By Ruth Limkin
If it wasn’t so serious, it would be funny.
I just watched the video of this morning’s Sunrise segment which discussed Christian Schools wanting to retain the right to employ men and women whose values and lifestyles align with their organisational values. The article they were discussing was about proposed changes to anti-discrimination laws which may remove exemptions currently afforded to religious organisations.
A submission by Christian Schools Australia asked for the current protections for religious organisations to remain. It made the point that ‘parents chose to enrol children in a Christian school because they desired an education based on Christian values and beliefs’ and that ‘teachers were regarded as role models who taught the doctrines and values of the faith to students by way of example’.
Sunrise had a panel discussing this which was comprised of four journalists. Perhaps now predictably, Christian schools were pilloried and were even accused of ‘caveman-like’ behaviour. One of the commentators stated he had Christian values and assumed the place of expert by proceeding to minimise the orthodox beliefs held by the majority of the Christian church as ‘only man’s interpretation’.
Not once in the whole discussion did they ever afford to religious organisations the very thing which the panel held to be non-negotiable – tolerance.
Of course, most of us know that the tolerance so often espoused these days is not tolerance at all. It is a co-opted catch-cry used to shut down debate and to accuse others of being narrow-minded, as opposed to differently-minded. Often, tolerance is demanded from the very organisations or people who have tolerance denied to them.
Surely it seems the height of hypocrisy to set oneself up as the ‘truly tolerant’, and then demand that everyone think the same as you.
Sadly, that’s so often the state of current conversations in Australia and it’s not helping anyone. It’s truly time to find a better way.