Oh, how we need more of this kind of exposure on national television! The case for secularism was brilliantly argued by Drs Marion Maddox and Leslie Cannold and the Reverend Bill Crews this weekend on Seven’s Sunrise program. At last, we see two Christians and an agnostic stand up to state plainly that the Australian Christian Lobby is a ‘small and unrepresentative group that doesn’t speak for the majority of Christians’ … and that religion is a ‘good haven for bullies’. Politicians, please take note!
Here’s the video with a transcript of some of the highlights, below:
Marion Maddox (at 2:22): “… we know for example, that over 50 per cent of self-identified Christians support a right to same-sex marriage.The Australian Christian Lobby want us to think that Christian faith and support for same-sex marriage are diametrically opposed. We know … we know that three out of four Catholics and four out of five Anglicans support a right to assisted death when life has come to an end and is only pain and suffering.
Bill Crews: … and they do.
Marion Maddox: … and they do! The Australian Christian Lobby want us to think that the Christian faith is diametrically opposed to support for assisted euthanasia. Well, it just isn’t.
Samantha Armytage: So, it’s a very powerful lobby …
Marion Maddox: Well … it’s a very small and unrepresentative group that doesn’t speak for the majority of Christians, but they have been very successful at creating the impression of a groundswell where, in fact, none exists.
Bill Crews: And religion, in many ways is a good haven for bullies, because, if you believe God’s on your side, then you can do anything you like and say anything you like.
Leslie Cannold (at 3:48): … Marion is absolutely right that there is a disproportionate representation of very orthodox, religious, Christian people in our parliament that is completely disconnected from their representation in the wider community. And what we really need is sort of a secular GetUp. We need an organisation that very, very clearly expresses the views of minority religions, people of no faith, and moderate Christians (who are by far the vast, vast majority) to make sure that religious views are not imposed by one group on another and of people of no faith. Because you have to keep clear about this: that what religious freedom is, is the freedom of everybody to express their religion and not be discriminated against as a consequence of it and not to have one religion dominating another in the public space. And, at the moment, there’s a belief we have a separation of church and state, but, in fact, we really don’t, we have a soft theocracy.
Bill Crews: That’s the strength of a good, tolerant secular society; that it keeps religions in their place. Because we all know the horrors that happen when religions get in charge of countries …
Natalie Barr (at 6:25) So, Leslie, what’s the message for politicians here? …
Leslie Cannold: …. the reality is that there is a concerted push by people who are very orthodox and very conservative in their religious views to have a disproportionate say in terms of the way this country is run. And so, what we need to have happen is that the media needs to make sure we look at those politicians, and look at their beliefs. And whether or not – and this is the key – it’s not what they believe, it’s whether or not they want to impose those beliefs on everyone else. And when that’s the case, I think, as voters, we need to know that.
Bill Crews: ’cause religious people can go and live however they like in a free society. It’s just that they don’t have to kind of impose it on everyone else.
Natalie Barr: Yeah, and that certainly sounds like the Australian way ….
Dr Leslie Cannold is an award-wining author and columnist, as well as a qualified ethicist and researcher. She is regularly noted as one of Australia’s most influential thinkers. In 2011 Leslie was honoured as Australian Humanist of the Year. Her latest book is an historical novel, The Book of Rachael, published by Text. Leslie is President of Reproductive Choice Australia, which is running the “Let’s End the Stigma” Flashmob.
You can follow Leslie Cannold on Twitter: @LeslieCannold or find out more about her on her website.