Our Say | Review leak contained unholy proposal

UNHOLY PROPOSAL: The welfare and inclusion of our young people should be the major consideration of our schools, not banning and sidelining them. What else is yet to come in this "freedom" review?
UNHOLY PROPOSAL: The welfare and inclusion of our young people should be the major consideration of our schools, not banning and sidelining them. What else is yet to come in this "freedom" review?

OUR public schools aren’t allowed to ban kids because of their religious beliefs.

That’s discrimination.

So why would it be OK for private schools to ban kids based on their sexuality?

Particularly if those discriminating private schools are funded by taxpayers.

Last week, we saw a leak of Canberra’s controversial review into religious freedoms, which is reportedly pushing for religious schools to be free to reject LGBTIQ staff and students.

God help us.

After an outcry, Scott Morrison has backtracked and now says no school will be allowed to exclude gay students under new laws.

But it makes you wonder what else is waiting in store in this still-secret review.

I’m actually pro-freedom of religion. If someone wants to worship Jehovah, or Allah, or even the lemon tree in their backyard, I don't care. Good luck to them, and may their faith enrich their lives.

But freedom should flow both ways.

In return for that freedom, religious people should grant the same freedom to all, and NOT force their views upon others: whether it’s terrorists, churches dictating our civil laws, or annoying door-knockers. That’s where it all falls down. The age-old crusader/jihadist zeal, forcing others to follow your one true religion, is responsible for much of the world’s misery. And hypocrisy.

Like the “Christians” who tell me opposing same sex marriage is all about freedom of religion … even as they post Ban the Burka memes on their Facebook pages. Like the “Muslims” upset about Ban the Burka, but tell me they have no problem banning gay people.

Society needs to protect freedom of religion, but society also needs to be protected from freedom of religion.

We don't allow schools to discriminate against kids for their skin colour, ethnicity, disability, or a wide range of inborn characteristics, even their religious beliefs.

Our society needs to protect freedom of religion...but our society also needs to be protected from freedom of religion.

But, ultimately, it’s about decency. Adults should want to protect kids, not humiliate and ban them.

That’s why I was so angry recently watching Pauline Hanson mock a nine-year-old schoolgirl as a “brat” and calling for her to be expelled! By all means debate the topic, but whatever happened to the old saying, ‘Pick on someone your own size’?

Any push to ban LGBTI kids from school is the same. The fact it was even proposed shows some religious people are not automatically experts on moral behaviour. 

Shouldn't our schools be places where young people learn about engaging with all walks of society, not simply banning anyone they happen to disagree with.

And, I’ve gotta say, some of my dearest friends are local Catholic school teachers/principals (wonderful caring educators) and I think they'd be horrified at the suggestion of tossing out gay students.

Ultimately, if this review has any other gems like this in store, it raises the question of character. A ‘gay ban’, for example, would mean LGBTI students who lied would be included, but those with integrity would be expelled.

I thought of the scene from A Scent of A Woman (1992), with Al Pacino objecting to liars being rewarded at a private school: “Makers of men; creators of leaders; be careful what kind of leaders you’re producing here”.

Any school that believes a student being gay is a worse crime than that school banning a student because he/she is gay, is no school worth taxpayers dollars.