Freedom of religion

Author Dr Rev Stuart Lange, National Director NZ Christian Network,

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, Catholic authorities were involved in burning heretics (and later some Protestants) at the stake.

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.

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