Australia’s National Secular Lobby backs the comments of three NewsCorp columnists who in recent days have weighed into the ongoing saga involving Israel Folau and the Australian Christian Lobby.
Adelaide’s Sunday Mail columnist Peter Goers, The Advertiser State Editor Tory Shepherd and The Australian’s Graham Richardson have all correctly identified the glaring hypocrisy inherent in the positions taken by Folau and the ACL.
Goers, who is also host of ABC Radio Adelaide’s Evening Program, noted that Folau and his supporters “cherry pick” some Biblical proscriptions while ignoring others.
Goers observed that the heavily-tattooed Folau breaks the Biblical law against tattoos found in Leviticus 19:28, flouts the requirement to keep the Sabbath by playing football on a Sunday and ignores Matthew 7:1 which counsels “judge not lest ye be judged”.
Goers wrote: “If you believe everything in the Bible you can’t just condemn gays and others. You have to literally believe it all. You must rejoice in smiting your enemies, celebrate genocide, and believe that slavery and beating slaves is God’s will”.
Writing in this morning’s Advertiser, Shepherd described Folau as a “victimiser turned victim” who is also “a patsy, a proxy, a pawn… and an integral prop” in the Australian Christian Lobby’s “bigger game of politics, money and power”.
Shepherd wrote: “What do you think the ACL would do if a prominent Muslim, with millions of Australian followers, started ranting that infidels were going to hell… that rape victims should be stoned, or thieves have their hands chopped off, or call for polygamy to be legalised? Can you imagine the ACL banging on about religious freedom then?”
Shepherd also reported that the ACL spends almost $9 million a year to lobby politicians and get media exposure… “not to house the homeless or build houses in Africa”.
In this morning’s Australian former Labor MP Graham Richardson, who was raised a Catholic, noted that the Sisters of Charity “drilled into my core the concept that we should ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone’” (John 8:7) and doubted that Folau is “such a perfect human being”.
NSL President Peter Monk said the commentary was “welcome, refreshing, and raised important issues about the ACL’s mission”.
“The ACL wants religious schools to have the right to ‘protect their ethos’ by sacking staff but it doesn’t want Rugby Australia to have the right to do the same,” he said.
“Israel Folau and the ACL claim he is the victim of discrimination, which they decry, yet they have no problem demanding the legal right to discriminate against others”.
Mr Monk questioned why someone holding a religious belief should be treated differently to someone holding a belief for a non-religious reason.
“All beliefs and views, no matter the inspiration or origin, are part of a person's identity, and they should not be treated in different ways; likewise, people should be accountable for their espoused beliefs and actions no matter what the motivating impulse,” he said.
“As this debate continues we are getting closer to the truth, which is that the ACL wants religious privilege to be elevated to a position in which it is unfettered by the laws that bind the rest of society.”
“It should not be the case that ‘religious freedom’ gives you the right to say and do as you please, and it certainly should not give you immunity from any consequences of your actions.”
National Secular Lobby