Discrimination? Australia 4th in world religious freedom rankings

religious freedom ranking religious discrimination
Image: Pew Research

The draft Religious Discrimination Bill is a result of complaints arising out of the same-sex marriage debate. Some religious groups equate equal rights for LGBTIQ people with an erosion of their own liberty. However, various world religious freedom rankings place Australia in the Top 10 with the most recent evaluation placing us fourth.

Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher voiced concern about purported religious discrimination in 2018.


“We cannot take the freedom to hold and practice our beliefs for granted, even here in Australia.”

“Powerful interests now seek to marginalize religious believers and beliefs, especially Christian ones, and exclude them from public life.”

The Australian Christian Lobby also made a similar claim in a petition to the Australian Senate.

“There is no doubt it is getting harder for Christians to live out their faith in modern Australia.”

The ACL complained this week the provisions of the Religious Discriminations Bill do not go far enough.

Archbishop Fisher disputed the result of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey after the announcement of the outcome despite an 80% turnout for the voluntary vote and the resounding 61.60% majority in favour of reform.

World Religious Freedom Rankings

Various organisations publish research on religious freedom worldwide.

The latest research comes from US News who released their 2019 Best Countries Ranking in January.

Australia, which placed seventh in the overall ranking, scored fourth on the religious freedom ranking.

The Caro Institute Human Freedom Index for 2018 ranks Australia 4th world-wide for human freedoms. It also attributes a score of 9.1 out of 10 for Religious Freedom.

The Freedom House Freedom in the World 2019 Report gave Australia an aggregate freedom score of 98 out of 100.

It scored Australia four out of four on all religious freedom components of the aggregate.


Pew Research last issued their Trends in Religious Restrictions and Hostilities report in 2015.

That report showed Australia to have amongst the lowest restrictions on religion in the world and also among the least religious hostility.

Australia scored better than many European countries and the United States of America.

Human Freedom

Analysis of the various reports shows up something ignored by people who want increased protection for their right to discriminate.

The countries that best protect religious freedom are also the countries with the best records on equal rights for LGBTIQ people.

The best guarantee for religious freedom is human freedom.

Equality, not privilege.

The draft Religious Discrimination Bill does not offer equality.

It builds on the existing privilege of organised religion to deny equal rights to LGBTIQ Australians and other minorities.

Advocates for the increased legislative power state openly they want the laws to ‘counter’ the marriage equality reform.

Freedom is not won by ‘countering’ other people’s rights.

Freedom is only won by equality before the law.

A law allowing one section of the community to discriminate against others based on religious belief is unjust.

It is discrimination.

Excusing a statement that would break the law under any other circumstance, but is made lawful by a claim of religious privilege, undermines centuries of progress toward secular democracy.

We might as well give bishops a veto on legislation again.

Archbishop Fisher wants to deny LGBTIQ people employment but imagine the outrage if an LGBTIQ business advertised a job with the condition ‘No Catholics’.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

The Christian Bible makes more than one reference to Jesus Christ quoting the ‘Golden Rule’ common to most world religions in his Sermon on the Mount.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Not a bad thought.

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