When Good news is reported as Bad
You know there is something fundamentally wrong with the world (or perhaps just with the newspaper you are reading) when the media reports a "Good News" story as a "Bad News" story.
I refer to today's Sunday Age story: Government bows to religious right which reports the joyful news that the religious communities in the State of Victoria have been successful in defending their religious freedom and basic human right not to employ (and in some cases to provide "services" to *) people who do not uphold their "ethos".
I have reported before on the efforts that our community leaders went to to defend us against this threat to our religious liberty. It was a very well organised campaign that showed that the feeling on this subject in the community was not that of the Thought Police who are trying to rewrite our social mores for us by means of the law. In short, the Social Reformers were horrified that religious communities should be able to "discriminate" by employing staff (or providing services to clients) who shared and upheld their religious ethos. Today's decision marks the failure of the psuh to stamp out this "injustice".
And The Sunday Age isn't going to take this lying down. Their "reporter" Melissa Fyfe allows a good deal of editorial bias and comment into what should be a news report. She writes
- that the State's religious communities will be allowed "to continue to discriminate against gays and lesbians, single mothers and people who hold different spiritual beliefs."
- that "church groups" will be allowed "to continue discriminating on the grounds of sex, sexuality, marital and parental status and gender identity."
- That "the decision has dismayed groups that argued that the review was a chance to eliminate entrenched discrimination in Victoria."
So the exercise of religious freedom - the freedom to reject the mores that are being foisted upon us by the New Morality - is now to be condemned as "discrimination".
And, according to Fyfe, "leading discrimination law expert Professor Margaret Thornton said that it was a win for fundamentalist religious groups." So. The religious communities who reject the New Mores are all to be labelled "fundamentalist"!
Just for our information, who are these "fundamentalists"? Represented at the SARC hearings on August 5 were the following organisations:
Catholic Bishops of Victoria
Catholic Social Services
Anglican Church of Australia
Presbyterian Church of Victoria
Islamic Council of Victoria
Christian Schools Australia
Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria
B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission
Mt Evelyn Christian School
Australian Christian Lobby
Catholic Education Office
Association of Independent Schools of Victoria
Victorian Independent Education Union
When these are all condemned as "fundamentalist", it is hard to see that any room at all is left in the rational, moderate camp. It seems, in fact, that we are all to be written off as "fundamentalist", except for some significant mainstream Christian organisations who no longer espouse a recognisable Christian ethos in the realm of sexual- and bio-ethics.
[BTW, it is worth noting who the supporters of the change in our laws were. They included: the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, the Human Rights Law Resource Centre, the Law Institute of Victoria, Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, ALSO Foundation, and Tansgender Victoria.]
(* It is my understanding that an example of such "services" would be the provision of ad0ption services to same sex parents.)