Religious entities feel draft bill on equality can stifle right to religious beliefs
The draft law on equality which is going through Parliament has not gone down well with various religious entities, as they feel it can stifle the right to their religious beliefs.
Among others, the Association of Church Schools, together with the Secretariat for Christian Education and the Council of Major Religious Superiors have declared in a statement that draft which is aimed at promoting respect towards diversity will stifle the right of freedom of belief with consequences on the expression of the Christian ethos in Church schools.
They add that unless the draft is amended, Christian educators can find themselves in a situation where they have to promote values which go against their conscience, which would be a contravention of the right to freedom of expression. They are proposing, among other issues, a clause in the draft which permits a conscientious objection, and amendments to safeguard the right of choice for parents in their children’s education.
In a separate statement, ten Evangelical churches have also voiced their objections to the draft and asked whether through this draft, their continued teaching of marriage being between a man and a woman, among other issues, will be considered a crime.
The religious organisations stated at the same time their commitment to protecting the values of diversity, human dignity and the right to freedom of beliefs as long as these do not go against human rights.