Let’s talk? Do you support religious freedom in Australia?

A lot as been said religious freedom in Australia over the past few months, with the election highlighting the difference
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A lot as been said religious freedom in Australia over the past few months, with the election highlighting the difference of opinion in people all over the country.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson found huge support from voters for her call to ban Muslim immigration and rallies for a ‘white Australia’ saw hundreds of people take to the streets.

On the other side, however, have been calls for reason with many people pointing out the constitution very clearly states that all Australians have the right to practice whatever religion they please without being persecuted.

This seems to be a touchy topic for many people nowadays though, and it appears as though this basic human right is under threat.

Queensland MP Graham Perrett has come out in support of religious freedom in an opinion piece for the Brisbane Times, where he took a clear swipe at Ms Hanson and her policies.

“I know that the vast majority of Australians are accepting, sensible people. Most people would not bat an eyelid if a person wearing a burqa or niqab passed them in the street any more than if a Catholic nun walked by,” he said.

“And that is how it should be. But there will always be people who, just like the Irish Catholic convicts and British Protestant military, will view some religions via their own faulty prism.

“The liberties that our Diggers fought to protect and that the Constitution’s authors envisaged ensures that all Australians are now all free to practise religion without fear of recrimination. We are all free to pray (or not pray) without fear of being bullied.

“The division and hate cards are periodically played in Australian politics. Most sensible people quickly tire of these attempts at bullying. Unfortunately, recent dog whistling has now produced a climate wherein a senator elect can call for Big Brother to monitor the prayers of Australians.”

We live in such a globalised world these days, it seems inevitable that we will become a nation built more on diversity than on the things we have in common.

The thing that will hold us all together is the fact that we are all Australians working to keep this country great – and isn’t that the most important thing of all?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this today.

Do you support religious freedom in Australia? Or is the issue more complicated than that?

  1. Susan Knowles  

    The issue itself is not complicated. As a democracy we must support religious freedom and to me that means opposing all the bigots like Pauline Hanson who would restrict this. Seeking bans and restrictions on Muslims because of the actions of a few so-called Muslims, who do not follow the Koran, makes as much sense as banning Christianity because of the actions of the KKK.

    • Silva Rigutti  

      The problem is they do follow the Quran and the associated Sharia law.
      The two preach what is impossible to reconcile with Democracy. The Muslims who moderate and do not disown Sharia are OK for as long as they choose not to implement their rules.
      Again the problem is you never know who, when and if someone will change or follow those teachings, particularly when if they sin (according to those teachings) everything will be OK if they Martyr themselves in the name of Allah and the religion. The martyrs (as males) are promised Heaven and 72 Virgins. Very tempting to sin, kill an unbeliever, go to Heaven and enjoy yourself. I wonder if there is also an equivalent for women? 72 young males to respond to your every whim, etc. If I really believed in Islam as a womanI would be tempted. Much better dead than child bearing “slave” in Islam.

    • Silva Rigutti  

      The problem is they do follow the Quran and the associated Sharia law.
      The two preach what is impossible to reconcile with Democracy. The Muslims who moderate and do not disown Sharia are OK for as long as they choose not to implement their rules.
      Again the problem is you never know who, when and if someone will change or follow those teachings, particularly when if they sin (according to those teachings) everything will be OK if they Martyr themselves in the name of Allah and the religion. The martyrs (as males) are promised Heaven and 72 Virgins. Very tempting to sin, kill an unbeliever, go to Heaven and enjoy yourself. I wonder if there is also an equivalent for women? 72 young males to respond to your every whim, etc. If I really believed in Islam as a womanI would be tempted. Much better dead than child bearing “slave” in Islam.

    • Phil  

      Hello Susan,
      At last I’ve read someone addressing the issues and not just the person. I’m hoping that you can help us. Can you please, as someone who clearly knows the Koran well, tell me how what Pauline Hansen says about the Koran is innaccutate? Is love someone to list her claims specifically and refute them – no rhetoric just facts. Thanks

      • Pamela  

        The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

        http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/violence.aspx

    • Michael  

      Just for the record, I am a happily married 63 year old uneducated man ( 4th Form) with no political affiliations. I speak from my heart in what I believe to be the truth, and I am a proud Australian born person from German parents who came to Melbourne in 1950. Trust me I know what racism is or was.

      I am not religious and I respect peoples right to practice their religion provided it does so within the confines of a normal, moral and civilized society. What I don’t respect is when religion has the capacity to divide a country, if not a world because of the absolute disregard for human life under the guise of an ideology that by it’s very nature, through it’s supposed Holy Book, advocates violence, the degradation of women and the threat of death should the worshiper wish to leave the “cult” for want of a better word. Yes there are moderate Muslims throughout our world, however my concern is not now but in 20 years time when my great grand kids are born into a country and world that no longer has those moderate Muslims in our communities. While it is easy for people to call me crazy, bigoted or racist, the reality is that the divide between what Islam offers it’s followers and what is fed to the Australian people by goverment, are worlds apart. Moderation is fine however moderation given enough time, can become an addiction which eventually kills. The events over the past 12 months in Europe from the terrorism perspective, are unacceptable, and impinge on the rights and freedoms of the citizens in whose country these attacks have taken place. It is unacceptable and despite what Graham Perrett says, Islamist fundamentalism has always had its own dynamic, or dynamics, ever since the Wars of Succession between Umar and Abbas/Ali. And because the Koran is never to be changed, or doubted, infinite possibilities exist to interpret it in the most literal way without in any way reforming it, interpretations depending on one’s perceptions and interests. The Muslims are stuck with the Koran. And so we, like it or not, ‘powerful’ or not, are stuck with it in its most vicious and brutal interpretations. God Bless Australia …..because we are no longer young and free.

      • Silva Rigutti  

        For as long as Muslims are unable and unwilling to separate the Quran, Sharia and religion from their belief and accept the democratic rule that Government and Church are separate, reform their religion themselves, they all remain an unknown quantity regarding their behaviour. Muslims may be moderate in their behaviour and interpretation of Islam but they remain an unknown danger until they themselves decide to reform what according to Islam’s teachings seems impossible. They ALL remain an accident waiting to happen.

  2. our constitution guarantees freedom of religion and also speech. Both have their drawbacks (we get Pauline Hansons) but it is far better than the alternative where the government is able to tell us what to think and say. I am not religious but I respect people who are and live it. You know – like love your neighbor as yourself!

    • Ian  

      Actually no guarentee exists. Government is forbidden to legislate regarding religions and our freedom of speech is only implied.

  3. A written constitution is good for the reason all and sundry cannot try to make out principles are not really there. Live and let live. Our reactions to terrorist extremists encourage them rather than squash them

  4. bruce taylor  

    I can not believe that some people today are speaking out against the ideals that our service men have fought and died for. My father who fought all through the second world from Tobruk and El Alamain in north Africa to New Guinea and Borneo in the Pacific would be horrified to see this.
    He used to tell me that he believed Australia to be one of the most racist countries in the world but that at least we were making progress. To look at things now he would say that there are now a lot more bigots than there were back then and the country has taken a huge step backward.

  5. Tony Hodges  

    I sincerely believe in religous freedom providing it is not to the detriment of any one else.

  6. Jan ashley  

    Religious freedom is fine world wide.
    But one thing that’s not ok is for those cultures who have a strict code of living,behavior, dress, trying to force their codes of living, behaviors dress,onto those living in the country they chose to come to.
    We are a multi cultural society here in Australia. Do not come here with the intent of forcing a change onto our western civilization.
    Our government heads are implementing those changes to pander to these new cultures.

    • Emilia  

      Spot on, Jan.
      And I for one are sick of it.

  7. Augustine  

    What’s with Perrett having ‘a go’ at Catholics’, & Protestants’? That’s religious vilification, too.

    At least one can see a nun’s face. And yes, someone covered from head to toe, face included, I find very scary. Saw three of them coming towards me in a city street, so I crossed the road. That sight scared the livin’ daylights outta me. It’s just not ‘normal’ in Aussie society.
    And there’s the rub. They want to live here, but definitely don’t want to integrate into OUR way of life. Why they come to a Christian Western country is perplexing. Must be the attraction of ‘free’ money from Centrelink, which is paid for by OUR Tax $$$$$$.

    I don’t care what RELIGION someone is.

    BUT I do care about cults, & their impact on society.
    They’ve proven to be untrustworthy, with their secrecy, & abysmal hatred of others’, & some have millions’ of $$$$$ at their disposal, which is very worrying.

  8. Cheryl  

    When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1950s, there were very few religions (that I knew of) practiced in Australia. Church of England, Catholic, Baptist and Presbyterian.
    In the heated times we currently live in, ‘Supporting’ religious freedom and to see it ‘working’ are as compatible as oil and water.
    However, if you put oil and water in a blender they do mix, as the molecular structure of the oil changes, and the result is a one milky colour.
    Now you can look at this from two perspectives, (1) we all need to change our structure to make things work as one, or (2) if we were all ‘meant’ to live together, peacefully as one, we would all be of the same hue or aspect.
    Both perspectives are opposite ends of the spectrum, so do we accept one over the other? Do we oppose one over the other? Or do we accept everyone is entitled to their opinion and respect both?

    • Juanita  

      Muslims have lived and worked in Austratia since early white settlement and had dealings with aboriginal people for hundreds of years in the north. Afghan cameleers in central Australia and the north west of WA . There is an afghan cemetery in Wyndum WA and all the bodies are facing Mecca. Broome too.

  9. Chris Forsyth  

    Yes, I do. I have many Christian, Athiest, Muslim, and Buddhist friends. All are peaceful, moral people.

  10. Loz  

    All religions are welcome as long as they obey the laws of the land they live in. Muslims consider their law is the only one and all who are not muslim are infidels and not worth consideration. They consider our laws do not apply to them.

    • Meryl  

      Loz… this is the problem I think. It’s the culture, not the religion as such. I have heard them say openly that they don’t want to be Australian…but stay as they are. They want to infiltrate the world, not blend in. I agree with the “Pauline’s” of this world.

      • Jeannette  

        I agree with Loz and Meryl – !!

  11. Yes I do. The law should neither discriminate against the reasonable practice of religion nor excuse the extreme behaviours of some, on religious grounds.

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