According to the press, people of the church of the religion, if not the denomination, espoused by our head of state have opposed the proposed legislative provisions relating to murder in New South Wales by making provision for abortion. A reasonable provision to that effect would I think be supported by a comfortable majority of people in that state. But some people of faith take the view that they have no room to move on the moral issue of murder. It is in my view sad when debate on a political issue of some nicety is shut down for some by religious dogma. If people of another faith sought to produce that result, the outrage would be deafening. That is something to be borne in mind by people of one faith – perhaps of one denomination of one faith – seeking to flex their muscles on the political stage. But it is preposterous to argue, as some reportedly do, that the relevant laws should be left alone because they are not enforced. People who embrace that form of inanity may wish to revisit Measure for Measure.
There is a similar flight from reality on requiring priests to report confessions of paedophiles. My Catholic friends say that this is a non-issue because guilty priests do not confess. They will be even less likely to confess if that confession must be reported to the police. So, what is the problem? Gerard Henderson says this is ‘symbolic politics’:
The Victorian government is giving comfort to the anti-Catholic sectarians in our midst without bringing about a situation where a paedophile is likely to be identified or a child protected.
Sworn evidence that a priest had reportedly confessed to these crimes over many years is dismissed on the footing that the ‘claim was not taken seriously.’ If there is some feeling against that denomination, it can be put down to the horror of the crimes committed in its name and this cold, blind refusal to accept responsibility for those crimes by doing all they can to ensure they will stop.
The notion that a church should or could be above the law is not on. At this time in our history, the suggestion is revolting. We need a secular society to monitor the claims, privileges and standing of bodies claiming to be religious.
They [the views of Tim Costello on refugees and ‘our hostility to boat people] matter, in part, because of the policy debate and the constant risk that this nation might again think, as it did in 2008, that it can relax its policies, and therefore, inadvertently, trigger resurgence in human drama.
But they matter also, and perhaps more importantly, because I think they misunderstand and slander mainstream Australians.
Chris Kenny, The Weekend Australian, 3-4 August, 2019.
Does anyone really believe that to comment on our hostility to boat people defames Australians? To defame someone is to say something about them that causes ordinary people to think less of them. Is that what a comment about our hostility to boat people does? Is it possible that the policy of both major parties defames God?
When asked about the observation by Banking Royal Commissioner Kenneth Hayne that the use of slogans is undermining institutions in the place of policy debate, the PM said: ‘Well, I did stop the boats and people who do have a go get a go under my policies, so I think that’s a pretty good plan. Cheers.’
Australian Financial Review, 10-11 August, 2019 (Laura Tingle).
Quod erat demonstrandum.