Walls closing in?

By December 17, 2018Australian Politics

Now that the religious freedom report has been released, along with the government’s response, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been out spruiking his planned religious discrimination bill, a draft of which will be released soon. He stated this will be a focal point for the ongoing debate about religious liberty1. This is a solution without a problem. You can walk around most large Australian cities and see churches of most Christian sects, mosques, temples, and all sorts of other places of worship for just about every religious group in the nation. How this could be construed as a lack of religious freedom is beyond me.

Morrison said: “For those who think that Australians of religious faith don’t feel the walls have been closing in on them for a while, they’re clearly not talking to many people in religious communities or multicultural communities in Australia”1. So, it is the perception of the walls closing in that concerns the religious. Is that perception real? No, not in the sense of any religious discrimination. It is just political spin to be used at the next election. The same sort of spin used to be trotted out by (usually conservative) politicians with regard to ‘Law and Order’, when facing elections. Politicians used to say that people felt threatened in their homes; felt unable to walk in certain areas of cities, but this was a lie, as most crime is decreasing in Australia2. Politicians would use that dose of spin to suggest there was an increased danger, when there wasn’t. This religious freedom confection is similarly being used by conservatives to frighten people into believing their right to believe in their god or gods is at risk. This lie is solely to attempt to harvest their vote in the next federal election.

It happens that Australia is becoming less religious, and that trend is accelerating3. That is not because of any pogroms against any particular religious group, but because people are starting to realise that religious groups have generally behaved appallingly: Catholic and other priests perpetrating and covering up the most egregious crimes against children; Pentecostals more concerned with money than with the teachings of Jesus; Muslims and Jews indulging in genital mutilation; murder by many religions of those perceived to be not following a particular religion’s precepts; and bigotry against those who have different sexuality. All these have been going on for millennia, so what has changed now? These topics are coming out into the open, whereas in the past, if ever spoken about, it was in hushed tones behind closed church doors. Many in the general populace are now talking about them, whereas they never used to do so. The uncovered behaviour of religious organisations is being brought out into the open and sunlight is a great antiseptic. The religious are losing their ability to keep things quiet, as well as their influence in society, and that is what most terrifies them. The walls are not closing in on the religious; they are being demolished by the religious from within.


  1. https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2018/12/13/battle-looms-of-religious-freedom-gay-laws/amp/
  2. https://www.ruleoflaw.org.au/crimes-rates-in-australia/
  3. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/mediareleasesbyReleaseDate/7E65A144540551D7CA258148000E2B85


  • Arthur Baker says:

    He’s good at solutions without a problem. In fact one could argue it’s his only skill. Pre-eminent among them is mid-Pacific indefinite detention/torture as a “solution” for people drowning at sea. There are no real reasons for these “solutions” other than their propensity to garner more votes from the unthinking.

    • admin says:


    • Maurice says:

      That’s a bit harsh Arthur.
      After all, Beamyup Scotty was adamant that there was no problem in the banking / finance industries and resisted a Royal Commission as being a solution without a problem.
      And you can rest assured, once the Royal Commission is over, he won’t be worrying about implementing any solution by way of legislation to provide tighter scrutiny of the banks.
      It’s not as if every Australian is compelled to deal with banks so there is no problem.

      Not like those nasty unions. Now there’s a problem needing a solution! (Problem being, workers in a union can’t be so easily exploited.)
      “Let’s set up a PERMANENT body to investigate corruption but ensure it only investigates unions and their officials. After all, that’s where the Labor Party draws a lot of its power.
      We won’t worry about looking at links between companies providing services to government and politicians in a position to influence contracts.”
      One can almost hear Joh’s ghost saying “Don’t you worry about that.”

      The right wing of Australian politics is becoming increasingly associated with nutbag religion. Not the type of churches that preach humility, compassion and charity, but the new breed of pentacostals that breed arrogance and ignorance as a way to gain power over simple minds and their wallets.
      They can’t see that THEY are the newcomers in our society, trying to break into what is a declining market. (And yes, it is just a business after all).
      For the last 50 years, Australians have been increasingly non-committal to religion. Due maybe to higher levels of education starting in the 50’s and maybe to the distrust of authoritarianism during the Vietnam / conscription era. “If they lied to us about communist hordes, what else is a lie?”

      The new breed are trying to regain power they never had.
      Prior to WW2, political power was wielded by the Anglican and Catholic churches, then we saw Catholics swap sides during the Red Scares of the 50’s, but this is different, a fervent, mass hysteria type of “prosperity gospel” spreading to our shores from across the Pacific.
      And they want power, the type of power they have in the USA where Trump has an Evangelical council to “advise” him. Not a spiritual council, an EVANGELICAL council. They aren’t there to impart Christian values. They are there to pledge votes in exchange for having their political wishlist implemented. (Defund Planned Parenthood clinics? Move US embassy to Jerusalem? Sure will. And now Scotty wants to follow along too.)

      I don’t see the problem improving. Science education is not prioritised anymore. Public education is underfunded while private schools are provided with disproportionate federal funding.
      40% of Australian schools are now private, 98% of them being religious. A worrying number of those want to teach bible interpretation as science. Any attempt to ensure that science is taught according to the latest evidence will be seen as an attack on THEIR religion. Then we will see more “protections” to allow them to spread ignorance and entrench their power.

      Yes Arthur. There are too many non-problems being “fixed” while real problems are ignored or trivialised.

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