Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Curiouser & Curiouser

It is curious to receive communication from the Family First Party about maintaining Eccelsiastical privilege in legislation.
Belonging to a denomination which has often been accused of exercising undue influence in the Parliaments of this land in a quasi-established-church way I sometimes detect from some of these newer groups a sort of influence envy. Indeed this would seem to be a major dynamic in the formation of Family First...a wish to influence the politcial process. This is so obvious that it doesn't need to be spelled out.
The Anglican Church should remind these folk of that which it needs to periodically remind itself, something to do with cutlery required for supping with the devil (hence the cartoon).
The particular matter that the Honourables Evans & Hood put before us is the seeming removal of the church's right to vilify whomsoever it likes in the name of preaching and "Biblical" teaching.
To be sure they name these issues rather differently "REMOVING" the right to preach and the right to counsel.; which is I sufggest something of a furphy.
There is a real question to be asked here of whether anyone should be allowed to say anything they like in the name of religious faith. I just think this is not on.
While they are particularly citing (surprise, surprise) the right to call a spade a sodomite; if this is to be taken to its logical conclusion then would they be so keen to allow a Calathumpian to say that Pentecostals are narrow-minded bigots, or that Christians in general are polytheistic cannibals, or that Jews add the blood of children to the Passover loaf. [Students of history will note that I use those examples because they represent real accusations of the past]
My problems is that I think it is a very selective exegesis of how Christians are supposed to practise their faith and live as responsible citizens. My reading of (particularly Paul's) teaching about citizenship is that we should be exemplary in complying to the laws of the State, and require at least as much, and probably more, compliance and obedience as the general populace.
Surely when it comes to decrying vilification we shouldn't be reserving the right to vilify who we like, we should be at the forefront of compliance.
I do not want to stifle public debate, or give permission for the sermon police to be formed. But being religious does not give me, or anyone else the right to insult, demean or diminish the rights of anyone else.

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