CategoryRights & Freedoms

Challenges for the Church #2. Living as a Minority in a Pluralist Society

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One of the great achievements of Western society has been its embrace of religious and political pluralism as a way of enabling peaceful diversity. Throughout history diversity has commonly been met with violence, either the state enacting violence against dissidents, or conflict between groups. We easily forget that the sort of conflicts we see between Islamic groups in the middle east today was...

Finally Some Good News on Refugees

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The Federal Government today announced it had reached an agreement with the United States to resettle refugees on Manus Island and Nauru in the US. This is incredibly welcome news. The indefinite detention of refugees drove them to despair and hopelessness. Now they have the prospect of starting afresh in the United States. We will now have a hiatus during which we just might be able to have a...

Religious instruction is child abuse? Give me a break.

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It’s become a popular claim of the new atheists that teaching children religion amounts to child abuse. The latest to make this claim was Paul Ehrlich on the ABC’s Q and A program earlier this week. According to Richard Dawkins, it’s acceptable to teach children about the existence of religion, but an act of child abuse to teach them to believe the tenets of any religion or to...

Baking cakes for same-sex weddings. Do I have a right to be a bigot?

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What is it about cakes? John Hewson’s election campaign foundered when he couldn’t identify in simple terms how much GST would be payable on a cake. And now the debate around freedom of conscience in the event same-sex marriage is legalised is centering around the proverbial cake maker. Many fear that should same-sex marriage be legalised their freedom to practise and proclaim a...

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