Posted by: Chris Cole | September 26, 2008

Religious disregard for the law

A group of young rural homosexual people, meeting to discuss how best to deal with the problem of homophobia in their communities, was recently seeking a venue at which to hold their gathering. They decided on Philip Island Adventure Resort, however their booking was summarily refused once the proprietors became aware of the theme of the meeting or, more to the point, the sexuality of the attendees.

You see, the camp is run by the Christian Brethren church, and in their pious opinion, any promotion or condoning or hell, even toleration, of homosexuality is just plain evil.

The Age carried an article about it here.

Now, these guys get to run a commercial enterprise, but don’t pay tax. And they get to practice gross discrimination. The phrase “above the law” springs somewhat uncomfortably to mind.

Below was my 2 cent’s worth, sent to the manager of the resort about a fortnight ago now with, perhaps predictably, no response.


Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to briefly express my disappointment in your organisation regarding the grossly unethical and discriminatory behaviour brought to my attention by a recent newspaper article (The Age, Sep 7, 2008; by Michael Bachelard).

I doubt you need be reminded, but the essence of the matter was the refusal of a booking for a gay rural youth group, purely on the basis that their stated sexual preference was at odds with your organisation’s religious beliefs and values. Of particular irony is the fact that this group was seeking a venue to hold a meeting discussing how to deal with homophobia.

I myself am neither religious, nor homosexual, however I am a rational person with what I would like to think is a fairly good sense of right and wrong. I therefore find it almost mind-bogglingly impudent for an organisation that claims special legal privilege in exempting themselves from paying taxes for a commercial operation, thus essentially circumventing one set of laws that apply to everyone else in society, to go on to blatantly ignore a second body of law by practicing gross discrimination, an act which would attract criminal charges for everyone else in society.

It is sad enough that religious devotees are allowed to propagate their vacuous and ignorantly held beliefs to their own children who are too young to defend themselves. It is especially galling, however, when your own shared delusions and interpretations of a collection of barbaric books held to be special purely because of their age, leads to impingement of other people’s rights and freedoms in a manner which, without the special legal status afforded you purely because of tradition, would be clearly illegal. While illegal they may not currently be, your organisation’s actions in this matter are definitely unethical, and quite startlingly insensitive given the group’s purpose.

Quoting the poorly documented snap-frozen morality of bronze age tribes is not an excuse for flaunting laws designed to safeguard modern society from abusive behaviour.

I am generally tolerant of local religion-based community endeavours as they often do provide quality services and facilities, especially for young people and other community groups. I will, however, make a point of avoiding your organisation’s centres, and advising anyone I know requiring such services to look elsewhere.



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