Friday, February 16, 2007

Crickey.com on the Catch the Fire Supreme Court Judgement

I wanted to blog on this last December when the issue was current, but didn't have access to this article in crikey.com. Now I have it. It is a brief news report by Peter Faris QC on the decision to send the case back to VCAT for re-judgment, but it included these comments:
One of the remarkable features of the judgement is the personal and religious criticisms made of Pastor Scot by the presiding judge, Nettle JA. In the context of a case involving religious vilification, the comments were alarming.

The complaint against Pastor Scot arose from a presentation he made at a church seminar which was tape-recorded by agents of the Islamic Council.

Nettle JA listened to the tape. He said the following of Pastor Scot:

“I dare say, for example, that there would be a large number of people who would despise Pastor Scot’s perception of Christianity and yet not dream of hating him or be inclined to any of the other stipulated emotions” [33]

“I have listened to the tape recording of [Scot’s] Seminar, although I confess that I lacked the endurance to do it more than once” [63]

“I dare say too that there may well be people who, although not Muslims, would think it a far better thing if people like Pastor Scot kept his ideas about the Koran and Islam, and for that matter Judaism and Christianity, to himself and left others to do likewise. It is at least arguable that the world would be a happier place if he were bound to do so. But that is not the law.” [80]

These are “interesting” comments about a Christian Pastor and his right to practice his religion.

Nettle JA also makes this interesting finding, this time about the law: “it is conceivable that a statement made about religious beliefs in the course of a talkback radio broadcast could run foul of s.8 of the Act while the same thing said as part of intellectual discourse within a seminary or faculty of theology would not have that effect.” [17]

The consequences of the decision to the media in Victoria could be significant.

5 Comments:

At Friday, February 16, 2007 11:09:00 pm , Blogger LYL said...

It is at least arguable that the world would be a happier place if he were bound to do so. But that is not the law.

Yet.

 
At Saturday, February 17, 2007 10:17:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

Hi, Louise. Yes, I read your blog on the SA law, and had written a long response to it, but lost it when I went to publish the comment. I hate it when that happens...

I find really alarming that the SA Goverment justifies its proposal on the grounds that it wants to increase a sense of victimisation! You have to wonder what is going on in some people's heads.

Nevertheless, I found it interesting that about the only thing that the SA proposal doesn't outlaw is religious vilification--precisely the point on which the Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act (RRTA) has been so controversial.

Honestly, the RRTA is not causing a huge problem here, which is to say that--besides the ICV vs CTF case--there have so far been no successful applications even to have a case of religious vilification heard by VCAT. In the working out of the law, there have been so many "exceptions" listed that one really wonders what one would have to do to get convicted of Religious Vilification in Victoria. Certainly you would have to step far beyond the boundaries of what any Christian (even CTF Ministries) would consider ethical.

The SA law looks quite different, and frankly, it looks even more poorly considered than the Victorian RRTA.

 
At Sunday, February 18, 2007 11:04:00 am , Blogger LYL said...

I read your blog on the SA law, and had written a long response to it, but lost it when I went to publish the comment. I hate it when that happens...

Oh yeah, that's horrible! When I'm "switched on" and can tell it's going to be a longish post, I type it in Word first. That way, it don't get lost.

More later - have to go to Mass.

 
At Sunday, February 18, 2007 7:38:00 pm , Blogger LYL said...

I find really alarming that the SA Goverment justifies its proposal on the grounds that it wants to increase a sense of victimisation!

Yes, this is very alarming, although I would have thought a similar justification was in the Vic law - but I say that as a complete ingnoramus who has not read the Vic law.

Nevertheless, I found it interesting that about the only thing that the SA proposal doesn't outlaw is religious vilification

This was due to many protests of Festival of Light, on the grounds that people would not be able to justly criticise the behaviours or beliefs of people of other religions. But of course, the FOL was protesting the whole law, not just the religious "vilification" aspect. I assume the ALP were happy to make *this* compromise before introducing the Bill into parliament.

 
At Sunday, February 18, 2007 7:40:00 pm , Blogger LYL said...

The SA law looks quite different, and frankly, it looks even more poorly considered than the Victorian RRTA.

One last thing - this is what SA parliamentarians call "keeping up-to-date with the other states."

Lemmings.

 

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