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March 12, 2009
Australian Cardinal Speaks out on Intolerance
In a March 6 lecture titled "Varieties of Intolerance: Religious and Secular,” Cardinal Pell of Sydney, Australia pointed out the hypocrisy inherent in modern multiculturalism. The remarks were delivered last weekend at the Thomas More Lecture on Religion in the Public Square, hosted by the Oxford University Newman Society.
The Catholic News Service reported:
Cardinal George Pell … said the Catholic Church's freedom in the Western world was under pressure from a new and dangerous trend of the use of anti-discrimination laws and human rights claims to attack the role of religion in public life and individuals' right of conscience.
"The secular and religious intolerance of our day needs to be confronted regularly and publicly," he said. "Believers need to call the bluff of what is, even in most parts of Europe, a small minority with disproportionate influence in the media. This is one of the crucial tasks for Christians in the 21st century."
As his primary example of mounting intolerance, Cardinal Pell cited the treatment of U.S. Christians and Mormons who supported Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that reversed California's gay marriage law in November.
He described how churches and temples were subjected to violence, vandalism and intimidation, and how some supporters of the amendment were forced from their jobs and blacklisted.
"We should note the strange way in which some of the most permissive groups and communities, for example, Californian liberals in the case of Proposition 8, easily become repressive, despite all their high rhetoric about diversity and tolerance," he said.
Life Site News described the Cardinal Pell’s concern for the lack of tolerance for the notion of the sanctity of life:
The crucial issue for secularists, he said, is the protection of legal abortion. He pointed to the possible passage in the US of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) and to the recently passed legislation in Victoria, Australia that forces health care workers to participate in abortions, laws that make "a mockery of conscientious objection."
He warned that laws protecting the conscience-rights of Christians, particularly those who object to abortion and homosexual lifestyles, have been ignored or overturned: "The human rights industry ran dead on the freedom of conscience issues which the legislation raised."
During the debate on the Victoria legislation, he pointed out, "pro-abortion commentators attacked the concept of conscientious objection as nothing more than a way for doctors and nurses to impose their morality on their patients. Victoria's statutory charter of rights, which purports to protect freedom of religion, conscience and belief, was shown to be a dead letter when it comes to abortion."
The Cardinal's address is an open and honest discussion of the mounting tension between Christianity and the cult of multiculturalism. The speech is well worth reading in its entirety. A pdf of the speech is available here.
Hat tip: John McMahon