How sad that Human Rights Day was overshadowed by recent acts of police brutality, and how drearily predictable that President Jacob Zuma could respond to same with nothing other than a reductive explanation that, hey, not all cops are bad, and that it was only a few rotten eggs that are, you know, like, rotten.
And so an opportunity to explore what exactly it that we as regulars here at the Mahogany Ridge should expect from our Bill of Rights and the constitution must sadly wait until next year.
To put it another way, just as we may believe we should enjoy the right not to die in a puddle of our own waste on the floor of a police cell after a sustained, two-hour assault for supposedly resisting arrest, so too does the SA Pagan Rights Alliance believe its members should be allowed to go about their various practices free of interference from those who are convinced they're up to no good.
According to the Citizen, the alliance plans to lay a hate speech complaint against Gauteng education MEC Barbara Creecy following comments she made at a signing ceremony with religious groups concerning an "anti-harmful" religious strategy in schools. As Creecy put it, "The practitioners from faith-based organisations are developing an anti-harmful religious practice strategy to guide and protect learners from spiritual attacks and abuse." Satanism and occultism were cited as examples of such "harmful practices", she added.
Naturally the pagans are quite upset. Octarine Valur of the SA Vampyre Alliance told the newspaper that Creecy was creating hostility towards religious minorities. "This encourages prejudice and intolerance towards these groups," she said, "and may even contribute to violence against those whose dignity and right to religious freedom is being made out to be a criminal offence."
Personally, I would have felt much better had Creecy signed a declaration with educators in which they all committed themselves to teaching children in an environment free of all forms of religion, superstition and the lunatic instruction of bearded weirdies and bothersome clerics. But hey, that's just me.
Back to the vampire (and I will use the more conventional spelling, if I may). I bet I know what you're all thinking. Octarine Valur? That's not the name her parents gave their bonnie lass back in the day, is it?
Correct. On her website, she explains that it's her "Nightside name"- just as, I suppose, Francis the First is Jorge Mario Bergoglio's "Popeside name". She adds that, before she came on to the scene, the local vampire community was "a rumour, a sinister superstition hiding in the shadows. Now we have a thriving, active and growing young community, which has a face, a name, and a unique identity of its own."
And why ever not? If these people want to bite each other and drink blood . . . well, provided they're all consenting adults, who really cares what they get up to in the privacy of their own crypts.
Which brings us to TopTV and its plans to broadcast subscription-only adult entertainment channels. According to Errol Naidoo, a botherer with the Family Policy Institute, there is a broad alliance of Christian churches and civil society groups who have undertaken to boycott the network, its advertisers and sponsors. As Naidoo claimed outside Parliament last weekend, "The Christian church is deeply concerned that the introduction of three pornographic channels . . . will exacerbate the current crisis of rape and violence against vulnerable women and children."
Perhaps some sort of compromise could be reached, whereby TopTV broadcasts only Christian porn.
Now, unlike vampires, this stuff really does exist. I found a website. "Filmed procreation," it claimed. "Porn the way God intended." Which, you may well ask, is what exactly?
Well, I'll tell you. Briefly. All actors in a Christian porn production are married to each other - husbands and wives act as "husbands and wives". The sex is portrayed within the context of a Christian marriage; couples study the Bible and attend church before heaving to. The sex is "instructional" and "appropriate sexual attitudes" are shown, and both husband and wife receive their "due benevolence" (I'll bet).
Importantly, there is just one exception to the rule of no extramarital sex. According to the producers of holy smut like The Body of Chris and Round Yon Virgin, "The spouses in a Christian porn production never have adulterous relations, unless they (and their partner in extramarital crime) suffer and are punished fittingly for their sins. (In deference to modern conventions, the punishment is not always mandated by scripture, that is, being stoned to death.)"
That last bit? That sounds like police work, not so?
This article first appeared in the Weekend Argus.
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