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Religious freedom

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 Contents - Feb 2014AD2000 February 2014 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: In defence of marriage - Peter Westmore
Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel: Pope Francis' challenge - Peter Westmore
Victorian Inquiry: First report into clerical sex abuse released - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
Pope Francis repeats world peace plea
Protecting the family: building the home - Carmen Pavia
iWitness 2013 retreat: another young Catholics success story - Br Barry Coldrey
Art: Interview with Tommy Canning: art in the service of truth
The Holy Spirit: "Lord and Giver of Life" - Anne Lastman
The transforming power of Eucharistic Adoration - Fr Joel Wallace
Letters: Protecting the unborn - Bob Hogarth
Letters: Religious instruction - Mrs Rowan Shann
Letters: Spirit of Vatican II - Murray Cook
Letters: Religious freedom - Keiron Long
Letters: Climate propaganda
Books: MANALIVE by G.K. Chesterton - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: THE IMITATION OF CHRIST by Thomas a Kempis - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: TO BONEGILLA FROM SOMEWHERE, by Wanda Skowronska - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Support: Fighting Fund ends on high note!
Books: Order books from
Reflections: Australia Day: A time for thanks and commitment - Cardinal George Pell

Over the Christmas period The Australian newspaper ran a series of articles about the appointment of Tim Wilson to the Australian Human Rights Commission and also drew attention to the lack of tolerance towards Christians around the world.

The Australian Editorial ("A grim outlook for Christianity", 26/12) was especially diligent in drawing attention to the tragic fate of Christian communities outside Australia. The plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt where 207 churches have been attacked is but one example.

However, the road to intolerance begins with one small step and Australian Christians and people of all faiths should be alarmed by the none too subtle curtailing of freedom of religion by Australia's anti-discrimination laws.

Professors Patrick Parkinson and Nicholas Aroney in their submission to the Inquiry into the Consolidation of Commonwealth Anti-Discrimination laws expressed concern that religious freedom, among other freedoms, was only grudgingly allowed "at the margins of discrimination law as a concessionary 'exception'."

That religious freedom is now no more than an "exception" should be a wake-up call to all those who understand that the corrosion of a freedom begins with one small speck of intolerance, codified by law.

The "Bolt Law" is the most recent example of just how quickly what was an assumed freedom can be curtailed by legislation and then acted upon to the detriment of an individual and society in general.

We know that Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson, and the Attorney-General, George Brandis, are intent on vigorously pursuing freedom of expression, especially in the press.

Let us hope that both men are just as committed to The Australian's exhortation (26/12) that, "if the ... community values the principles of religious freedom and tolerance ... as it should, it is going to have to do more to defend it."

Kew, Vic

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 27 No 1 (February 2014), p. 16

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