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Monday, 19 March 2018

Open letter to current and would-be politicians

Dear Lyle Shelton, Cory Bernardi, Tony Abbott, et al,
As politicians, you are not responsible for the state of my ‘soul’: I alone am. Government is not there to tell us how to get to heaven or hell: that’s the business of religion. Government is there to ensure that you and I are able to take care of our ‘souls’ without unwanted interference of others who think they know better. Maybe you do know better, but that is my lookout. Government is there to provide for the many diverse personal beliefs, both existential and prescriptive, of our diverse society, subject to the need for each person to recognise the beliefs of others. Our secular government is based, not on the dictates of religion, but on the human rights agreed to after the world was devastated by wars, caused by those who wanted to brutally impose their race and religion on others.
Keep your religious views to yourself when making law or policy. Don’t deny me the right to act according to my human rights, and I won’t deny you the same freedom. That doesn’t mean you can demand that society accommodate your religious views by allowing you to discriminate against me. If you wish to participate in society, that means you act according to society’s principles which say that we can act according to our personal beliefs, subject to the agreed social principles of our democratic society. Don’t offer to bake cakes if you exclude those whose beliefs you disapprove of. Don’t set up business and exclude those who you don’t like. Don’t teach children to deride and rebuff those with a different 'label' to theirs.
If they think they know what is right, I respectfully suggest that anyone who seeks government in harmony with their religious beliefs should adduce reasoned argument (based on factual evidence, not hypothetical fears, speculation or vested intereststo support their view and seek to persuade the electorate that the proposed legislation or policy maintains a pluralist, secular democratic society.

Yours sincerely
Meg Wallace,
President, Rationalist Association of NSW

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