The Australian Constitution is a remarkable document. It does not have the inspirational quality or literary finesse of the U.S. Constitution. It has no “we the people” or self-evident truths, but it is a remarkable document none the less. What is truly remarkable about the Australian constitution is that for the most part and for most people it works. In fact it works so well, it is so unobtrusive that we don’t have to think about it. Australians do not feel a need to remind ourselves that we are a free nation or to assert our freedom as if to convince other nations how free we are.
Our remarkable constitution protects us all, under the law, from persecution and ensures that each of us is free to live where we like and be employed in any way we choose. We are also free to practice our religion and espouse our religious beliefs without fear or favour. Article 116 of the constitution states:
The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.
In fact this article of our remarkable constitution is so well formulated that no religious person or body needs to seek any further protection in the exercise of their rights as would be provided under a national charter of rights.
In his Valetine’s Day feature “Faiths rule on sex from staffroom to bedroom” for the Sydney Morning Herald, David Marr is critical of the Catholic Church and various other religious bodies for their opposition to the adoption of a National Charter of Rights. He is also cranky that religious groups are seeking exemption from federal government planed extensions to federal anti-discrimination laws in order to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.
This is not surprising, however, as David Marr is a homosexual activist and sometime journalist frequently critical of religion and Christianity in particular. Twice listed as one of Australia’s most influential gay and lesbian Australians, Marr makes no secret of his contempt for Christianity, especially its traditional moral teaching on sexuality.
The move to extend anti-discrimination laws to cover sexual orientation and for the adoption of a national charter of rights are not an attempt to strengthen our freedoms under our remarkable constitution, but rather to curtail it, and further the objectives of an increasingly militant GLBT lobby. Religious leaders in states that have recently adopted similar charters of rights have found themselves facing hate crime charges for preaching against homosexual practices.
For thousands of years and in almost every global religion and culture, sodomy and homosexual practices have been looked upon with disgust and shame yet in only one generation since moral relativism was widely introduced by the sexual revolution, homosexual activists such as Marr are now claiming the moral high ground and condemning the Churches for their attempt to maintain the right to govern themselves and their institutions with the autonomy guaranteed under the constitution.
Marr complains about a Church’s right to discriminate in the hiring of staff particularly when they are delivering services for a public authority. As such, he claims, they should not be able to discriminate according to their beliefs in the selection of staff. In Britain he argues:
“when the churches are doing the work of the state, they have to obey secular rules of fairness. That's not so in Australia. Though public money is their lifeblood, church schools and hospitals in this country remain free to pick and choose staff according to the rules of religion”
Religious schools and hospitals were run in this country without access to public money for an awful long time before the Goulbourn School strike of 1962. David Marr may have forgotten the standard of equipment and facilities in Catholic Schools prior to Bishop Cullinane’s School strike. Before that, non-state schools received no Federal funding despite educating about one third of Australians. The government was happy to take the taxes of parents who chose to send their children to non-government schools but they were not so keen to put any of those tax dollars towards those schools.
Bishop Cullinane of Goulburn, a country diocese that took in the ACT decided to enact a strike and closed his schools forcing his entire enrolment of students to enrol in the NSW state and federal ACT schools swamping the system. The point was made, education is not the work of the state alone and funding should be given to all schools fairly and equitably.
Marr’s assertion that Church run schools and hospitals are doing the work of the state is worrisome. The history of the last century is littered with examples showing that whenever a state attempted to exclusively take over the education of children, the result was dictatorship as in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It was the Church, not the state, who established the first schools and hospitals as we know them today.
It is a dictatorship of ideas and sexual permissiveness that David Marr wants to promote with his attack on the Churches. The Churches he claims are bigoted, cruel and hateful. Anyone who attempts to defend the Church or its teaching is labelled intolerant, lacking in respect and a homophobe. Yet it seems that it is the homosexual activists like Marr who are intolerant. Either you accept their particular morality and all its consequences or you are a bigot, hateful and cruel and they refuse to discuss your belief because they “have no patience… anymore.”
The Catholic Church acknowledges her many faults, we are all sinners after all. None of us are perfect, but we do not need to accept our imperfection as a fait accompli. Sex and sexuality are inherently good, and have a dignity higher than the sexually permissive and morally relative would have us believe.
The hedonistic cry of the 60’s “if it feels good, do it” is fundamentally flawed because it fails to recognise that as imperfect creatures our feelings can be, and frequently are wrong. Sexuality is not a toy to be played with whenever we are bored or aroused.
Sexuality is the cement that holds the most basic unit of society, the family, together. Not sex, per se, but sexuality. The complimentary natures of husband and wife who work together with all the beautiful and complimentary differences that men and women have, to raise a family and the next generation of citizens is at the heart of a correct understanding of marriage and sexuality.
Any action that lessens or cheapens the glory of sex and sexuality is fundamentally flawed, and will only result in contributing to the further break down of society. The Church condemns the act of sex outside of marriage because it waters down that cement that holds the family together. Humans are not slaves to their urges or instincts, we are able to rise above our broken nature. Christians are commanded to love the sinner but hate the sin, and in this regard the Church does more than any state or other organisation to support single mothers, orphaned children, treat people suffering from HIV/AIDS, educate the poor and heal the sick and destitute. The Church consistently backs up its teaching with action.
Those people who refuse to accept that what they do is sinful, such as active homosexuals, the sexually permissive and promiscuous are free to reject the Church’s teaching, and can still avail themselves of Church run services.
To expect those who hold relativistic and permissive philosophies which are specifically rejected by the Church to be employed as representatives of that body whose moral teachings they reject is insane. To expect the Government to intervene and force Churches to do so is to abandon the freedoms guaranteed by our remarkable constitution and begin down the short road to dictatorship and tyranny.
Parliament of Australia – The Australian Constitution. [9th July 1900] © Commonwealth of Australia http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/general/constitution/index.htm (Last reviewed 21 May 2003)
Australian Women Online http://www.australianwomenonline.com/the-25-most-influential-gay-and-lesbian-australians-for-2008/ [Accessed 17/06/2011]
John Dixon, (June 2011) Ethos - Homosexuality: A New Conversation http://www.ea.org.au/Ethos/Engage-Mail/Homosexuality-A-New-Conversation.aspx [Accessed 17/06/2011]
David Cloud - Way of Life Literature (Web Site 23/6/08) http://www.wayoflife.org/files/706fe196bc5dd6068bb1a96eefc8b4be-109.html [Accessed 20/06/2011]
 An Act to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia. [9th July 1900] http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/general/constitution/chapter5.htm
 Australian Women Online http://www.australianwomenonline.com/the-25-most-influential-gay-and-lesbian-australians-for-2008/ [Accessed 17/06/2011]
 John Dixon, (June 2011) Ethos - Homosexuality: A New Conversation http://www.ea.org.au/Ethos/Engage-Mail/Homosexuality-A-New-Conversation.aspx [Accessed 17/06/2011]
 David Cloud - Way of Life Literature (Web Site 23/6/08) http://www.wayoflife.org/files/706fe196bc5dd6068bb1a96eefc8b4be-109.html [Accessed 20/06/2011]
 Dixon. J. op cit.