More erosion to Christian religious rights in Australia.

By December 7, 2005

Australia (MNN)–The Australia Family Association says Christians are worried about their religious freedoms after recent decisions against them.

A church group working with poor families has to open their hiring practices to include non-Christians or risk violating the state of Victoria’s equal opportunity laws.

According to a report from Crosswalk.com, the Mornington Baptist Church near Melbourne, launched a group aimed at helping poverty-stricken families. They offered food helps, debt counsellors and mentors as part of their outreach.

However, their desire to have the staff, counsellors and coaches be dedicated Christians set off a storm of trouble after the exemption application went in.

Under Victoria state’s equal opportunity laws, the association applied for an exemption from the Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), a kind of a court of law.

The application was denied, with the reasoning being that to allow the church exemption and exclusivity would be the same as sanctioning discrimination.

The tribunal also said it could be beneficial to the demographic they were trying to help if the church promoted a so-called “diversity of beliefs.” The decision could have far reaching implications. Already, there is precedence to fight in the courts with regard to religious tolerance.

Under the Religious Tolerance legislation, a conviction on vilifying Islam forced two pastors, Daniel Nalliah and Daniel Scot, to adjust their teaching and apologize.

Believers worry that the pattern will erode their ability to live the Gospel. Please continue to pray that Australian Christians will be able to live the Scriptures openly.

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