The recent events surrounding rugby player Israel Folau has raised all sorts of questions around the freedom of expression of religious belief and the rights of equality and non-discrimination. Responses to Folau’s actions by Christian leaders and laity has ranged from open support to open disgust. As I watch the reports and reflect on my own beliefs (as a follower of Jesus) about social issues and how I respond to them I ask myself, ‘Am I living my faith in action in a way that reflects the life and teachings of Jesus?’
On 10 April 2019, the Attorney-General issued a Terms of Reference requesting the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to conduct an Inquiry into the Framework of Religious Exemptions in Anti discrimination Legislation. In a media statement by the Attorney-General for Australia (The Hon Christian Porter MP) on 10 April 2019, it was stated:
The ALRC review will consider what reforms to Commonwealth, state and territory law, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and any other Australian laws should be made in order to:
- limit or remove altogether (if practicable) religious exemptions to prohibitions on discrimination, while also guaranteeing the right of religious institutions to conduct their affairs in a way consistent with their religious ethos
Given our learning communities reflect to a degree the diversity of our Australian culture, then there is certainly going to be a diversity of reaction to the Attorney-General’s statements. For me, as I am sure it is for many, it is about asking myself, ‘Am I living my faith in action in a way that reflects the life and teachings of Jesus?’
I am sure Jesus doesn’t support stealing from anyone, especially your own citizens,
and yet he ate in the home of tax collectors.
I am sure Jesus doesn’t support prostitution,
and yet he didn’t condemn one caught in the act
I am sure Jesus doesn’t support invasion of countries,
and yet he cleansed the servant of a Roman centurion.
I am sure Jesus didn’t look to be contaminated with disease,
and yet he drew near and touched the untouchables
I am sure Jesus doesn’t support people denying him,
and yet he restored Peter to become a foundational leader of the church
I am sure Jesus doesn’t support crime,
and yet he declared to the thief on the cross next to him that he would be with him in paradise.
I am sure we will continue to be tempted to judge whether we are in agreeance with someone’s lifestyle or not. Instead of focussing on judging though, we are called to be communities where grace abounds; while recognising the brokenness of humanity, we reflect the unconditional love of the Father, revealed through the saving work of his Son, Jesus.
No matter what situation we encounter, and no matter how deeply it may challenge our sense of what is right and wrong, may God grant us the ability to express the unconditional love of the Father, revealed through the saving work of his Son, Jesus.
Spiritual & Cultural Leader