It's not often that I agree with Bob Carr, the former Labour Premier of New South Wales. He's a pro-abortion, pro-embryonic stem cell research and small ‘l’ liberal. (Why do so many small ‘l’ liberals join the Labour party? BTW, I really don't need this question answered.) But I think in ‘Rights charter like a dead parrot’, he gets it spot on.
There has been a concerted push in recent times for Australia to adopt a human rights charter. It's supposedly designed to ensure that “Australia joins the rest of the enlightened world by enacting comprehensive human rights legislation” (see: humanrightsact.com.au). It is, of course, anything but a way of ensuring that human rights are preserved in Australia.
The reasons that it would fail are manifold, but the most significant one is raised by Carr at the end of his article. A human rights charter ends up legislating liberalism and allowing no room for conscience. Or, in other words, it forces everyone to adopt exactly the same moral position as the authors of the charter.
Carr points out that under current laws, a nurse or doctor with a conscientious objection to performing an abortion is currently allowed to not perform the procedure. However, under the proposed charter, that freedom would be removed. The reason for this is that much of what passes for liberalism is, in fact, a front for dictatorial autocracy. The move is always from “let's allow these two opinions to co-exist” to “you are no longer welcome in our society if you believe that”.
If you've followed any of the shenanigans with the legal action being pursued by the Anglican Church of Canada against Bible-believing pastors and their congregations in New Westminster, you'll know that it works exactly the same way in the church as it does outside. No-one's allowing any room for conscientious objection to the Anglican Church of Canada's same-sex marriage proposals.
Liberalism nearly always becomes dictatorial because once you reject God, who's left in control? The answer is sinful human beings. This gives you two problems: (1) Sinful human beings being in charge and (2) No final righteous judgement—so if I don't demand my rights now, I will never be vindicated. In other words, I have sinful human beings who have no option but to fight for their position tooth and nail. It's not pretty.
So I find myself, rather oddly, in agreement with Bob Carr, hoping that our national charter of human rights ends up as a dead bird. (I'm also praying that another liberal institution has as much courtroom success as a parrot pining for the fjords!)