In early June, Free To Be Church, a group of Christian Ministers from around New Zealand, will be seeking a ruling from a Judge as to the legality of the COVID ‘Traffic Light’ system. Their focus will be on challenging whether these rules have resulted in a breach of the religious freedom protections enshrined in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.
“We recognise that this pandemic has presented some major challenges to day-today living”, says Free To Be Church spokesperson Rev. Logan Hagoort. “At the same time, we also know that it is vitally important that a crisis like this does not result in an unjust erosion of legitimate democratic freedoms, such as the freedom of religion.”
“Our goal here is to ensure that the important principle of the separation of Church and state is protected, and that the NZ Parliament and/or her bureaucratic mechanisms, does not become the de facto ruler of the church in the midst of this unprecedented upheaval.”
“This is the first case to challenge the Protection Framework Order, which is the cornerstone of government policy”, says Free To Be Church lawyer Alex Summerlee. “Free To be Church are asking the Court to declare that a centrepiece of government policy is an unlawful breach of the right to practice their faith.”
Hagoort says that “It is essential that the leaders of the Church are able to self-govern when it comes to matters related to the practice of our faith. What should be a healthy and respectful dialogue between Church and state has lately felt more like a set of one-way edicts from the state that cross appropriate boundaries of governance.”
“At the end of the day, this is the last thing we want to spend our time doing, but we believe that God desires us to defend our people’s rights, and we want to be free to worship our God and King”, says Rev. Hagoort.
For more information about Free To Be Church, or how to support, please visit our website: freetobechurch.nz
[PRESS RELEASE | Free To Be Church | Contact: Logan Hagoort on: [email protected] ]