Freedom of Religion
Relgious Freedom Review 2018
A Religious Freedom Review Submission has been prepared as a submission in response to the 2018 Religious Freedom Review in Australia. It is concerned with the rights of individuals to have freedom of choice in their religion and belief. The paper addresses ethical issues relating to the imposition of religious views on others and conflicting human rights. Some of the submission’s more significannt points, highlighted throughout the submission, are listed below.
- An acceptance that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights constitutes the most fundamental of all human rights.
- Many human rights, including the freedom of religion, are not absolute. A balance needs to be reached when rights conflict.
- If people do not want other religions or belief systems forced on them, they should not force their own belief systems, religious or otherwise, on others.
- Scenarios that permit invidious discrimination, under the guise of religious freedom, are unacceptable.
- A freedom of religion for all people requires that people have choice in religion and belief and that their religion should not adversely affect the rights of others.
- Governments should not financially reward institutions, including many religions, that invidiously discriminate.
- The subjective and discriminatory nature of religions is no reason for liberties under a freedom of religion to be extended, or exemptions from discrimination legislation to be granted, to religious groups.
- If Christians were permitted to discriminate against LGBTIQ people, there is no objective reason why we should prevent others discriminating against Christians, blacks, Asians, women etc. These types of invidious discrimination are ethically equivalent, unacceptable and violate the UDHR.
- It is illogical for a society to abhor discrimination against Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders yet consider sanctioning discrimination against LGBTIQ people.
- If discrimination against any one group of people is permitted, then all groups are vulnerable.
- Organised religion and other belief systems should not be imposed on others, should not invidiously discriminate and should not be used to oppress others.
- Conservative religious groups have been trying to expand their ability to discriminate with impunity, under the pretence of an attack on religious freedom.
- Religious arguments for further discrimination against same-sex marriage are subjective, reinforce discrimination, lack ethical merit and should be rejected in any public policy debate respecting equality.
- Any continued discrimination against LGBTIQ people or other groups would be considered an ethically retrograde step on the wrong side of history.
Freedom of Relgion and Belief 2009
The following articles form the basis of an earlier Submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission's Inquiry into the Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st Century.
The unethical nature of religious discrimination and the imposition of religious values on others are highlighted in this submission.