7. Religion, Cultural Expression and Human Rights
7.1 Is there satisfactory freedom of cultural expression and practice within the normative social and legal framework?
1. I have no particular comments on this matter.
7.2 Do service providers in your state or territory support the right to cultural security, safety and competence?
2. I have no particular comments on this matter.
7.3 How can the cultural aspirations and human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders be met?
3. The cultural aspirations and human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders should be met in the same way as for other Australians. All should have equal rights. Nobody should be permitted to discriminate or to impose their cultural views on other Australians (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders included) if that is not the desire of those individuals.
7.4 What are the issues impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities at present, and proposed solutions?
4. It is desirable that problems affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are quickly addressed so that the quality of life in these communities rises to be at least equivalent to that of other Australians. For Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, this means leaving behind primitive beliefs, including in ethical systems that discriminate, that are divisive (if you do not belong to this belief system you will be punished) or intolerant of others, and that are imposed on others. Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities can acknowledge that their old belief systems were at one stage the basis for their cultures, but adopting ethical values that promote equality and respect for all and value the lives of all Australians is important. Change must occur if we are to move on from the past.
5. The issues that have plagued Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and the issues that affect other Australians, could be addressed in some part by education and by adopting more responsible, tolerant and ethical values, that will make all Australians, and humans, live better lives.
7.5 Are there any issues in regard to participation in the faith community for people with disabilities?
6. In some religions, disabled and ill people are given hope of cures for their disability or illness. This is misleading and fraudulent, and takes advantage of disabled and ill people. There is no scientific evidence that religion can provide cures for disabled people. Gods cannot miraculously and spontaneously regrow limbs on amputees, and despite how many people turn purple busting their guts in prayer, it will not happen. Prayer does not work. Childhood indoctrination has however managed to mask this delusion for some religious people.
7. Discrimination against disabled people is as wrong as against people based on their sex, sexual preference, race, colour or other irrelevant characteristics. It should not be tolerated.
7.6 How is diverse sexuality perceived within faith communities?
8. Diverse sexuality is discriminated against by many religions. Most religions seem to endorse married heterosexuality, but little else. Homosexuality is, according to the Bible, worthy of the punishment of death. It is disgusting that these views are propagated in the Christian religion, and that children can read of these views in the Bible. There is a view that Islam’s views on diverse sexuality are more severe.
7.7 How can faith communities be inclusive of people of diverse sexualities?
9. Religious communities must appreciate that their religious texts do not reflect the words of a god, but were written by primitive and ancient peoples trying to make sense of the world. The ethical systems in these texts are just as primitive, and religious people must acknowledge that people of diverse sexuality should have the same rights as other people. Only when religious leaders stop propagating ancient rituals and customs can faith communities become more tolerant of groups condemned in their religious texts.
7.8 Should religious organisations (including religious schools, hospitals and other service delivery agencies) exclude people from employment because of their sexuality or their sex and gender identity?
10. No. Religious organisations discriminate against people based on sex, sexuality, gender identity, race, religion or lack thereof, and other irrelevant characteristics, and this is unacceptable. We would think it abhorrent that a new religion could be established that discriminated against Aboriginal persons or black people, but this is no less vulgar than how Christianity and Islam discriminate against people based on their sexuality or sex and gender identity. Discrimination is wrong.
7.9 Do you consider environmental concern to be an influence shaping spiritualities and value systems?
11. No. It is again interesting, but expected, that some religious leaders have recently denied scientific evidence linking climate change to human activity. In doing so, religious leaders hinder the betterment of the world, based on their primitive, subjective and entrenched viewpoints. It is also interesting that the concepts of population growth and a sustainable planet are naturally conflicting, but the Catholic Church seemingly wants unfettered population growth. This would seem irresponsible at best.
7.10 a) Are there religious groups, practices and beliefs that you think are of concern to Australians?
12. There are many issues of concern, including
- that all religions believe that their religion and its ethical values alone, are ‘right’, and that they must be imposed on all other people
- religions discriminate, are intolerant of others, and do not treat all people equally
- the distrust that religions have for each other that often results in violent conflict
- religious opposition to matters that would advance the human condition, voluntary euthanasia, abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and the use of contraceptives
- the teaching of religious texts as having some factual basis when in many respects they are contrary to scientific understanding
- the religious contentions that the world was created, imaginary gods exist, souls exists, miracles occur, and prayers work, contrary to scientific evidence
- the use of parliamentary prayers
- the religious bias towards Christianity in the preamble of the Australian Constitution and that s.116 does not provide for a separation of church and state or protect non-believers
- the tax-exempt status given to religions
- the use of discriminatory and tax-exempt religious organisations to provide government and business services for Australians
- the gender, sexual and racial discrimination that is rife in religion
- the disgusting religious attitude towards non-believers
- the use of divisive and offensive religious symbols and dress
- the use of violence, terrorism and war to defend religious beliefs
- politicians and the media consulting with religious organisation on issues unrelated to religious teaching and despite these organisations having a history of discrimination and violence.
b) Should these be subjected to legislative control, and should they be eligible for government grants and assistance?
13. Legislative and regulatory controls should be used to ensure that only organisations that do not discriminate, do not violate an individual’s rights by seeking to impose religious values on them, and that can otherwise compete fairly with other Australian businesses (that is they should not be tax-exempt) should be eligible for government grants and assistance. Religions do not meet these criteria, and therefore should be ineligible for government grants and assistance. Religions should not be favoured any more than other organisations, and certainly, religious organisations should not be exempt from legislation that applies to other Australians.