How quickly do we forget?
Few if any of the religious organisations in Australia came off as blameless, following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
While the level of abuse in Catholic institutions was possibly the worst, even pastors and their relatives in evangelical organisations have had the finger pointed at them for covering up offences.
The question of financial compensation for victims is as yet unresolved, and contributions from many religious organisations to the National Redress Scheme are falling well short of what is needed.
And that, when most if not all these organisations have charitable status for tax purposes!
How charitable is it to rape an innocent child or take part in covering up such a heinous offence?
They should be hiding their heads in shame instead of queuing up to seek further freedoms from a complicit government! In fact, they should be made liable for taxation on all their fund-raising immediately, in order to provide resources for compensation!
But, as with follow up on the Banking RC – which the Coalition strongly opposed, until they were forced to establish it – the issue of redress has now been brushed on one side while necessary action to restore confidence in the financial institutions is not even in the pipeline for the newly re-elected Coalition government. Nor is insistence on adequate compensation for victims of abuse!
Do these religious hypocrites in the Coalition government have such short memories or, in their hubris following the unexpected election results, do they assume that we do?
If I had been one of those victims of abuse by priests or employees of any religious organisation, my blood would run cold at the thought that the Coalition government is seriously contemplating a bill to protect and promote religious freedom!
Some individuals refuse to accept that modern scientific knowledge makes it clear that those born into LGBTIQ status do not choose to be different, because their sexuality was defined before birth.
Consequently, if these individuals in denial are religiously motivated, they may proceed to condemn members of the LGBTIQ group to ‘burn in hell’ status on the basis of an ill-founded ‘belief’ in the uneducated views recorded both in the bible or appropriate holy books for those of other religions.
In addition, religious schools appear to be free to promote unfounded beliefs by teaching their students ‘facts’ based on their ancient writings, rather than recognising modern teaching based on more recent scientific understanding – think creationism vs evolution. To oppose the Safe Schools project is to subject vulnerable children to what is often life-threatening abuse.
Astronomical knowledge revealed by the research of Copernicus and Galileo was, in its time, rejected by the Catholic church, so what is new?
In fact, you have to ask: Where does ‘belief’ begin and end when it is based on past levels of knowledge which are now known to be false?
Coming from the UK, where the protestant Church of England is the established church – at least in England and Wales – the pervasive influence of the Catholic church did not influence government to the extent to which it does in Australia. Nor does the more recent growth of the Pentecostal movement – where it seems that getting rich is the short cut to heaven – aid in reducing the clear influence on government of many members’ religious beliefs – in contradiction to the Constitution s 116.
My firm belief, having been brought up in a Christian household and now being an agnostic, is that we need ethics and comparative religion, in the historical context, taught in all schools; we need restraints put on the curriculum in private religious schools to ensure they are delivering modern truths instead of ancient debunked mistruths (or they lose all funding support from governments); we need protection for the non-religious from religious bigots who assume the right to tell them that they are sinners, and we need a truly secular government to adhere to its obligations under the Constitution – until such time as we succeed in replacing the Constitution with one appropriately incorporating an effective Bill of Rights to the 21st century!
I am truly gob-smacked that any Australian government could see the need to protect religion to any greater extent than is provided by the Constitution, when the damage that has been done, over many years, to our young and defenceless, has been so recently revealed and not yet redressed!
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