Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on Wednesday denied trying to push religion down South Africans’ throats.
“I take my oath of office very seriously and I made it clear I will not give precedence to my faith at the expense of the Constitution,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.
Mogoeng was defending a speech he gave in Stellenbosch last week about religion and the law.
He caused a stir by suggesting religion could be used to strengthen legislation and lead to a better society.
“In my speech I talk about all religion, not just Christianity.”
Mogoeng said he used examples from Christianity to make a point because that was the religion he was familiar with.
“I was not in the process of trying to push religion down the throats of South Africans.”
“I am in no position to make any laws, I am in no position to change the Constitution, ” he said.
The chief justice, who is also a lay minister, asked if it was not time to explore what all religions had to offer, because all preached love and tolerance.
Mogoeng pointed out that the end of the country’s preamble to the Constitution was “May God protect our people” and the first two stanzas of the national anthem asked God to bless Africa.
Mogoeng said he did not regret giving the speech, adding it gave people a lot to think about.