Does Christianity Have a Future Under Labor?

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Keneally said discussions over the religious discrimination bill have played an important role in raising the awareness of the work’s increasingly vigorous to religious communities, of which she is a key envoy. (AAP Image / Dan Himbrechts)

Labor is stepping up its attempts to woo Christian votes in the run-up to the 2022 federal election, with Senator Kristina Keneally appearing on an online forum to answer the question, “Does Christianity have a future under Labor?”

The question was asked in reference to Labor’s previous defeat in the 2019 federal election and current debates over religious freedom.

Keneally said the party’s post-election review concluded voters formed “the impression that Labor was not as welcoming to believers as our opponents”.

The suppression by Labor of the vote of conscience on the question of same-sex marriage influenced this view of the electorate, which “disappointed” Keneally

“I felt this sent a message that Labor no longer respected the views of people in the community who held a different position in good conscience on this issue,” the senator said.

Keneally sought to portray opposition leader Anthony Albanese as an alternative prime minister who would rule in the tradition of Catholic social education.

She appealed to the broad Catholic concern for social justice and ecology as important political issues in 2022, but did not substantively discuss religious freedom until it was questioned by the organizers.

“[Albanese’s] Mother Marianne imbued her son with three main denominations: the Catholic Church, the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Australian Labor Party, ”said Keneally.

“Through his education and his Catholic education, he knows the importance of taking care of the poor, of feeding the hungry, of taking care of the sick. To value the human dignity inherent in every person.

“This is now Labor’s vision for the future of our country. Indeed, we could call it a country where we seek to bring good news to the poor and liberate the oppressed. “

Keneally admitted that discussions over the religious discrimination bill have been an important part of the work’s increasingly vigorous outreach to religious communities, of which she is a key envoy.

Yet when asked if Labor would support the bill, she replied ‘we don’t have a final version’.

“We must wait for the conclusion of these two investigations [a Senate Inquiry and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights] before we come to a final position.

She said Labor’s principles when making a decision on the bill were influenced by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and by the desire to protect existing protections under Australia’s Discrimination Act.

She called for a bipartisan stance on the bill and said the coalition government was trying to turn religious freedom into “political football” ahead of the elections.

“I don’t think it serves the community at large and I certainly don’t think it serves the purposes of good public policy making,” Keneally said.

She supported the right of religious communities to privilege those of their own faith in employment, saying that as a Catholic teacher she has learned that religious communities are “ecosystems” where each person has a role in it. respect for values ​​and standards.

“Anthony Albanese’s mother, Marianne, imbued her son with three major denominations: the Catholic Church, the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Australian Labor Party”

Keneally is seeking to leave the Senate in the next election and move to the seat of Fowler’s lower house in western Sydney, which encompasses Cabramatta and the surrounding area.

The headquarters has a vibrant Christian population and is among Sydney’s most culturally diverse communities.

Her appearance at the webinar, hosted by Christian lobby group FamilyVoice, gave her the opportunity to speak about her own struggles with the faith, including her doubts during the Royal Commission on Child Abuse.

“I sometimes find it difficult to understand how an institution that is so imperfect and allowed such evil to occur could also be a transmission of the grace and sacraments of God,” Keneally said.

“[But] I’m not sure I could give up being a Catholic any more than I could give up being a woman or being 53. “

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