The Australian Constitution gives us the privilege of freedom of religion. Each of us has the right to decide what creed we wish to follow and figures from the Bureau of Census and Statistics tell us that there is a steady increase in the number of people declaring that they have ‘no religion’.
We must respect the choice each citizen makes on the matter of religion and we must not allow zealous and obsessed citizens to pervert our freedom of choice by their demands that their religion is the only one.
Religion and lack of it is part of our society, politics and legal systems. More recently, the trust in many religious bodies has been eroded due to the abhorrent and criminal acts of some of the members, and the covering-up of this by members of the church hierarchies.
We now have some religious groups claiming special exemptions from the law in regard to a change to the Marriage Act and the tax-free status of churches is beginning to be questioned. There seems to be a growing intolerance of some religious groups towards others.
Schools which are based on one religion or another have the potential to divide the community for a generation or more. The concept of freedom of religion is under threat and debate is inevitable. As we become better educated let us hope that this debate is entered into with respect and compromise.
Ann Brennan, West Albury
Courage a loose term
I am spending a Sunday afternoon watching AFL and NRL. I love my sport. What I don't love is commentators constant use of the word “courage”. I have lost count of how many times the word is used in all commentaries.
Overpaid footballers who get paid to play a game are not “courageous”. Courage is the rescue divers who are putting their lives on the line trying to rescue the young soccer team trapped for 14 days in a cave in Thailand.
Courage are the young boys and their coach having had to wait patiently to be rescued not knowing if the efforts will be successful. So let's put things in perspective. Football is not life or death but what is happening in Northern Thailand is.
Barry Overs, Glenroy
So much for charity
Four hundred people sleep rough in Melbourne every night. Meanwhile more than 1200 churches and cathedrals sit mostly empty every night in the Melbourne area, occupying prime real estate and paying no rates or taxes.
Christian morality and Jesus’ lesson of inappropriate and selfish church utilisation has no influence on the behaviour of Christian administration. I’ve searched the Bible for references to how we should treat the homeless but there isn’t much. Isaiaih 58:7 “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house”. And Matthew 25:40 “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me”. Yet there’s hundreds of references to healing, feeding, forgiving, worshiping, faith, not questioning, vengeance. Are the homeless a low Christian priority?
Shame on both the biblical and current interpretation of Christian charity.
Turn these valuable properties into something that is more useful please Christians. Shelter for the homeless would be a good start.