For the last few days I've been in Darwin, speaking with church leaders about the Northern Territory Government’s proposed changes to their anti-discrimination legislation, including a proposal that the language in the Act be ‘modernised’ to remove so-called offensive language, such as the terms “man” and “woman”.
This would surprise most Territorians, who see no offence in using terms that define biological truth.
But perhaps of more concern is Labor’s plan to remove the right of faith-based schools and places of worship to hire staff on the basis of their beliefs.
This is a direct attack on freedom of conscience and thought. - also very relevant to this week's senate discussions on the same sex marriage bill. When calling for religious freedom, proponents are not arguing that the State should give some exceptional right. Rather those who advocate for freedoms are arguing that every human, by virtue of their humanity, has the right to freedom of conscience.
With same sex marriage legislated, this issue is going to have a huge impact on the general public, as most care facilities and charities are run by Christian organisations. And If they end up closing down rather than violate the teachings of their faith, absolutely vital public services will be eliminated.
But back to the Northern Territory. Can you imagine the NT Government passing legislation that would mean an organisation such as the Greens Party has to hire a climate change denier, or a major land developer? It would be absurd. Why then, should Catholic, or independent, Christian or Muslim schools be made to hire staff who do not align with their beliefs?
It is certainly not in keeping with our international commitments or how other sectors of society, such as political parties need to operate.
Australia is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which protect parental rights to teach their children according to their beliefs. The rights of Australian parents are currently under serious threat from Marxist-inspired ‘Safe Schools’ programs that support schools assisting children to change their gender even without parent’s permission. This is wrong. And it must stop.
Sadly, it would seem that Australia is becoming a place that no longer champions freedom of religion and thought. The ACL is pushing back on this as we believe that every human being is created in the image of God. When did Australia become a place where people were forced to do things against their beliefs?