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.
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
This is the speech I delivered at the Let Them Stay Rally organised by GetUp! at Sydney Town Hall on Monday 8 February. There were about 4000 people there all calling on the Government to change our harsh, punitive and abusive treatment of people seeking asylum. Continue reading
This is a short reflection I offered at the Love Makes a Way ‘Carols for Compassion’ event on 10 December 2015, outside the Sydney offices of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Continue reading
On the 23rd November, on a storm-drenched afternoon, during a moment of sunshine, a few hundred people from Uniting Church congregations gathered at Circular Quay in Sydney to unveil a giant quilt in an act of public liturgy. Continue reading
Every person who arrives by boat seeking asylum has a story. Over 90% of asylum seekers who have arrived by boat over the last 15 years or so have been granted protection, so you can be sure that these stories include tales of hardship, violence and persecution. Continue reading
If there’s one thing that Bob Carr’s recent comments on asylum seekers demonstrated it was that our politicians think they can say anything they want about ‘boat people’ and not be held to account for the truth. Continue reading