The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom.
The constitution permits the government to suspend religious freedom in the interest of national defense, public safety, public order, public morality, or public health when the suspension is deemed “reasonably justifiable in a democratic society,” but it has never done so.
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. A group must register in order to 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 group is subject to a fine of up to 1,000 pula ($126) and up to seven years in prison. Any member of an unregistered group is subject to penalties including fines up to 500 pula ($63) and up to three years in prison.
Optional religious education is part of the curriculum in public schools; it emphasizes Christianity but also addresses other religious groups in the country. There are private Christian and Muslim schools, and the constitution provides that every religious group may establish places for religious instruction at the group’s expense. The government regulates all private schools and does not distinguish between religious and non-religious schools. The constitution prohibits forced religious instruction, forced participation in religious ceremonies, and 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.