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100 years ago: Free speech on marriage

by
19 February 2021

February 18th, 1921.

THE Marriage Laws Amendment Bill, which has been before the New Zealand Parliament, contains a clause which renders any person who alleges expressly or by implication that any persons lawfully married are not truly and sufficiently married is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for one year or a fine of £100. The question has already been agitating Churchmen in Canada. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Wellington [Francis Redwood] has been foremost in denouncing this oblique attempt at religious persecution, and we are glad to see that the Dunedin Evening Star devotes a column and a-half to a report of a sermon preached in the Cathedral by the Bishop of Dunedin [Isaac Richards]. It may be, says the Bishop, that matters will be carried to extremes and that some of the Bishops may find themselves in prison. “Well, in that case, we should thank God that we were allowed to suffer for His Name.” The Bishop, indeed, in no uncertain terms, accepts the challenge implied in the Bill, and we do not doubt that the conflict will be productive of good. In three hundred years the principle of religious toleration has resulted in an immense mass of indifference to religion. If we are, as seems not unlikely, to have a taste of persecution, it may prove no bad medicine.


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