The Second Conference on Law and Reliion in Africa, with the theme “The Quest for the Common Good in Pluralistic Societies”, was held 26-28 May 2014 at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. The conference was co-sponsored by Stellenbosch University Faculty of Law and Faculty of Theology (Unit for the Study of Law and Religion, Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology); by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS), J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, United States; by the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS), Milan; by Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, and by Juta & Company (Publishers and Booksellers).
Keynote speakers at the conference were South African Constitutional Court Emeritus Justice Albie Sachs and Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. Other speakers included notable scholars and religious leaders from Benin, Belgium, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Israel, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The conference also saw the official launch of the African Consortium for Law and Religon Studies (ACLARS).
Infusing law with religion could help turn around crime, corruption, maladministration, the lackadaisical attitude of government functionaries, dishonesty and injustice, said Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on Tuesday, 27 May 2014. He delivered the keynote address at the second annual conference on Law and Religion in Africa hosted jointly by the Faculties of Law and Theology at Stellenbosch University (SU).
Chief Justice Mogoeng said corruption and many other social ills are largely due to a failure to infuse law with a measure of religion and morality. “People steal and boast about what they have been able to buy through the process of theft and corruption.”
He highlighted the importance of morality and said “we need to develop a moral code of shorts and the values of our Constitution could be used as a sound basis for the development of such a code.”
He said law and religion can play a vital role in the moral generation we so desperately need. “Law and religion can help shape a peaceful and prosperous society.”
Chief Justice Mogoeng added that there is a strong correlation between law and religion in South Africa. He said we should take advantage of “the potency of religion to make a profound difference in sharpening the teeth of our legal instruments”.
While highlighting the prominence of religion, he pointed to its abuse and distortion by many people in the oppression of others. He advocated religious tolerance in South Africa, and said the hallmark of an open and democratic society is its ability to accommodate different views and lifestyles.
Earlier, former Constitutional Court Judge Albie Sachs, who was also a keynote speaker at the conference, called for the co-existence of different worldviews in a pluralistic society. We need to manage our differences, he said. Sachs also highlighted the important role of religion in society, saying it is not just a private matter.
In welcoming the guests, Prof Nico Koopman and Prof Sonia Human, Dean of SU’s Faculties of Theology and Law respectively, emphasised the need to respect the relation between law and religion since the practice of both can and should be in service of a society that affords dignity of all.Justice Mogoeng’s Address (Video) | Albie Sachs’ Address (Video)