Religious businesses demand the right to select only employees of their own faith
Secular businesses also require employees to uphold their corporate secular values
The Mark Allaby story – and the attacks by News Ltd on Michael Barnett – has already been covered at length here on the stirrer. Radio National has now joined the fray with, interviewing Professor Iain Benson from Notre Dame University Sydney. The podcast is available on the ABC website.
The interviewer asked “What freedom of religion does Mr Allaby have?”
Adamm Ferrier thinks that Allaby has been unfairly targeted. But he also takes issue with Professor Benson’s response.
by Adamm Ferrier
I am angered that Mr Allaby has been targeted in this way. Whilst I do not share Mr Allaby’s views, I respect his right to have them.
But is it not disingenuous that businesses owned and operated by religious groups can demand that their employees model the values of the organisations, and yet other corporations may not?
“Imagine if that argument was used as a grounds for excluding a gay person for their views”, said Professor Benson. One need not imagine this.
There is strong anecdotal evidence that some religious corporations have indeed done this to employees on the grounds that their lifestyle choices were incompatible with the ethos of the organisation. Many contracts of employment have morals clauses that require employee compliance or termination. What is the moral difference?
Religious organisations opposing civil equality to a civil privilege argue from a position of power and privilege, seeking to preserve their existing power and privileges. Yet, the very actions that the good Professor laments in the interview, are those that the same religious organisations have used for centuries to further their own interests: his inference that some zealous SSM advocates have invented these mechanisms is misplaced.
I would argue that – unfortunately – some overzealous SSM advocates have appropriated them from the very organisations against whom these mechanisms are now being applied. Is it any wonder that those who have been (and continue to be) relentlessly bullied have learnt from the bullies?
Is it any wonder that those who oppose marriage equality, belonging to organisations that have oppressed and vilified homosexuals for centuries, and who now claim to be victims of conscience, are regarded with public disdain?
A secular democracy ensures freedom of religion and freedom from religion. At present there is no equality or equity concerning civil recognition of relationships. The Howard Government’s amendments to the Marriage Act were careful to avoid any reference to religion. If religious groups advocate for their religious sensitivities to be enshrined in civil laws, for the denial of civil privileges to a class of people who do not share their sensitivities, then these organisations are playing with fire. They cannot expect immunity from public opinion and indeed may expect far greater future public scrutiny regarding their current privileges, which after all, are the gift of the state.
How much better things would be if those who profess their devotion to Christianity placed more value on three quotes from Yeshua Ben Miriam:
- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
- Whatever ye do for the least of these, you do for me
- Render unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar; and those of God, to God.
Religious organisations have every right to determine whom they shall join together in holy matrimony: but I would venture that they should follow the Saviour’s wise advice and accept that civil marriage belongs to Caesar.