Australian Bill Draws Criticism from Religious Freedom Advocates
02/08/2021 Australia (International Christian Concern) – Australian lawmakers in the state of Victoria recently took on a debate surrounding the ban of subversive conversion methods that are already banned in many areas of the world. However, a current bill in the State government wouldn’t just ban this practice, it would significantly undermine a person’s ability to seek advice or counsel from faith leaders regarding matters of one’s sexuality, sexual identity and etc.
The bill criminalizes any counsel that would encourage individuals to adhere to Christian interpretation of these deeply personal and important matters. The bill would essentially codify a single interpretation of these matters and would directly diminish an individual’s religious freedom to seek unbiased and theologically diverse advice in living out their faith.
In response, Catholic and Islamic leaders sent a letter to the Victoria government, citing infringement on an individual’s freedom of religion and conscience. “It places arbitrary limitations on parents, families and people of faith,” says the statement. “People change for all kinds of reasons, and should feel free to do so, whether it be on matters of personal identity, gender, sexuality, family association, or religion. Contrary to its intent, this bill obstructs people’s freedom by limiting, restricting and removing options for their good, thereby creating undesirable possibilities of harm.”
Many others have joined these leaders in their dissent, arguing that decisions such as these are deeply personal and should be addressed with care and the individual’s freedoms should not be limited to seek out counsel when they so desire.
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