This week a few of us met in Auckland to have a roundtable conversation about Religious Freedom in New Zealand. So as it is occupying my mind at present I thought I would share a few thoughts on this subject this week.
WHY I believe a national conversation is needed?
There are a number of reasons why I believe we need to have a national conversation on Religious Freedom in NZ.
- This has become a critical issue in our day. Most everyone agrees with the importance of Religious Freedom in a Democratic society. However Christian Freedom is already under threat in NZ and around much of the ‘free’ world.
- Christian Faith continues to be marginalised often times in favour of the ‘newer’ religions mostly from Asia that have accompanied immigrant peoples.
- Everyday Christians have already had their mouths stopped for fear of saying the wrong thing, offending others (especially their work mates and employers) or afraid of committing the terrible offense of hate speech.
- Pastors and preachers are increasingly reluctant to address this issue (and other social and moral issues) for fear of offending their parishioners many of whom have quite different points of view especially the millennials.
- There seems to be no ‘prophetic voice’ anymore.
- It is VERY hard to get consensus (let alone unity) from the Christian church on this or any issue for that matter. The Christian viewpoint has become increasingly diverse on most of the big issues of our day.