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Freedom Of Religion And The South African Constitution—The Position Of Christian Identity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses whether the guarantee of freedom of religion in a constitution can protect Christian identity. This is answered in the light of South African Constitution. Freedom of religion includes the right that everybody can express their religion and faith in worship, teaching and practice. Freedom of conscience protects people against any discrimination on the basis of religion. The free exercise of religion can take on a variety of public forms. Religious pluralism entails both a confessional and social element. The equality of churches/religious communities means there is no discrimination on grounds of religion or conviction. Independent from each other, churches and the state have the right to make their own rules and laws and to function in accordance with them. The radical application of the principle of disestablishment can eventually lead to a completely secular state. Churches and Christians must accept the responsibility to guard their religious freedom.

Keywords: Christian identity; church; freedom of conscience; freedom of religion; principle of disestablishment; religious pluralism; South African Constitution



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