Fighting for our freedom
by Chris Forder
For months we were told there were no consequences to same-sex marriage. The YES campaign, the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader, all wanted us to believe you could have same-sex marriage and religious freedoms. But this submission to the government has been put forward:
“Religious schools should be forced to hire LGBTI teachers and all church exemptions to anti-discrimination law should be abolished; this is what the “yes” campaign has told Philip Ruddock who is doing a review of religious freedom and its laws.”
While this is just a submission and has not been passed, it is a sign of the fight to come and I fear the eventual change. On another front, the leader of the Victorian Reason Party, Fiona Patten, will put a motion before parliament to strip tax exemptions from organisations with a religious mission or values.
Patten said her bill would delete ‘advancement of religion’ from the definition of a charity, and claims that it would only leave funding for “objectively charitable works”.
Why have we as a church been so vocal about this issue over the past year? One reason is because Jesus commands us to be salt of the earth, Matthew 5:13. That is, as salt stops things from rotting, we are to stop the world around us from morally rotting. Secondly we are to love our neighbours, this is the second most important commandment in the Bible. But bills like these will hinder greatly our efforts.
Here is a list of all that Christian organisations do in Australia that this bill will impact on in a negative way: healthcare, aged care, palliative care, counselling, primary and secondary schooling, tertiary education, community building and pastoral care, social welfare services to those living with disability or drug and alcohol dependence, to those fleeing domestic violence or with mental health issues, to the unemployed, homeless, refugees and indigenous, to parents, children and youth.
The church just doesn’t stand against morally wrong behaviour as described in the Bible, it also stands for love and generosity and kindness and sacrifice. So, when you are asked to write a letter or send an email to your local member or whoever, please do so. May we be the salt of the earth and, therefore, loving to our neighbour.
July 15, 2018
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