they are child molesters and are “to blame for all sex attacks on children”.
In an official written response to Le Roux’s complaint to the SAHRC, prepared by Bougardt’s lawyer, Advocate Ebrahim Arendse, he unapologetically admits to supporting the killing of gay people. Arendse writes that Bougardt “does not deny calling for homosexuals to be hanged if they are caught in a homosexual act…”
He also “confirms posting on Facebook certain statements against the gay lifestyle as cited in the complaint lodged by Mr. Pierre Le Roux” and affirms his belief that gay-affirming clergy such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu will burn in hell.
Bizarrely, despite admitting to having made these outrageously anti-gay statements, Bougardt complains that Le Roux “slandered” him on the internet by “calling him a homophobe and the Western Cape’s biggest bigot” and says that this led to him being “threaten [sic] and verbally abused by homosexuals world-wide”.
Arendse goes on to quote a number of Biblical verses to justify his argument that Bougardt’s comments should not be seen as inciting hatred since he is “Biblically mandated to preach against the homosexual lifestyle” because, “according to the Word of God, homosexuality is a sin”.
Ironically, while the pastor believes it acceptable to call for the deadly persecution of gay people, in direct conflict with the constitution’s bill of rights, he uses the very same constitution to defend himself. Arendse insists that Bougardt has the constitutional right to make his hateful comments, citing its protection of “freedom of religion, belief and opinion”.
The submission loses even more credibility when it goes on to absurdly state that because the spread of AIDS is due to “the promiscuity of homosexual men,” the gay community is to blame for babies being raped (by men who believe that this will cure them). Gay people are thus also responsible for an “80% rise in child sexual abuse over a year” in South Africa, the pastor claims.
After reading Bougardt’s response, Le Roux told Mambaonline that he was “appalled that Rev Bougardt is still unapologetic for his hateful remarks for which he was reported.
“He still hides behind his interpretation of the Bible to justify his hate speech and clearly believes that his archaic beliefs are justifiable in the modern age we live in.”
Le Roux said that the Pastor “clearly has no regard for the responsibility that should weigh heavy on his shoulders as a leader in his community. As such I believe that he will continue to advocate violence and discrimination towards to the LGBT community and as such I believe he is a danger to society.
“I only hope that the HRC will deal with this matter swiftly and that the human rights and dignity of all LGBT South Africans will be protected from this man,” added Le Roux.