According to the Christian bible, the prophet Jesus tells us we must love one another. There’s no addendum stating that the love can be retracted if the recipient turns out to be LGBTQI+, that is, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and other gender and sexual preferences.
Apparently a new document has superseded the ancient text – a report that suggests Jesus’ love has conditions attached.
On 22 November 2017, the Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, announced the appointment of an Expert Panel to examine whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to freedom of religion.
In May this year, the then PM received the final report from the Religious Freedom Review Expert Panel examining whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to freedom of religion. ‘I would like to thank the Chair, the Hon. Philip Ruddock, and other members of the Panel for their work in exploring this important issue in such a comprehensive and respectful way,’ the PM said at the time.
‘I look forward to considering the report in detail and will consult with members of the Government before releasing it to the public and responding to its findings.
‘I have asked the Attorney-General, the Hon. Christian Porter MP, to lead the Government’s deliberation and response to the report.’ – but there was no mention of how long that deliberation could take.
Since then we have a new PM and the document has been kept under wraps, but over the last few days, details of the report have been leaked and the contents are very un-Christian.
The power to expel and fire
The Ruddock review recommendations plan to allow religious schools to expel LGBTIQ+ students and fire LGBTIQ+ teachers.
Senator Janet Rice is the Greens LGBTIQ+ spokesperson. She says that last year in the marriage equality postal survey, Australians voted for equality for LGBTIQ+ Australians, not for more discrimination. ‘The Ruddock review recommendations to change our laws to allow religious schools to expel students on the basis of who they are or who they love at a time when they are already vulnerable is unacceptable,’ she said yesterday. ‘The Greens support the right of people to practice religion, but that should not come at the expense of the human rights of LGBTIQ+ people.’
On delivery of the report the Panel made a statement. ‘This Report is the culmination of a nationwide consultation process, including a public submission process and face-to-face meetings in every State and Territory.
‘The Report reflects the input that the Panel received throughout the life of this process, research undertaken and the individual expertise of the Panel members.
‘The Panel cannot discuss details of the Report at this time. Its release, and any possible Government response, are matters for the Prime Minister.’
Well this week our PM is Scott Morrison, a flagrant Christian with an election he wants won and a marriage equality axe to grind.
An Echonetdaily reader responds
‘When I think of the word crucifixion, these days the name that springs to mind is is not Jesus Christ but Matthew Shepard.
‘Matthew was a slight, good looking gay American student from the University of Wyoming who, on the night of October 6, 1998, was beaten, tortured, tied to a fence and left to die in near freezing temperatures in remote countryside near Laramie.
‘Shepard was beaten so brutally that his face was completely covered in blood, except where it had been partially cleansed by his tears. He died six days later in a Colorado hospital aged just 21.
‘Tomorrow will be 20 years since his death.
‘There is no way of knowing whether the two men who beat and tortured him before leaving him to die considered themselves Christian. But they grew up in a society that calls itself Christian and they hated him because of who he was.
Rates of depression, victimisation and suicide are already exceptionally high
‘That hatred of the LGBT psyche was – and still is – ingrained in most religious sects, including most so-called “modern” Christian churches.
‘Having recently fought – and comprehensively lost – the battle to crush marriage equality in Australia, “our” churches decided they wanted their pound of flesh. And, with the Ruddock review, they appear to have got it: the right to tell young LGBTIQ people they are wrong, sinful, inferior, to be despised and – if not physically excommunicated – denied the right to study at the school of their choice.
‘It is to be seen what affect this would have on LGBTIQ young people but their rates of depression, victimisation and suicide are already exceptionally high.
‘Do the churches really want this on their conscience? Or are they prepared to put their dogma above their humanity?
‘Many of the so-called leaders of these churches have been dragged before the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, and in a number of cases charged with crimes and jailed for their horrific sexual offences against children. Others committed the slightly lesser crime of looking on and doing nothing.
‘Exactly how these men – for they are almost all male – consider they have a shred of moral authority left is beyond imagining, let alone the right to judge children and teenagers for who they are.
‘That they believe they have the right to make such demands in a modern, democratic society, where taxpayers fund their schools, is inconceivable.
‘That this government is even contemplating giving in to their hysterical demands is unconscionable.
‘The Ruddock Review should be damned to hell (if there is one).’
Laws should protect people from discrimination
Is it ok to blatantly teach our children that not only do LGBTQI+ people not belong, but that it’s ok to be rid of them?
Senator Rice says that our laws should protect LGBTIQ+ people from discrimination, not enshrine the right to discriminate against them.
‘Scott Morrison’s recent anti-LGBTIQ+ comments have ignited fear in our community that the government is planning to wind back the laws which protect LGBTIQ+ people from discrimination.
‘Scott Morrison must immediately release the review for the public and commit to ensuring LGBTIQ+ people will not face further discrimination.’
Spaking of Sco-Mo, many are questioning the timing of a possible release. With the by-election for the Australian House of Representatives seat of Wentworth less than ten days away, the leak may have a very deleterious effect on the outcome considering that Wentworth has a large gay community. It would be in the government’s interest to delay the release of the report until a later date – say Christmas Eve when everyone was distracted by reindeer projected onto Uluru for example.
Liberal candidate for Wentworth Dave Sharma is apparently opposed to discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation or anything else for that matter – but did a prospective MP ever say something, then once the seat was safe, do a 180?
For the LGBTQI+ community it’s just another relentless day of defending their human rights…
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.