Author Emily Dietle
My focus is on state-church separation & social issues. I'm an avid reader, and feel that one of our most valuable tools is the free movement of information and ideas. | @emilyhasbooks
What we do have in common are influential and outspoken religious lobby groups. Not long ago I would have said they weren’t as openly discriminatory in Australia as they are in the US. However, this little gem from Jim Wallace, head of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) recently reminded me otherwise. (See: Wallace Claims Smoking Is Healthier Than Gay Marriage)
These lobby groups have a powerful sway in Australia, with Parliament recently rejecting a bill for marriage equality and the labour government continuing to fund to a program that puts religious chaplains in public schools. One point of difference; I don’t believe Australian politicians are pressured to pander to these groups as publicly. After Jim Wallace’s above comment, Prime Minister Gillard withdrew as speaker for an ACL conference.
I feel, an a non-believer that the political religious climate is a lot more exclusionary and hostile to non-believers in the US than at home. I hope that this will change, as the non-religious demographic grows, especially in a country with such an enviable constitutional separation of church and state.
For further information on Australian politics and religion, here is an article from John Warhurst: (Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University and a columnist with The Canberra Times. This is the text of a talk he gave at the St Thomas More Forum, Canberra, on 10 November 2010) http://www.eurekastreet.