Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Racial Hatred Laws

I've received an e-mail from a friend of mine (thanks Em) regarding the proposed Racial Hatred laws. There are several Christian charities that are getting concerned that should the law be passed, it will severely hamper their work overseas.

Hard as it may seem for many people in the west to believe... there are places in the world where Christianity is still treated with much the same disdain that it received during the early Roman persecutions. There are places in the world where the dominant regional culture (whatever it may be) abuses or persecutes Christians and/or their places of worship.
The fear is, the wide mandate of this new law could technically make it illegal to speak out (in this country) against cultures that condone the abuse of the Church.

We should of course seek to stamp out something that discriminates against people because of their physical/ethnic background. However, I think questioning or openly criticising a persons ideas, motives and beliefs (when done respectfully and in good faith that something is badly wrong), is fair game... and I include my own beliefs, views and motives in that assessment.

I'm saying this as someone who has had to defend their faith from criticism from various quarters. People don't always agree with Christian viewpoints, and that's their prerogative. However, I'd never deny someone the right to question my faith... because then, how could I answer them?

It's for this reason I think religious tolerance should be encouraged rather than legislated.
The Christian charities are worried that they are going to face prosecution for speaking out against human injustices at the hands of religious/ideological extremists.

Incidentally for anyone wanting more info, I've added a link to the charity website Em sent me. Have a look, see for yourself and then decide on your own evaluation what to do!


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