Are courts inherently biased against religion? This is a view which has some currency in Christian discussion. It underlies skepticism about how courts will decide cases where religious interests are being weighed against values such as equality and non-discrimination. This short paper looks at three examples where the courts have had to deal with religious interests, including the only case to date where an Australian charter has dealt with religious freedom. Are courts biased against religion_IsaiahOne
Are human rights ‘instruments’ such as Charters or Bills of Rights essentially unfavourable towards faith and religious freedom? This view was strongly argued in a number of church submissions to the National Consultation on Human Rights (available for download from the NHRC website). In particular, the submissions argued that while they respect such international norms as Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which protects freedom of religion (belief and manifestation), the expression of this article in domestic Charters, such as Victoria’s, watered down this right. So, are Charters ‘broken’ when it comes to defending faith?