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Botswana
Friday, 22 April 2011 18:01
Religious Freedom Ranking:
4 out of 5 stars: Good

Botswana

Botswana is Africa’s longest continuously running multi-party Democracy.  Its constitution provides for freedom of religion, expression and assembly. It states that individuals have the freedom to change their religion or belief and freedom to manifest and propagate their religion. Religious communities are entitled to establish and maintain places of education as well as  provide religious instruction. Public schools teach classes on religion, emphasizing Christianity, but also address other religious groups in the country. However, individuals are not forced to receive religious instruction or take any oath which is contrary to their religion or belief.

According to U.S. State Department reports the government respects the above-mentioned rights in practice. Seventy percent of Botswana’s 1.9 million inhabitants identify themselves as Christians, most claiming themselves to be either Anglican, Methodist, or members of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa. Other Christian religions present are Lutherans, Roman Catholics, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, the Dutch Reformed Church, and Mennonites. There are also slightly more than 5,000 Muslims, and even smaller groups of Hindus and Baha’is. Approximately twenty percent of the country’s citizens do not espouse any religion.

One instance of a restriction on religious freedom involved the Family of God Church in Mochudi, which took legal action against a local chief who had ordered the church to suspend its services. However, the High Court overturned his decision, ruling that the chief had violated the church’s right to practice their religion freely.

2011 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report on Botswana

Botswana - New World Encyclopedia

Botswana Country Profile- BBC News

Family of God Church- Sunday Standard

Last Updated on Friday, 05 October 2012 12:43