The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom.
The constitution provides for the suspension of religious freedom in the interest of national defense, public safety, public order, public morality, or public health. However, any suspension of religious freedom by the government must be deemed “reasonably justifiable in a democratic society” under the constitution.
All organizations, including religious groups, must register with the government. To register, a group must submit its constitution to the Registrar of Societies section of the Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs. There are no legal benefits for registered organizations, although an organization must register before it can conduct business, sign contracts, or open an account at a local bank. Any person who manages, assists in the management of, or holds an official position in an unregistered organization is liable to a fine of up to 1,000 pula ($154) and up to seven years in prison. Any member of an unregistered society is liable to penalties including fines up to 500 pula ($77) and up to three years in prison.
Religious education is part of the curriculum in public schools; it emphasizes Christianity but also addresses other religious groups in the country. The constitution provides that every religious community may establish places for religious instruction at the community’s expense. Christian schools are treated the same as non-Christian schools. The constitution prohibits forced religious instruction, forced participation in religious ceremonies, or taking oaths that run counter to an individual’s religious beliefs.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, and Christmas. Non-Christian businesses often close on their respective holidays and non-Christians often observe their holidays using annual leave.