Freedom of Religion
- Last Updated: 12 April 2015
- Published: 16 January 2010
- Written by David Swanton
8. Additional Areas of Concern or Interest
8.1 What additional issues do you think are relevant to and affect freedom of religion and belief in Australia?
1. Relevant issues have been addressed in response to previous questions.
8.2 Do you have additional thoughts or comments?
2. The key points of this submission can be summarised as follows.
3. Religions are belief systems usually based around stories in primitive and ancient religious texts. Religions have a terrible history and reputation of discrimination, violence, and oppression; in addition, they are scientifically flawed and reflect the ethical standards of primitive peoples. Nevertheless, they continue to survive mainly through childhood indoctrination.
4. Australians should have freedom of religion and belief, and they can believe what they will, but under no circumstances should they be permitted to discriminate other people, including women, homosexuals or non-believers, or impose their values on others, as these deny fundamental rights protected under the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Discrimination is abhorrent, and if it remains a feature in religions, it will continue to have a divisive effect in Australian culture.
5. Australians should be encouraged to think critically about issues, and question their beliefs, so they can freely determine how they should live their lives. Not only should religions not be imposed on Australians by physical, emotional or legislative means, Australians must have choice in determining their beliefs, and under no circumstances should religions or any one religion be tax-exempt or otherwise favoured. Australia must be a secular state with a separation of church and state if there is to be true freedom of religion or belief.
6. The arguments in this submission stand on their own if they are considered with an open mind, objectively and devoid of cultural or religious bias. The consequence of this is that the Inquiry should recommend that substantial changes be made to how religious organisations function so that religions are not favoured in Australian society, and that all Australians are afforded the same rights. If these changes occur, there is great promise that Australia can grow to be a more prosperous, egalitarian, tolerant and inclusive society worthy of the title of ‘civilised’, and lead the world in the acknowledgement and protection of human rights.