Since Botswana is a democratic republic, it can be expected that religious freedoms are respected. Given the different religions that are practiced in the country, it can be said that religious freedoms are not only respected, but are also protected.
Religions in Botswana
Botswana has an estimated population of about 1,611,000 people. Half of the population in Botswana consider themselves Christian. This 50 percent is further divided into Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Mormons, Adventists, Jehovah?s Witnesses, Baptists and other Christian denominations. The majority of the other 50 percent practice traditional religious beliefs, while two to three percent of this percentage is Muslim. The level of atheism, which is very unpopular, remains unknown.
Religious freedom and attitudes
The government in Botswana adheres to and respects the policy of freedom of religion. Apart from this, the government not only protects this right but also protects this right against abuse. The state has also not prescribed a state religion. Religious organizations are required to register with the government, specifically to the Ministry of Home Affairs. However, the state does not offer benefits to registered organizations. Those who do not register face penalties like fines and imprisonment. These religious groups are allowed to construct their own places of worship where they can congregate. The relationships among religious groups can be considered generally amicable.
As the government respects the right to religious freedom, it also respects the right of people to practice their religion without the intervention of people of other faiths. In this light, the government does not tolerate religions that foster violence against other religions. For example, if a religion is found to be encouraging its members to do violent crimes against members of other religions, they may be denied registration by the government. The only time that government can suspend the right of religious freedom is if it is in the interest of national security and order.
Botswana is a good example of a country that respects the right of religious freedom. By instituting mechanisms by which this right is protected for all its citizens, the government of Botswana has been able to maintain good relationships among religious groups, which greatly contributes to the country’s stability.