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The Forum > Article Comments > Rights and how to give them up > Comments

Rights and how to give them up : Comments

By Greg Clarke and John Dickson, published 2/10/2009

There is no specifically Christian answer to the question of whether Australia should adopt a charter of human rights.

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I have no problems with a charter of rights where it is balanced by a charter of responsibility.What I do object to is any legislation that limits an organisation's right to employ whoever it chooses. You say, inter alia
"Churches can refuse to hire someone whose lifestyle is inconsistent with biblical teachings. The fear is, these religious freedoms could potentially be negated by non-Christians who use a human rights charter to demand their “right” to work for any school or church"
Rightly so. If I'm running a fashion business, there's no way I would employ a scruffily dressed or tonsured person, with or without tattoos.
I would employ someone who fitted the nature of my business.
There's much credit in the old saying "shape up, or ship out!"
Posted by Ponder, Friday, 2 October 2009 7:02:59 PM
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What keeps me coming back to OLO is the occasional article that challenges the dominant view of the world, and makes me look at things in a new way. This is one of those articles.

I particularly admire the muscular faith that says ‘we’re up to this.’ The attitude that christianity will thrive in spite of anything that a secular society can throw at it is both refreshing and powerful. Regardless of whether you subscribe to this view or not (and I don’t), there’s breathtaking confidence in the statement, “the concept of inherent human rights is almost certainly a Judeo-Christian gift to the Western world.”

Still, even in this most intriguing christian perspective on human rights, when reaching for an example of the most confronting thing that governments can do to believers, what do the authors come up with? Same-sex marriage: “Australian society may well choose to enshrine particular rights that are inconsistent with historic Christianity - gay “marriage” rights, for example.”

Really guys, get over it. If christianity can be destroyed by two blokes settling down together for life, then it should be. It will not be a self-sacrifice to share in the happiness of your gay brothers, sisters, and children: it will be an act of love. The sooner you escape from this idea of homosexuality as an imposition on your beliefs, the better it will be for all of us, believers or not.
Posted by woulfe, Friday, 2 October 2009 11:20:23 PM
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Christians won't have to give up anything in a charter of Rights. Christians and others, won't be forced to marry someone of the same sex nor will they be forced to participate in euthansia or abortion should their own personal beliefs forbid it.

I am not convinced by all of the arguments for a Charter of Rights for similar reasons outlined by the author. But do make the point that governments need to play a more effective role to ensure that the interests/rights of one sector don't dictate unreasonably to other groups on issues that are largely private matters and where there is no wider social harm.

How can we, in the 21st Century continue to discriminate against gay couples?

As for employment, there could be a strong case for arguing Christian schools have the right to select Christian teachers in the same way that Rape Crisis Centres, for obvious reasons, hire women. Or men's help groups hire men.

Personally I can't see why it would matter if a Maths teacher or an English teacher should necessarily be Christian, it would only seem to matter if the Religion teacher was not a Christian. Many Christian schools do hire non-believers.

But if that is a right that religous schhos wish to protect, I would not see it as a great infringement of the rights of others, given one assumes a religious school operates within the parameters of their beliefs and would seek like-thinking personnel.

I wonder though, if Christian teachers of Maths or Geography, would feel discriminated against should they not be selected in a public school if they did not embrace secularism.

Sometimes Rights are about balancing Rights - we all want Rights but we need to ask if our Right will infringe on another's in an unreasonable way. There are many grey areas on this issue.
Posted by pelican, Saturday, 3 October 2009 12:07:26 AM
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I am rather sick and tired of academics who have failed to understand basic principles of Australian Law. I am also sick and tired of lawyers who also fail to remember their basic training, who have failed in their due diligence, and I include in their number Robert McClelland the Attorney General.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was enacted by Malcolm Fraser in 1981, and continued by the Hawke government in 1986, as Schedule 2 to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 . Dumb blood sucking users happy to take the governments money have spent the past year gallivanting around the country as professional liars.

A Schedule is part of an Act, as S 12 and 13 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 tells us, if we look. I am also sick of the Commonwealth failing to enforce or make it possible to enforce the laws made by the Commonwealth, because they refuse to accept what is enacted Statute Law.

The States would have to accept that they have NO JUDICIAL POWER, other than that of the Commonwealth, if it were possible to enforce Federal Law. The High Court in four cases posted on the website here, make that abundantly clear, but neither Liberal nor Labor have shown any willingness to accept any of this binding authority.

How long must we continue to be systematically oppressed by State Governments, out of control, systematically attacking the civilian populations of Australia while the Commonwealth sits on its hands. OLO is a good placed to express an opinion, but without any backbone in the Federal Government, and about 300,000 dishonest public servants in Canberra, what use is an opinion. Without the basic civil right to enforce Statutes as passed by Parliaments against offenders, there is no democracy.

We would have to be the most docile over governed bunch of spineless jellyfish, ever to get self government and give it to a single profession to rule us, without mercy or common sense. This article is just simply plain ignorance, and reflects no credit on the authors
Posted by Peter the Believer, Saturday, 3 October 2009 7:00:21 AM
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"It is no accident that the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads like an exposition of the 8th-century BC writings of Isaiah and Amos and the first century teachings of Jesus of Nazareth."

That's the same Isaiah and Amos who go on and on about God smiting evil people in Sodom and Gomorrah, is it? and the same Christ who said "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother...he cannot be my disciple." So I guess gay rights and parents' rights are both out of the question... why did we ever think they were acceptable? Punish us, O Lord!
Posted by Jon J, Saturday, 3 October 2009 6:29:15 PM
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The new face of Australia is emerging but we are at a turning point.

As true blue citizens it is not good enough anymore to promote false optimism to please those with vested interests.

The way we share the deal reflects our treatment of our own citizens on the ground. As a nation we are growing, but there is more to be done to improve our local, regional and national institutions .

This is why I see Human Rights as a national tool.

I don't care what some of the famous people have said who deny or undermine the pressing issues at the core of this topic. Perhaps the truth is, they have not seen what I have seen. Perhaps they have not spent time living and working with those bearing the naked side of life.

Addressing the "gaps". There is presently narrow access to take on the system by citizens with disabilities, Mental Health concerns, the elderly, working class families , on indigenous issues, issues of gender, politics and ethnicity, on cultural or civic wellbeing indices which include all those struggling, who survive for reasons, below the poverty line.

In regional and remote areas as one example, it is not good enough to accept low access to educational training and job networks, transport, housing, limited access to the economy, inadequate access to legal or health institutions. Bad communication systems.

Through human rights we are facing a question that takes account of the dignity of all human beings.

As a national tool, a Human Rights Charter could help to display the right for people to work with institutions, to change and reverse some the negative aspects of class, poverty injustice[s], alienation and access concerns by putting a greater value on individual rights to basic needs which include the right to work, freedom and autonomy.

On a greater scale it is about our nations transparent confidence, building a pathway toward dealing with humanitarian issues and, check balance our core.
Posted by miacat, Sunday, 4 October 2009 4:38:26 PM
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