The WA Equal Opportunity Commission’s public forum last month on political correctness has acknowledged the need to protect religious freedoms.
The forum, which was attended by a hundred guests and addressed by Dr Anne Aly, Professor Gillian Triggs, Dr Peter van Onselen and Peter Abetz resulted in all panellists agreeing that the right to practice religion needed proper protection. Dr Van Onselen said as that, as conservatives became a minority in society, the new majority should avoid “an attitude that because they ruled the roost for such a long time it’s payback time. That’s not a good attitude, and I hope we don’t see too much of it.” Peter Abetz agreed with the Commission’s summary of the event, saying he was “pleasantly surprised” the other three panellists agreed that protecting freedom of religion and conscience was important. He said it was good to see acknowledgement that exemptions to anti-discrimination laws were an inadequate way of maintaining religious freedom.
Qantas has threatened to pull its lucrative sponsorship of Australia’s Wallabies rugby team after high-profile player Israel Folau posted on social media that homosexuals were destined for hell unless they repented and turned to God. Folau made the post in response to a question on his Instagram account asking him what God’s plan was for homosexuals.
The Australian reports that Qantas has contacted Rugby Australia, telling them it will not tolerate Folau making statements which contradict its tolerance and diversity policies. Folau has since deleted the post but posted a text to his Twitter account instead, quoting Matthew 5:11 and 12: “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
While Qantas has long been a corporate supporter of same-sex relationships, its threat to pull sponsorship money on the basis of a player’s religious views on social media shows its intolerance for free speech and religious expression. Another sponsor, Swisse, has now also distanced itself from Folau.