Vryheid van godsdiens: onbenutte en onderbenutte geleenthede vir die NG Kerk?
AbstractThe Dutch Reformed Church considers its right to freedom of religion, which includes its biblical-prophetic witness to the state authority and the world in which it stands, as inalienable. In the exercise thereof it claims the protection of the government determined in law (Church Order 1998). The basis of this claim can be found in the 1986 document, Kerk en samelewing in which the church acknowledged certain human rights (including freedom of religion and worship) and responsibilities. The implications and practical implementation of freedom of religion are not explained in recent church documents, which highlights the need to formulate this more clearly. This paper proposes that the following elaboration of freedom of religion could be considered: (1) The right to practise religion; (2) the right to formulate a creed(s); (3) the right to worship freely; (4) the right to formulate a church order; (5) the right to solemnise marriages in terms of church creeds and policy; (6) the right to take pastoral care of members of a church; (7) the right to censure or excommunicate members of the church; (8) the right to teach religious beliefs; (9) the right to welcome new converts freely; (10) the right to appoint officials, and (11) the right to keep information regarding members confidential. The paper suggests that the churches should approach the Human Rights Commission in order to establish clarity on the implications of freedom of religion.
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