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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Religion laws don't have a prayer in a country with robust common sense

By Bob Carr
Sydney Morning Herald

This week we have heard about an increasing international trend to prosecute religious issues in the courts.

In Britain cases are being brought under laws such as the Religious Hatred Act, which makes it a crime to "stir up" "religious hatred". British police have even warned that insulting Scientology would be treated as a crime.

Such legislation may soon be heading to a statute book near you.

The Australian Human Rights Commission is finalising a report almost certain to recommend legislation on religion - on freedom of religion or religious vilification - that would mean similar prosecutions being launched under national law.

Why do we need this? The last time Australians were asked whether they wanted freedom of religion embodied in the constitution was in 1988. Showing a robust common sense, they voted a resounding "no". It lost in every state and territory, with up to 74 per cent against.

Citizens knew in their bones that Australia was one of the freest countries in the world and that we wouldn't make ourselves freer by inventing new offences


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It is important to remember that freedom FROM religion is just as important as freedom OF religion, though it often gets ignored.

I like how the article ends:
I stick with Jefferson, who said, "it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." After all, "Truth is great and will prevail if left to itself"


too true...

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