New Zealand (MNN) — New Zealand’s government has introduced legislation to repeal its anti-blasphemy law, which targets non-Christians. New Zealand may seem like an unlikely place to be home to a blasphemy law. That’s probably because no one has been prosecuted under this law since 1922.
Repealing a Blasphemy Law
Yet, what the repeal of this law boils down to is freedom– religious freedom.
Religious freedom is important because, as Open Doors USA’s David Curry explains, each person should have the right to decide what he or she will believe. That’s true whether they choose to follow Jesus or not. And while this freedom might seem like a no-brainer in a place like New Zealand, it’s not in other places of the world.
“It’s right that it’s being repealed… I hope it would lead the way in other countries for repealing their blasphemy laws. Pakistan has a blasphemy law. Many, many countries with extremist populations of Islam have blasphemy laws,” Curry shares.
In some countries, the faith an individual is born into is the one he or she must remain in for the rest of their lives. For other countries, like Pakistan, just an accusation of blasphemy can be enough to put someone to death. Elsewhere, it’s actually illegal to share any faith other than the state’s religion.
“If you can’t decide what you believe, what can you decide?” Curry asks.
Furthermore, not even a Christian blasphemy law can be considered biblical. And while laws are good, they can only take the human heart so far.
“The law…can point out what you’re doing wrong, but it cannot transform the heart and Jesus said He’s going to set up a Kingdom within your heart. He wants you not to just think about not murdering somebody, but to think about what is the spirit of the law that you don’t live in hate, that you don’t live in anger and bitterness,” Curry explains.
And having a heart which aligns with the spirit of the law can only come from a transformation brought by knowing Jesus. This relationship can’t be forced and neither can the transformation. People can’t be forced to be Christians, or to be a part of any other religion either.
“There are places and rules that they want to impose on people and that’s where those blasphemy laws have to be fought through the courts, through every means possible so that people understand you can’t impose your faith on people, it has to be a spiritual journey that should not just be for Christians,” Curry says.
“And Christians can’t sit idly by while people impose blasphemy laws from some other faith upon us.”
Living in Freedom
It’s also up to Christians to live out their faith, freely talk about Christ, and advocate for others to have the freedom to encounter him in everyday society.
“When we stand up and say we don’t want blasphemy laws to stand in this world, they’re not fair, they’re not just, and they’re imposing something that should not be imposed, then I think we’ll see movement,” Curry says.
So please, pray without ceasing for the people being persecuted for their faith. Pray for Christians living under religious pressures, for their freedom, and for their ability to live for Christ.
Also, pray for all blasphemy laws in every country to be repealed. Advocate for these laws to be repealed. And finally, learn more about where blasphemy laws still exist and how they affect people around the world.
To learn more, click here!