David Crowe in the Fairfax papers says “Scott Morrison is facing growing calls to make public a sweeping review of religious freedom in a growing row over its contentious findings, as some of his own conservative colleagues argue for the swift release to ensure a fair debate on the ideas”.
That wouldn’t be necessary if Crowe’s colleague hadn’t misinterpreted and misreported a leak which set off a firestorm against the Ruddock review, designed to paint the Coalition as gay-hating bigots.
Mr Morrison is holding to his plan to keep the report confidential until federal cabinet has taken a position on bold proposals including a new law to ban religious discrimination and new rules on how religious schools could turn away gay students.
In an unlikely alliance, conservatives at the Institute of Public Affairs are calling for the immediate release alongside similar calls from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who declared it “ridiculous” that Australians could not already see the report.
That’s an interesting call from Shorten. He’s been a minister. A cabinet minister, in fact. He would be well aware that reports commissioned by cabinet receive cabinet approval before they are released. They are then released on cabinet’s timetable. This is purely political, but also means each minister isn’t hijacked for their opinion before cabinet has decided what that position is. You know, cabinet solidarity and all that. Or as Shorten put it:
He is playing politics and trying to set a precedent he would never expect to be held to in government. And nor could he meet the standard. The media should not allow itself to be played like this.
It is also disingenuous to say that the IPA is aligned with Bill Shorten.
IPA boss John Roskam is concerned that by strengthening religious protections the door may be opened to blasphemy laws. In other words, the provisions of the toxic 18C could be expanded and limit free speech, instead of abolished (which it should be … along with the rest of the Racial Discrimination Act).
What Crowe is trying to do is hide the mistake of the paper earlier this week by changing the narrative and putting the blame for misunderstanding onto the government, instead of the Fairfax papers accepting that they screwed up when interpreting what they were leaked.
The point about religious schools is that they are expected to teach according to their religious dictates. Is this seriously a surprise? It can also be guaranteed that close to zero students have even been denied an education at a Christian school because they listen to Judy Garland (the Carnegie hall concert is superb, by the way). But it’s probably best not to sing Philadelphia Freedom if your sermons are delivered in Arabic.
This seems to be a hook the knee-jerkers have forgotten.
Catholic and Christian schools may not openly embrace homosexuality but the entire ethos of their belief system is based on forgiveness and understanding.
Islam, on the other hand, as practised, is far less forgiving. Being gay – or suspected of being gay – is likely to have you thrown off a building in ISIS-controlled areas or hanged from a crane in Iran.
You can bet everything you’ve got that on Sunday, when David Marr is hyperventilating on Insiders that he doesn’t reference Islamic schools when this issue arises. The intersectionality of this issue for the left is hilarious and causes severe moral problems. They want to slam Christians but have to be careful they don’t mention Islam.
And that’s the real problem with the Ruddock review.
It is also why the fear about expanding 18C to cover religion is so frightening. Christians are used to being smashed and mocked and ridiculed for their faith. They aren’t about to use the law to protect themselves, but there are ample examples from around the world of Muslims using blasphemy laws to protect themselves from even mild criticism under the guise of squashing ‘Islamophobia’ or trying to impose blasphemy laws on a free speech society.
One last word on this issue. There is concern that Christian schools could suddenly use laws so they wouldn’t have to hire gays. The fact is, under the current laws, introduced in 2013 under the Gillard Government, they can discriminate. As they should be able to. If there is a case of a teacher being denied employment due to their sexuality it was probably not stated as such.
Any religious denomination only has to ask a faith-based question to weed out any ‘undesirables’. If a gay-acting person sought employment hey could be asked a leading questions like: could you explain the concept of ‘hate the sin but love the sinner’?
But the reality is, when it comes to a job interview, you don’t need to give a reason for not hiring someone. At least, you don’t have to give the honest reason.