Cardinal John Dew has urged New Zealanders to recommit to protecting the beliefs of followers of all religions and of non-religious people. Source: Scoop News.
While giving the homily at the interdenominational church service for New Zealand’s national Waitangi Day holiday at Waitangi yesterday, Cardinal Dew recalled the Christchurch mosques massacre last March and said New Zealand’s tradition of religious freedom was first affirmed at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.
“It is time to recommit ourselves to protecting the faiths of all who live here – of Māori custom and spirituality, of the different Christian denominations, of Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Bahai’i and many other faiths; and also the freedom of religion and conscience of those who profess no faith,” Cardinal Dew said.
The Wellington archbishop said much discussion in recent years focused narrowly on whether New Zealand was a secular country where religion was not part of the public sphere; or whether it was a Christian country where only one form of public prayer should be privileged.
But our heritage was religious tolerance, religious inclusion and religious acceptance.
“I am a Christian, I preach Christ, who offers and brings salvation to all humanity,” Cardinal Dew said. “Christians do not want to be less than we are, we do not want to be silenced or marginalised, to be told that the faith that gives us life is just a private matter. Neither do we want any other religious group, or people of goodwill who do not identify with any religion, to be marginalised, silenced or told their beliefs are only private matters.”
At the signing of the Treaty in 1840, Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier – the first Catholic bishop of New Zealand – asked the representative of the British Crown, Captain William Hobson, for religious freedom to be respected.
“Here at Waitangi on 6 February, 1840, there was a hope, wishes, a vision of what Aotearoa New Zealand could be,” said Cardinal Dew, adding that religious freedoms were also affirmed in the first debate in the new colonial Parliament in 1854.
Cardinal urges NZers to reaffirm protection of religion (Scoop Media)