Thursday, 11 October 2018

Comment on religious freedom

President Dr Deidre Palmer provided the following response to Fairfax Media yesterday after a request for comment about the recommendations of the Ruddock Review into religious freedom.

“The Uniting Church’s position, as conveyed to the Ruddock Review, is that any exceptions or exemptions for discrimination by religious organisations, should be limited in scope, and only as is required in order to maintain the integrity and existence of the religious organisation.”

“Our Church’s position is that every person is equal before the law and before God. Any permission given to religious organisations that allows them to discriminate on the basis of religious belief must be carefully balanced against the rights of people to be free from discrimination.

“Any amendments to anti-discrimination legislation would need to strike that balance.

“Our current commitment is that we would not seek to discriminate except in key leadership roles, essential to the maintenance of a particular faith or religious institution.

“It is our longstanding position that religious freedoms in Australia will best be protected through a broad commitment to the upholding of all human rights, preferably within a Human Rights Act.

“I look forward to reading Mr Ruddock’s report when it is released.”

 The Uniting Church made its original submission to the Ruddock Review on 14 February 2018.

UnitingCare Australia National Director Claerwen Little appeared before the Review panel in Sydney in February, emphasising that Uniting Church Agencies are open to all regardless of their race, religion or sexual preference.

UPDATE: On Friday 12 October, Fairfax media published all 20 recommendations of the leaked report on its website