A complete tax holiday PLUS welfare payments to organised crime?
Why pay billions of taxpayer dollars to christian welfare groups when they have been exposed as Criminal Gangs. Not only has the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse identified the repeat offending of those organisations, it has shown that they abused their political influence and closed ranks to protect their members from prosecution. We can no longer involve these gangs in providing welfare to our most vulnerable.
The evidence thrown up at the commission is more than enough to justify kicking a large proportion of the so called Christian operators of schools, orphanages and other institutions out of welfare for ever. We must curtail the power they have abused by taking welfare out of their hands and putting it in the hands of the community. Right now, the opposite is happening. The community sector is being starved of funds and the money is being poured into the churches.
This argument is not anti-theism.
For a start, my targets are the institutions not the faithful. It is the institutions that have the money and the power to hire managers and staff of the organisations that purportedly house the homeless, protect the vulnerable and feed or clothe the poor.
Second, my charge is not that religious institutions have no place in welfare. That place, though, should be limited to the wishes of its members and their capacity to fund those wishes. To put the church in charge of taxpayer funded programs of government is to grant them inappropriate privilege. To do that at a time when they have failed their flock so criminally is simply insane.
Third, I am not arguing that organisations should be denied funding on the basis of their belief patterns. That would be discrimination of the worst kind. It is appropriately discriminating, however, to conclude that legally incorporated bodies that have repeatedly broken the law and used their institutional power to avoid prosecution are inappropriate bodies to receive public funding to deliver public services.
I am not claiming that religion is evil. Indeed, greed and lust for power is not the exclusive province the christian church. Private operators in the welfare sector have been notorious since Dickens penned Oliver Twist and were no less prevalent prior to that unwelcome notoriety. The religious institutions that are now exposed for harbouring the most heinous criminals while also being largely responsible for the welfare sector reflect the make-up of Australian society. Had the penal colony been founded by Zoroastrian imperialists, I am sure we would be reflecting on the institutional cruelty or the Zooastrian clergy.
Our problem is not the religiosity of these institutions it is that they are being handed ever more money and power as the ideological drive to get rid of the public service pushes more and more victims into their care.
Ponder this as you next take up your burden. May righteous anger leaven your pain.