Thursday, 5 September 2013

Religious freedom is a fundamental human right. It just depends on your religion!

Being a huge cricket fan, I have been following Australia's tour of England rather closely. The recent Ashes series was not as one-sided as the 3-0 England win would have you believe. Anyway, the Tests are over and we are into the shorter form of the game with the Aussies plying their trade in the T20 and ODI formats.

After dominating last years' domestic season, the Aussies are playing a Pakistani-born leg spinner by the name of Fawad Ahmed. Fawad is, from all reports, a devout and practicing Muslim. Last week, Fawad asked Cricket Australia whether he could wear a game day shirt that did not display the Australian cricket team's major sponsor; VB, for religious reasons. Cricket Australia accepted his request and he played minus the logos.

Firstly, hats off to Fawad for standing up for his religious beliefs and secondly, congratulations to Cricket Australia and VB for allowing him to exercise his religious beliefs. Religious freedom is an important and basic human right that should not go unwanted.

Fawad Ahmed in action minus the VB logos.

This got me thinking about religious liberty in general, and more specifically, to President Obama's "Obamacare" in the U.S.

For those that don't know, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a mandate under the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) that requires all employer health plans to provide free contraceptives, sterilisation and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of any moral or religious objections.

Let's remember that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right of religious freedom. So how is it that Obama can potentially implement a policy that forces people of Christian belief to provide their employees with drugs that are directly at odds with those Christian beliefs?

Bringing it closer to home, current Victorian State legislation states that health practitioners who object to abortion for conscientious reasons must refer a woman seeking an abortion to a doctor who does not object. So while the health practitioner may say, “Sorry, I don’t agree with abortion for religious and/or moral reasons”, they are forced under Victorian State law to refer the woman to a doctor who will not object, essentially being forced to indirectly refer the woman to an abortion clinic against his or her beliefs.

Additionally, in an emergency situation, doctors and nurses MUST perform an abortion in order to preserve the life of the pregnant woman no matter what their religious and/or moral beliefs are. This is while various international treaties and declarations (including the Australian Constitution) states that religious freedom is a fundamental human right.

So while I applaud Fawad Ahmed, Cricket Australia and VB, we have a lot to consider with regards to Christian religious freedom worldwide.

If only the U.S. Congress and the Victorian Parliament was run by VB!

All the best,
Dom Meese


  1. Excellent appraisal Dominic;
    Thanks too for the worthwhile distinction noted in the treatment of Christian belief versus Islamic belief.
    The Western world has succumbed in ignorance, to the 'politically correct' at the expense of proven sustainable ethical principles. (How many think 'ethics' only apply to the current time and circumstance?)
    Interestly, I wonder, had the Cricket Board said 'no' to Fawad, what would this long time professional cricketer have done then (it was a predictable problem for him) - and how would the Muslim community here and overseas have treated him?

  2. Thanks! Couldn't agree more re your comment on ignorance and political correctness. It seems to me that Muslims are respected by the general public for their religious beliefs, which is great. However, could you imagine the response if a Catholic Cricketer said he couldn't play a game on a Sunday because he wanted to go to Mass?
    I think my next blog post could be titled "Political Correctness on steroids? Welcome to the 21st Century!".
    It is so prevalent in our society. You see it just about every day.
    It was a topic of conversation on 3AW last week. One of the callers called a female a "sheila" with no ill-intent in his voice. A later caller complained about the term "sheila". The radio show host's response was: "so do you call men 'blokes'?" to which she mumbled a fairly inaudible response.