“Freedom of religion”

18 June 2021
Dr Stuart Lange

“Freedom of religion”

by | Jun 18, 2021

Freedom to believe and practice religious faith is considered a basic human right. It has not always been so. In the early church, great numbers of Christian believers were persecuted or killed by the Roman State, which demanded on pain of death that everyone worship the emperors and the pagan gods, In medieval times, the State was involved in burning heretics (and later some Protestants) at the stake, and many Catholics were executed during the reign of Elizabeth I. In modern times, Christians in many parts of the world are subject to discrimination, violence, and bloodshed, as are members of some other faiths.

By comparison, Christians in New Zealand lead a much easier life. We need to be aware, however, that any poorly-written legislation in the areas of ‘hate speech’ and ‘anti-conversion therapy’ could pose significant risks to the freedoms of religion and expression for Christians, and also for people of other faiths. But we can acknowledge there is a case for changes to legislation that would deal more effectively with extreme and deliberate incitements to hatred and violence.

Dr Stuart Lange
Author: Dr Stuart Lange

Dr Stuart Lange is the National Director of the NZCN and is a Senior Research Fellow at Laidlaw College, where he was formerly Vice Principal. Stuart wrote and presented the historical DVD documentary Te Rongopai: 200 years of the Gospel in New Zealand, 1814-2014.

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