RE REQUEST DURING JANUARY
FOR SUBMISSIONS ON
"THE SECOND EXPOSURE DRAFT OF
THE RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION BILL 2019"
EVIDENTLY INTENDED FOR
IN FEBRUARY 2020
30 Musgrave Ave.,
Banksia Park, SA 5091
January 18, 2020
Dear Commonwealth Government Receiver of Submissions on the above topic, I should like to thank the Government for making this opportunity for submissions to extend to January, and in these terms, present this over the following 16 pages. Some points are given a dot to assist focus on issues.
ˇ As will become apparent, there are many reasons re the proposed Bill, why the penalties for discerned impacts from people's speech, added to current libel and slander, seem disruptive of reason, security, stability and justice, and thus the Bill as a proposal being opened to view, these are presented at least in part, in case a far more judicious result could arrive in February.
ˇ Such would be not a consommé of pushes, but a genuine, practical liberty in religion in parallel with other liberties, such as the political. In particular, there is a need to prevent people from abusing the severe wording concerning penalties, in the proposed Bill, ones apt to intimidate many who not only have a religion, but one which does not change. Here innovation on the part of the State in terms of its underlying assumptions, neo-morals and desiderata can lead to the sort of total confrontation which divides and disperses the health and strength of a nation.
ˇ Thrashing about with whips and limiting with blinkers in order to get a horse to go as you wish, how you wish, at the pace you wish, is not kind even to the horse. What then when using much the same tactics as are implied in this Bill, and using the term "freedom" as if in irony, when such thrust is applied to humans! It appears spectacular error in effort, approach and feeling. Such lines have often been used to suppress truth in order to exalt Government. Any steps as in the Bill, in this direction, are to be abhorred, whether there is any such intention for this, or not.
ˇ It is to be particularly noted, that this response to this Bill as provided, is that to a possibility; and one hopes it will never become an actuality.
Reason for Contribution and
I was not called as a statesman, so that the resolution of State matters, such as you as Government face in the Religion Bills, concerns me chiefly indirectly. They are not as such my field, though they may and do enter into it in a major way on this occasion.
What is my field and that to which I have been and am called, having been ordained as a Presbyterian Minister over 50 years ago ? It is with all my heart, in the area of Christian and biblical ministry of the Gospel and of the word of God. Having now acted as pastor in 4 countries, USA, Canada, NZ and Australia as servant of Jesus Christ, I have experienced many issues.
As such, it is part of my function and task to help the Church which follows the Lord and His written word, the Bible, from harm, silencing, mutation away from the word of God, from invasion for whatever motive, from those who follow something else and infiltrate it, as also from confusion; and this, in any sound way the Lord enables. Such are some of the duties (cf. Philippians 1:7, II Timothy 4:1-2).
Since at the present time, Australia is a democracy, and the Government is seeking contributions to be submitted in the area of the religion bills, our paths cross, and I am happy to respond.
Secondly, I not only thank but congratulate the Government on its decision to ask for further aspects, viewpoints or material re the above, this month.
The matters that chiefly concern me so far are not numerous, but are far-reaching.
In terms of what seems initially suitable here, the Explanatory Notes for the Second Draft (much in the first draft I found very much to the point and in general terms commendable in meeting issues), there are in particular two sites of major concern. As they are numbered there, these are points 35 and 39, chiefly the latter.
These are not alone, but provide some chief foci.
For convenience, points 35 and 39 of the Explanatory Notes are given attention at different points below, but are taken in context.
RELATIVE TO POINT 39
(as below, bold added)
39.In addition, Part 4 of this Bill provides that certain statements of belief do not constitute discrimination under Commonwealth, state or territory anti-discrimination law, nor do they contravene subsection 17(1) of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (Tas). This will ensure that the ability of people to simply express their genuine religious beliefs in good faith, without malice is not restricted by the operation of any Australian anti-discrimination law, so long as such statements do not harass, threaten, seriously intimidate or vilify a person or group.
Caution, Restraint and Precision
Point 39, of these Explanatory Notes, which since this is at the level of principle, provide a useful essentialisation of the affair, is printed above. Here we recall from point 35, the concept of a "reasonable" person or group, or the idea of such held in mind, may be used in judging the application or otherwise of offence; just as in point 39 there may well be internal surmises and orientations, in assessors. The point for assessment: whether what is put before them exhibits or implies or may be taken to imply degradation, vilification, intimidation etc. which to some plaintiffs may feel applicable when others open their mouths or ways in the field of religion.
Religion concerns not least the issues of what it deems: the ultimate point, value, origin, destiny and destinies, covering commands, ethical sanctions or moral rules of human life, sometimes relative to life more generally. Free religion might readily, amid the increasing use of force in this land upon it, in due time, have to be conformist to a certain preferred platform: if permitted at all. But must theology be dumbed down and even closed, under legal threat, to free debate ? Would it legally at least, have on blinkers ? Could politics call certain religions of non-violence 'unlawful', their practice also being deemed "serious offence" because of preferred bias!
The criterion appears in effect, in terms of sanctions in view, to move from stating what you have in mind, and then saying, My reasons for this view are as follows; to this: My reactions and assessments of the effect of this view are as follows. How this estimation of a case may turn out in the fields of new, convenient Government laws is a matter of guesswork, except that the more the objection turns on neo-morals, world views, slants and approaches with huge religious ingredients, the more the populous slant is likely to determine the outcome (as "obvious" or "necessary", "expedient" or "economically sound."). It is building on tumbled sand.
It is rather like a meeting of the French in the day of that country's famed revolution, as to whether or not to guillotine someone. In our own Australian case of change, here in view is not merely the loss of a religious freedom, reputation, possibly physical liberty, dignity, savings, but possibly even freedom from forcible propaganda in "re-education": This, by multiplied report, to take a case, the Chinese Government seems to have found so useful and deployed so much in seeking to change people's religion, and morals, perhaps that of millions, perhaps for many, reportedly in prisons. The latter, however, is a major part of the religious domain, unless the term 'morals' is degraded meaninglessly into just another word for 'wants'. But let us consider more generally.
Many have long hated the standing, status, type and principles of other people's religion or values, and I have seen one chortling with joy at an opportunity to lash with zestful glee and vacuous meaning! Malice may even be alleged against someone who is following most zealously the Bible, its principles, motivational emphasis, example and intense insistence on love (not however entirely without any place for justice); and such allegiance is our own. But to whomever it may apply, what is activated in principle in such cases ?
First, this involves a guess before, in much, jumping to judgment, since you cannot observe motives. Second, as such it is in odious disregard of that freely provided as a cure for this world's condition, something which is benignant in motive, and the very opposite of what may readily be alleged, being held in mind by preachers of the word of God for its people (as in John 3:17). Such assault on such a class of people, is to call black, white, name endeavours to help, as if they were those to hinder, and even incidentally to blaspheme the love of God, who is back of love. It is to invent a straw man, and act to set it alight.
It is far more than this, but not less, and altogether such variability in 'reasonable' people or a reasonable person, can evoke merely a seething religious vengeance, contrary to reason, peace, truth and even righteousness. It is too subjective, an invented criterion for charges, one which is readily able to disrupt the peace with entire error in this entire area, named the Commonwealth of Australia. This sort of approach is therefore to open a Pandora's box.
Further, the reference to "the ability of people to simply express their genuine religious beliefs in good faith, without malice" can, in the interstices of legal argument, be used to mischaracterise people's actual intentions AS malicious, this being a chief legal reward word. Similarly the term "simple" may be used to degrade careful argumentation. Indeed, what would help the clarity defect here, which may cost much to many if not watchfully avoided, is a simple addition.
ˇ What is that ? In point 39, then, after the words "simply express", these might be added: "and reason for." In one of the earlier religious laws in this country, there was express provision made for academic work, and while this may readily be used as a cover by subversives, it does have a vital function and our universities. As to these, while protected from efforts of control by other nations and mere terrorists, they should not pre-assign results for political reasons or mere invasive ideologies that happen to be popular and have appeal. Ten tertiary years have shown me the realities here, as distinct from what is assumed. The difference appears huge.
ˇ Reason must be given an unequivocal place here, if a society is not to become irrational, ready for dangerous romps.
To return to the charge list noted in point 39, and to take the primary case, it is easy simply to assume that someone claiming to be harassed, threatened or seriously intimidated or vilified, is in fact being so treated. In such cases, the claimant has only to say so, at the cost of a breath. Sometimes that breath appears almost to be held as if it were sacred, as if the harassment had in fact occurred, no question, leaving the legally assailed victim scarred, if not financially ruined by extravaganzas of inordinate penalty. For what ? it may well be for resisting neo-morals and unauthorised religious directives cast like grenades at the feet of those who have assigned, non-violent religious purpose in their lives and consequent actions..
ˇ These penalties, therefore, should not be lightly turned into mathematical geysers, appealing to the opportunist nor should new religious commandments be instituted for a people, like an internal invasion, after the nation so well resisted an extra-territorial one in the last world war.
ˇ Worse, reasoned principles or religious ones may be deemed malicious or threatening, by those who hold something different for reasons philosophical, political, personal or psychological, without their actually feeling such things. It can become a rote response. They may object in this field, just in terms of the type of thing and the type of formal result they do not like. In all this, the Constitution appears far more modest and restrained in the matter of laying down legal highways and its perspective a far better march towards order and peace in the nation.
Indeed, vague generalisations about religion as such may constitute forms of what amounts to just another religion, perhaps that adopted by the Government, and so wrongly be used to subject the users and exponents of other religions, to legal attack. In so acting, however, those responsible become disqualified by the principles beyond current law, even those enunciated in the Constitution. It is then not only the member of the Commonwealth who suffers discrimination, but the Constitution itself which does so.
What then is one element which seems to have this power to innovate and act as political priest ? It appears to be what is taken beyond to be a certain existential authority which seems beyond the permission of the law. In point 35 of the Explanatory Notes this is set as "Australian values." Despite the Constitution's regulatory requirements here, in the Bill, THIS element of religion can, we find, if breached, reinforce the concept of serious crime (i.e. when that quality is deemed present, as well as the said values, then this result is ratified). Or does the qualification, "which are inconsistent with Australian values" merely instruct us, in case we have forgotten, that serious crime is as such contrary to Australian values ?
However, it appears rather to be a reinforcement than a sudden excursion into civics. If then contrary to Australian values is one relevant ground for judicial action, that becomes a religious intrusion, as forbidden in the Constitution. Since the issues raised are threatening to the life of thousands of citizens, this point can be left in no doubt.
Parallels, Prods and Perceptions
Further, might not such a
requirement here be taken to mean that it must be exceedingly different from the
liberty enjoyed in the parallel field of politics ?
Must political liberty then also be severed, threatened or intimidated in line with this ? or would not the omission of such a step breach the "universality and individuality of human rights," one of the stated requirements of this religion bill or this set of such items ? just as parallel intrusion into the political sphere could potentially tend to kink democracy. Here there appears a super- and in this case contra- constitutional office of command, and it is moreover, merely one estimate of the content of what in fact changes sharply - as it has changed in this land in the last 80-90 years, as I have had occasion to observe.
In addition, while some religions may lead to invasion and injury, not all are so, not by any means; nor do they give evidence of it.
Rash generalisation at this point must be avoided, as in any other theme. This applies to those who would legally charge their fellow citizens for alleged breaches, with a pervasive class, species or type of reaction at work in their own minds as they survey others. This may occur, whatever that class of thought may in indignation be felt to be. It may become merely a matter of application. 'That fits - I'll fix that!' could be the mantra.
Actual dangers, however, do need to be met discretely, not with a broad spray over all.
ˇ Again, confusion is all too ready to prey, in this field, when the objectively available set of doctrines of a religion are made into something personally offensive among Australians.
ˇ Yet among all Australians, not one of these wrote the Bible, for example, or any part of it; and citing it on the part of believers is therefore purely an exhibition of their faith, statedly born of benevolence, and not at all to be controlled by some prohibitive approach. That is expressly protected by the Constitution. Citing and defending it, on the other hand, is expressly commanded in the Bible (cf. II Corinthians 10:5, I Corinthians 11:1, II Timothy 4:1-5, Philippians 1:7, I Peter 3:15, Philippians 1:27-28). This is clash in principle).
There have been many reasons for which Australians have been noted for independence of action and procedure, and this liberty is undoubtedly one of them. It would violate what many have sought at extreme cost, and harass it, instead of patiently harnessing it. For true, stated, basic and sustained aims in a religion, supported by exceedingly costly actions, to be summarily discounted, resembles having terrorists equated with soldiers for peace with truth, and vice versa in inextricable mental confusion.
The Cost, Complexity,
Gratings and Potential Intrusions
of Unmoderated Legalism
Indeed, legal endeavours to find out whether some discussion, argumentation, presentation was or was not given with "malice" (despite, as in biblical Christianity for example, its having internal and sustained insistence on the exact opposite in basic principle), may be energised by many considerations, good and bad. It may be by the thought of reward, if an award may be made against an offence duly articulated by a complainant. It is a situation fraught with legal quandaries and vulnerabilities. In particular, also, the danger of a priori cynicism on the part of prosecuting persons or assessors, towards the one being attacked legally (if misconstrued), and forced to court, cannot wisely be either ignored or discounted.
In effect, it is to import some of the needless clash and confusion of sudden, declared war, when this is without full warrant. So it readily becomes divisive, degrading, disruptive, destructive, sometimes construable as an offensive splash of spectacular or profitable power by those angered by what they simply do not like, or drawn by what they do, wherever it may lie.
Consider the opportunities.
Who are these who declare 'malice' with the readiness with which some cough! Everything which does not appeal to them, which does not sate their desire for a world after their own image, which dares to run counter to their pre-occupations and prejudices, becomes an opportunity for prey or parade. The matter is far too adaptable to evil to be a safe path to good. Many of these fevers of thought arise and spread like international transmigrations of fevers.
You do not have to fall into a pitfall; but it changes the nature of your journey, not to have such repaired!
Is there any easier way of dismissing an uncomfortable fact ? simply by mischaracterising someone who holds standards you do not ? or moving voters to support your own perhaps radical changes in view, by revulsion from the very sight of the spurious charges made, submitted to what are conceived of as reasonable men or women!
Did the Nazi or Rising Sun or the arrested Russian nation think it reasonable to war, the first two with a pseudo-religious leader of determined mind, the second with a most religious head and the third, by a deceitful murderer who by some reckoning, may have murdered 30 million of his own ? These are only examples and not intended to singularise but illustrate from lessons recently learnt. Readily does self-assurance become certainty and non-innovation a subject of scorn, and vast are its examples.
A Government in an affected nation might have felt assured that it would be intensely reasonable to follow Hitler to greatness for his people, or Stalin to great equality: but what inequality was ever greater! If the criterion is to impart and apply what a reasonable person would hold, given certain foci of his own, not only is this as variable as the winds in its direction, as unreliable as history repeatedly declares, but sometimes downright vicious, in a hullabaloo of new found academic slant or political passion, of some kind or other.
To circumscribe truth is what some systems would describe as 'fatal error.' It is like forbidding antibiotics.
ˇ It would, moreover, tend to extend bigotries already popular (these being deemed reasonable in society quite often), and above all, it submits the practical exhibition of religion to culture. This is in principle contrary to the Constitution, not being a matter of detail, but KIND, and wholly unnecessary to preserve what is of much importance, and warranting breach in this field.
ˇ For this, a better dissecting instrument is needed. Is there some right about feeling that something long deemed good or normal with elaborate defence, is now to be handed over to something not only rigorously contrary, but lacking any secure grounds but force, for it to be obeyed; and this as some social or political body sees fit to determine it ?
How does liberty determine the point, if religious assessment of morals and motives is allowed free reign and to sit directly or indirectly in judgment's chair, to rule in religious robes!
ˇ Imagine, for instance, if a doctor were found guilty in some dishonest way for warning his patient of the existence of influenza germs of a particular strain, their comparative force in a given season, the symptoms and the modes of avoidance. This he does, only to be condemned for threatening or intimidating his patient! The objective is, on the contrary, to assist the patient to be aware and apply himself to his need. This has its parallel in the religious field. Such misconstruction can readily become viciously misleading as to truth, sordid in substance, beguiled with guesswork, and even worse than injustice.
The same kind of real peril may readily apply to the other forbidden elements in the law list of items for accusation, as cited in point 39. Is a minefield of perils, through adversaries, to vital elements of religious liberty, to be planted in our own land and by our own Australian hands ?
Can putting options in the hands of people for their welfare possibly be construed as an evil ? Yes it may; we have seen that. But only if the value set on whatever is in view, is greater than that set on truth. If you want slaves, not employees, then of course it is best to say so. If you want to found a new religion, or part thereof, it might be best to say so too, first and clearly... in advance. Why align in this sphere later ?
ˇ Concerning some things, some mind, some do not. It is important to grant choice at the beginning and not lumber in later with massive law involvement, implications, insinuations or what might appear in some cases, prevarications.
ˇ To pursue the medical analogy, consider this case. One doctor may be simply more capable of resolving issues and covering diseases then another. The other may indeed and for good reason feel "seriously threatened": and in some cases develop some sense of being "intimidated" by the better one, since he cannot reach that level. Should he then cease practising or be scolded, fined or mauled in some State-directed fashion, for doing well ? Feelings can vary like the mist, and are no criterion in their enormous human variability, in and by themselves, for legal assault.
ˇ THIS is the sort of confusion (at best) or malice, here on the part of the complainant for which party the recent Bill in view gives a jump start. Nor may the plaintiff realise his underlying reason for the upset! For multiplied reasons, this Bill is far too dangerous and inefficient for passing.
ˇ Generalisation in this field is one of the most critical features of discriminatory action. Is indeed all religion like all politics to be esteemed to be this or that, because some is ? or it has been ? Is all religion so flexible, tame, subjective, malleable, manipulable ?
ˇ Is "there is no truth" to be the true statement which is so hard up that it even states itself by a self-contradiction ? Is this to be assumed of religion ? as a discriminatory tag ? Is a current array of preferred values, founded merely in desire, to become part of a bifurcation of authority, even displacing all religion into a subordinate role to the new (and temporary) breed of the same, snatching out systematic slant from the provisions of the admirable constitutional thrust ? Is this how the Constitution for this democracy is to effaced, or to be effected ?
ˇ Further, if any religion is in fact a conveyor of the truth, then being heavy-handed in prosecuting those who follow it, as for example above, becomes a suppression of truth. If this would not constitute a violation of both the tenor and words of the Constitution, what could do so ?
ˇ It would tend to become disruptive of society and dispersive of the truth. It would come to represent an Australian government assault on this group, to name but one (to which we ourselves belong), as butt for any such action. Is the defence of such exercises in the field of religion to be made by refusing to consider this, though it is a frequent situation with biblical Christianity (as in John 14:21-24, Matthew 5:17ff., Isaiah 8:20) ? Will assumptions be the answer, for convenience, with no warrant! or will expected freedom of religion be respected not least for the sake of the Constitution and the nature of the case! allowing people to respond as they will in their own time ?
Facing an Oppressive
a Dispersive Result,
a Commandeering Intrusion
Much needs to be done to prevent this type of tragedy in all its variants, and warrants examination of this category from different aspects, to give a better awareness of it. If every effort fails, we seem set to become one more people trading liberty of thought and speech and argument and worship, for the complexities of a self-sown legal/political minefield, which may be simply sidestepped by the approach adopted by rulers..
A further example would be found in any move to implement results of atheistic thought, to take one case, to move from long-term general usage for addressing people, to another one, and this can be in some cases, if not by command, then in some parts of Australia, it has this eventual effect, leading, step by step, to legal action.
There is an obvious distinction between forms of address which acknowledge facts, and those that ignore genetic construction. Where the latter is the case, then it implies a religious view, and defies the construction found not only in the body, but in the instructions for its generation by generation building anew. Where there is actual genetic difference from the norm, this is different, and people may wish to make this clear, or not; and such is understandable, and would rest on their expressed desires. Let us now leave aside this special case, however, and consider the genetic norm only.
What happens to come in variations in modes of address over time is one thing; what is by political command or persuasive modes, is another, and any such act indirectly but most clearly is based on new governmental religious attitudes.
Much may be based, in particular, on atheism, though rarely here is this acknowledged in this sphere, and never expressly given primacy, except by variable assumptions. One may well ask: who but an atheist would want to follow its principles, priorities or implications in a free country, and what country is free which enforces such divisive, biased and prejudicial provisions!
They lap like advancing waves, more and more broadly. Were it to become national, Indeed, in such a case as our own, in such things, it would appear free only of its Constitution. Again, if you think of nothing as source of all, or that things invented themselves before there to do it, that is your option. Yet to ask God-believing persons, to work on such a basis in any affair, is more than insensitive since it puts wishes in some, ahead of facts from God, even those multiply written in our genetic construction; and hence invades religious liberty.
If fully adopted, this would be one more levitation out of reach of the Constitution, an invalid intrusion of a particular point of view to modes of general communication in address to each other. Why such harassment ? Here would be another case for attention by a body set up to prevent discrimination and persecution: if that is the genuine intention. Other revolutionary changes in view or in stages, are in a similar position. Where is their demonstration or warrant or place in the annals of freedom and care ?
Not merely here, but In any sphere, in a democracy, standardisation of a religion and its warrants is simply assuming the powers of God without having that position, and as such constitutes confrontation. Assault on what one holds, believes, in terms of forcing behaviour in flat contradiction with it, is not merely insensitive and potentially disruptive in society, but becomes one of the great examples of discrimination. Accordingly, those with flexible religions may not meet such invasion of their religions with any great concern; but those whose God is changeless face not only confrontation but discrimination.
Thus is created what readily comes to constitute one more invasion of religion to meet what for a time may be popular in its impact on what has not changed over millenia.
What we face in overall terms is movement towards a repressive procedure, a dispersive assault and a selective slither creeping into the field of religion on various fronts. Systematising the trend is like pouring water on a flood. It is occurring legislatively in this present epoch in numbers of discrete areas, but often with similar tactics and the same result together with the same type of reason for objection.
Some may be acutely seeking it, some yielding to it with reluctance, some undiscerning or for peace, going with the flow. Indeed, many may have many different reasons for what they do, whether in terms of ideals, ideas, motifs, hatred, love, patience, intemperance or other items. A major issue remains the avoidance of religious intrusion where that is even possible, as also of variable possible additives, crammed in to satisfy some popular and ill-founded, or even indefensible desire.
The issue, involving directive towards liberty, comes to a focus in the results of whatever is legislated and set to work. Is it an admirable avoidance of religion being manipulated falsely and support of it from enslavement, or instead a blunt instrument struck where a scalpel is needed with which we are here confronted! Is it a deft dealing with a set of issues, or a lapse in some areas and an enlargement in others allowing subversion of peace, not its defence.
As to the form of address issue, naming people, and change, which is in view and enters into this domain of religion because of its basis, a common situation: this is not at all alone in the movement from moral fixtures of centuries. Often it is to what ? It is to their very opposites or to rigorous change, with penalties applicable if you are not sufficiently religiously fluid.
When is this a liability ? It is when this change is not within one's religious ambit, or hostile to it. Thus people, for peace, are encouraged to connive with the special, seductive and unnecessary change, whether it is being made reliant on feelings only, will only, imagination where reality is at hand, or religion resident in those who judge, whether they know it or not.
Who will be stricken ? Such a combination of events readily becomes like squadrons of bombers, attacking a city, not so dangerous if you are quiet in an air raid shelter, deprived of speech. With what will they be struck ?
Over time, not few have been the swelling States which have in one way or another, sought to essentialise, characterise, give greater power or notoriety to themselves, or perpetuate themselves (at least, say over a period of 1000 years for example), using methods with all the precision of a 'shooting star', squandering resources, peace and people as if they were completely inconsequential. We do not need to repeat this form of deadly harassment, let alone in the name of increasing freedom of religion, nor even to move in that direction.
Chopping away at religion with ill regard for its very nature, is not only unconstitutional and misdirected but grievous. If a State must have double motives, or be double minded at the ultimate level, it needs at least to have these dualities compatible.
ˇ If this sort of situation is not desired, either in general disruptive norms, or in particular, then action is needed. Such a mode moves simply into its own more subtle form of totalitarianism, and if this is in the field of religion, then that particular field, as such by its nature, can be all-embracive and its invasion lead to many things disruptive, or insidious like a spreading mould. After all, democracy, even if faithfully followed, does not ordain disruption. That is a separate and contradictory choice. It can become like using a blow-torch to warm your hands! If you do, not only your hands but also your vitality suffer.
ˇ To be sure, many foolish generalisations regarding the nature of religion CAN occur, and lead to assault of one kind or another; but the tangle of determining whether agents of it or followers did or did not so act, needs extreme clarity, to avoid petty persecution, legal rewards for dishonest manipulation, indulgence of (passing) passion, grand assumptions without warrant other than popularity, and the like. In these things, history abounds.
ˇ The vast distinction, between concern in terms of truth for another's welfare, on the one hand, and on the other, intrusive assault offered to another person, shows the vital importance of motive; and virtual guesswork on this topic in the outcome of a legal suit, makes the danger of a trivialisation of truth to be exceedingly enhanced.
The Little Matter of Justice:
No Need to Divorce it from Law
In the same overall concern, comes the consideration of justice in its efforts at comprehensiveness. Thus if you exclude some forms of evidence in some such case, directly or indirectly, you are already in peril of injustice, not giving the one, or the group attacked the benefit of all relating to the matter. This appears as a contempt for justice itself. If feelings only, or statements about them, or points of view, or chosen values, or psychological discernments are to be determinants in what is a field of justice, then injustice is virtually assured. It is the same with all legal assault which forbids, implies the omission of, or simply avoids all the aspects of a case. It is a foreshortening of the matter which cuts off not its tail but its head.
ˇ It is the pre-judgment in a democracy of what is to be looked at and how and in what context, which becomes judge, one which omits consideration of all the elements of a case, in which strong features work in what readily becomes a virtual guessing game, a rule to avoid certain elements or grant them any standing, or even a limit with this null effect. This at once enters into the alleged guilt of whatever kind being tagged, misconstrued, misapplied, mistaken or merely imagined. Is the judge of religions (as background and basis) to be elected ? and if that person or group were to be elected, would this enable a suitable summit!
Instead, the emphasis must be honestly to seek to find out, not to void the truth. As to this latter, it may be in order to satisfy implicit, explicit or other roving new morals; and then simply to use one of the four potential whips as noted in point 39 of the document in view (harass, vilify, threaten or seriously intimidate) ... or worse. One man's harassment is another man's holiness.
That readily may become not a curb on injustice but an augment to it, making good heart and goodwill amenable to prosecution. Is that good government ? Does such a travesty need to be left in place ? The Bill in view in this field reinforces other provisions already made or paraded, and is more than heavy-handed: it is an invitation to vilification of those complained against, in prodigious collision with the careful watchfulness of the Constitution, while dealing incautiously with one of the areas which has been a distinctive characteristic and a fine one, of the Australian nation.
This is widely recognised and a signal of many for relief, one of the items making our shores attractive. Must it now be covered with sea-weed, artificially brought in ?
As in medical operations, then, not only effort but minimisation of spoliation of other organs is requisite. Here the 'organs' are people. If you are going to follow justice, you have to recognise its ways, and neither shut it up, nor manhandle it, limiting its scope and resources. No more apt is making it rely on pre-defined and possibly insidiously used religious items, or on the other hand, pushing mere palatable preferences while ignoring crushing correlations. A failure to feature such things may be costly indeed. Such inattention readily becomes, in itself, not only injustice, but in some circumstances, it could even amount to wilful oblivion. What uses law while announcing what is beyond the law; and that as a critical feature, how does it escape being in character, lawless!
Justice needs to be achieved rather than merely given effort, if the operation is likely to proceed. Faux assault leading to conviction in this field, on even one person, is failure. Every step must be sound, and not merely made in hope, or in reliance on the current state of neo-morals, intensely variable as it is. Indeed, it is passionately followed by many, even as some kind of ideal and site for education and habituation... of others.
ˇ People as such, whether in ones or aggregates, cannot in religion be made the criterion, since what DEPENDS on religious orientation, or its application, is a religious issue, in itself. These issues need facing. Indeed, intrusive laws in this field may be far-ranging and even undesired by anyone.
ˇ Thus finesse and not convenience is required, an acute watchfulness lest new laws run away with matters of internal substance, simply re-creating the nation in a desired image, in explicit defiance of the Constitution. It is no source of surprise, that when the merely human plays God, it doesn't work. The difference is too great.
ˇ In fact, Government needs for good reasons of stability and coherence to be activated with strong and logically defensible principles, and not to be jolted by every bump in the statistical road.
Moreover, having an arm of government, through such pre-judgment or lurching rules, or foci, or limiting or superficial considerations re collection and application of fact, implement just what it is intended to prevent, is a sad scenario. Indeed, this may be a delicious irony; but it is not a delicious fact. MUCH yet needs to be done to prevent such an outcome.
It is for the same reason that many other aspects of existing Government law may be closely related to new law, so making more to be relevant in terms of overall thrust and RESULT on all sides, as time goes on. A ramifying collection of legal topics already in force or in view, which relate to this field of innovation, thus comes into place, and properly into view. Where these abort justice in their pre-judgments of relevance, they too need adjustment to eliminate this sort of control where religion, directly or indirectly, is an ingredient. Due diligence in all these things adorns a nation.
Slamming through the gears simply grates.
ˇ The Self-Declarative, and the Invasion from Within
The very mode of some things done by extremists, or the violent in action, where a case of activistic substance is inherent in their violence, tends often to be exceedingly obvious as in some other cases, depending on the grounds of assessment here. There needs therefore to be strong effort at protection from discrimination against those who use the norms of reasoning, in the field of revelation, and who seek especially the liberty of others. This is eminently applicable, in the highly specific Christian field, in view of its nature.
Protection, from what ? partly from wastage, tending to turn many either into martyrs or misfits.
It is, for another item, from unnecessary, forcible and unproductive involvement in the political pre-occupations of others. The aims being the precise opposite: to overthrow or defeat on the one hand, and to make sound and stable on the other, have their highly variable, due effects. There are for example multiplied modes of differentiating the aims which are devastating from those which are consolidating. The one may be by covert war, sometimes more open, destabilisation; and the other, stabilising with quality, by discerning contributions to justice, mercy, moving towards a peaceable and watchful quality in the land, as to order.
Defence must not become defeat in advance by changing the nation's approach to its own citizens, radically and detrimentally.
ˇ The biblical aim, the one in view, for example, of the Christian religion in this case for Christians, is not to overthrow government but to establish religion. It is to present Christ without intimidation or violence (after all, He WAS crucified as part of His task, and did not crucify others); but to do so freely, so that all aspects of His offer and appeal may be openly considered by those who hear. without extraneous or intimidatory pressures.
ˇ Among other duties for many ministers of religion, therefore, one is to seek to deliver believers from legal entanglement through their work, as likewise from suppression and oppression in their labours which are their legitimate concern. Thus to treat and mischaracterise this their work as if, instead, it were born of malicious or careless misrepresentation, and this whether by lawyer or assailant, readily looms simply as fraudulent assault. Talk does not hide it.
ˇ Laws that give what is in effect a prepared runway for doing this sort of thing, may therefore provide a perilously easy opportunity for distraction and the operation of simple ill-will; and this just as a first step. Some countries act in this field more discretely than others, and this takes thought and discerning effort. What then is to be noted ?
ˇ When, therefore, the Constitution declares what the Commonwealth Government cannot do, it does not mean that the opposite is not a violation, let alone when systematically carried out as an imposition. It does not stipulate that the Government may freely (if inferentially) make and apply its own version, brand or preference in the field of religion, and enforce it: and this, even in terms of principle! It is the same forsaken principle if instead, it merely empowers those who do this thing. In crime, as an example, it is not only the agent of it but accessories who come into view.
ˇ Nor is it indicated that judgment should be based on certain values enshrined in the hearts of the human judges, which they then apply to judge others. This is not at all freedom of religion but a systematic substitute. It is one heart spraying another.
ˇ Such beliefs and preferences are now in danger of being self-assessed, self-applied and to be suffered by religious victims, in turn subjectible to disarray, difficulty, distress or obloquy, in this very field. Then this, an horrific example, may be applied to such second degree manacles, even simply between any one and another, as may seem good and well-fitting. It is thus not merely a disruptive violation of freedom of religion, but a bad example for individuals in their own mutual dealings, which is in view.
ˇ In the field of religion in this present world, I believe in an absolute minimum of force and maximum of regard; not for ideas - for the truth must be sought resolutely and fearlessly, and adhered to, but towards people. This should be steadfastly followed, however much one's love is misinterpreted, as if the delight in goodness and good results were similar to the smouldering pits of malice, the fumes of which may in effect intoxicate those who falsely charge others with this very thing.
How difficult the task when there can be foundgg such apparent abortion even of goodwill! but there must be no diminution of its display, or of the tenacity of adherence to truth, with mercy and not laxity always ready to be operative.
Thank you for inviting this submission.
Rev. Robert Donaldson, Th.D., B.A., M.A., B.D., Dip. Ed.