Protecting Freedom/Protecting Privilege

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Cathedral of St Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco. Photo: Elenie Poulos

The first paper out of my ongoing PhD research on the politics of religious freedom has just been published by the Australian Journal of Human Rights, 2018, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp 117-133. Here is the abstract:

Lacking a national comprehensive human rights charter or bill, Australia’s legal balancing act between competing human rights protections is captured in discrete pieces of anti-discrimination law. In 2012, the Australian Government released a draft bill consolidating these laws. Most churches roundly condemned this bill. With very few exceptions, the churches have a strong record of opposing progressive reform of Australia’s anti-discrimination protections. This paper examines the submissions made by churches to the parliamentary inquiry into the bill. The analysis demonstrates that most churches regarded the bill as a serious threat to both religious freedom and freedom of speech. In privileging religious freedom in a hierarchy of rights to be protected, the argument for religious freedom became the means by which churches sought to both protect their institutional position and entrench their particular moral code in Australian law.

The article in its Authorised Manuscript form is available here. For those readers who have access to a university library, you can find the published article here.

In the midst of grief, agents of hope

15181524_10209928963435257_7470344555391269520_n

South Sydney Uniting Church #wecandobetter 
A service of hope and lament for people seeking asylum

Uniting Church members and friends gathered on 27 November at Pitt Street Uniting Church in Sydney for a Service of Lament and Hope for people seeking asylum. The texts for the service were Psalm 137 and Matthew 25:31-46. The service was part of the Church’s Give Hope Campaign. This is my sermon.

Pitt Street Uniting Church is on the land of Gadigal People of the Eora Nation.

Lament and hope. Grief and salvation.

Whose lives do we grieve? How can we be agents hope in a broken world? Continue reading