Australian religious believers receive protection, not freedom


If secularists did not harass their religious neighbors with such enthusiasm, then this bill is not necessary.


It seemed that the Australian Government was running out of time to fulfill its 2019 election promise to legislate the protection of religious believers and religious organizations.

However, in late November, Attorney General Michaelia Cash finally briefed the coalition’s room as she was preparing to submit a public draft of her religious discrimination bill 2021 to Congress by the end of the year.

This is a reworked, slightly watered version of the previous Bill, created by Cash’s predecessor Christian Porter.

Some of the suggestions proposed by Porter are out. For example, the so-called “folau clause” of the former building is gone. It is named after Israel Folau, who was dismissed by Rugby Australia for posting an online education from the Christian Bible that seeks repentance from sinners of various categories. The adulterer put it on his chin. Others were not very optimistic.

The Forau clause requires an employer with annual sales of more than $ 50 million to prove that an employee’s expression of religious belief has caused financial damage to the company, and then may take action for the first time. I was able to do it.

Israel Folau attends Fair Labor Relations Commission hearing
Israel Folau will arrive prior to the mediation meeting with Rugby Australia at the Fairwork Commission on June 28, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (MarkMetcalfe / Getty Images)

This clause was removed from the cash exposure draft when it became clear that opponents of the bill, who were afraid to allow public exhibition of homosexual prejudice, would not accept it.

However, the new bill protects those who want to practice their religion openly from being dismissed by specialized agencies such as medical associations.

In addition, faith-based organizations appear to have acquired the right to hire staff, including school teachers who share a religious spirit.

However, medical professionals are unlikely to win protection for tax withholding services such as contraception and abortion because of their belief-based opposition to that practice.

Supporters are considering the types of protection currently offered by the Morrison government, as MPs are preparing to discuss the bill by the end of Congress.

Some religious leaders would have wanted to maintain stronger protection, such as the Folau clause. Others argued that Australia needed a new law that would create a positive and enforceable right to religious freedom.

Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right explicitly declared in international documents signed by Australia, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966).

However, the bill avoids the creation of new enforceable rights to religious freedom in Australian law.

This enacts a positive (seemingly unlimited) right that the government can enforce by an irresponsible judge who has not been elected in court, whether it is the right to religious freedom or the right to care for the elderly. Because I hesitate to do it.

Critics of the rights-based approach to religious freedom argue that rights once created by law will inevitably become an ever-expanding category that is difficult to contain.

Instead, the government chose to use the anti-discrimination legislation architecture that the country has been familiar with since the mid-1970s in its latest bid to legislate religious protection.

Epoch Times Photo
Father James Collins will serve in the garden of the Anglican Church of St. Paul’s in Burwood on March 22, 2020, at a social distance monitoring seat in Sydney, Australia. (Jenny Evans / Getty Images)

This means that the bill works by creating areas of action in which faith-based organizations can act according to their religious traditions and spirits, such as exemptions that open up employment.

For some opponents who are hostile to religion and think the bill has already gone too far, this is a nuisance to religious organizations and those who refuse to adopt morals by religious believers. The lesson is the same as creating a license to be.

They are reminiscent of gay children expelled from school, gay gardeners fired in faith-based geriatric care facilities, and the fantastic scenario of hatred erupting from Palpit. -The existence of society.

The paradox is that this is exactly the kind of anti-religious belief that caused the need for a bill in the first place.

If radical secularists did not bother their religious neighbors with such fanatic enthusiasm, it would make it impossible for those who profess faith to practice it openly and without blame. Yes, there was no need for this law.

Australia is one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world, drawn from a wide range of cultural and religious backgrounds.

It is ridiculous for those who oppose religious protection to think that their anti-religious prejudices should prevail and determine how others in the community order their lives.

The 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill is not intended to defend prejudice. It aims to preserve the basic characteristics of Australia in the 21st century.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Peter Culti


Peter Kurti is Director of the Cultural, Prosperity and Civil Society Program at the Independent Research Center in Sydney, Australia. He is also a part-time associate professor at Notre Dame University in Australia, writing extensively on religious, liberal and civil society issues.