Religion & Discrimination

Discrimination within religious groups or the right to discriminate is actually a complex issue. At the moment this question has hit the Australian news again. Religious groups are wanting to ensure they don’t have to hire someone who is gay if it is against their beliefs.

Now if you think about it, I would understand a private religious school not wanting someone who is gay teaching about religion but to me that again is a dicey issue. Mainly because shouldn’t religious groups be preaching tolerance and that they don’t have the right to judge because only God has that right. As a teacher you have to follow the school's curriculum anyway.

The second issue I have is that most religious organisations take government money to deliver services. This to me is straightforward. If you accept government funding within your organisation then you should have no right to discriminate. Maybe if you weren’t accepting Australian taxpayer funding I may accept the argument.

Then there's the issue of tax. Religious organisations don’t pay tax due to their not for profit status. Again that means they are not financially contributing to the country. If you want total independence then maybe you shouldn’t be receiving privileges at the expense of the country. So if you want to have total autonomy around your practices then you should have to give up your tax exempt status.

When thinking about this further, I realised if religious groups are given the right to discriminate like this then it should also be the right of all other organisations that are non religious to discriminate against those that are religious. After all what’s good for one should be good for everyone.

It really does show that discrimination is such a destructive thing. I understand organisations having their own beliefs and philosophies and whether I agree with them or not I believe in the right to free speech and for everyone to operate within their belief system. However I draw the line when the groups or organisation gains any funding or special privileges for this from the government. This would only prove or demonstrate that the government is supporting discrimination or bigotry ways.

The interesting thing is that a lot of these organisations wanting to be able to discriminate seem to really have little support down the line. I know plenty of gay people who openly work in religious organisations, scouts and others with full endorsement and support from the people they work with. It does appear that it’s the bureaucracy that have the agenda and not the real people.