Keep freedom in our religious schools!
It is happening again. Our politicians are being pressured to remove one of the only pieces of legislation that protects faith-based schools and allow them to keep their ethos.
Within the next few weeks, it is expected that the federal government will consider a bill to amend section 38 of the Sex Discrimination Act (1984), which currently gives faith-based schools the freedom to make decisions “in relation to students on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status” in accordance with the ethos of the school.
Thanks to inflammatory misreporting of a leaked version of the Ruddock Report into Religious Freedom, politicians are now in a scramble to virtue signal their horror of Section 38—saying that it gives schools the right to “expel” gay students, or to “fire” gay teachers.
Churches and religious groups are not asking for the right to “discriminate” against children and teachers, they are simply asking for protection in law to teach according to their own code of ethics.
Do the Prime Minister and the leader of the Labor Party understand what is meant by a person’s “gender identity,” in contrast to a person’s “sexual orientation”, and that removal of exemptions would impose fluid gender ideology on faith-based schools?
The problem was seen by John Wilson, the Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church in Australia, who wrote to the Prime Minister, saying the removal of exemption(s) in section 38 of the Sex Discrimination Act could expose schools to an allegation of “direct discrimination” simply for upholding gender as being determined by biology or promoting to students a biblical view of sexuality.
So, what does removing Section 38 look like?
It means that girls must be allowed into all-boys schools if they identify as male. It means that boys must be allowed into girl’s change rooms, gym classes and bathrooms if they identify as female. It leaves faith-based schools vulnerable to complaints of “discrimination” if they choose to hire a teacher who lives a lifestyle in accordance with their ethos, over one who does not.
In his first few weeks as Prime Minister, Scott Morrison boldly stood up for the right of faith-based schools to teach according to their ethics. He also spoke against the radical gender ideology and “gender whispering” that was being forced across Australian state schools. We must continue to encourage him to protect schools.
Morrison told 3AW radio that “religious schools should be able to run their schools based on their religious principles”, however, later, he said that schools should not be able to expel students based on their sexuality.
Morrison, and all politicians in the Coalition and Labor, are being put under pressure by the Greens and lobbyists to vote to remove Section 38 or else be accused of allowing unjust discrimination against children.
Once again, lobbyists are hijacking the crucial debate about the role and scope of religious freedom. They are pushing for a hasty law amendment which not stop any discrimination, but only lead to further loss of religious freedom.
We must send the message: religious parents have the right to send their children to faith-based schools. Faith-based schools have the right to uphold their religious values.
This is true freedom, and it is what Australia is about.
Prime Minister, Scott Morrison said parliament could address the matter in “the next fortnight”, promising legislation that “will give all students and parents the certainty they require”.
We have to act now. Sign to protect the right of schools to teach their ethics.
Sign this petition now!
Keep Section 38 - Uphold the freedom of our religious schools