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The majority of Australians say church and state should be separate, yet religion continues to be privileged in our society at taxpayer expense, writes Chris Fotinopoulos. Why aren't we talking about the religious influence on party policies in this election campaign?
The relationship between church and state in Australia seems benign when set against news footage from Egypt, Syria and numerous Middle-East hot spots. And going by the 'World' news section of our tabloids, the violent clashes between religious and secularist groups in distant dusty lands are a far cry from Australian politics.
But in spite of our comparatively relaxed attitude towards organised religion in Australia, the question of religious influence on government policy needs to be asked.
It is one area of the political debate that has not received much attention in this election campaign so far. This is a gap.
Australians clearly prefer a separation between church and state. In Australia's increasingly complex society, which includes many different cultures and different types of belief or lack of belief, this would seem to be the only option.
More recently, a worldwide poll conducted by Win-Gallup Internationalfound that 48 per cent of Australians said they were not religious; 10 per cent declared themselves "convinced atheists"; and 5 per cent did not know or did not respond.
Only 37 per cent were religious. Yet the increasing influence and funding of religion in Australia persists. One explanation lies with the outsourcing of a lot of social welfare to various religious organisations by the Howard government. After all, what better way of feeding the poor, housing the homeless, caring for the elderly, and counselling the mentally unwell than by enlisting the support of committed, altruistic, experienced workers who are close to the people who need this kind of help - all at a knock down price with the provider's blessing to boot.
It's probably a win for the government and the church, but I'm not too sure if the social benefits extend to an expanding irreligious demographic.
By shifting a costly and complex social responsibility to religious providers, the government also exempts them from anti-discrimination laws. This is particularly evident with faith-based aged care providers that are free to discriminate against gays and lesbians on the sole basis that religious ethos overrides the principle of fair and equal treatment of all people.
We only need to look to certain state schools to see how government resources are used to support particular religious views and programs of religious instruction. So what does a society that is becoming increasingly secular think about these legal and financial arrangements?
Well, we won't really know unless we have a debate that is as robust as the one surrounding the carbon tax, paid parental leave or any policy that involves large government subsidies to specific groups and organisations. So why aren't we having a similar conversation about government subsidies to religious organisations?
This is where scorecards can help. It assesses each party's commitment to the principle of secularism by monitoring comments, statements, and parliamentary voting practices on issues such as voluntary euthanasia, equal marriage rights, religious instruction in state schools, abortion, and the law, and then scores each party accordingly.
It's a tool that voters who support the separation of religion and state will find useful. What's more, scorecards of this kind offer information that's far more informative than spin, dumb headlines and maddening political party ads.
Which can't be bad for a pluralistic secular democracy such ours. Chris Fotinopoulos is a Melbourne writer, ethicist and educator. View his full profile here.Oprah winfrey future goals essay character analysis brave new world lenina essay cow essay in punjabi.
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Good character reference letters help the judge understand the defendant as an individual.
Ideally, the writer should express how he or she knows the defendant. If the writer has known the defendant for decades, the . The character reference for court is to provide the Judge a family member, friend, or co-worker with a written statement on the Defendant’s moral or mental qualities.
The letter is commonly provided in child custody and/or drunk driving (DUI) occurrences but may be used in any situation needed where the court should hear about the personality and . A character reference letter is usually written by someone in favor of a person whom they know and appreciate.
As the name indicates it highlights the character of that person and it is important that the person writing this letter should be honest in their feelings and only then should agree to write about it. Court references are generally used by a Magistrate or Judge to determine the character of the accused at the sentencing.
But this might be your first time writing a character reference and you may not be quite sure where to start.