I don’t know if Penny Wong could be any more intellectually dishonest. She’s certainly being very shallow in her arguments, and probably deliberately so, hoping we won’t notice the dishonesty.
She claimed in a recent speech reported by The Guardian, “Religious freedom … does not mean imposing your beliefs on everyone else.”
Right. So exactly what is she doing by saying that, if not exercising her freedom to be “imposing her beliefs on everyone else”?
What she is doing is trickily using the word “impose” to make people think that disagreement with her ideas is some sort of restriction of everybody else’s freedoms, a danger to be resisted and outlawed. Of course, what she’s actually doing is attempting to restrict freedom. She’s railing against everyone’s freedoms to disagree with her which are guaranteed to us in our wonderful Constitution.
Participating in an important public discussion and lobbying or campaigning for your point of view to influence voters is not “imposing” beliefs. If it is, then every member of every political party ever, every media commentator, every opinion expressed on Facebook or Twitter has been guilty of “imposing beliefs on everyone else”.
We in the civilised West call this freedom of speech, religion and political expression, also known as “democracy”. Penny Wong calls it “imposing beliefs”.
No, Penny – disagreement should not be outlawed, for any reason.
Yes, Penny – even Christians should be allowed to disagree with you. You are not beyond criticism: some self-proclaimed infallible and omniscient replacement for God.
Where her empty rhetoric comes from is a self-evident agenda to disenfranchise, from public life and discussions, all people who disagree with her, currently neatly bundled for ease of attack as “religious”.
If she deems your opinion offensive, that is, if she disagrees with you, you have no right to express it or participate in the democratic process which includes debate.
She has neatly articulated her opinion that only some citizens should be restricted from public debate, only some opinions disallowed, only some worldviews invalidated, only some citizens relegated to a lower class of non-participants in politics.
At best, this is terribly ignorant of the implied constitutional freedom of political expression. At worst, this argument is designed to dictate that Christians can have no say in political debate unless they stop being Christians.
In an incredible display of bigotry and discrimination – bundling at least 45% of Australians in a group which can then be denied existing constitutional rights – she is actively marginalising people of a certain culture: Christians. People with religious beliefs need not apply for participation in Australia’s political debates.
The Guardian article further reports,
“Wong said that religious belief should not be applied to frame laws in a secular society because “in societies where church and state are constitutionally separate, as they are in Australia and the US, this leads not only to confusion but also to inequity”.”
Well Wong is wrong. Scientists have not yet discovered the belief organ, or muscle, or whatever it is. So other than a lobotomy, there is no separating someone’s beliefs, their convictions, the result of their careful deliberations and considerations of any given issue, from their political opinions and expressions.
It’s plainly idiotic (or fascistic) to suggest that some beliefs shouldn’t be allowed in politics. Perhaps Senator Wong believes we should have a one-party, totalitarian political system where the ruling class keeps “social harmony” by banning and persecuting all disagreement.
It’s hugely frustrating that such an educated and ariculate, seemingly intelligent Senator such as Penny Wong could have so light a grasp on the concept and purpose of Section 116 of our constitution, which she referred to as separation of Church and State. I explain it in less than five minutes in the video below.
Penny Wong, with the greatest of respect, I’ll keep my beliefs to myself when you do. Until then, the Constitution you apparently fail to comprehend guarantees all of us, religious and irreligious, the right to full political participation and expression.