Not All Christians Think Alike On Human Rights

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24th November 2009, 01:54pm - Views: 1075

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Uniting Church in Australia National Assembly

Media Release

National Communications Unit: 02 8267 4233 / 0417 416 674

24 November 2009

For immediate release


The Uniting Church in Australia has written to all federal ALP MPs and Senators, urging them to

implement the recommendations made in the report of the National Human Rights Consultation.

In its submission to the Consultation, the Uniting Church articulated its commitment to social

justice and the achievement of human dignity for all through a Human Rights Act.

National Director of UnitingJustice Australia, Rev. Elenie Poulos, said that a number of Christian

groups also made submissions to the Consultation in support of an Act.

However, she said some religious groups were unsupportive of an Act, concerned that it would

erode the rights of religious organisations. 

“We are concerned that recent attention given to those opposing a Human Rights Act does not

accurately represent the views of the entire religious community in Australia,” Rev. Poulos said.

“It is our firm belief that it is entirely possible to draft legislation that properly and appropriately

protects religious freedoms. In fact, such legislation would provide protections for religious

freedoms that are currently missing from Commonwealth Law.”

Rev. Poulos said that the Uniting Church’s support of a Human Rights Act rests on the importance

of providing protections to the most vulnerable, marginalised and disadvantaged in the Australian

community; those who currently have few avenues for remedy when their rights are violated.

“The Church is privileged enough to be able to negotiate for itself what matters to its future

wellbeing. There are too many people who do not share such privilege and they are the ones who

we are most concerned for.”

Rev. Poulos also said that it was naïve to assume that all Christian and religious bodies would take

the same view.

“There are many issues about which individuals or groups of individuals take a different view to

others, and this issue is no exception.

“But while the Uniting Church in Australia is the only church to officially support the development

of a Human Rights Act, it is important to stress that we are not the only Christian group which has

taken such a position.”

President of the Uniting Church, Rev. Alistair Macrae, will speak to the church’s strong

commitment to human rights at a cross-party Parliamentary Forum, Protecting human rights in

Australia: A Human Rights Act and other options?, being held this Wednesday 25 November.

Rev. Poulos and Rev. Macrae are available to comment.

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