Aussie Pastors Face Jail Sentences; Won't Apologize for expressing Beliefs About Islam vs. Christianity
Washington-based Becket Fund Defends Their Rights Under International Law
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 /Christian Newswire/ -- Two Australian pastors in the province of Victoria will go to jail if they don’t apologize for publicly comparing Christianity with Islam according to their beliefs. Riding to their rescue is the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Washington-based international non-partisan public interest law firm renowned for protecting the free expression of all religious traditions in the United States and around the world.
In arguments presented today (Monday, 8/14) in the Appeals Court of Australia, the Becket Fund is seeking to have overturned the 2004 ruling of the Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal. That Tribunal found that public expression of the pastors’ beliefs incited hatred against Muslims in violation of Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act because the pastors’ beliefs were deemed “offensive” and “unreasonable” interpretations of Christian and Islamic teachings.
“Pastors Daniel Scot and Danny Nalliah are victims of a rogue law that tramples on religious freedoms protected by international law,” said Seamus Hasson, the Becket Fund’s President. “Instead of promoting religious tolerance, the Act cultivates disharmony and suspicion. This law makes people afraid to engage in any genuine dialogue about religious beliefs because someone may end up taking them to court just for having an opinion!
“Our clients, as devoted men of God, were simply expressing their opinions in a straightforward, analytical way regarding the differences between Islam and Christianity,” Hasson said. “It doesn’t matter what the government or anyone else thinks about their opinions, everyone has the right to be wrong when it comes to expressing their opinions without fear of government sanction.”
Scot and Nalliah have vowed to go to jail rather than apologize for expressing their beliefs as the Tribunal has ordered.