Religions demonised by new laws

Many religions, including Christianity, are being targeted and demonised through new laws regarding issues like euthanasia, abortion and attempts to force priests to break the seal of the confessional.

New South Wales Liberal MP Julian Lesser spoke out at a St Thomas More Society meeting saying, while preparing for the upcoming religious discrimination debate in parliament, he canvassed faith-based leaders across his Sydney electorate.

In doing so, he said he heard stories he never believed he would hear expressed in Australia.

“Anti-Semitism is sadly on the rise in this country, with a 60 per cent increase in attacks on Jews in Australia over the last 12 months.

“When I have consulted Muslims, Sikhs and Buddhists in my electorate about their religious freedom, they have told me of people…[being asked]…to remove ­articles of clothing that denote their religious devotion and of public libraries not wanting to stock their holy books.

Lesser said that although Christians have fewer physical threats made against them, “there is a cultural and existential threat to Christianity as people are ­trying to delegitimise the place of Christ­ianity in the public square and force it off the national stage.”

Lesser said Christians presented eight specific concerns during the consultation. In essence, they are worried about:

  • Their freedom to quote the Bible
  • Their ability to preach and share Jesus’s message
  • What their children are being taught about gender and sexuality
  • What they will be allowed to teach about gender and sexuality to the next generation
  • Employees continued right to follow their conscience and object to work-based ­corporate social ­responsibility programmes without their jobs being threatened
  • Attacks on the right of church institutions to preach, teach, employ (or not employ) and ­provide (or not provide) services in ­accord­ance with their faith
  • People using the discrimination law in the name of human rights as a weapon against Christians
  • The media culture and in particular the ABC bias against Christians and Christian leaders.

Targeting the church and Christian organisations is “a bad development” for Australia, he says.

“Christianity is not a religion to be afraid of.”

He said he wants Christians in the community to make submissions about the draft religious discrimination bill.


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