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In the recent federal election, one of the new parties standing was the Secular Party of Australia.
In a pamphlet distributed in my electorate, the Secular Party said: "Religions block many socially progressive laws".
The party claims to be founded on the principle of "keeping religion out of government".
Has this party realised that in areas such as healthcare, education, care of the aged and the most marginalised, including the destitute and indigenous communities, churches and religious organisations have played a key role in the provision of basic services to Australians?
And in our democracy, are they not entitled to express their views on the great issues of the day, like business groups, trade unions, environmentalists, pressure groups, the media and the range of other organisations which contribute to public debate?
I had hoped that anti-religious movements were a thing of the past. Most people accept the existence of any party, but a party based on anti-religious prejudice cannot be regarded as "socially progressive".
In fact, it is simply a reintroduction of bigotry by another name.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 26 No 9 (October 2013), p. 15
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