My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
Anton Fagan is a law professor at the University of Cape Town. We remember him in academic dress marching with TAC for the dismissal of then-Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. But speaking generally he has never understood the Constitution, the society in which lives or his privilege. He eschews context and people in his scholarship. Schooled in the formalism and steeped in the pedantry of a law professor, he came to the defence of DA leader and Western Cape Premier when she viciously and personally attacked Janet Love of the Legal Resources Centre as a “dumped cadre”. Love failed to meet Zille’s standards of independence or integrity as a Human Rights Commissioner after that body found her party’s City of Cape Town administration to have violated the Constitution. – Zackie Achmat on the Writing Rights BlogBACK TO TOP