The OPI has noted with grave concern the upcoming developments of the new bill that is being tabled, and its ramifications the for the community as a whole, but specifically the LGBTQI+ community in particular.
We remain unconvinced of its need, and in fact would support a bill granting Australians the right for freedom FROM religion. We cannot help but think that this bill is a response by the Christian right, to lick its wounds and claw back some of its power and influence to reset the loss it suffered after the bruising it experienced in the same-sex marriage plebiscite. One that it clearly hoped to have won, but reasonable thinking Australians felt differently on the matter and voted accordingly.
If the bill as it currently tabled becomes successfully legislated, the OPI looks forward to achieving the same level of equality, recognition, rights and freedoms to discriminate against other members of the community who do not share our views as the more orthodox right wing religious based movements are seeking to achieve for themselves, with the introduction of this bill.
For those of you who don’t know us it may now be time for a quick re-introduction of the real OPI.
Our Mission - As Sisters and Brothers of The Order of Perpetual Indulgence Sydney, we ever strive to uphold our vows to promulgate universal joy and to expiate stigmatic guilt, pledging our loyalty to public service, social activism and spiritual enlightenment.
Who Are We? - We are an order of Sydney based gay male nuns and lesbian monks in Gay, Lesbian and other communities supporting people's natural right to live and love whomever they wish, in the way that is natural for them.
We work towards a world where loving someone of the same sex is not a crime, nor is it a reason for shame.
We wear antiquated, outdated religious habits which parody the antiquated, outdated views still held by established religions and those people that propagate hatred and bigotry.
We also use 'Gay Male Nuns' and 'Lesbian Monks' in our terminology, as there are no such animals in the ranks of religious orders!
It may now be useful to at this point to call out some of the policy positions that the Catholic Church has held in the past and view it in the context of the additional freedoms that it and other religious institutions like it will be accorded to prosecute them and ones like it further if/when the bill is passed.
We have included an OPI response to many of these views held by the church as an addendum.
1. The UN reports for 2007 that 33 million people were HIV-positive, 2.1 million newly infected, and that 2.5 million died from AIDS. The Vatican published in 2004 a document claiming that condoms have holes and do not protect against AIDS. The WHO, health organisations, and the scientists quoted by the Vatican, reject this claim.
The OPI have always been advocates of safe sex, supporting other organisations in their effort to get that message out there in the public domain, and roundly condemns the disinformation that the Vatican has disbursed on the matter in the past.
2. The Vatican has consistently opposed condom distribution and safe sex education at UN meetings.
The OPI are proud of their support for the safe sex message and will continue to distribute condoms in the public domain as part of an overall strategy for increased awareness on the matter.
3. Pope Benedict proclaimed that homosexuality is a “strong tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil” and “must be seen as objective disorder”.
The OPI accepts no such claim and in our message of the “Promulgation of Universal Joy”, accept all as being equals and deserving of fulfilling lives in which all people no matter who or what their sexual persuasion may be, deserve to love and be loved.
4. The Church uses its influence to prevent same-sex legislation in numerous countries. Then Cardinal Ratzinger said: “The principles of respect and non-discrimination cannot be invoked to support legal recognition of homosexual unions.”
OPI response – the church is under the mistaken belief that it holds a monopoly on the institution of marriage. As all historians know, solemnised unions and the ceremonies that were held to celebrate them were being conducted long before the Church became a functional entity. The success and observance of same-sex unions proves that point and how a human society can (and must) evolve.
5. In more recent events in Australia, Karen Pack was praised as being an “excellent educator” but says she was sacked by her employer Morling College (a Baptist Theological institution) for being gay, but while the College disputes Ms Pack was sacked, it would not have been illegal for them to do so on the basis of her sexuality under the current work place laws governing these institution’s as they currently stand.
The OPI resolutely rejects this a being reasonable or conscionable behaviour by an employer in its conduct towards an employee who is not guilty of any professional misconduct or wrong doing and fear more of the same and worse in a future that legislates into existence the current religious freedom bill being tabled.
Anyone for large dollops of religious guilt?
Much of what many religious organisations are about, particularly in matters of sex, sexuality, reproductive rights of women, its attitude toward minority groups such as, lesbians, gays, bisexual, queer identifying, trans-genders +, revolve around the age-old axiom and misuse of guilt as a stick, as a weapon as a means of control. Examples of this, within many conservative organised religious groups, as the world-wide institutions that they are, are manifold and abundant.
The successful introduction of this bill in Australia will enable religious institutions the continued use of these well-worn tactics and to do so with greater impunity in a framework of Commonwealth Government based legal protections.
This bill has all the hallmarks of a backward regressive inward-looking society that fears a modern diverse inclusive and fully participative future by all the members of its community. It is a divisive legislature that will diminish the value of a large swathe of minority communities’ and has no place in a forward-looking country.
Mother Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation II (CPRII)
Nv M Sister Rowena Keeper of the Holy Doyley
Sister Rowena the Rotten Roadside Root
Sister Salomé of the 9th Mystic Rhinestone
Sister Eileen Dover of The Double Cross
Sister Catheter of the Sacred Immaculate Ejaculate (RSL)
Sister Oskar Raving Wilde (RSL)
Mother Boom Boom La Bush, Parisian Order of the French Coronet Nuns
Novice Sister Helena Anne Basquet
Novice Sister Nana Mouskouri Yasou Greek Nun from Hell
Novice Sister Mary Arse Licked and Old Lace
Novice Sister Sapphire In My Loins
Novice Sister Carmen Cider (RSL)
Saint WD (4.0)