The logic is seductive in its simplicity: as the head of the apex court, retired chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng should not be expressing his personal views in public. So was the attraction of those defending him: as an SA citizen, he had every right to express his personal, Christian views. The complexities involved can be appreciated by viewing the dispute in the context of what secularism, and SA being a secular state, mean.

South Africans have tended to view secularism solely in Western terms, understandable given its history. In Europe, as monarchical rule weakened the Catholic Church in the 17th and 18th centuries, establishment secularism emerged in which monarchs adopted official religions...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now