Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Freedom of religion takes another hit in Australia

Yet another story today, of the relentless attack on the right of Christians to practise their faith by Muslims.

And it is taking place right here in Australia.

The right of Christians to restrict use of their facilities to Christians

The Salvos have, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, a retreat centre.  The Centre's booking form apparently clearly states that the Salvation Army can cancel any booking should a group's use of the facilities be ''inconsistent with Salvation Army beliefs or purposes''.

So it shouldn't have been surprising that a tentative booking made by the Lebanese Muslim Association for a summer camp for boys would be rejected on the grounds that the only acceptable guests were those practising Christianity!

The Association of course, has screamed 'discrimination'.  Well yes, but justified discrimination!

The Salvation Army, unfortunately, rather than fighting the good fight has backed down, apologised, and claimed that staff 'misinterpreted' the guidelines.

Yet another shot in the war on freedom of religion

So what's next, Christians will be forced to allow those  who flagrantly reject the teachings of the faith to send their children to our schools?  Oh wait, that's already happened, courtesy of Bishop Manning, Apostolic Administrator of Wilcannia-Forbes.

Or perhaps that Christians will be compelled to turnover their clearly underutilised churches to Muslims to use as a mosque?  Or perhaps that churches will be compelled to allow same sex 'marriages' on their premises?  Yep, already happening overseas....

Wake up friends, there is a war against Christianity going on here on two fronts, viz with the secularists on the one hand and the Islamists on the other.  And if we don't start fighting it, we will have lost before we even fire a shot.

12 comments:

Maureen said...

Many years ago, my aunt and uncle from Los Angeles, who are Jewish, mentioned in one of their letters that their rabbi had allowed the local Catholic church to relocate tempoarily to the synagogue for Sunday Masses, as the church had been badly damaged by fire.
It cuts both ways, I suppose!
(And the synagogue was not being used on Sundays anyway....)

Anonymous said...

So it shouldn't have been surprising that a tentative booking made by the Lebanese Muslim Association for a summer camp for boys would be rejected on the grounds that the only acceptable guests were those practising Christianity!

Yes, it should. It should have been astonishing. It absolutely is not, and never has been, part of the Salvation Army’s “beliefs or purposes” that it should only extend its hospitality to people who practice Christianity. On the contrary, they’re pretty famous for providing hospitality, support and other services to people of all faiths, and none. Major Harmer’s statement of the Army’s practice of “welcoming people of all faiths and denominations to enjoy the facilities” is completely authentic.

It’s a sad day when asking the Salvos to remain true to their own mission and values is presented as “a relentless attack on the right of Christians to practice their faith” and a “war on Christianity”.

And I have to note that your claim that Christians being compelled to turn their churches over to Muslims is “already happening overseas” is not born out by the report you link to. While there’s plenty of evidence of redundant churches finding a new role as mosques, I don’t see a hint of compulsion anywhere in the report. And far from demanding that the local catholic church be handed over to them, as the report suggests, the president of the German mosque has in fact written to the bishop asking him to consider all options to keep the church open. If that’s what a “war on Christianity” looks like, then I’m all for it.

Overall, Kate, your piece here has a flavour of scaremongering, ending with a call to “start fighting” lest the war be lost before we even “fire a shot” - a very unhappy metaphor. Attitudes like the one you promote here will do far more damage to the place of Christianity in our society than any number of Muslim groups seeking to hold summer camps in Salvos facilities.

Peregrinus

Kate said...

Peregrinus - There is a big difference in my view between charitable aid which I agree should go to all regardless of faith consistent, and renting out a retreat centre.

Moreover the issue is not what their philsophy is - that's up to them to judge but the guidelines are clearly there for a reason - but their right to make choices as a religious group without bullying screams of discrimiantion immediately issuing forth!

And Maureen, between a temporary, emergency situation and ongoing one.

GOR said...

It is always instructive to see Muslims abroad arguing for ‘rights’ for themselves that their native countries refuse to extend to Christians. How many churches are there in Saudi Arabia?

And how long will any churches remain in places like Iraq, Egypt and other Muslim-dominated countries?

Carob_molasses said...

Kate, I think Peregrinus is right; you are much better than this sort of Brussels Journal style scaremongering. Moreover, your answer to Peregr. creates a problem encapsulated in the word 'renting' - if it is charitable aid, it falls under the laws governing charities, in which case the Salvos have exemptions from discrimination laws (even if, as Pereg. rightly argues, the Salvos wouldnt use them here); but your comment about *renting* is problematic - if they are running a business (ie a secular for-profit entity of which the beneficiary happens to be the Salvos) then they CANNOT be discriminatory. So what is at stake is the registration of the legal entity running/owning the retreat - is it a for profit business or is it a charity? I couldnt tell from reading the article. This is the obvious question, and someone as smart as you should have posed it.

We really dont want to go back to 'No dagos, no balts, no Jews' in accommodation provision.

Kate said...

Carob-molasses - So let's imagine this was a catholic retreat centre that hires itself out when free to help offset its costs.

Would it/should it be compelled to let a pro-abortion group use the centre because this is not a strictly 'charitable' operation, but raises money for the purposes of the Church?

There is a key principle at stake here, and its got nothing to do with no daggos/jews etc.

Anonymous said...

How is a summer camp for boys inconsistent with the values of the Salvation Army? I thought that they did a lot of work with youth, and these sorts of activities would help these boys stay on the straight and narrow, and so not need the Salvos in future.

Do we really want a return to sectarianism, and the polite and hidden abuse that went with it?

As for a war on Christianity - I think that the secularists are much more aggressive and dangerous. However, I see nothing here commenting on it.

I am reminded of a joke. An old Armenian patriarch was dying, and his oldest son went to him to get his last advice. The old man looked at him and said "Save the Jews!"

The son went out and told the family. After much discussion, they decided to clarify with the old man: "Why should we save the Jews?"
"Because when they have finished with them, we're next."

In your attacks on Muslims, just remember, when the secularists are finished with them - we're next.

Annie Mouse

Carob_molasses said...

Kate, your description answers the question - a *catholic retreat centre* should not be compelled to hire to a pro-abortion group use the centre; such *incidental* hire out is fundraising by an entity whose main purpose is promotion of religion (presumably) and perhaps relief of poverty.

But your case so posed evades the issue - is the Salvos retreat legal entity a charity or a business that happens to be owned by a charity?

My point is that you didnt bother enquiring, and it still isnt clear.

I suspect the Salvos might have backed down exactly because the retreat was perhaps registered as a business, not as a charity, and they didnt have a leg to stand on legally.

Kate said...

Annie Mouse.

Firstly I did in fact mention secularism as the other enemy in the post - the war on two fronts.

And secondly, you have no concerns whatsoever about the kind of things that might be taught in a Muslim boys camp? Clearly you haven't been reading the newspapers about the kind of teaching and literature being spread in Sydney's mosques and by 'muslim youth groups'.

Try this one:

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/alqaeda-at-city-mosque-20100414-se8g.html

or this one:

http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2012/01/sharia-for-lakemba.html

J M said...

I think it is rather the other way around, when Islam is done with Secularism, where next. As secularists are not repopulating themselves above replacement, however Muslims are.

The way Christians "fight" is by living out our Faith, and our only offensive weapon is the double edged sword of God's word.

Kate said...

Carob - It is you who are missing the point.

Waht I am interested in is the moral principle.

Assume it is that Catholic centre still, and the site is registered as a business. If the law compels them to offer their facilities to a pro-abortion group, it is an unjust law! Similalry in the case of the Salvos for something they decide they don't agree with (like the promotion of another religion at odds with their own for example! Not to mention a group that one might have concerns about quite aside from all that given its track record in running the Lakemba Mosque).

And what I find particularly obnoxious is the willingness of some Muslim groups to exploit Australia's legal system, a system they'd ultimately dismantle in favour of sharia if they had a chance, to achieve their ends.

Anonymous said...

Kate: Peregrinus - There is a big difference in my view between charitable aid which I agree should go to all regardless of faith consistent, and renting out a retreat centre.

No, there isn’t. The services the Salvos provide are all - in the Salvos’ view - part of their mission; they don’t distinguish between services for which a charge is made and services for which no charge is made. Why would they?

Kate: Moreover the issue is not what their philosophy is - that's up to them to judge but the guidelines are clearly there for a reason - but their right to make choices as a religious group without bullying screams of discrimination immediately issuing forth!

Mr El=-Hayek is reported as saying “I was very disappointed. This is discrimination.” That’s a “bullying scream”, is it? On that basis, I’m tempted to conclude that you regard anyone who ever says that any choice is discriminatory, and that it ought not to be, to be engaged in “bullying screaming”. My, but you are a sensitive plant!

There is no right never have anyone point out that a choice you have made is discriminatory. I cannot see how you can possibly argue that such a right exists. You might have a right to justify and defend the particular discrimination, but a right not to have it mentioned at all? Nonsense!

GOR: It is always instructive to see Muslims abroad arguing for ‘rights’ for themselves that their native countries refuse to extend to Christians. How many churches are there in Saudi Arabia?

So Lebanese Muslims are natives of Saudi Arabia now, are they?

If it’s justifiable to characterise all Muslims as holding the attitudes of the Saudi government, is it justifiable to characterise all Christians as holding the attitudes of American Fundamentalists?

GOR: And how long will any churches remain in places like Iraq, Egypt and other Muslim-dominated countries?

Quite a long time, apparently. We’re up to fifteen centuries now, and still counting. I wish I could point to a Christian-dominated society which had accommodated mosques for so long.

Kate: And secondly, you have no concerns whatsoever about the kind of things that might be taught in a Muslim boys camp? Clearly you haven't been reading the newspapers about the kind of teaching and literature being spread in Sydney's mosques and by 'muslim youth groups'.

To be quite frank, I’d have concerns at some of the things that might be taught in some of the self-described “Christian” organisations, but that doesn’t justify - I hope you agree - a ban on all Christian organisations. Pretty much of the essence of the notion of respect for human dignity and individuality is the idea that we are entitled to be treated according to the characteristics we actually have, and not the characteristics ascribed to a group to which we belong.

I can’t exclude women from a job that requires the worker to be tall on the basis that women, as a class, are shorter than men. I can ban short people, but anyone who is tall enough, male or female, should be considered for the job. By the same token I can’t ban Muslims from using a particular meeting place on the basis that some Muslim engage in activities of which I disapprove.

Besides, the issue here was not that the group was Muslim; it was that it wasn’t Christian. Are you going to ban non-Christian groups on the basis that some Muslim groups do things you disapprove of?

Peregrinus