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 Gays are at it again... no religious freedom allowed

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Veritas

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PostSubject: Gays are at it again... no religious freedom allowed   Tue 16 Oct 2018, 10:26 am

Grand Mufti challenges gay teachers’ rights to work in Islamic schools
The Grand Mufti Sheik Taj El-Din Hilaly at the Logan Mosque in Queensland. Picture: AAP
Australia’s Grand Mufti has signalled open hostility to gay teachers in Islamic schools in defiance of Bill Shorten’s proposed changes to discrimination laws, saying they engage in “abnormal practices that contradict nature” and suffer from “mental illness”.
The intervention from Sheik Taj El-Din Hilaly, whose standing as Grand Mufti is disputed by the Australian National Imams Council, comes amid splits in the Coalition over how religious freedom protections should apply to teachers.
In the wake of the leaking of the Ruddock review into religious freedoms last week, the Opposition Leader has demanded the removal of legal exemptions ­allowing faith-based schools to discriminate against teachers on the basis of sexual orientation

The push from Mr Shorten comes ahead of the crucial weekend by-election in Wentworth, which is home to one of the largest LGBTI communities in Australia.
Labor’s proposal would require Scott Morrison to expand his pledge to shut down laws, introduced by Labor in 2013, allowing students to be expelled from ­religious schools for being gay.
Mr Shorten’s proposal faces the prospect of opposition from some Islamic leaders, with nine of the 12 Sydney seats that voted against same-sex marriage being held by Labor MPs, including the electorates of Labor frontbenchers Chris Bowen, Tony Burke and Jason Clare.
Sheik Hilaly yesterday told The Australian that homosexual teachers should “not impose their lifestyle on the rest of society, especially schools which are supposed to provide an environment of learning and culture and not a club for those seeking to satisfy their desires”.
While Christian leaders have also defended the right of faith- based schools to hire staff who uphold their religious teachings and values, Sheik Hilaly yesterday demonstrated a stronger reluctance towards having gay teachers in Islamic schools.
Sheik Hilaly, whose reappointment as Grand Mufti of Australia last month by Imam Abdul Taub Raza at Logan Mosque in Queensland has been challenged, yesterday said gay people suffered from a “mental illness”.
Speaking through a translator, he told The Australian: “We are a free democratic society that believes in diversity and human rights and we reject constrictions on the rights of others even if they are afflicted with abnormal practices that contradict nature.
“In such cases, we must respect their humanity and deal with the issue as a mental illness that requires care and treatment.”
Josh Frydenberg, a prominent Jewish politician, yesterday suggested the government was open to accepting the push by Labor to introduce extra protections for gay teachers, a position the Prime Minister would not endorse when grilled in question time by Mr Shorten. “I don’t think there’s any room for discrimination, be it a student or against a teacher,” the Treasurer told ABC radio. “But that being said, we need to work through this process with the Labor Party and ensure that we provide front to the country.”
The Australian understands Mr Morrison will not move to extend additional protections to gay teachers, but will focus on closing the exemption for students. The treatment of teachers will instead be unveiled when the government delivers its considered response to the review of religious freedoms led by former Liberal attorney-general Philip Ruddock.
Addressing Labor in parliament yesterday, Mr Morrison said the government did not “take kindly to being lectured on these issues when you created the laws which created the discrimination”.
Nationals MP Andrew Broad, in a sentiment shared by other conservative Coalition MPs, also argued in favour of the ability of non-government schools to discriminate against gay teachers if they did not uphold the key values of the school.
“If a parent sends their child to a school and they are paying for that school, then they expect that school in their leadership, in their teaching faculty, to uphold the values that they believe in,” he said.
“The school needs to be able to employ people that hold the values the parents expect.”
Mr Shorten said he was “pleased both sides of ­politics are now united in the view­ that exemptions allowing ­religious schools to discriminate against children should be removed”.
“I believe we can use this goodwill to go further and remove the exemption that would allow a teacher or school staff member to be sacked or refused employment because of their sexual orientation,” he said.
Labor MPs also spoke out yesterday, defending the ability of faith-based schools to hire staff who supported the key tenets of their religion.
NSW MP Chris Hayes, who holds the western Sydney seat of Fowler, which recorded a 63.7 per cent no vote against same-sex marriage, said: “Having a close association with religious schools, I know that there’s some teachers who are in same sex relationships.”
“I don’t think that’s the issue. I think a good teacher is a good teacher. I think the issue may be if someone decided to go out and expand upon or promote their relationship. That might be seen to be acting against the principles of the (school’s) faith. That could be seen as a different thing.”
Victorian Labor senator Kimberley Kitching said religious schools should be able to fire teachers if they did not teach the “ethos” of the school, including on same-sex marriage.
“That is different from the removing of the discrimination of the sexual orientation of the teacher,” she told Sky News.
Labor frontbencher Michelle Rowland, whose northwest Sydney seat, Greenway, voted against same-sex marriage, said the issue of allowing religious schools to ban gay teachers was “vexed”.
“Of course you have particular religious schools who may well expect their teachers to be able to teach a certain religion or adhere to certain values,” Ms Rowland told Sky News. “But it really does get to what was described as the thin end of the wedge.’’
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PostSubject: Re: Gays are at it again... no religious freedom allowed   Tue 16 Oct 2018, 3:06 pm

Quote :
"Sheik Hilaly, whose reappointment as Grand Mufti of Australia last month by Imam Abdul Taub Raza at Logan Mosque in Queensland has been challenged, yesterday said gay people suffered from a “mental illness”.

I gather that being "gay" is not approved of by the Sheik?
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PostSubject: Re: Gays are at it again... no religious freedom allowed   Fri 14 Dec 2018, 3:01 pm

Quote :
If you have true Faith, prepare to defend your rites
Henry Ergas
December 13, 2018

In a year best characterised as “plot by Dostoevsky, script by Groucho Marx”, it was perhaps fitting that the Senate celebrated Christmas by considering legislation that would have prevented Christian schools from teaching the doctrines of Jesus Christ.

If things got to that point, there was, no doubt, plenty of blame to spread around. Why the Turnbull government did not legislate to better protect religious freedom when it enacted the same-sex marriage legislation remains a mystery. Even more incomprehensible is why, having commissioned the review of religious freedom, it then refused to release its report.

Somewhat belatedly, Scott Morrison committed yesterday to implementing the report’s recommendations, including a new religious discrimination act, and threatened to make religious freedom an election issue.

But that came only after Labor, exploiting the government’s slowness to act, launched a surprise attack with its proposal to repeal the current religious exemptions to the sex discrimination law, triggering the clash in the Senate.

Far from being a debate, that clash was a shambles in which logic traded at a deep discount.

Labor, for example, managed to contend both that repealing the current religious exemptions to the sex discrimination law was vital, and that doing so would cause no difficulties, as those exemptions played no practical role. How those claims could be reconciled was left hanging in a thicket of contradictions.

Observing the fiasco unfold, one could only conclude that an invisible enemy had been at work, eroding the foundations of rational thought in this country and replacing them with the intellectual equivalent of crack cocaine.

The victim, of course, was clarity. That choices must be made was presumably obvious to all; what was completely lacking was any sense of the principles that ought to guide them — and the Prime Minister’s announcement has hardly filled the gap.

The reality is that religious freedom has never meant absolute licence. No one recognised that more clearly than John Locke, whose A Letter Concerning Toleration of 1685 shaped subsequent conceptions of religious freedom.

Noting that it was “necessary above all to distinguish between the business of civil government and that of religion”, Locke argued that the state’s inescapable obligation was to ensure the security of its subjects.

As a result, while the state could not intrude on the “worship of the heart which God demands”, the outward actions of the body were “subject to the discretion of the magistrate” in so far as their regulation was required to preserve the peace and involved matters “indifferent to (superior) law”.

Religious freedom therefore conferred no right to injure others, engage in plainly abhorrent conduct or incite disorder.

Preaching that infidels were doomed to eternal damnation was consequently permissible. There could, however, be no justification for preaching that they should be summarily dispatched to their fate.

While those guidelines set outer bounds, it was always apparent that they left many areas of ambiguity that could only be resolved in the light of judgment. That those judgments would evolve in line with social norms was apparent, too. But that doesn’t mean that decisions about religious freedom should be made in a moral vacuum.

On the contrary, their starting point must be the recognition that faith is not a matter of taste: for an Orthodox Jew, wearing a skullcap is not a fashion statement. Rather, religious beliefs are commitments that give meaning to life and define what it is to live with integrity. And just as it is clear that being allowed to live one’s life with integrity is a supreme good, so it is clear that being prevented from doing so is a supreme harm.

Seen in that perspective, any legislation that forces people of faith to act against their deep conscientious convictions inflicts a moral harm akin to violence, and can be acceptable only when it is shown to be indispensable to prevent a harm that is even greater.

It is for that reason that John Rawls, perhaps the most influential political philosopher of the second half of the 20th century, argued that no social arrangement could conceivably be called just if it failed to place great weight on the demands of religious integrity.

Whatever the contentions made on its behalf, Rawls said, government action that trammelled the freedom to live in accord with one’s faith should be required to clear a high threshold of proof.

Nor should that burden of proof apply only to legislation that limits the freedom to hold a set of creedal propositions.

To live a life of faith is not simply a matter of beliefs. It is, as Ludwig Wittgenstein put it, to have “a passionate commitment to a way of living” that entails rites, rituals and social practices.

And perhaps the greatest commitment is the one that binds believers, through the act of remembrance, to their faith community’s past, and through the duty of instruction, to its future.

That is why the verb zakhar — “remember” — appears no fewer than 169 times in the Hebrew Bible.

It is also why the Pirkei Avot, which compiles the ethical wisdom of the rabbis, commands learning not for its own sake but so as to teach, and pass on to the young, “that which their fathers searched out”.

To restrict the right to undertake that teaching as faith commands is therefore a matter of the utmost gravity. And one might legitimately have expected every senator to appreciate that, just as they should have understood and thoughtfully applied the moral principles that bear on to the decision they faced, even if they disagreed on their implications.

Instead, Labor and the Greens were arrogant to the point of being flippant.

It was plain that had they succeeded, state schools would be allowed to teach that gender is a question of choice while faith-based schools risked legal action if they taught the opposite; but the concerns the faith-based schools expressed were simply dismissed out of hand.

So were the fears of many ­parents that repealing the ­exemptions would deprive them of the right to educate their children in line with their innermost convictions.

As for the government, it was perpetually on the back foot, having failed to prepare the ground for an issue that was certain to arise.

None of that will stop the senators from enjoying their Christmas break.

Nor will it deter Labor and the Greens from trying again when parliament resumes, as Morrison has finally recognised.

But the millions of Australians for whom this season is not simply an excuse for self-indulgence should demand better. If they are to get it, they will need to rely on much more than faith alone.
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