The Rev. Oscar Peter Bougardt (Pic: Facebook)
Despite having signed a court order not to make anti-gay comments, Cape Town’s Pastor Oscar Bougardt shows no sign of letting up on his appalling homophobia.
Over the last few months the cleric has contributed a host of shockingly hateful comments on Mambaonline articles.
These include writing: “I won’t be surprised if Pope Francis is gay, or if he was one of the priest who raped altar boys in his younger days.”
Bougardt also stated that homosexuality “is a curse and a disgrace”, that gay people are “perverts” and that “homosexual relationships are from [the] pit of hell and homosexuals are hell bound.”
In an article about a Senegalese journalist jailed for six months on homosexuality charges, he commented: “Six months too short for animal like behaviour. We need more countries that is bold enough to take a stance against perverts.”
On US County Clerk Kim Davis, Bougardt wrote: “Forcing a God fearing Lady to sign off marriage licenses of homosexual perverts. We will continue to pray for this servant of God.”
In July, he applauded anti-gay comments by Nigeria’s president: “If I was the president of my country I will lock them in cages where they belong. They behave worst than animals in bed, and don’t even deserve a prison Cell with criminals, they belong in a cage.”
Most shocking of all, Bougardt appeared to support the cold-blooded murder of gays and lesbians.
In response to a September 22 report about the execution of nine men and a boy for homosexuality by Isis radicals, Bougardt wrote: “We need Isis to come to countries who are homosexual friendly. Isis. Please come rid South Africa of homosexual curse.”
These statements appear to blatantly contravene the settlement order Bougard signed in August 2014 with the Equality Court in Bloemfontein in a hate speech case brought against him by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). The agreement followed a mediation process that he requested.
In the settlement, the pastor was “interdicted from publishing statements that are discriminatory or incite hatred or harm on the grounds of sexual orientation.”
Bougardt said in the agreement that he was “truly sorry” for making his anti-gay statements and acknowledged that his comments were “likely to encourage hatred and cause emotional, psychological and physical harm” to members of the gay and lesbian community.
He also asked “those who he has offended to forgive him” and undertook “not to make such statements in the future.”
Mambaonline has contacted the SAHRC and made them aware of Bougardt’s continued anti-gay slurs and flouting of the agreement.
Spokesperson Isaac Mangena told us that, “If the comments are true, then they would be in violation of the order of the court.”
“The SAHRC will have to assess these allegations, investigate and determine next steps. In this regard, we will have to engage with legal counsel as well to determine whether the court order has been violated,” he added.
Bougardt has confirmed to Mambaonline telephonically and via e-mail that he was behind the comments but appears to have little concern about the ramifications.
In a brief phone call on Monday, the pastor said, “I am not concerned whatsoever.” He explained that he visits Mambaonline and comments on articles “because you post negative things about me.”
“I think we are living in a free South Africa. There is no hate speech to it. I’m just expressing myself,” insisted Bougardt.
He added, “I don’t care if you lock me up.” With regard to his comment about Isis on Mambaonline he denied that this suggested “that they must come and kill homosexuals.”
Pierre LeRoux-DuPisani, one of the original complainants against the pastor, told Mambaonline that he will lay another complaint against Bougard with the SAHRC.
He said that he’s “appalled” at the manner in which Bougardt has violated the court order.
“This just goes to show that he is not repentant and that his ‘sincere apology’ was insincere and were just words he said to get off the hook,” argued LeRoux-DuPisani.
“He still maintains that homosexuals should die and be executed. It is also utterly shocking that he suggested that Isis should mobilise in South Africa to do exactly that. This is ironic as Isis has on numerous occasions executed Christians and continues to do so,” said LeRoux-DuPisani.
Bougardt first launched his crusade against homosexuality in October 2011 by stating that Archbishop Desmond Tutu would burn in hell for supporting the LGBT community and claiming that most gays and lesbians are drug addicts and child molesters.
He went on to send a string of provocative e-mails to gay groups and media, including Mambaonline, and stated that he supports the execution of homosexuals.
In an e-mail in September 2012, he wrote that gay people are “to blame for all sex attacks on children, because people who kill and molest children have a homosexual background.”
Mambaonline has offered to provide evidence of Bougardt’s recent statements to the SAHRC, including IP addresses and the e-mail address used. The SAHRC has yet to request these or to say when it will look into the matter.
How it takes action, or fails to do so, against the pastor could either strengthen or undermine the SAHRC’s credibility when it comes to LGBT equality and the value of orders issued by the Equality Court.