Excerpts from a great article by Dr Jennifer Oriel in The Australian April 23rd, 2018. She is a columnist with a PhD in political science. She writes a weekly column in The Australian. Dr Oriel’s academic work has been featured on the syllabus of Harvard University, the University of London, the University of Toronto, Amherst College, the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. She has been cited by a broad range of organisations including the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa.
Picture: Israel Folau celebrates after scoring a try during the Rugby Championship match between the Australian Wallabies and the Argentina Pumas last year.
“A perfect storm is brewing over religious freedom and Israel Folau has dived into the eye of that storm. The unfinished business of the Turnbull government is to legislate protection for religious freedom following the legalisation of same-sex marriage. While the census indicated Australians are losing their religion, the volume of submissions to the national Religious Freedom Review was unprecedented. More than 16,000 public submissions were received, forcing the government to postpone the reporting date to May. At the core of the debate is whether the state will use discrimination law to extend its authority over religious individuals and organisations, or strengthen provisions to protect religious freedom and belief.
Criticisms of Folau as prejudiced or too outspoken fail the test of reason. He didn’t stop play and shout out “hell to gays” in the middle of a match. He responded to an explicit question about the word of God on the question of homosexuality. And he responded by referring to the Bible. If you ask what God’s plan is, be prepared for the answer.
Those who oppose Folau’s right to cite scripture are advocating censorship of the Bible.
It’s not quite as dramatic as book burning, but the principle is the same.
You might not believe in the Bible. You might not believe in God. You might think that Christians should praise God only in private and religious belief should be purged from public life. You might believe in queer ideology and refuse to brook criticism of it. But consider that a gay person’s right to love openly is no more important than a Christian’s right to love God openly. Question whether Christians should have to hide their love in the closet vacated by gays. Ask yourself whether the history of state atheism enforced by totalitarian regimes is the future you want for Australia.”