Dear Faith Leader,
By now you’re aware of the threat to you personally, to parental rights, and to religious freedom from the Andrews government’s Change or Suppression (Conversion) Prohibition Bill 2020.
The bill passed in the lower house last month. Not a single MP – even from the Liberals – was brave enough to oppose it. It will now go to the Upper House for vote in early February.
Under this legislation, every faith leader and parent will be at risk of restraining orders, hefty fines and jail terms for doing anything less than fully affirming gender transitioning and engaging in sexual activity of any kind.
The bill is likely to become law unless there is a strong protest from faith leaders like you, and from concerned parents in Victoria.
I am writing to ask you to actively engage in this fight for our parental rights and for our religious freedom. I cannot overstate how serious this is.
If you are the senior leader of your congregation (or authorised to sign on his/her behalf), please sign the Faith Leaders’ Petition here.
There are also other ways you can help raise awareness about the bill and mobilise Victorians to oppose it…
- Explain the bill to your faith community (learn more here or show my video)
- Ask your congregation to sign the Vic Parents’ Petition at acl.org.au
- Put a notice in your newsletter / website about the Parent’s Petition
- Set up a laptop in a suitable location so your people can sign
- Keep the bill as a constant prayer point leading up to the Feb vote
- Forward this email to other faith leaders in your local community / network
This is the most serious threat to religious freedom in Australia’s history.
Please sign the Faith Leaders’ Petition now and do all you can to mobilise Victorians to resist this outrageous bill.
The Hon Daniel Andrews
Premier of Victoria
1 Treasury Place
East Melbourne VIC 3002
RE: Faith leaders call for a retraction of the Change or Suppression Bill
As religious leaders representing various faith communities in Victoria, we write to jointly express our grave concerns about the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020.
The bill encroaches excessively on religious freedoms, and makes all faith communities and people of faith vulnerable to prosecution and heavy penalties.
For example, among other things the bill would:
- Regulate the subject matter of prayers, according to section 5(3);
- Make some consensual prayers into criminal acts, if they pertain to a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity;
- Criminalise voluntary faith-based support groups for people who want to live out their sexual orientation or gender identity consistent with their faith;
- Make certain conversations about faith-based sexual ethics illegal, as confirmed in the Explanatory Memorandum;
- Make all faith-based teaching or discussion on issues of sexual orientation or gender identity legally fraught;
- Force parents to affirm and encourage a child’s felt gender identity at any given time, regardless of circumstance, and permit gender transition medical therapies.
This bill will criminalise many common religious practices, and many people of various faiths for doing nothing wrong.
According to the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Section 14 (Freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief) and Section 19 (Cultural rights), everyone has the right to think, feel, believe, share and practice his/her beliefs, values and culture publicly.
Under this bill, all people of faith will be stripped of their freedom to practice and share their faith.
Therefore, we urge you to…
- Retract this bill to respect religious freedom and cultural rights.
- Meet with us for a roundtable discussion.
The undersigned multifaith religious leaders
After signing this letter, which will be delivered to Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, please also send a letter to your local MP today. Already thousands have sent letters – will you join them? If you want to give, you will also be given an opportunity to donate after sending your letter.