Religious Discrimination Bill Dies- What about the Tax-Exemption?
10 February 2022
We note that the Morrison government despite a somewhat Pyrrhic victory in the lower house after an all-night session has sent the Religious Discrimination Bill to a Senate Committee, which will push it to after the election and kill it off. This bill was promised by Morrison presumably to keep his religious right happy after the Marriage Equality bill was forced on the Liberals after the national referendum result.
There is no real evidence that religious people are discriminated against. They have tax-exempt status and are hugely over-represented in Cabinet at both Federal and NSW State level. (I do not know about the other States). They seem to that they have the right to prosthetise in door to door situations and even if they are occasionally abused in these invasive situations think the notion that they have the right be there persists, like tolerance for pesky door to door salespersons.
My own experience of being forced to go to religious ceremonies at boarding schools stuck with me. They knew that if it was voluntary the congregation would have declined by at least 95%, but they did not care. In Parliament, proceedings opened with the Lord’s Prayer. As an atheist since school I found this offensive and did not go in until it was over. Lee Rhiannon from the Greens was the same. I assumed it had always been there but in fact Fred Nile had introduced it only a decade or so before. So the idea that religion is in danger of being suppressed in Australia seems absurd to me. They already have too much power.
Far more significant is the historic tax exemption for religious organisations, however new or venal they may be. As Jesus is quoted in Mark 17:12 “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” It seems that his is one of those texts that are not acted on.
I cannot say it better than The Shovel.