Australia needs to recognise conscience rights, not just religious rights

Jul 12, 2019 by

by David Van Gend, MercatorNet:

Two problems with Scott Morrison’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill. First, what does it mean for those who make a stand on conscientious, not religious, grounds? Why should our laws protect religious dissenters but not agnostic dissenters?

Second, does it effectively address the actual threats facing religious people? These are not threats to the freedom to worship but the freedom to speak one’s truth in the public square (not so, Izzy?) or educate one’s children in a faith-based school (not a ‘Safe School’) whose teachers uphold religious values.

Let me give two personal anecdotes of the overarching threat, whether to religious or irreligious people, which is the threat to free speech. Without free speech we cannot defend our deepest conscientious or religious convictions.

So I ask the question: how would a Religious Discrimination Bill protect the free speech, and therefore free conscience, of traditional-minded people like me who make a stand on conscientious, not religious, grounds?

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