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. Hi, I agree the left ought to think about minority protections. I found myself (shortly after the plebiscite) arguing that celebrants ought not be forced to bless same sex marriages. However, I am less sure if baking cakes for gay couples is really inconsisten with religious faith.

    I know as a Christian that one fundamental teaching is to love our enemies. If Christians are really committed to this teaching, baking a cake for same sex couples is precisely what they should be doing.

    My broader point is that there can be some ambiguity about what exactly is unconscionable to a person of faith, and that many claims based on conscience are not really supported.

    A reasonable solution is to establish a recognised tribunal for each faith that will make decisions (giving reasons) on matters of conscience. The tribunal has to follow procedural justice and be made up of impartial members. It has seek out alternative arguments and give written reasons for its decisions.

    We should expect that matters of conscience, while in theory are timeless, in practice do evolve over time. I suspect that over the next 100 years, many religions will find ways to accommodate LGBT rights.

    I often think there is too little reflective reasoning among religious authorities. Having a formal tribunal inquire into claims of conscience can give religious authorities an opportunity to explain their religion to the public and to scrutinise their own beliefs and values.

  2. If someone wanted to open a business that didn’t serve indigenous Australians because it was against their religion I’d be inclined to say, “Nah, mate.”

    I would say they are free not to serve “the sons and daughters of Cain” or whatever poetic language they used to describe their bigotry, but they are not free to open a business. If you want to open a business you serve everybody. (Note this does not mean they could not bar people based on their individual behavior.)

    On the other hand, while I don’t approve of bigotry I don’t think bigots should lose their jobs or businesses because of their handicap when it comes to extending common courtesy to particular groups.

    So what to do? Well, we could allow bigotry for small businesses but put up some barriers so it is at least mildly discouraged. For example, if someone wants to refuse service based on religious grounds they have to register exactly what they won’t do and place a sign up clearing stating that because of their sincerely held religious beliefs they won’t do certain things. A fee would have to be paid each year to stay on the register with higher fees for greater levels of bigotry. The fee should not be high, but high enough to make people think, “Maybe I could be a little less bigoted this year.” All the fees paid should go towards reducing bigotry in society.

    So people who want to be bigoted will be mostly free to do so, people who don’t want to give bigots their custom can see the sign and not use their services, and bigoted businesses will hopefully fade away or at least become less common. I suspect that many businesses, if forced to put up signs and register, will decide they like money more than they like bigotry. While a town may be able to support a number of bigoted businesses, I suspect the bigot dollar doesn’t actually stretch that far.

    But I’d draw the line at some things. Not providing service on the basis of racial appearance? Nah, piss off. That’s not on, mate.

    Not providing service to women? Nope. But some non-religious discrimination based on historical and current discrimination could be allowed. For example, if a woman insists on a female gynaecologist I don’t think that at this point in time that should be actively discouraged.

  3. If I can help with overcoming some ill informed comment.

    I will confine my comments to Christian schools.
    The said laws are bit like the law that in NSW requires all motorists to have a person waving a white flag in front of them the whilst driving an automobile.

    It is on the books but never observed. The said laws by John were never requested. Being homosexual has NEVER been a problem for christian schools.

    The problem would be OUTWARD expression against the teachings of the church on sexual immorality. This is rarely a problem for students. They are students afterall. If it were a problem then why would their parents want to enroll them at a private school.

    The problems is for teachers who sign up readily agreeing and are then found out they have lied as the infamous case in WA was found. I would have thought heterosexual teachers are in greater danger if they flaunted their fornication and/or adultery. Flaunting is the key word here.

    In terms of the Baker who is a christian or is a christian baker it is important to note the large difference between the two. The Baker whom is a christian cannot deny baking a cake t o almost anyone. I have dealt with this at my place. The person is involved in commerce.

    The Christian baker on the other hand has made a statement he is both a Christian and a baker. He/She would be in a position to deny making cakes to a lot of heterosexuals. Indeed they would they lucky to continue in business.

  4. I would have thought heterosexual teachers are in greater danger if they flaunted their fornication and/or adultery.

    If this is true then attitudes have changed a lot since I was at school.

  5. In terms of the bakery examples. The regulatory framework of the country allows you to operate – it provides regulation/standarisation for your ingredients, in Australia it helps train your labour, and provides a justice system to protect your assets from unlawful behaviour. That framework is supported by all law abiding citizens through their behaviour and their taxes. To refuse to sell a cake (or any other service) to a lawful citizen on an arbitary basis like race or orientation undermines the social and ultimately the legal frameworks. In a liberal democracy being compelled to propagate speech which you disagree with seems odd. Indeed, an employee at hypothetical bakery would not have the defence of free speech if they regularly verbally abused customers or bullied fellow staff-members. As such, a bakery being compelled to write political speech on its products is hard to justify. If we take a different example, say a bakery refusing bake a cake commemorating the local KKK. It should be obvious that voluntary compliance with such an hateful minority group, (even if the cake itself was not inherently hateful), would result in goodwill loss by non-racist customers. Thus, we could argue there is a business case, as well as the moral case, in not being compelled to propagate speech you disagree with.

    I appreciate there are weakness in the example I listed, for example, the KKK is a terrorist organisation, so one could say the bakery simply can’t bake a KKK-cake as they cannot legally provide material support for a terrorist organisation say. However, I think it highlights that the refusal to bake gay themed cakes is just utterly absurd.

  6. My preference is a much more muscular secularism. I would prefer to close down the madrassas (religious schools) and mandate a secular education in a public school.

    However my preference isn’t practical at the moment as religiosity is still a widespread ailment. Accordingly I would push for:

    (a) banning schools from teaching discrimination [against gays, fornicators etc]
    (b) banning discrimination in the hiring and firing of teachers and
    (c) banning schools from discriminating against any class of students.

    If Mr Chips is a good teacher it is no business of the school if he wears a frock and codpiece on the weekend and fornicates with any consenting party over the age of majority that he happens to meet down at the Pink Flamingo night club or Blue Lagoon bath house.

  7. “Being homosexual has NEVER been a problem for christian schools.”

    Same as being pregnant in a private school, once public parents quietly remove their child in fear of the shame.

    No problem.

  8. Totally irrelevant, but Nottrampis is all wrong about the white flags. He’s presumably thinking of the UK red flag acts, but these were passed after NSW gained responsible government, and therefore never applied. Contrary to his implication the UK acts didn’t fall into desuetude, but were repealed.

  9. Declaring that you are a Christian does not automatically provide you with a ‘get out of jail free’ card.

    Obviously a lot of Christians are still struggling with this.

  10. John My legal friends tell me it is still on the books here in NSW.

    Irrelevant? It is a law that has been never used because it was never called for. it is a law in words only thus perfectly relevant if you understand the subject which few do.

  11. Dennis Shanahan has a very grumpy column in today’s Australian complaining that the government has completely botched the Ruddock review (which it has).

    By this he means that the government has botched any chance of his side getting some consolation prizes after they had their arses handed to them in the gay marriage debate.

    Dennis is correct about this, but he seems to suggest that it was all due to incompetence rather than a strategic leak by a socially liberal Liberal as part of the ongoing Liberal Party civil war between the relative moderates and the Ayatollahs (and their enablers in the media, such as one D. Shanahan.)

  12. It is false for nottrampis to say the anti-gay student laws are antiquated and not used. Once again, google is your friend.

    “Although “not untroubled” by the legislation himself, the chief executive of Christian Schools Australia, Stephen O’Doherty, told the Herald the 130-plus low-fee schools in his association saw no reason to ditch the law. Many of the schools regard unrepentant gay students as “disruptive to the religious teaching of the school”, he explained. “What we seek to do is to be able to take appropriate action which may include expulsion.”

    **www.smh.com.au/education/appalling-law-lets-schools-expel-gay-students-20110211-1aqk2.html

    My understanding is that attitudes to homosexuality varied widely in pagan Europe. Rome for example was generally tolerant, and gay couples openly lived together and felt no need to hide their sexuality. The arrival of Christianity in Europe meant a circa 1,500 Age of Terror which is only now coming to an end. Goodness knows how many decent same-sex orientated people have been murdered, bashed, committed suicide, imprisoned, shunned or driven to despair and mental illness over several hundred generations due to the dead hand of Christianity.

    For that reason alone, I would like to raze every Christian Church to the ground. Christianity is in essence a species of terrorism and it is incommensurate with civilised society. My sentiments may sound extreme today but in one hundred year’s time, in a post-Christian western world, they will be appear unremarkable.

  13. “several hundred generations due to the dead hand of Christianity”

    Christianity has been around for ~2000 years = ~70 generations.

    I wouldn’t be betting on the demise of Christianity in a mere 100 years. As an institution, it’s proven to be very resilient. There’s 2.4 billion Christians in the world today and 3 billion expected in 2050 (Wikipedia). There seems to be something about Christianity that draws people in. God only knows what it is.

  14. Smith9:

    Christianity will remain strong in the third world but it has been in decline for a long time in Europe and Oz. The Catholics can no longer replace their priestly caste without third world imports.

    The only Christian denominations doing well are the creepy prosperity gospel showbiz ones like Hillsong and the one ScoMo is involved in. I trust that in 100 year’s time we will have grown out of it.

  15. Hugo, you sound extreme to me – and you are conflating spokespeople with a broad religion and a diverse community. These noxious Christian representatives don’t speak for me and I dare say they don’t speak for a lot of other people who count themselves as Christian.

  16. Suburbanite: “These noxious Christian representatives don’t speak for me …”

    I think the conservative Christians are right when they say liberal Christians are not actually Christians. If someone claims to be Christian but eschews the fundamental tenets of the religion that have stood for centuries (homosexuality is a sin, the submission of women to men etc ) then they are not a Christian. I have no problem with such folk calling themselves Christian but I can’t take it seriously.

  17. Luckily for me, I don’t care what Conservative Christians think of me or for that matter militant atheists.

  18. @Hugo I’m not a Christian myself, but I don’t remember Jesus saying much the items you mention as fundamental tenets. IIRC, it was more about loving your neighbour and embracing poverty.

  19. @ John, I was thinking about Matthew 5:17- “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

    In other words, Christ adheres to the Old Laws apart from any that he expressly abolished.

    I also don’t buy the nice hippy version of Jesus. Consider for instance ““Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37

    One of the first things a cult leader does is separate his devotees from unbelieving family members, as per David Koresh etc…

    And then you have sayings like this: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34, Luke 12:51-53

    I see the man as a run of the mill egotistical and at least mildly dangerous cult leader.

  20. Biblical quotations taken out of context and without reference to the history of the time have no meaning and should not be used in support of a prejudice.

  21. Some conservative Christians deride liberal Christians as ‘cafeteria Christians’, who pick and choose which parts of Christian tradtion they accept. The truth is that all Christians pick and choose which parts of Christian tradition they accept, conservatives just as much as liberals.

    Hugo insists that there are some Christian tenets which are the fundamental ones, but who gets to decide which tenets are the fundamental ones, or how is anybody supposed to be able to tell the fundamental from the incidental? Christians who tell you which tenets are fundamental are only telling you which tenets are fundamental for them.

    I suppose somebody who believes in Christianity probably believes there is a true version of it, but for people like me who don’t believe in it there are simplly multiple versions, none of which has more claim to be considered true than any other.

    Opinions like Hugo’s are common among unbelievers as well as among believers. I think this is best attributed to the powerful effect of Christian propaganda. I suggest, however, that there is no more reason to suppose that the preachers and advocates of Christianity are correct about the nature of Christianity than they are on any other subject.

  22. Hi, I understand that among even conservative Christians (e.g. the Sydney Anglicans), homosexual orientation is not a sin, nor is there anything wrong with same sex couples wanting to spend their lives together. The only constraints in relation to same sex couples are: (a) first, they should abstain from sex, and (b) they should not call their relationship a “marriage”.

    I understand that there are indeed conservative Christians with same sex attractions who are (or at least claim to be) perfectly happy to abstain from sex. I’ve often felt that conservative Christians ought to come up with liturgies to bless same sex partnerships (without calling them marriages) and thereby substantiate their claim that it is perfectly possible for LGBT people to have a fulfilling relationship without sex and without calling themselves “husband and wife” etc.

    Now, I imagine that few same sex partners will succeed in abstaining from sexual intercourse. But this should not be an issue for conservative Christians, who acknowledge that we do not always live up to our aspirations.

    That said, it is different if liberal Christians want to argue that it is perfectly fine to for LGBT couples to have sexual intercourse. On this issue, I would suggest that we take wise Gamaliel’s counsel – let each local church explore their own ways of being faithful to Christ and observe the long-term consequences:

    . “I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

    I am sure we will know in the next 100 years whether it is possible for homosexual people to thrive among Christians, and which Christian tradition is most successful in allowing homosexual people to flourish while being committed to Christ.

    Don’t be so quick to judge what tenets are core to Christianity!

  23. The above hand-wringing is redundant.
    Vitriolic discrimination by religious schools against gay pupils/teachers is not going to be coming from Christian schools.

  24. @ 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

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. @ 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. @ 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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?

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

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

    Thing of beauty and a joy to behold.

  38. 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

  39. 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.

  40. 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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