The news that Amnesty International is pushing for the Ruddock Inquiry into Religious Freedom to end all funding for faith based organisations that hold to traditional, religious sexual ethics in their employment requirements is sad, but not surprising.
And it reveals, yet again, that groups such as Amnesty don’t get religion. Don’t get it at all.
So at the same time that Amnesty is calling for an end to discrimination, it is also calling for a bill of rights, or at the very least a religious discrimination act, along the lines advocated by conservative MPs such as Dan Tehan.
It cannot have it both ways.
As I said in another blog post in relation to the Western Australian Greens, and their spokesperson Alison Xamon, it seems that to many a political leader in our country, religion is all in the mind. Or at least it ought to be.
In other words, Amnesty is going to advocate for freedom of religion and at the same time curtail religions to act freely in the public square without significant financial penalty. How does that work?
Amnesty’s advocacy program manager (It would be interesting to read that job description), Emma Bull, reveals her own bias when she says it’s weird to be backing conservative politicians in calling for a religious discrimination act, as if somehow conservatives have neither a desire for justice in the world, nor have made no significant efforts to bring it about. That’s just an insult.
Or maybe it’s just not justice according to the definition of the term fashionable to the justice fashionistas like Amnesty International. Justice is pick and mix these days it seems.
Bull is quoted in The Australian newspaper as saying:
public funding from a secular government should not be used to “contribute to discrimination”.
There’s a lot going on in those words. First of all, what do we mean by a secular government? Isn’t a confident secular government comfortable to promote pluralism, or somehow does the secular state believe that secularism is a philosophical ground zero? (That’s a rhetorical question).
There’s also the loaded idea that funding religious schools “contributes to discrimination”, and who would want to do something so ugly as that? If seems that if we simply throw the word around a bit like a hand grenade with the pin taken out, people will constantly duck for cover to avoid the shrapnel.
There’s no sense in what Bull says that sexual ethics has any wiggle room in our culture. Just brand it with the “discrimination” naughty word and move on. Next!
IN a short space of time, to own up to having practiced and to continue to practice traditional sexual ethics in the work place, and to request that of all who work for you, is now on the wrong side of history – public funded rainbow-coloured history at least.
I guess this means that Bull – and Amnesty – are more than happy for faith based institutions to be left to do what they wish, as long as its on their time and with their money.
In one sense I think that’s a logical perspective for secularists to take, and there’s no sense that faith based organisations should expect government sponsorship at all. Don’t hear me saying we won’t survive – or even thrive – without government cash.
But there’s something more to it, isn’t there? When a government decides that one of its role is to no longer foster an ecosystem of true diversity, then that ecosystem is headed for stagnation and decline. We’ll be left with the faux diversity so beloved of progressivism, in which everyone looks as different to one another as is possible, but thinks exactly the same.
Perhaps I sound like a stuck record on this (I do!), but faith based schools need to figure out far more secure funding models than they currently have now.
Should faith based schools continue to push forward, confident that the current funding funding continue?
I cannot see how this can happen. It’s time for our faith based institutions to look around the rest of the world and see what models they can adopt to replace the current one. If they don’t they’ll leave their run too late.
Faith based institutions don’t need Amnesty. They may need an amnesty; a few years to sort themselves out as funding is phased out, but they’re going to have to go it alone eventually, for their is neither the stomach, nor the desire, in our two major political parties, nor is their mood in the community, to allow them to continue as is.