Preacher blames gays for Marikana shooting

Controversial pastor Errol Naidoo trended briefly on Twitter on Wednesday after publishing a newsletter from the Family Policy Institute, which claimed that "abortion-on-demand", driven by radical feminists and the "homosexual agenda" for a "culture of death" in South Africa.

"The murder of more than a million unborn citizens has perpetuated a culture of death in South Africa. Life has become cheap and has lost its dignity and sanctity in a culture that glorifies self-gratification. There has been much hand wringing and recrimination about the Marikana [tragedy]. But when human life is diminished in the womb, that callousness will find its way into the national psyche," reads the newsletter.

"Abortion-on-demand, driven by radical feminist activists and the homosexual agenda, lie at the heart of the culture of death. These anti-family groups are responsible for population decline," it read.

Last week 34 people were killed and 78 were wounded when police opened fire on miners partaking in a wildcat strike at Lonmin Mine in Marikana. President Jacob Zuma has called for an inquiry into the incident, which has been described by some as a massacre, and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has initiated a probe into the deaths.

Naidoo's newsletter was met with outrage on Twitter.

Boitshoko Machwusa tweeted that Naidoo was "taking the opportunity to spread bigotry", while commerce lecturer Jacques Rousseau added: "It is possible to be more opportunistic than Malema."

Journalist Mandy de Waal commented: "When I read [the newsletter] I become more convinced that strains of religion are akin to a virus that destroys rationality."

Sociologist Lizle Loots, meanwhile, compared Naidoo to Todd Akin, the Republican Senate-hopeful who claimed that "legitimate rape" did not result in pregnancy.

"Today's Prayer: I know you don't make mistakes, but how do you explain Errol Naidoo?" said another Twitter user, while another blamed Naidoo for making "Christians seem like lunatics".

Naidoo is president of the Family Policy Institute (FPI), which describes itself as "a non-profit research and educational organisation dedicated to articulating and advancing a family-centred philosophy of public life" that was "chartered to represent the common shared values of the Christian community in South Africa".

He interned briefly at the neo-conservative Family Research Council, a lobby group for conservative legislation in the US, and appears to have used the organisation as a template for the FPI.

He has previously called for an end to Knysna's gay pride parade, which he described as a "shameless celebration of sexual depravity", and disparaged the feminist "rejection of the clearly defined roles of men and women" and blamed the women's liberation movement for the pill, legal abortion, no-fault divorce and out-of-wedlock births, among other things.

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Faranaaz Parker
Faranaaz Parker is a reporter for the Mail & Guardian. She writes on everything from pop science to public health, and believes South Africa needs carbon taxes and more raging feminists. When she isn't instagramming pictures of her toddler or obsessively checking her Twitter, she plays third-person shooters on Xbox Live.

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