Human Rights Charter

Below is an old email that a friend sent me regarding the Human Rights Charter.

Tue, 9/6/09

Dear Pastors,

We have received news recently regarding the human rights charter consultation that our government is undertaking currently. Christian leaders are raising concerns about this as it would restrict the right of Christians to testify on their faith and to evangelize. It seems to be a serious matter of concern for Christians, and we would like to encourage you to circulate this among your congregation so that we can raise their awareness and respond to this issue.

Manny Christian leaders are saying that an Australian ‘Human Rights Charter’ or equivalent legislation, that’s now under consideration by the Australian Government, is a threat to Christians’ rights of free expression in this country.

This brief Anglican Church report, including a video from former NSW Premier Bob Carr, explains why Christians should speak up now against this proposal…http://www.sydneyanglicans.net/news/stories/speak_up_christians_says_carr/

Cardinal George Pell has also explained in depth the nature of the challenge… http://www.acl.org.au/national/browse.stw?article_id=21126 The Government itself has asked to hear from Australians about the proposal and has set up a special page on the Attorney-General’s website where people can have their say on this.  The link to the submissions page may be found below. Christians need to take this opportunity to speak up. Otherwise the other side wins by default. Supporters of the proposal say it would protect religious minorities in Australian from the (‘Christian’) majority. They say the UK, where a Human Rights Act was passed in 1998, is a model for us to follow.

But the UK experience shows that such ‘human rights’ laws may be used to stop ordinary Christians from publicly expressing their faith and their values.

The following are just a few recent examples from the UK of the ‘human rights culture’ that has come into operation there since the passage of the UK Human Rights Act.

• A UK nurse called Caroline Petrie was in February this year suspended from her work simply for offering to pray for a patient.

• A British Airways check-in worker, Nadia Eweida, was forbidden even to wear a small cross on her necklace – at the same time as some air hostesses are obliged to wear Muslim garb. (That’s OK because Islam is a ‘minority religion’.)

• A UK social worker, Naphtali Chondol, was fired from her job for the ‘crime’ of giving a Bible to someone in need.

• A university Christian group in the UK was even banned for requiring that members attest to their belief in God – which was thought to ‘discriminate’ against non-believers.

These UK cases represent just the tip of an iceberg – they could be multiplied many times over.

There is every reason to believe that if a Human Rights Charter were enacted in Australia, the negative consequences for Christians and Christian life in this country would be no less serious.

You’ll also remember the notorious case of ‘vilification’ in Victoria a few years ago, against those two pastors from the Catch the Fire ministry. The case against them was eventually dropped, but the legal costs were ruinous for the Christians caught up in it. Yet many supporters of an Australian Human Rights Charter actually hold up the human rights legislation of the state of Victoria as a model the whole nation should follow.

Since the passage of the Human Rights Act in the UK, it is now extremely difficult for Christians in that country to engage in public debate about minority religions, without being subject to legal action on charges of ‘vilification’.

In politics, it’s numbers – votes – that count. It’s therefore vitally important that Christians, individually, now use the opportunity to tell the Government that they are opposed to ‘human rights’ legislation in Australia.

Submissions don’t have to be long, or brilliant. Just use the link to let the Government know that you are opposed to ‘human rights’ legislation in Australia. Tell them it’s against your interests as a Christian and an Australian citizen. But remember, you only have until 15 June. If you’re pressed for time, the reasons you give for opposing any new ‘human rights’ legislation could perhaps include some or all of the following points:

• UK experience shows that ‘human rights’ legislation may in practice be used to provide legal cover for people who wish to prevent you from publicly expressing your Christian faith and values.

• ‘Human rights’ legislation may limit the ability of Christian institutions such as schools, hospitals and charity groups to offer Christian service.

• ‘Human rights’ legislation has been used in the UK as a legal sledgehammer by anti-religious fanatics out to destroy what remains of Christian valuesin public life. These are the values upon which our freedoms and rights inAustralia have historically been built.

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