Recent reports in South African media suggesting that the newly formed National Interfaith Leadership Council (NILC) has been formed to assume the role of policing “morality” and with the intention to “assist” government in revisiting legislation which legalised abortion and marriage equality for gay people, has raised alarm among progressive South Africans.

It would seem that the so-called “religious right” has hijacked the conversation about morality and human rights and that they are seeking to impose their own agenda on our society by claiming to represent “morality” as the only “legitimate” voice of all religious groups in the context of moral debates.

The Progressive Interfaith Coalition of South Africa (PICSA) aims to present the views of moderate and progressive South Africans from all walks of life. The “religious right” cannot and does not speak for all religious and spiritual people in our wonderfully diverse country, and we want our voices to be heard in the debate surrounding issues that affect the human rights, equality and dignity of us all. To this end, we would like to extend an invitation to South African faith groups – and individual South Africans from all religious and spiritual backgrounds, who consider themselves to be progressive, to join and support PICSA.

We do not intend to be reactionary or confrontational, but we do believe that it is about time that the voice of the progressive community be heard as well.