AMNESTY International insists that Christian schools should be stripped of their right to prefer staff who practice Christianity because this is discrimination, and discrimination is not fair.
At present, religious schools are allowed to preference job applicants who subscribe to their religious values. But Amnesty argues that this is not fair to applicants with different values.
If people with values contrary to Christianity are unable to work at Christian schools then they will be left with no alternative but to seek work at one of several thousand public schools where their views are uncontroversial, and this would not be fair.
The bigger problem, though, is that if Christian schools only employ staff who agree with Christian values then they will be easily able to retain their Christian character.
This means Christian parents may enrol their children at Christian schools while non-Christian parents will typically choose to enrol their children elsewhere. And this, for reasons unknown, is not fair.
In order to create fairness, Amnesty insists that the Government should force Christian schools to employ people who don’t agree with their Christian ethos. In this way, the school’s entire rationale for existence is undermined and parents won’t see any point enrolling their children at all.
Religious schools will close down leaving only non-religious schools. And then things will be fair.
But Amnesty has yet other ways of enforcing ‘fairness’. Advocacy program manager Ms Emma Bull has said public funding from a secular government should not be used to “contribute to discrimination” because discrimination is not fair.
To eliminate discrimination, which is not fair, Ms Bull called on the Government to actively discriminate against religious schools so that funding could be distributed fairly.
If Christian schools insisted on employing only Christian staff – which is not fair because it is discrimination – then parents at those schools should receive nothing in return for their taxes. And this will make things fair.
Advocates of religious freedom, such as Professor of Law at Sydney University, Patrick Parkinson, insist that what Amnesty disparage as “freedom to discriminate” is really the “freedom to select”.
He argues that religious groups should have the freedom to select the staff they want, rather than being dictated to by Government.
This would create a situation in which religious schools could maintain their religious charter and live or die based on how many people wanted their services.
While this idea seems to have merit, it robs unelected, unrepresentative Left-leaning groups like Amnesty of the chance to dictate how free people conduct themselves.
In order to stop Christian schools discriminating in the name of Christian values, Amnesty proposes to discriminate in the name of secular values. And this, apparently, is fair.