Welcome to the minority

The Ruddock inquiry into religious freedom obviously hasn’t turned out the way its advocates in the right wing of the LNP expected. Far from securing their rights to discriminate against gays,  church schools are almost certain to lose that right with respect to students, and will probably also lose it in relation to teachers. A recent opinion poll shows overwhelming opposition to discrimination, even stronger than the vote in favour of equal marriage last year.

The failure of the right on this reflects a central fact about the rightwing version of identity politics. Whereas leftwing forms of identity politics typically assert the rights of minorities[1] to a fairer share of power and respect, the right wing version starts from the assumption that their identity is that of the majority whose historical rights are under threat.  So, they see no inconsistency in demanding expansive definitions of freedom for themselves, while rejecting it for others.  The same thinking explains the pressure for a plebiscite on equal marriage: despite ample evidence from opinion polls, the right could not believe they were in the minority[2].

The situation has now changed, and rethinking is needed, both on the right but on the left. Rather than looking to expand the powers of employers to sack people on religious grounds unrelated to their performance at work, those concerned with religious freedom should be concerned about the possibility that such powers will be used against them in the future. A comprehensive protection for workers against dismissal on the basis of grounds unrelated to their performance at work is what is needed here.

As regards the left, we shouldn’t allow large, publicly funded institutions like church schools to practise discrimination. But we need to think more carefully about individuals with religious objections to gay marriage (for example, bakers who don’t want to bake cakes with messages of support for gay marriage) in the same light as other religious minorities who seek protection for their beliefs: Jehovah’s witnesses who object to blood transfusions, Muslim women who want to remain veiled, and so on. Most of these beliefs seem strange and objectionable to non-believers. But where they can be accommodated without doing any serious social damage, we should do so.

More broadly, as I suggested when the Ruddock review was announced, we should take the opportunity to push for a comprehensive Bill of Rights. Now that they are clearly in the minority on crucial issues, perhaps religious believers might see the merit in a supporting such a measure.

 

fn1. Women aren’t a minority, but they are under-represented.

fn2. It’s typically, though not always, at the point where dominant/majority status is slipping away that this kind of politics emerges.

 

46 thoughts on “Welcome to the minority

  1. @ Charlene MacDonald

    This year a Christian school in WA sacked a teacher after he killed someone molested a pupil sacrificed an unblemished female goat behind the shelter sheds pursuant to Leviticus 4:28 told colleagues he was in a same-sex relationship.
    ****www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-12/gay-teacher-attacks-push-for-religious-school-discrimination/10365816

  2. Hugo,

    No-one knew about the law before it was leaked by the SMH last week. It was therefore by definition not a law in practice.

    No christian school has expelled a pupil simply for being homosexual as I have explained above. O’Doherty’s statement is about those students to simply flaunt their relationships. AS i have said it applies equally to heterosexual students actually it applies to therm more so.
    My major point is this is very unlikely to occur unless the student or more likely the parents are making a political x statement. Afterall why enroll in a school whose values you completely reject. It is a private school not a public one.

    The major question is about teachers Again this would apply to heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. It would only apply if they publicly flaunted their disapproval of said values as occurred in WA.

    This is simply another example of people being sacked because of their public disagreement with the Organistion’s values. In most cases they are usually vague generalisations. In this case they are quite the opposite.

  3. I think where schools receive government funding their hiring and firing policies should be uniform along with the curriculum. There should also be a cap on fees.

  4. JQ for president.

    Do all you commeters here realise jq has yaken on one of the most fundamental long term culture wars, written succinctly sincerely and I’d catagorise it as topologically. It is way above what is going on in Mathew or nottrampis… when a law is not a law.

    “Most of these beliefs seem strange and objectionable to non-believers. But where they can be accommodated without doing any serious social damage, we should do so.” said President Quiggin.
    “A comprehensive protection for workers against dismissal on the basis of grounds unrelated to their performance at work is what is needed here.” Presidential.
    “A comprehensive protection for workers against dismissal on the basis of grounds unrelated to their performance at work is what is needed here.”

    Where can I vote for this type of retoric of succint substance instead of my opinion. Or opinions in gerneral.

    JQ calls himself a socialist. I hate label. Id call him a cultural topologist.

    Everyone please come back with a cultually topological statemwnt please aftwr you reread comments.
    Apologies if this seems overblown rhetoric but the op is head and shoulders above the crowd.

  5. @ nottrampis

    Nonsense. The religious exemptions to discrimination laws are widely known and a quick google search shows hundreds of articles have been written on the topic over many years.

    Upthread I quoted a Christian group that represents 130 schools that says the schools use the law against gay students.

    The gay WA teacher who was sacked did nothing to warrant being sacked. The teacher told others he was in a same sex relationship. The psychological toll of having to deny your identity, which has been the lot of gay folk for centuries, must be enormous.

    The message the WA Christian school sent to its gay students by sacking a gay teacher will very likely result in anxiety, depression, low self esteem and possibly suicide. Such schools should be closed down as they harm children and breed hate. Indeed, I would go further and jail the administration.

  6. Hugo

    I would like to raze every Christian Church to the ground.
    Such schools should be closed down

    Don’t forget to salt the earth. You don’t want to leave the job half done.

    I would go further and jail the administration

    Only jail? That’s so soft. Surely you’d want to execute a couple of them, as a warning to others.

  7. Oftentimes, it is not membership of a minority or majority that matters. What matters is where the privilege lies. Special privileges of all kinds need to done away with. This includes the special privilege of inheriting or otherwise gaining excess wealth and power.

  8. @ Smith9:

    My fire and brimstone comments were tongue-in-cheek 😉

    But I do genuinely think that future generations will regard the vilification and discrimination against gay folk that our major religions cause and our laws allow as barbarous.

  9. If you regard Christian doctrine as the sum total of the bible and the and testament then you are mistaken. The canonical texts form the lowest sedimentary layer upon which all manner of weird, paranoid, bigoted, nasty, greedy and atavistic doctrine has been layered. Jesus wouldn’t recognise it.

  10. Wow Patrick he actually said it was unbroken. He regularly quoted from it.
    That is a bit like Keynes approvimg of classical economics. Talk about an own goal.

    Hugo read what the person said. He was not talking about homosexuals for simply being homosexuals. He was talking about homosexuals actually engaged in wanton sexual behaviour. It would apply equally to heterosexuals.
    No the teacher dig not talk about his same sex relationship at all. The school only found out about it after he posed about it after the Same sex survey results. He knew where the school stood on this matter yet he accepted the values of the school. This clearly was a lie.

    I would imagine most pupils would approve of the action. Afterall the school is there to further inculcate christian values. If you do not like them then don’t teach there.

  11. given that ideologies, after establishing themselves(however that comes about),need to indoctrinate the young to continue, could being subsidised from the public purse be a form of discrimination against those members of the public not of of the ideology receiving the subsidy?

    i mean, how many of the recipients could continue without public support?

  12. Quiggin, Wilkie & Cash showdown. (Please indicate your pref for where and when The ‘But of course, we don’t” debate may take place)
    From the op: “the right wing version starts from the assumption that their identity is that of the majority whose historical rights are under threat.  So, they see no inconsistency in demanding expansive definitions of freedom for themselves, while rejecting it for others.” 

    A Bill of Human Rights. Thanks Andrew Wilkie. (But do ‘we’ know this?)
    “”What sort of safeguards and systems are in place at the moment to protect the rights of Australian citizens at the federal level? And how effective are they?

    There’s very few safeguards. There’s only five human rights acts. There’s the act that establishes the Human Rights Commission, but that really is just to establish the commission.

    There’s only four substantive acts to protect the rights of people. There’s the Age Discrimination Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, the Disability Discrimination Act and the Racial Discrimination Act.

    Unless, someone’s concern falls within those four acts, which are very narrow, then there’s no protection. And I think that’s remarkable.

    There’s nothing there to protect our freedom of speech, our freedom of movement, our right to education, our right to work, or our right to a fair trial.

    There’s just simply no framework to protect those things. And these are really basic.

    When I say to people that they don’t have protection of a lot of these rights in law, people are astounded. They just assume we do.

    But of course, we don’t.”” https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/australia-needs-a-bill-of-rights-an-interview-with-mp-andrew-wilkie/

    Op continues; “A comprehensive protection for workers against dismissal on the basis of grounds unrelated to their performance at work is what is needed here.”

    Here is ‘I just can’t help myself’ Michalia Cash -8pgs! in her reply to the HUMAN RIGHTS committee; https://www.aph.gov.au/~/media/Committees/Senate/committee/humanrights_ctte/reports/2017/9_2017/Report9.pdf?la=en

    “”In this context, the Committee’ s professed concern is misplaced and it is disappointing that the Committee has failed to take in the many findings by the courts over a number of years of the pervasive culture of building unions that does not respect freedom of association. The Committee’ s efforts would be better focussed on considering actual evidence of the manner in which the building industry operates in practice, rather than the self-serving and misleading assertions of a trade union organisation that seeks to defend the culture of building unions.”” 

    Not very topological Ms Cash. The topology of human rights – twisted into a wierd pimple on a neoliberal body.

    The op continues; “Rather than looking to expand the powers of employers to sack people on religious grounds unrelated to their performance at work, those concerned with religious freedom should be concerned about the possibility that such powers will be used against them in the future”

    The future seems to be a problem on the right – they can’t see far enough to know what to do with it!

    The future is now. I know a vinnies board member. Recently a single parent home owner came to a local vinnies, as they had been removed – I’ll say it again – removed from support totally – with ptsd diagnosed. (Admin tribunal will cost more than time without support). Two vinnies reps itching to help with charity. One vinnies person was onside, the other kept on about ‘doing as the government asks’. Ptsd man left penniless after the vinnies man stated ‘yes, that is what they would have said before you were taken’. Johns’ precient line re ‘such powers used against you in the future’ is scarier to me, and I’m sure too ptsd humans running into proto facism, than the latest ipcc report.

    This is economics imo.

  13. Just in case anyone thinks the Labor Party is squeaky clean on this issue, its SDA members of caucus (who make Opus Dei look like liberation theologists) are now pushing back against stopping private schools from discriminating against gays (aka in notrampis’s archaic and somewhat creepy in context vernacular , “homosexuals”.) Their language is couched in euphemisms but their intent is as clear as Glad Wrap.

    It would be nice to think that Shorten will put them back in their Torquemada box, but his DNA is the Victorian Right.

  14. John Quiggins into was really a marvel of succinct accuracy.

    Thing of beauty and a joy to behold.

  15. Another stomach churning example of Christian depravity:

    “A Mandurah private school, which receives millions of dollars in taxpayer funding every year, has told the father of a seven-year-old girl she would not have been welcome had it known her parents were gay … He said after his daughter told school friends he was gay, he was told by school principal Andrew Newhouse she could only stay at the school as long as she did not speak of her father’s sexuality or of his relationship with his partner … He said after his daughter told school friends he was gay, he was told by school principal Andrew Newhouse she could only stay at the school as long as she did not speak of her father’s sexuality or of his relationship with his partner.”

    ***www.watoday.com.au/national/western-australia/gay-mans-daughter-not-welcome-at-mandurah-christian-school-20151029-gklh0d.html

  16. John did indeed put it very well when he said “Most of these beliefs seem strange and objectionable to non-believers. But where they can be accommodated without doing any serious social damage, we should do so.”
    The problem comes with defining ‘any serious social damage’. There are so many groups who do serious damage with the words they use to express their beliefs and/or their actions. This Coalition Government killed hundreds of thousands of people with their $10 billion cuts in overseas aid. Unfortunately the Coalition’s actions were legal. Many religious organisations are intrinsically sexist and their actions restrict the flourishing of the girls and young women they teach and the women within their ranks. In giving freedom to people, society must allow people to do harm to others (and themselves), but there must be limits on how much harm people are allowed to do to others. This balancing of freedom and limits so as to reduce harm is something every parent, every group, every society and god(s) wrestle with. These are intrinsically wicked problems but we have no choice but to work to resolve these problems.

  17. John Goss:

    “In giving freedom to people, society must allow people to do harm to others (and themselves) …”

    That is an excellent point. There would be no freedom left if everything that could potentially harm someone was banned.

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