Should a religious person be able to say whatever they want? Should a religious person be able to refuse specific actions in the workforce? Do religious people deserve extra protection?
These are the questions which will dominate political discussion in 2020. These are the questions which will aim to turn a clouded, grey line into a clear, black and white divide. Is it possible?
For me, my thoughts are like a maze which is impossible to escape from. You take one path and think you have found the exit, only to find a dead-end, have to retrace your steps and choose a new route. My thoughts are muddled, and my opinions divided, however; I am beginning to reach a sense of understanding.
A draft religious freedom bill was introduced in November 2019 which caused havoc in the media and throughout communities. The law prohibits discrimination in certain areas of public life on the ground of religious beliefs or activity. However, the main concern is that religious bodies can discriminate on the grounds of religion where their conduct is “in good faith and may reasonably be regarded as being in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of their religion”. This means that religious schools could refuse to hire somebody who does not adhere to that religion, but it does not license the sacking or refusal of a gay teacher.
As for other parts of the bill which were heavily advertised and scrutinised, I will not talk explicitly on them now, as they are currently under review
So what do I believe?
I believe that all people should be able to say whatever they want unless it incites violence or promotes bullying. I think that at times restrictions must be placed upon what religious people can say or do to allow for the value of a human to not be undermined.
However, I also think that as a society, we need to improve our capacity to accept another person’s opinion. If you are not religious and someone comes up to you and says that you are going to hell, I can’t understand how that has any impact on your life whatsoever? If a religious person is merely talking about their religion, and you don’t believe it, then it has zero relevance to you. In those instances, I think religious people should have the capacity to speak freely, it is up to the people listening to ignore the comments.
I firmly believe that if we all disagreed and debated on ideas and not on emotions or feelings, this wouldn’t be an issue. The skill of disagreement must be taught at a young age and developed through education. The ability to utterly oppose every word that someone is saying but respond respectfully is vital within a changing society where more opinions are freely available than ever before.
You can’t tell someone how to respond to a comment. What you can do is teach people the skills of discussion and expose them to different opinions.
We will never be able to have a black and white line. However, learning how to disagree and accept others is our only choice in ensuring the width of the grey line becomes a little bit narrower.
So, what do you think? Should religious people be able to speak freely? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or through my social media! Also feel free to follow my blog or Instagram to keep updated!