A recent survey commissioned by a coalition of Christian Schools in Australia found that support for religious freedom laws is rising. An overwhelming majority supported the rights of religious schools to employ staff who affirm their values.
Over the past few years, religious freedom has gotten quite a bad rap. It has been construed by many — particularly within the legacy media and the political class — as the right to be intolerant or a bigot.
Many have perceived calls for religious freedom as merely an attempt by religious institutions to consolidate or extend their political power in Australia.
But a recent poll reveals that attitudes are changing. Well, actually, despite the negative attitudes in the elite class, support for religious freedom has always been quite high. Nonetheless, a recent poll commissioned by the Christian Schools Alliance indicates that the level of support for religious liberty is on the rise.
According to The Australian, the survey found that three in four (75%) Australians support the right of religious schools to hire staff who support their “stated values and beliefs”.
An even higher percentage — 86 per cent — support the rights of parents to choose a school that reflects their beliefs. This figure is up from 81 per cent just months ago in May.
ValuED Voices highlighted the fact that almost 90 per cent of parents whose children are in a faith-based school support the right of those schools to be able to hire staff who affirm their values.
The findings have sparked calls by prominent faith-based school advocates for Anthony Albanese to act by legislating against discrimination on the basis of religion. Representatives from the Australian Association of Christian Schools and Christian Schools Association called on the government to pass legislation with “strong” and “fair protections” for faith-based schools.
Conducted between 24 and 26 October, the survey comes in light of the recent Andrew Thorburn saga, in which the former National Australia Bank leader was pressured from his position as the CEO of the Essendon Football Club due to his Christian affiliations.
It was conducted by Compass Polling on behalf of the Australian Christian Schools Alliance, and it included a sample of respondents from across the political spectrum — Labor, Coalition, Greens and others.