It’s not a happy post today, but to be quite frank, it is the freaking time to turn unhappiness into action. You may or may not have heard about the Religious Discrimination Bill that is in Australian Parliament at the moment. It is a bill that will allow many things, and here are some examples taken from the bill itself of what people will be legally protected and allowed to say to others if this bill passes:
- A doctor may tell a transgender patient of their religious belief that God made men and women in his image and that gender is therefore binary (EM)
- A single mother who, when dropping her child off at daycare, may be told by a worker that she is sinful for denying her child a father (Public Interest Advocacy Centre)
- A woman may be told by a manager that women should submit to their husbands or that women should not be employed outside the home (PIAC)
- A student with disability may be told by a teacher their disability is a trial imposed by God (PIAC)
There is a statement under this that says:
“statements must be made in good faith; not be malicious or harass, vilify or incite hatred against a person or group; not advocate for the commission of a serious criminal offence”
I ask you, how on earth could any of those statements be made in ‘good faith’? How is minimising and judging someones experience of life an example of ‘good faith’? How is telling someone that they are sinful for denying their child a father a non-malicious act? How is shaming someone who could have very possibly escaped abuse to protect their children a religiously approved thing to do?
I am honestly so flabbergasted that in this day and age a bill like this is in parliament.
But I am sick of being angry as short-sighted ‘leaders’ pass laws that cater to their very own interests. As Martin Luther Kind Jr. said,
“Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”
So here is a copy of the open letter I sent to the PM today:
We need you to represent the will of the people. Not make promises to get yourself elected and then pass whatever laws you deem as appropriate without considering the deep and lasting impacts it will have on the women, children and men of this country who are not religious, and who are fighting tooth and nail to live a good, well rounded life. These people’s lives will be absolutely damaged by the allowance of people to judge, ridicule, and exclude them for their right to make the choices that are best for them. Shame on you for allowing judgement and negativity to reign, and making the people who don’t share the same beliefs as you into the ‘enemy’. No one deserves to be told that they are sinners for being divorced. Are you considering the thousands of people who have escaped violent, dangerous and toxic relationships when you are pushing to allow for this? How dare you shame people for exercising their human right to have agency over their own lives. How dare you judge women for being single parents, and saying that they ‘should submit to their husbands’. What a disgusting notion. Human beings are human beings. We all deserve the same levels of respect, consideration and positive regard. Introducing this bill only protects a religious persons desire to spread judgement, hate, ridicule and bias, leaving anyone else who shares non-religious, modern beliefs of equality, love and acceptance at a loss. A religion that promotes judgement and the inflicting of emotional pain upon another person through verbally and indirectly ridiculing them is not a practice of love. It is a practice of hate. I honestly do not believe that you are a bad person, but I do believe that you are not practicing compassion, as the Christian and Catholic religions says that Jesus did. If you were truly following in Jesus’ footsteps, you would be promoting compassion, freedom, unconditional positive regard and forgiveness. By not doing this, I don’t think that you can or should claim to be a religious man. Think deeply about how your choices will effect the lives of people who deserve nothing but love and protection from hate. The people of Australia deserve better.
I hope you will consider this and engage in some deep introspection to consider how this will impact the lives of people who aren’t the same as you. People who earn less than a six figure wage, people who have fled violence and are still living in fear, people who have a different gender identity than you, people who aren’t heteronormative. Your job is to represent these people too. Do right by them and be the leader we need in a world so plagued by judgement and hate. You can do better.
I implore you to write to the PM and to your State Senator (or all of the Senators if you have time) to have your voice heard and share your views on this bill. I have done so already, and I think that it is extremely important to stand up and fight for the well being of all Australians. In a time where questionable decisions are being made across the world, it is more important than ever to be an active, political citizen. Even if these issues don’t affect you directly, be a voice for those who will be on the receiving end of the judgement that this bill would allow.
Also please feel free to copy and paste my letter and re-use it if you do not have the time to write something yourself.
You can submit online responses to the PM here:
You can also find your State Senators and contact them via this link:
I have a deep respect for people who practice religion peacefully and with love, and do not mean any offence by my stance on this issue, as I think that ALL of our freedoms must be preserved, and any move to allow hate, negativity and marginalisation to reign in our society is not something that I will ever stand for.
Remember, to stay silent in times of moral conflict is to choose the side of the oppressor. Be a voice for yourself, you brothers and sisters, friends, family and strangers.
We are one, but we are many, and your voice matters.