Ok, there’s been one or two confusing messages coming from the Morrison government. And no, one of them isn’t “What would Jesus do?” Strangely, for a government that’s had two out of three PMs profess their strong Christian beliefs, this never seems to be a consideration.
I’m more confused about things like their recent thought bubble on moving the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. Various bodies have suggested that this may lead to protests and possibly even violence. Now, it would be far too conspiratorial to suggest that Scott is actually hoping to provoke a terrorist attack in the hope that it would give him a boost in the polls. As if he’d be prepared to do whatever it took to get re-elected; he’d only do whatever it takes to stop children being brought here for medical treatment. No, I find this confusing because – apart from Trump’s US – no other country seems to be doing this. Clearly, it’s putting our free trade agreement with Indonesia at risk, and we can’t take the lead with any action that puts our economic growth at risk when the future of the planet is at stake, but somehow we can go out on a limb about the location of an embassy. We can follow Trump, but tell the Indonesians that we don’t let other countries set our foreign policy.
And then we have the report of religious freedom which was quietly released just in time for Christmas. Ho, ho, ho!
Of course, balancing people’s rights is never a simple matter. While you may argue that you have the right to do as you like on your own property, if this involves playing loud music that keeps your neighbours awake at 3am, then the law will disagree.
Similarly, when gay people recently won right to marriage equality, it seemed to some religious groups the equivalent of loud music in the middle of the night. It keeps them awake. And furthermore, for reasons I can’t quite follow, after losing the argument that the Taliban wasn’t all bad and that they should have the right to dictate other people’s lifestyles, certain sects within the Christian cult are now suggesting that if they are forced to accept same sex marriage, do floral arrangements and make cakes for weddings, then there must be some other way to discriminate against gay people and make them feel bad.
It was here that it became confusing for me. While I can I understand that it for a school which requires any student go to counselling if they wear something with colours that are contained in the rainbow may find it hard to explain why the geography teacher is living with only one man and not a whole group of them like the Christian Brothers do, it’s all a matter of trying to balance the various rights of the people involved.
I thought that it might help if I could get Tony Abbott to explain it to me, but he’s been too busy explaining that the only way aboriginal people can improve their economic circumstances is by going to school, and to ensure that this is true, he proposes to cut any funding to the places where the attendance rate is too low. So without the benefit of someone who is a great friend of He-Who- Must-Not-Be-Named to advise me, I have to rely on my own imperfect ideas to predict how the Morrison government will play this over the next few weeks. I suspect they’ll go down the following path:
- We’ll be asked to agree people have a right to live without being discriminated against.
- We’ll also be asked to agree that if someone is religious they have to right to their religious beliefs.
- From here we’ll be told that if their religious beliefs call for someone to be discriminated against, then this should take precedence over Point 1.
- Because some people will get annoyed over Point 3 and try to take it out on people who use it to refuse to employ people who they disapprove of, then we need to enact new laws to protect people from being discriminated against because of their religious beliefs.
- Someone will eventually argue that Point 4 could be interpreted as meaning that someone who had no religion cannot be discriminated against on the grounds that not believing in something is clearly a religious belief.
- Point 5 means that the Abbott government’s insistence that school chaplain appointments must be religious in nature may be over-ridden by any religious anti-discrimination laws.
- This will lead to a special exemption needing to created to exempt the school chaplains from any religious discrimination laws.
- The whole thing will fall apart when somebody uses the freedom of religion laws to promote some satanic ritual involving animals at a government school and everyone is powerless to stop them. Or even worse, someone cites Andrew Bolt’s comments about action on climate change being a religion and uses it as a means to promote concern about coal-fired power stations.
Of course, it would be wrong to presume that Scott Morrison has a clear plan here and that he won’t – as always – be guided by prayer. I’m sure that just like his prayers for rain, he expects that there’ll be an answer soon. He’ll possibly be spared the difficulty navigating these issues when God takes over and gives him a sign such as the election of Bill Shorten.
Mm, ever notice that when things happen that some religious people agree with, it’s the “will of God” but when it’s going badly for them, it’s because of all these people listening to the devil?
Whatever, it’s Christmas and I’d just like to say, “Merry Christmas” even though the same people who told me that marriage equality would oppress them, keep telling me that I’m not allowed to say, “Merry Christmas”. In keeping with the season, I’d like to remind people to keep such commandments as “Thou shalt not bear false witness unless one is talking about the Labor Party or The Greens”, “Thou shalt not kill unless these people have arrived by boat”, “Thou shalt not commit adultery unless it’s in Canberra and you’re pissed” and “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy by not asking for penalty rates”!
Four commandments should be enough. I think the others were non-core.