Friday, April 07, 2006

“There's no pleasing some people.”

“That's just what Jesus said, sir.”

Ah yes, a quotable quote for every occasion, that’s what Monty Python is.

Today’s occasion is the publication of the Brack’s Government’s intended changes to the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act. There are a couple of procedural changes to sort out the frivolous and malicious claims from the genuine ones, but the change that really counts is this:

“Proposed Amendment: Clarification of the meaning of religious purpose’ to include “teaching, conveying and proselytising of a religion’.

“Explanation: There has been some uncertainty in the faith community about freedom to proselytise. In his recent judgement in Fletcher v The Salvation Army Australia [2005], VOAT 1523, Justice Morris observed that the RRTA does not prohibit proselytising.

“The Government intends to clarify the meaning of “religious purpose” to include “conveying, teaching or proselytising of a religion”. “Religious purpose” must be genuine and remains subject to the requirement of reasonableness and good faith.

“The proposed amendment will ensure the RRTA is interpreted in line with Justice Morris’ observations.”

Now you’d think that would put an end to it, wouldn’t you? I mean, besides “teaching, conveying and proselytising” of your own religion, what possible reason would you have for wanting to say anything about anyone else’s religion? Except truly being nasty, perhaps.

Yet here is the response of David Palmer, the Presbyterian spokesman, to these proposed changes:

"The battle is joined. They've said what they are prepared to do, and it falls so far short."

Yes, Brian, there truly is “no pleasing some people”…

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