Christian law student Shaun Christie claims he’s being victimised for expressing his anti-LGBTQIA+ views
Religious homophobes are demanding the reinstatement of a Christian student who was suspended for disrupting a first-year student orientation programme because it was affirming of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Shaun Christie, a final year law student at the North-West University (NWU) Potchefstroom Campus, has launched a one-man campaign against the so-called LGBTQIA+ “agenda” on campus.
On February 6, Christie interrupted and demanded that students be allowed to leave an NWU Council-approved registration and orientation programme for first-year students that dealt with topics such as the rights of persons living with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ community matters, and environmental sustainability awareness.
Students Applaud and Cheer Against LGBTQIA+ Inclusion
It appears that Christie took offence to the LGBTQIA+ content in the program. He stated in a video that the students were having “beliefs forced on them” and that he “decided to take the matter into my own hands”.
He stood up during the proceedings and complained that while he was not allowed to preach on campus about Jesus Christ, students were being “compelled to sit and listen to this nonsense.” After speaking, he left, and, he claims, was followed by the majority of students “out of their own conviction.”
Another video appeared to show Christie addressing the students to loud cheers and applause after which students are seen leaving the amphitheatre.
Christie now claims that he has been victimised by the university which suspended him. “We will not tolerate any agendas to be forced upon us against our will. This is not a stance against anyone but a stance for freedom,” he wrote on Facebook.
ACDP Equates LGBTQIA+ Inclusion to “Indoctrination”
In a statement, the queerphobic African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) expressed its outrage at the University’s actions, accusing it of infringing on the student’s rights.
It described the orientation session as one in which “LGBTQI+ ideology was being pushed” and said it stood behind Christie, who it claims had chosen “to boldly exercise his right to freedom of belief, religion, and association.”
The party called on the university to apologise to Christie and reinstate him with immediate effect. It also launched a petition opposing the “compulsory LGBTQIA+ indoctrination” and “gender ideology” and demanding that his suspension be reversed.
In response, Tristán Kapp, an LGBTQIA+ ally and spokesperson for the South African Pagan Rights Alliance, launched a counter petition, urging NWU to permanently expel Christie for his “disruptive anti-LGBTQ rhetoric” and “intolerance towards LGBTQ inclusion”.
Christie Accused of Advocating Hatred
Kapp compared the student to other anti-LGBTQIA+ public figures like Steve Hofmeyr and Gretha Wiid. “Mr Shaun Christie should be treated as no different and ought to be made an example of,” he states in the petition.
“The SA Constitution 1996 provides for Freedom of Expression 16(2)c, this right is restricted to: the advocacy of hatred based on prescribed protected attributes (non-derogable rights). Furthermore, the SA Constitution also provides that everyone has the right to have their dignity respected and protected (s.10). And as a law student, Mr. Christie shows little, to no regard for these legal provisions,” argues Kapp.
The university confirmed that Christie had been “temporarily suspended for his disruptive behavior” pending the finalisation of an investigation.
It said his disruption was viewed in a very serious light as it “did not respect the rights of other members of the audience, and certainly not what is expected from members of the NWU.”
NWU further stated that “The orientation of first-year students to a new environment that should serve as their home for the next few years needs to cover as many relevant issues as possible to ensure that they know and appreciate the diverse nature of a higher education institution such as the NWU.”