Title: Thinly disguised theocracy? Credit: Craig Young Comment Sunday 4th September 2005 - 12:00pm1125792000 Article: 897 Rights
Who is Raymond de Souza, and why should we be wary of him? He recently appeared in the context of ACT's fundamentalist pamphlet and the furore around it. According to one Catholic Right website, Saintgabriel.Com, he was involved with the antigay Coalition of Concerned Citizens and CHP in the nineties. Before that, he was involved with a notorious Latin American far right group called "Tradition, Family, Property" which associated with Latin American rightist dictatorships. After concluding that there was no real Catholic Right in New Zealand, he headed off to Australia and Canada. Anyway, de Souza has slagged off Canada for daring to introduce its federal same-sex marriage legislation. According to him, clergy will be forced to marry same-sex couples! Churches will be forced to rent out venues for same-sex marriages! Religious charities will have to recognise same-sex married employees! Church hierarchies won't be able to discipline liberal clerics who defy them on same sex marriages and perform them! Nonsense. If the Catholic Right wants to discriminate against gay ordinands and not perform civil unions or same-sex marriages, then it is entitled not to do. Seriously, does de Souza really think we're going to don bad seventies polyester, tacky mullet wigs and troll down to some stygian right-wing church to insist they do? Of course not. Predictably, de Souza objects to fundamentalist and conservative Catholic educational institutions, businesses etc being unable to discriminate against us on the basis of "religious liberty"- as opposed to religious freedom. No-one intends to deny any conservative Christian their rights to free belief, conscienc, worship or assembly. However, they need to get used to the fact that we live in a pluralist democratic society where no one sect should be able to impose their sectarian viewpoint on others. Have some of us learnt nothing from Yugoslavia in the nineties, where Milosevic's brutal regime was encouraged by a racist, sectarian Serbian Orthodox Church? Because that is what happened when church and state weren't separated in that context. Let's not make that same mistake. Recommended: Raymond de Souza profile: "Thinly Disguised Totalitarianism": Craig Young - 4th September 2005    
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