The senate committee report into Nicola Roxon’s already failed anti-discrimination legislation is now proposing religious organisations lose protections allowing them to operate on the basis of their faith.
It recommends that religious schools no longer be permitted to only hire teachers who practice their faith.
It does not even mention religious hospitals, which would then face huge legal and government pressure to provide procedures that are diametrically opposed to the religious beliefs of the service provider.
It is a short step to compelling Catholic hospitals to provide abortions and contraceptive procedures.
Isn’t it ironic that in our enlightened tolerant society we are now proposing laws that would remove the right of religious institutions to provide health care and education.
Laws that will necessarily result in fining or jailing Catholics if they hold true to their faith and neglect court orders ‘compelling’ them to obey directives to abandon their religious principles.
Because that is what these laws will do if Catholic schools or hospitals continue to operate on a Catholic basis.
If the schools and hospitals continue to exist they will certainly no longer be Catholic in practice.
It’s important to remember one thing. The Catholic Church does not build and operate schools and hospitals, or deliver charitable services, on behalf of the government. It would still do these things even if the government collapsed.
The Catholic Church provides all these things because it is an expression of the faith.
As a Catholic, I would rather go to jail than comply with laws requiring me to abandon to my religious beliefs.
I might be more outspoken than most, but there are many Catholic doctors, teachers, nurses and social workers who hold their faith dear. They will always put their duty to God above compliance with state laws that are intolerant. These laws would put them in the that position.
In fact, these laws are so draconian that if they were passed today, I would face penalties simply for writing about my difficulties complying with them.
Let us hope that the atheistic Gillard government collapses before any further moves are made to enact these discriminatory provisions.
Let us also remember that free societies often crumble quickly into totalitarian regimes. Governments have jailed Catholics before. They will do so again.