MUNGO MACCALLUM. Morrison prepares for the next world.

It appears that Scott Morrison has now given up on this world and is planning to move on to the next.

He will put his plans to legislate for religion at the next election just as soon as he gets the word from above – or when the Law Reform Commission can figure out a way of making it coherent. But although the pesky details maybe unclear, the aim is evident: God botherers rule, okay.

Morrison and the theocratic conclave at The Australian want to call this a blow for religious freedom, or protection – as if believers were somehow under threat; but of course they are not. The predecessors of the crusaders screaming alarm may have – indeed, did – burn heretics at the stake, but in  modern Australia religion, and particularly Christianity, is not only protected but privileged.

There are occasional hate crimes, but mainly against Muslims and Jews, and it could be argued that they are often more about race than religion. But in any case they are crimes, and the criminals should be and usually are prosecuted.

Morrison wants far more – not freedom and protection, but positive discrimination – the right of those who espouse, or claim to espouse, religious views to break the laws that apply to all other Australians. It is spelt out in his manifesto: he intends to amend the Racial Discrimination to outlaw discrimination against any religion, or none – atheists will also be protected.

No one can object to that, although it seems something of a solution in search of a problem. But – and it is a very big but – there will be exceptions and exemptions for religious bodies.

And the LRC is to devise ways to enshrine discrimination – the word is explicit —  in the employment of staff on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status. More discrimination, not less.

And there is more: religious schools may discriminate against students on the same basis. So much for the promise that no gay children will ever be expelled. Apparently we need the provision just in case.

And in the meantime, gay children may be told by their teachers  that they must not marry and they are inherently unnatural, an abomination unto the Lord who will condemn them to burn in hell forever. And the teachers, and their bosses will be subsidised by the taxpayers to preach their doctrines of hate..

This is the payback for the decisive vote in favour of the same sex marriage plebiscite, which Morrison, among others, lauded as bringing Australian together. The losers in that debate – less than 40 percent, not the 70 percent Morrison keeps referring to as the majority – demanded their pound of flesh,  and Morrison is offering a motza.

The bakers and florists may have missed out, but the heavies are laughing all the way to their richly endowed places of worship. And even if Morrison loses next May, it will probably not alter things much: the heavily Catholicized Labor Party has no stomach for an ongoing brawl against the well armed and resourced warriors of the various churches.

So our supposedly secular society, the one in which the constitution forbids the  establishment of a religion, is to be rejigged as a haven and paymaster not for a religion, but for any and all religions.

This, apparently, is what Morrison regards as the basis of a free society. Others may say we are paying a hefty price.

Finally, apropos of absolutely nothing:

I do not love thee, Cardinal Pell

For child abusers burn in hell

And those who shelter them as well –

You’ll frizzle nicely, Cardinal Pell.

Seasons greetings.

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Mungo MacCallum is a veteran political journalist and commentator. His books include Run Johnny Run, Poll Dancing, and Punch and Judy.

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