Probe into Aussie bishop’s “threat”

Probe into Aussie bishop’s “threat”

Now this is religious persecution. Because Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth, Australia, said Catholic politicians who vote in favor of a cloning should not receive Communion, the head of West Australia’s parliament has called for an investigation. (What’s with Australia lately?)

[Friedrich] Riebeling said that the archbishop’s public statement was a threat against members of parliament. “He has said he didn’t make a threat,” the assembly speaker said. “I think he’s the only person in Australia that doesn’t think that.”

The only threat here is the threat against Archbishop Hickey’s freedom of religion. As Phil Lawler of Catholic World News said in his headline email today:

Doctors say that cigarette smoking can cause lung cancer and heart disease. Would you say they’re threatening people by saying that? I don’t think so; they’re merely helping people to recognize the consequence of their actions.

Similarly, when a bishop says that politicians who support immoral legislation are endangering their standing as Catholics, the bishop is helping those politicians recognize a danger to their spiritual welfare. Notice that if any damage is done, the politician does that damage to himself. The bishop isn’t threatening anything.

What kind of world is it when a religious leader says that if a member of his religion does not act according to its tenets, he will be denied access to its sacred rituals, and it’s interpreted as a threat serious enough to warrant government investigation into the matter? Who has the right to determine whether someone may participate in a religion’s sacred rituals: the members of that religion or the government?

But then the last acceptable prejudice is anti-Christianity, and especially anti-Catholicism.

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