A Christian student in South Africa who used her personal Facebook page to express regret about the legalisation of gay marriage across the US has been ousted from her position on her university’s student council.
Zizipho Pae was removed as acting president of the University of Cape Town’s Student Representative Council (SRC), which is currently investigating her Facebook post.
Reacting to the US Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage for every state, Pae had written: “We are institutionalising and normalising sin! Sin. May God have mercy on us.”
This led to her being personally threatened, homosexual pornography being posted on her Facebook page and her office being vandalised by LGBT campaigners.
Speaking to pro-family think-tank the Family Policy Institute, Zizipho said that scriptures on the walls in her shared office had been torn down and replaced with signs saying “get out of here”.
Despite pressure to apologise for her statement, she said she stands by her beliefs about marriage.
“Being an SRC member in my view does not mean that you need to abandon your Christian convictions and your faith.
“Christ in my life comes before all political positions or political thoughts, so I definitely won’t be retracting what I said.”
The SRC voted to remove Zizipho from her post as acting president, saying they support the “rights of minorities and specifically the gay community”.
Freedom of speech
In a statement, the University of Cape Town (UCT) said it supports the need of the SRC to investigate the matter.
Professor Francis Petersen, Acting Vice-Chancellor, said: “UCT upholds the right of each individual to exercise freedom of speech and to voice their own opinions in a responsible manner. This right, as well as the right to freedom of religion and the human rights of LGBTQI+ people, are constitutional rights.
“The challenge ahead is for the SRC to consider the controversial Facebook post and the extent to which the role of an elected SRC office bearer ought to balance the expression of personal beliefs with the constitutional rights of the students who are represented by the SRC.”
A petition calling for Zizipho to be reinstated has gathered over 3,500 supporters to date. One calling for her suspension has just 259 signatories.