US Court Ruling Could Threaten Religious Freedoms in Australia

US Supreme Court

A Supreme Court decision in the US has provided new employment protections for minorities, at the expense of religious freedom. The Court ruled by a 6-3 majority that employers who fired workers for their sexual or gender orientation were violating Title 7 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Greg Bondar, from Family Voice Australia, says activists will campaign for the same result here.

The Rev. Franklin Graham has slammed the decision, saying the Court exceeded its authority, by making laws rather than interpreting them.

I believe this decision erodes religious freedoms across this country.

“People of sincere faith who stand on God’s Word as their foundation for life should never be forced by the government to compromise their religious beliefs. Christian organisations should never be forced to hire people who do not align with their biblical beliefs and should not be prevented from terminating a person whose lifestyle and beliefs undermine the ministry’s purpose and goals.”

Greg Bondar is the NSW/ACT State Director of Family Voice Australia. Talking to Neil Johnson on Vision’s 20Twenty, he said that this ruling is relevant to us in Australia, because the debate around religious freedom is happening globally. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Washington, or Melbourne, or Sydney, or Timbuctoo,” he said.

Greg Bondar
Greg Bondar from Family Voice Australia

He explained that the ruling raised three key issues for people of faith:
1. “Does the ruling of the High Court mean that churches, Christian schools, ministries and other religious institutions could be forced to violate their biblical conviction regarding sexuality?”

2. “Does that mean if our Pastor says ‘I’m a transgender person’, can we sack him or her?”

3. “Could a Ministry refuse to hire a gay person based on their sexuality?”

The change to the legal definition of marriage raised a lot of questions about whether Australian Christians would be allowed to live according to their beliefs. The government at the time promised to provide new religious discrimination laws which would clarify these issues. The second draft of the Bill was released late last year, but the legisation has been indefinitely delayed, as the proposed laws are receiving intense criticism from both sides of the issue.

I think the problem has become too difficult for the Prime Minister.

Bondar thinks this latest development is only going to increase the discord. “The Left tend to pick up on what’s happening over there. Then they will want to implement those decisions into any religious freedom bill that comes up here in Australia. And we don’t want that.”

Advocates for these new rights suggest that biblical views are outdated, and people who believe in them are now out of step with the majority. But Bondar reminds us that in our last census, 51 per cent of our population marked Christianity as their religion. “So we’re still of Christian faith, and we need to make sure that as Christians, we back that we’re not going to compromise our religious beliefs.”

In his conversation with Neil Johnson, Bondar also discussed some positive lessons the Church could take from our time in lockdown, as we slowly start to congregate in public again. Listen to the podcast below, and don’t forget to tune in every Thursday for more real talk from Family Voice Australia.

Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

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