Tag Archives: discrimination

When will bigots quit bullying Margaret Court?

(Pastor Margaret Court AO, MBE, OAM: Court at the net in 1970, courtesy Wikipedia)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

This article was first published in the Australian e-journal, On Line Opinion, When will bigots quit bullying Margaret Court? 27 January 2021.

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It has hit the fan again in pronouncing Australian grand slam singles’ tennis champion, Margaret Court, “a bigot” for her views on homosexuality and gay marriage. The yelling has come because she has received the highest civilian honour of the level of the Order of Australia, “The Companion of the Order of Australia,” on Australia Day, 26 January 2021.

I’m using bigot according to the customary English definition, as referring to “a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion” (dictionary.com 2021. s.v. “bigot”). The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) gives a more detailed definition as referring to “a person who is obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, especially one who is prejudiced against or antagonistic towards a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group” (lexico.com 2021. s.v. “bigot”).

How is Margaret Court a bigot?

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, slammed “the decision to honour Mrs Margaret Court, saying he didn’t want to give her “disgraceful, bigoted views any oxygen. “I think calling out bigotry is always important,” he said. He then later reiterated his disapproval of the honour on Twitter: “Grand Slam wins don’t give you some right to spew hatred and create division. Nothing does,” he wrote.

He spoke of the proposed granting of the Order of Australia (OAM) to Margaret Court on 26 January 2021. Why is the winner of 24 grand slam, singles, tennis championships a bigot according to Daniel Andrews? His claim is her stand on the Bible’s view of homosexuality and marriage is the practice of bigotry. He wouldn’t use the language of the Bible’s view but the media are happy to label her a fundamentalist Christian.

Let’s get it straight Premier Daniel Andrews.

Who is being the bigot? Is it Margaret Court who promotes the Bible’s view on sex and the marriage relationship or is it Daniel Andrews who is so enamored with the LGBTQ agenda that he can’t see the trees for the mulga? Does he need their views for votes at the next election?

Let’s get something straight. From the mouth of Margaret Court: She does not discriminate against homosexuals. She ‘loves’ them: “She insists although the bible stands against homosexuality she ‘loves’ and supports gay people through her church.”

The media and Premier Andrews regularly have a vendetta against Margaret, forgetting to tell the people that this was Jesus’ view of the marriage relationship: “God said, ‘That is why a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. And the two people will become one’” (Matthew 19:5, citing Genesis 2:24).

Jesus did not need to say: “Homosexuals should not marry.” That was contained by inference in his statement that “a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.” Wives were female in the time of Jesus. Jesus did not support the view that “a man will leave his father and mother and be joined (in sex) with another male.”

Was Jesus also being a bigot against homosexuals like Margaret Court is being accused of? Surely the media and Daniel Andrews would place Jesus also in the category of a bigot!

Bigotry is a serious Australian issue.

Daniel Andrews’ believes “calling out bigotry is always important. I don’t seek to quarrel with people but I’m asked a question and I’ve answered it.” This is one point on which I agree with Mr Andrews. It’s important to identify bigotry. Why can’t Mr Andrews see that his calling Margaret Court a bigot has caused much harm to her personally and the evangelical Christian community – those who take the Bible seriously?

Daniel Andrews 2018.jpg

The Honourable Daniel Andrews in 2018

48th Premier of Victoria
Elections: 2014, 2018 (Image courtesy Wikipedia)

Mr Andrews can’t get a handle on his own bigotry of being “utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.” His bigotry opposes an eminent Australian sportswoman who promotes a biblical world view on marriage and sexuality. It has been endorsed by the Christian Church for two millennia. But Mr Andrews considers it’s suitable for him to label Margaret Court the bigot and not call himself out as a bigoted, left-wing Labor Premier.

Mr Premier, it’s time for you to own up to your own opposition to Margaret Court’s world view and call your opposition for what it is – bigotry.

I’m a bigot when it comes to going to the doctor when blood is seeping through my urine. I discriminate at elections. I vote for the party whose values most consistently harmonise with my Christian world view. I will not support a party that murders unborn children and calls it a mother’s choice and does not make this a criminal offense.

In Australia, it is now illegal to kill, trap, poison or interfere with wedge-tailed eagles in any way. “In Queensland waters all whales, dolphins, dugong, seals, sea lions, marine turtles and threatened sharks are protected under the provisions of the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld) and relevant subordinate legislation.”

Aren’t these bigoted, discriminatory actions against this wildlife? Of course it is in order to protect these animals. However, it’s not a criminal offence to slaughter unborn children in the womb. When will Australian governments grapple with the legalised murder they endorse?

Since a bigot is one who “is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion,” by definition that makes Dan Andrews a bigot towards someone who is an outspoken supporter of the Bible’s view. For 2,000 years this has been taught by the Christian church but when Margaret Court dares to be faithful to her God-given commission, she is called out as a bigot by Daniel Andrews.

When will Dan Andrews also get a handle on how discriminatory his words are towards Margaret Court that should be considered persecution or bullying of Mrs Court? 7Sport (23 Jan 2021) had the headline, “Margaret Court says she’s being ‘bullied’ and it’s time for critics to stop.”

“Bullying” refers to a “person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable” (OED 2021. s.v. “bully”). The OED gives synonyms of bully as persecutor, oppressor, tyrant, tormentor, browbeater, intimidator, coercer, and subjugator. Margaret Court considers she is being bullied and persecuted. By these definitions, that’s the truth. The media, some tennis players, and a Premier such as Daniel Andrews have bullied, persecuted and browbeaten Margaret Court. It is time for these people to own up to their bullying and persecution tactics and quit doing them immediately.

Let’s black mail Margaret Court!

Two factors need to be noted before I comment on this example. “She” is a transgender person and “she” is an activist who could not tolerate a person who supported a biblical Christian’s view of sexuality and marriage. “She” did not use the language of anything to do with a Christian world view.

How would you react to the title of this article? “Canberra doctor hands back OAM in protest against Margaret Court’s Australia Day honour” (SBS News, 24 January 2021)?

The essence of the story relates to Dr Clara Tuck Meng Soo AO, who was recognised in 2016 for her work as a medical practitioner with LGBTIQ+ and HIV positive communities. The issue that is causing the furore in 2021 is that Dr Soo is handing back her AO because the decision to award Australia’s highest honour to Margaret Court is made to a person who has made comments that are “disparaging of same-sex relationships and transgender people” and that has been “very distressing.” For a photograph of Dr Soo, see: https://www.news.com.au/sport/tennis/australian-open/doctor-hands-back-oam-amid-margaret-court-controversy/news-story/17b1183ec9e0f3ce4cf698b13bdf61f6

Dr Soo continued:

If the honour awards people like Margaret Court, it is sending a message to the community that is okay to make hateful, derogatory comments about disadvantaged segments of the community…. And I felt that if I actually retained my award, I would be condoning that system.

It must be noted that Dr Soo is discriminatory towards Margaret Court’s Christian world view. Dr Soo let us peer into her agenda. She told SBS News, “I may also add that I have spent most of my adult life as a gay man before my gender transition to a woman in 2018. Therefore, have both professional experience as well as lived experience of the communities that Mrs Margaret Court makes these derogatory and hurtful remarks about.”

Leading ABC commentator, Kerry O’Brien, has done the same thing. He has refused to accept the AO medal on Australia Day 2021.

Mr O’Brien had earlier agreed to accept his appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in Tuesday’s official honours [26 Jan 2021]. But on Saturday, he wrote to reverse his decision in protest against Mrs Court’s elevation in an awards system that had already recognised her achievements as the winner of 24 Grand Slam singles tennis titles, and her charity work, with an Order of Australia in 2007 (The Sydney Morning Herald, Kerry O’Brien refuses Order of Australia after Margaret Court honour, 25 January 2021).

Getting honest definitions

There are some queer statements made by those who are anti- the homosexual agenda and those who are pro- the Christian perspective. I’m using “queer” in the sense of strange or odd (OED 2021. s.v. “queer”).

This queer definition places homosexuality outside the purview of being able to criticise it and present a different view. That makes the pro-homosexual position one of bigotry or discriminatory.

This queer definition makes Christianity’s biblical views of homosexuality into bigotry when compared with the politically correct perspectives promoting gays as a viable lifestyle supported by the general populace.

ABC News (21 Jan 2021) reported Margaret Court’s views of her statements about homosexuality and marriage:

I am a minister of the Gospel, I have been a pastor for 30 years,” she said.

I teach the bible, what God says in the Bible and I think that is my right and my privilege to be able to bring that forth.

I’m not going to change my opinions and views, and I think it’s very important for freedom of speech that we can say our beliefs….

I think it’s very sad people hold on to that and still want to bully, and I think it’s time to move on.

Pastor Margaret Court said she was “honoured” to learn of her new award for tennis on the court and her work off the court.

I still represent my nation, I pray for my nation, I pray for the LGBT, I pray for the premiers in this nation and the Prime Minister,” she said.

When asked about the hurt her views on homosexuality may cause to LGBT people, Ms Court said she never turned people away.

“I have them come in here, I have them into community services from every different background, I never turn them away,” she said.

“And I was never really pointing the finger at them as an individual. I love all people, I have nothing against people, but I’m just saying what the bible says.”

The 78-year-old said she was disappointed about how her views had been portrayed in the media and feels she was singled out due to her “high profile” (ABC News, 23 January 2021).

Conclusion

The facts are:

(1) The Christian world view and its view on sex, including homosexuality, will always be a country mile from the secular (godless) view. It will be labelled as bigotry or discrimination, without bothering to check that the secular, pro-LGBTIQ view is just as bigoted and discriminatory.

(2) Those who call Margaret Court’s Christian view on marriage to be bigoted and discriminatory are blind to the fact that their opposition to Court’s view presents another – but different – bigoted approach to reality.

(3) Margaret Court promotes Jesus’ vies that marriage is between a man and his female wife in first century culture, customs and biblical Christianity.

How can this be resolved?

  • Get journalists, Premiers, doctors and other people in the media to be more careful with their words. I can’t see that happening.
  • Examine the presuppositions underlying a person’s statements. The likelihood of Daniel Andrews agreeing with Margaret Court’s world view is zero. He needs to admit that up front: “I have an agenda and it is not Christian. In fact, it is anti-Christian and I won’t change my mind.”
  • Margaret Court has already admitted, “I should always be able to say my views biblically, being a pastor and helping people with marriages and family. And I’ll never change those views.”

Remember the safety against religious bigotry in the Australian Constitution:

Section 116

4.2

The starting point in any discussion about religious freedom in Australia is section 116 of the Australian Constitution:

The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

4.3

There are four prohibitions on the Commonwealth in this section:

  • establishing any religion
  • imposing any religious observation
  • prohibiting the free exercise of any religion
  • requiring a religious test as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

Therefore, for Daniel Andrews to prevent Margaret Court from the free exercise of the teachings on Christianity, he violates one of the prohibitions, “the free exercise of any religion,” guaranteed by the Australian Constitution.

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 27 January 2021.

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‘Inclusiveness’ that prostitutes the English language

Image result for clipart Inclusiveness

By Spencer D Gear PhD

The debate over Israel Folau’s statement about sinners, including homosexuals, has led to a prostitution of the English language. I use prostitution in the sense of ‘the act or process of misusing and wasting’ (Macmillan Dictionary 2019. s.v. prostitution).

Read the words of …

1. Rugby League & Union officials who violate the meaning of inclusive

Rugby ball vector clip artPeter Beattie, former chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) told Fox Sports (5 June 2019):

“Our position on Israel Folau remains the same,” Beattie told AAP.

“We are an inclusive game with respect for all. Israel has social media posts online that go against what our game stands for.

“As it stands, he will not be considered for registration. What Israel chooses to do in relation to his social media posts and his faith is a matter for him”.

Rugby ball vector clip artTwo days after he was announced as the new ARLC chairman, Mr Peter V’landys AM, violated the meaning of inclusiveness with this statement:

The inclusivity of rugby league changed his life as an immigrant child and he has zero tolerance for Folau’s anti-gay messaging.

Former chairman Peter Beattie had previously shut down an attempt by the sacked rugby union star to resume his NRL career, and V’landys has supported the move.

“The game is inclusive. Israel’s comments are not inclusive,” V’landys said (news.com.au, 1 November 2019).

V’landys was adamant: ‘I think we need to be more inclusive and I think the greatest asset our game has is it is very inclusive’.

Rugby ball vector clip artBeattie and V’landys repeated the assessment of Rachel Castle, CEO of Rugby Australia, ‘”Inclusion means inclusion for everybody, and we’ve got portions of our community who were very hurt and upset by Israel’s comments, hence why we are in this situation’ (The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 August 2019).

‘Inclusion means inclusion for everybody’. Really? That’s with the exception of being a Christian sportsman who posts on external social media with a warning from the Christian Scriptures:

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(Photo: The image Folau posted on Instagram was accompanied by direct scripture quotes. (Supplied: @izzyfolau), courtesy abc.net.au, 11 May 2019)

Here are three sports’ leaders trumpeting inclusiveness but who have adopted a view of adding an exclusion to the meaning of inclusion. How do we know?

2. The meaning of ‘inclusive’

Dictionary clipartsThe Collins Dictionary (2019. s.v. inclusive) defines the adjective ‘inclusive’ as: ‘If you describe a group or organization as inclusive, you mean that it allows all kinds of people to belong to it, rather than just one kind of person’.

Dictionary clipartsLexico.com (Oxford dictionary) (2019. s.v. inclusive) provides the meaning as: ‘Not excluding any section of society or any party involved in something’.

Dictionary clipartsThe MacMillan Dictionary (2019. s.v. inclusive) describes inclusive as ‘deliberately aiming to involve all types of people’.

Therefore, to have an inclusive policy for Rugby League and Rugby Union teams means ‘all kinds of people’ should belong to them and not ‘just one kind of person’. It involves all types of people, including the secular, various religions (including Christianity), and those with no religion.

To require that a certain religion not express itself in activities outside of the sporting club – especially external to practice and playing games – is to violate the definition of ‘inclusive’. It is another issue if this anti-religious activity is written into the sports’ person’s contract.

Making an exclusion as part of the understanding of inclusion seems to be part of the definition for Peter Beattie, Peter V’landys and Rachel Castle.

3. Inclusive means excluding Christianity

If ‘inclusion’ is ‘for everybody’, why is it not for Folau’s Christianity? Castle, Beattie and V’landys have thus caused ‘inclusion’ to incorporate an exclusion. If Castle agreed with the Collins Dictionary, she would not be in the challenge of the Folau contract. That’s because Christianity must be a part of an inclusive rugby union code.

4. Conclusion

With both the NRL and ARU, it seems to me that we have leaders of the organisations that have written a new, idiosyncratic definition of ‘inclusion’ to exclude those whose beliefs (expressed externally) are those with which they disagree.

I’m of the view, based on the definition of ‘inclusive’, that both the NRL and ARU should have this policy with regard to all players: ‘We welcome players of all religious and non-religious perspectives. What you do off the field is your business, even if it is in public. You will never be excluded from our sports because of your religion’.

The prostitution of the English language by these sporting leaders has required that inclusive incorporate an exclusion – the message of Christianity.

They exclude those whose world views differ from theirs. It’s time for them to get back to the common explanation of ‘inclusive’ that excludes nobody.

Copyright © 2019 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 06 November 2019.

They say one thing and do another: Politicians break promises

Religious freedom after 2019 Australian election

By Spencer Gear PhD

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Why are religious freedom, free speech, freedom of conscience and association, and a free press so important to the Australian democracy? If these freedoms are restricted, democracy totters with the threat of collapsing.

Democracy means rule by the people. There are several guiding principles that act as the foundation of a democracy, such as rule of law, protected rights and freedoms, free and fair elections, and accountability and transparency of government officials. Citizens have a responsibility to uphold and support these principles.[1]

Since Truth Challenge is an evangelical Christian website, I need to ask: Is democratic government supported by Scripture? I have not seen any recommendation of democracy being the ideal or biblical form of government. However, Christianity and democracy are compatible, as has been demonstrated by the world democracies such as the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and France. However, a Christian world view does not make democracy a requirement.

Two fundamentals have been succinctly stated by Jonathan Leeman:

Broadly speaking, two basic kinds of government show up in the Bible: those who knew they were under God and those who thought they were God or were equal to God. The first kind protected God’s people. The second kind attacked them. The first knew they were servants (Rom. 13). The second didn’t and so acted like divine impostors and beasts (Ps. 2; Rev. 13, 17:1–6).[2]

While the Bible does not command, ‘Thou shalt support democracy and oppose any government that is a dictatorship’, it does provide guiding principles for the Judeo-Christian world view and government.

clip_image004For the Old Testament Jews, the government was theocratic, where God himself directed the government through his servants the prophets who were submissive to the heavenly King until the Jews cried out for a human king to govern them (see 1 Samuel 8:6-9 NLT).

The theocracy began with the call of Abraham in Genesis 12-13.

clip_image004[1]Christians are to collaborate with governments, no matter what the variety, as God raises governments and causes them to fall (Romans 13:1-7 NLT).

clip_image005However, if the laws of human government conflict with Scripture (see Acts 5:29 NLT), Christians must obey God rather than human laws. So there is a division between human government and a person’s spiritual beliefs.

I recommend this short article, Is democracy a Christian form of government? (Got Questions).

This article focusses on religious freedom as it seems to be the one under most attack by the left-wing ideologues[3] in Australia.

A. What is freedom of religion?

I found this to be a concise description:

Religious freedom protects people’s right to live, speak, and act according to their beliefs peacefully and publicly. It protects their ability to be themselves at work, in class, and at social activities. Religious freedom is more than the “freedom to worship” at a synagogue, church, or mosque. It makes sure they don’t have to go against their core values and beliefs in order to conform to culture or government (What you need to know about religious freedom).[4]

As I write, these freedoms are under threat in Australia as we have seen in,

clip_image007The professional rugby union player, Israel Folau’s, Christian comments on his personal Instagram account that saw his $4 million contract terminated. See my assessment: Israel Folau: When diversity means censorship.

clip_image009See the ABC News, Brisbane, Qld article, Anti-abortion activists lose High Court challenge to laws banning protests outside [abortion] clinics. ‘The case involved Kathleen Clubb, who was convicted after trying to hand a pamphlet to a couple outside an east Melbourne clinic in 2016 and Graham Preston, who faced three charges for his protests in Hobart in 2014 and 2015’.

https://i0.wp.com/catholicleader.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/pd-preston.jpg

Voice for unborn: Graham Preston (photograph courtesy Catholic Leader).[5]

Graham, not known to me personally, would be one of the bravest and overt defenders of the life of the unborn.

clip_image013Campbell Markham is pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Hobart, Tasmania. In an Opinion piece for The Mercury (Hobart), he wrote:

LAST month [July 2017], the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner accepted a complaint made against my church.

The allegations included things that I wrote on my blog in 2011 in defence of marriage.

I bear no hard feelings whatsoever towards the complainant or the Commissioner.

The problem is the Act itself, which prohibits “any conduct which offends” another person on the basis of thirteen attributes.

There’s no doubt that the Commission would have to call Jesus Christ himself to account, if he taught in our streets today.

Jesus did not hold back when it came to exposing human evil, and statements like the following would have exposed him to prosecution:

“From within, out of the heart of human beings, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Are Jesus’ words provocative, are they upsetting?

Deliberately so. Are Jesus’ words unkind?

Quite the opposite.

His tender love for lost and suffering humanity motivated every word.

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”[6]

clip_image015A complaint was made that Tasmanian Roman Catholic ‘Archbishop Julian Porteous and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference be investigated over the booklet, Don’t Mess With Marriage, which was distributed in June [2015]to about 12,000 Tasmanian families whose children attend Catholic schools’. Martine Delaney, a Greens’candidate for the federal seat of Franklin and homosexual marriage advocate (she calls it ‘marriage equality’), delivered her complaint to the office of Tasmania’s anti-discrimination commissioner.

She claimed: ‘This booklet says same-sex partners don’t deserve equal recognition, same-sex-attracted people are not ‘whole’ people and the children of same-sex partners are not ‘healthy’. “By spreading this message, the church does immeasurable harm to the wellbeing of same-sex couples and their families across Tasmania and the nation.”

clip_image017In addition to the complaint against Campbell Markham at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Hobart, there also has been a complaint against David Gee, an evangelist for Cornerstone who works a day a week for them and is funded for another one-and-a-half days by Operation 513, a street preaching group. He is a veterinarian.

Gee sets up a table in Hobart’s street, making the Bibles available, and handing out tracts. The table often becomes a place for conversation. “He also does street preaching,” says Markham. “That’s what people don’t like.”

The complainant has been hanging around Gee’s preaching places for years. “He is an atheist, who says he feels offended and insulted by what has been written and said.”[7]

clip_image019Independent and Roman Catholic Schools are uncertain of the government’s intrusion into preventing hiring of teachers and enrolling students sympathetic to the school’s values. Or, will government force independent and Catholic schools to hire people of any value system and enrol students who have values opposed to those promoted by these schools.

Israel Folau’s clash with Rugby Australia ‘over his fundamentalist religious social media posts’ motivated ‘nine prominent Christians to send letters about the protection of religious freedom to Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten’. These people included leaders from Presbyterian, Baptist, Seventh-Day Adventist and Apostolic churches, as well as a number of religious school leaders.

The letters were worded differently for each political leader but both letters ‘flagged a range of issues, with protection of religious belief and free speech at the forefront’.

Each letter began:

“In recent years the protections to be accorded to religious freedom, and the related freedoms of conscience, speech and association, have come under increasing focus within Australia.”

“We write to invite you to provide clarification on a range of key issues that are important to the preservation of these freedoms in our country”.

Reverend Dr Hedley Fihaki, a Uniting Church minister and the national chair of the Assembly of Confessing Congregations, said he was worried the Wallaby’s case could set “a dangerous precedent”.

“Scripture is the book the whole church is based on, so if we are not free to teach from that, not just in the private but particularly in the public domain, it is a dangerous precedent,” Dr Fihaki told the ABC.

“From the Bible, from the holy scriptures, that’s the Old and New Testament”.[8]

Anna Patty, in writing for The Age, pointed out some of the apprehension of religious leaders:

The letter to Mr Shorten details concerns that Labor Party policies do not go far enough to protect religious freedom and have the potential to impact on the free expression of traditional views of sexuality and marriage. It asks Labor for an assurance that religious institutions will continue to be able to hold such views and defend them in public….

The Liberal Party has committed to introducing a Commonwealth Religious Discrimination Act, but the religious leaders asked the Prime Minister to go further by protecting believers in associations including churches, mosques, charities, schools and corporations.[9]

B. My assessment of some of the post-election Australian issues after the 18 May 2019 election

clip_image021 On 14 May 2019, before the Australian election on 18 May, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was reported as saying:

“There is no more fundamental right than the right to decide what you believe or do not believe. That means Australians of faith should be free to hold and practise that faith without fear of discrimination against them.… And that is why my government is committed to providing Australians of religious belief with protections equivalent to those guaranteed in relation to other protected attributes under Commonwealth anti-discrimination law (Christian leaders say religious freedom was among issues that influenced voters, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 May 2019).

clip_image023“Graeme Irwin chair of the Australian Association of Christian Schools said governments needed to recognise there are “a lot of highly intelligent people of religious persuasion who believe there should be freedom in this area.

“They do not want to discriminate against other segments of the community but also do not want to be discriminated against for holding their beliefs”, he said (Sydney Morning Herald, 20 May 2019).

clip_image025  Behind the scenes, some Coalition MPs are advocating “stronger religious freedom laws after the party received strong backing from religious voters at the election. Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce is pushing for religious beliefs to be exempt from employment contracts, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald report” (SBS News, Religious discrimination laws get closer, 31 May 2019).

clip_image027Before the election, “the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has also been tasked with examining five Ruddock review recommendations relating to discrimination against LGBT staff and students of religious schools” (The Guardian Australia, 1 June 2019). The Government announced this new ALRC review to include, ‘an inquiry into the framework of religious exemptions in Commonwealth, State and Territory anti-discrimination legislation’.

The ALRC is due to report on its findings on 10 April 2020.

clip_image029  What were those Ruddock recommendations? See: Recommendations for further CONSULTATION AND LEGAL consideration.

clip_image031  Christians must not leave it to the post-election Coalition government to guarantee freedom of religion for students and staff in Christian schools and organisations. Evidence now comes to light of a softening of the preservation of religious freedom.

On 5 June 2019, The Guardian Australia reported Australian attorney-general, Christian Porter, stating that a basic bill will be brought to Parliament to prevent discrimination, rather than a broader bill that allows religious opinions to be expressed that may breach codes of conduct [thinking of the Israel Folau case].

This will dissatisfy backbench MPs who sought to protect religious freedom.

It satisfies a Liberal Party, homosexual MP, Tim Wilson who “backed the more limited form of a religious discrimination act which he said would not be ‘overly controversial’ but is ‘quite different from a religious freedom act’” (Coalition to rule out conservative demands for ‘religious freedom’ law, The Guardian Australia, 5 June 2019).

clip_image033 There you have the current controversial problem for Christian schools, churches and organisations with this proposed Coalition government Law, RULED OUT … ‘RELIGIOUS FREEDOM’.

clip_image035  Would the Coalition consider it satisfactory for people who vote for Labor or the Greens to work in their electorate offices and in the State and National Coalition headquarters without espousing Coalition values? Or, will the Coalition discriminate and choose only Liberal Party supporters? Will the Coalition government discriminate against Christian schools from employing Christian staff but NOT discriminate against the kind of staff employed by the Coalition?

The same applies to independent and Catholic schools and organisations. They need to employ staff members who agree with their values, just as the Labor, Greens, Coalition, Katter, and other parties do.

C. Conclusion

Immediately before the Australian election on 18 May 2019, the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, stated it was a fundamental right of Australians that they should be able to believe and practise those beliefs without fear of discrimination.

Now that commitment seems to be broken with the Attorney –General, Christian Porter, stating that the basic bill to be brought to Parliament will not be broad enough to allow religious opinions expressed that may breach codes of conduct.

Will this refusal to have a broad Bill mean that Catholic and independent schools will not be able to exclude teachers, staff and students who do not support the values of the schools?

Will this law extend to all political parties who will not be able to exclude staff who disagree with some of that party’s policies? Will street preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ be closed down?

Seems to me we have another example of broken promises by the Coalition government.

I eagerly wait to see the Australian government’s new legislation & law for religious freedom to determine if it broke its promises.

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D.   Notes


[1] Student Vote Ontario Activity Resource n.d. Lesson 4: Democratic Principles. Available at: http://civix.ca/resources/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/ON-Secondary-Lesson-4.pdf (Accessed 8 June 2019).

[2] Jonathan Leeman 2018. The Two Kinds of Government That Show Up in the Bible. Christianity Today (online), 20 April. Available at: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/may/how-nations-rage-jonathan-leeman.html (Accessed 8 June 2019).

[3] ‘Generally, the left-wing is characterized by an emphasis on “ideas such as Liberty, equality, fraternity, rights, progress, reform and internationalism”, while the right-wing is characterized by an emphasis on “notions such as authority, hierarchy, order, duty, tradition, reaction and nationalism”’ (Wikipedia 2019. Left-right political spectrum (online). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left%E2%80%93right_political_spectrum#cite_ref-14. Accesses 8 June 2019).

[4] Heritage.org, 1 December 2019. Available at: https://www.heritage.org/what-you-need-know-about-religious-freedom/what-you-need-know-about-religious-freedom (Accessed 8 June 2019).

[5] ‘Graham Preston facing arrest if he continues his pro-life activism for the unborn in Queensland’, 21 November 2018. Available at: http://catholicleader.com.au/news/graham-preston-facing-arrest-if-he-continues-his-pro-life-activism-for-the-unborn-in-queensland (Accessed 7 June 2019).

[6] Campbell Markham 2017. We are all losers when the right to free expression is muzzled. The Mercury, 7 August. Available at: https://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/we-are-all-losers-when-the-right-to-free-expression-is-muzzled/news-story/da33da4483b51dfdebc3951a96196fd2 (Accessed 7 June 2019).

[7] John Sandeman 2017. Pastor, street preacher face Anti-Discrimination complaint. Eternity, 31 July. Available at: https://www.eternitynews.com.au/australia/pastor-street-preacher-face-anti-discrimination-complaint/ (Accessed 7 June 2019).

[8] ABC News, Brisbane, Qld 2019. Israel Folau’s case prompts Australian religious leaders to pen letters to Scott Morrison, Bill Shorten (online), 11 May. Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-11/israel-folau-religious-leaders-send-letter-to-shorten-morrison/11104094 (Accessed 8 June 2019).

[9] Anna Patty 2019. Christian leaders challenge major parties on commitment to religious freedom. The Age (online), 11 May. Available at: https://www.theage.com.au/federal-election-2019/christian-leaders-challenge-major-parties-on-commitment-to-religious-freedom-20190508-p51lgo.html (Accessed 8 June 2019).

Copyright © 2019 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 08 June 2019.

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