The Uniting Church’s racial vilification problem

In April 2014, the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly made a submission to the Attorney-General’s Department opposing the repeal of 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act stating that, “The Uniting Church in Australia is committed to positively contributing to a nationthat is inclusive and harmonious. We believe that diversity strengthens us: as individuals, in the life of our Church, and our society as a whole. We firmly reject the proposed amendments contained in the Bill as we believe they lessen the protections against racial vilification and have the potential to open the floodgates with regards to the production, dissemination and broadcast of materials that propagate racial hatred. When individuals are targets of racial vilification, their dignity is diminished; by our values, traditions and beliefs. We find this wholly unacceptable.”

So it must have come as quite a shock to discover that they themselves have had a complaint made against them under the notorious 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act. Their crime: to build a memorial to the ‘comfort women’ who were repeatedly raped by Japanese soldiers during World War 2. There were roughly 200,000 of these women forced into sexual slavery, most of whom came from China and Korea.

The Australia-Japanese Community Network have described the memorial as, “This hurtful historical symbol is detrimental to the local community and will only result in generating offence and racial hate.” The Uniting Church has a fairly significant Korean congregation who no doubt find the memory of the forced rape of their ancestors and relatives to be rather hurtful. This hurt has no doubt been made worse by Japanese denials and the claim that the women weren’t raped and claims that they were well paid prostitutes. The fact the Japanese community have the audacity to use racial vilification laws to censor their critics must be deeply offensive.

The absurdity of this case should convince even the social justice warriors at the Uniting Church that 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act is a completely unacceptable attack on free speech. Laws such as 18c can be used as weapons to silence people who discuss difficult issues. In this case it’s Japanese War crimes. No doubt some Japanese feel raising Japanese war crimes is racial vilification targeted at them. However such discussions are for the Japanese the only way the animosity between the Japanese and Korean communities is going to be overcome is by speech.

Many in the Uniting Church have strongly opposed to Australia’s tough border control policies. The recent protests that disrupted the sitting of parliament were conducted by people associated with the Uniting Church in Queensland. No doubt the refugee advocates within the Uniting Church would love to use 18c to prevent free discussion around immigration and the possible negative consequences of the open border policies they advocate. Whatever one may think of such arguments people should have the right to make them. The Japanese community are absolutely entitled to debate the historical accuracy of the comfort women memorial. They aren’t entitled to to silence people who disagree with them. Maybe now they’ve experience the true censorial nature of 18c they might reconsider their position.

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Justin Campbell

Justin works in technology and has degrees in accounting and economics. He lives in Brisbane, Queensland. He is a reformed leftie having previously been a member of the Australian Democrats and the Australian Labor Party. Justin is passion about protecting free markets and a free society. He is interested in free speech advocacy, social liberties and free market economic reform.

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29 Comments on "The Uniting Church’s racial vilification problem"

  1. “Who would have ever guessed 18c ….. You’re kidding! It was blatantly obvious from the word go.

  2. No no no! The goodly powers of 18d will mean that this never happened! *magic wavy hands*

    But yeah, the fact this is being used against the “Uniting” “Church” is pretty much a perfect illustration of how stupid the entire structure is.

  3. Wow so surprised NOT

  4. Though that they coped it should serve as a lesson given the twits supported it in the first place

  5. next it will be illegal to look at people without a smile on face

  6. Stupid Christian idiots thinking its all good. Now it bites your ass..diversity..pffft

  7. It inhibits the discussions we must have,your call.

  8. serves the bastards right if it turns around and bites them!

  9. yes Neil it was, but a nods as good as a wink to a blind horse!

  10. we will experience racial vilification when 18c is repealed.

  11. There are so many contradictory issues today where people take a certain stance in a debate and it comes back to bite them later. It’s a sign of a society that has tossed the chart and compass overboard and steer the ship in any direction that feels good at the time. They don’t see that it is going round and round in ever decreasing circles until it runs into its own poop deck going the other way. How is that possible? If your logic is based on both……and….. instead of either……or…… you end up believing you can pick up something that is filthy, vile and smelly, by the clean end.

  12. 18c was always intended to end free speech, and end speech in defence of christianity & the West

  13. You didn’t tell us what happened to the case, was that because it was thrown out? Another beat up. Still waiting for you to complain about anything other than 18c.

  14. The Marxist Party at prayer

  15. This has nothing to do with 18c. It has to do with Japanese sensitivities about comfort women. The people involved do not want to conciliate they want to stop the monument. I suggest that this will end like the prior case, thrown out like last weeks rubbish

  16. There is no ‘debate’ about free speech only soap boxers shouting and hollering unfortunately and mainly at their own tribe. Free speech as a Liberal concept is a philosophy, an opinion and is no more universal than Islam, just one more example of Hard Right promoting an Anti Christian message. Cover your ears or get a proper job but stay away from the apple

  17. and that is NOT what the church goers want ! They want freedom of speech !

  18. They probably didn’t read it themselves.

  19. The Uniting Church in Australia Assembly seem to run off the rails every now and then and not to many in the Church take any notice of them. You get that with the big boys up top in most things.

  20. Er, “the Marxist party” at work—-WHERE!!!!!!!!

  21. you have to remember that the uniting church has just officially removed the words Jesus and Christ from their vocabulary as they might offend non christians

  22. The case will almost certainly be thrown out
    Really hitching your wagon to a case like this is like claiming that Lindy Chamberlain being charged with murder shows that murder should be legal

  23. He who controls the present , controls the past . Don’t you think none of us ever read .

  24. Okay why is this stupid white-privilege bullshit showing up on my feed? >:( *hides ad, reports, blocks*

  25. The final word in this article is that 18c prevents people talking about immigration and yet here we all are talking about immigration.

    Heres an article and I see to every major television station and newspaper.

    If the oulawing of racial slurring is the greatest threat to free speech you rascals can think of well. youl get the bogans on side and thats it.

  26. One of the opponents to the statue denied that the women were even raped, and that they were actually willing participants.

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