We are a family with 3 children and the rediscovery of our Catholic faith has made a significant change to our family life. This faith has called on us to be active participants in our church community to foster the well being of our youth and to also promote fraternity among our elderly brothers and sisters. Through this participation we have deepened our understanding of Christianity’s greatest teaching which is to “love your neighbour as yourself”. As you can see, our religion is not a fad nor some outdated irrational act of worship we only carry out every Sunday morning, it is a way of life for our family. In our family our religion expects us to love and accept each other at all times. Towards people outside of our family, the expectation is no less.
To further emphasise the importance of religion and the positive impact it has on Australian life, we need only to look at religious charities who make up a third of all Australian charities. These charities service a broad spectrum of our society especially the disadvantage in the areas of education, healthcare, aged care and housing. Iconic charities like Vinnies and The Salvos have provided charitable services for over 100 years in Australia.
There is no denying that religion has shaped western culture and society dramatically in the arts, education and most surprisingly the sciences (Fr Lemaître and Fr Gregor Mendel).
For these reason we think religion is precious and has a positive impact on the Australian way of life and as such is worthy of protection. Protection of freedom of religion is required to ensure such positive values continue to be taught. This protection should also ensure that the right to freedom of religion is on an equal footing with other human rights.
We are extremely concerned about proposed laws that could coerce individuals to endorse practices or statement they disagree with. Just as concerning is the possibility of the loss of the freedom of speech to voice ones view with regards to the traditional definition of marriage.
We thank the Panel for the opportunity to contribute to this discussion and ask the Panel to consider the submission. We give consent for this submission to be published by any means required.