Transgender guidelines codified due to new religion law


The new religious discrimination law was passed – not in the Federal Parliament, but in a church parliament – the Sydney Synod of the Anglican Church. Or, more exactly, the Synod adopted a doctrine on the sensitive subject of transgender people, in order to adapt to the new law that the Federal Parliament could begin to consider at its next session.

It is highly likely that the debate and negotiations over the new religious discrimination law will continue into the next year. Meanwhile, Sydney’s Anglicans are ready – or nearly ready.

“Our legal advice is actually to quote the Bible. – Peter Hayward, Anglican Bishop of Wollongong

The new law on religious discrimination will require that churches and other religious institutions that wish their actions to be protected by the new law, be able to show a connection to doctrine.

Article 10 (1) of the draft law reads as follows: “A religious body shall not discriminate against a person under this law by adopting, in good faith , conduct which can reasonably be considered to conform to the doctrines, principles, beliefs or teachings of the religion in relation to which the religious body is directed.

For schools and churches in the Diocese of Sydney to have policies on transgender issues, they must have a publicly accessible doctrinal statement.

If the new law comes into force, similar declarations will be required for other religious organizations, which may need to justify gender identity policies.

“Our legal advice is actually to quote the Bible,” Peter Hayward, Bishop of Wollongong, told the synod on Monday evening as he presented the motion to adopt the doctrinal statement. This was based on a 70 page legal opinion delivered to the Anglican Standing Committee in Sydney.

An emotional debate ensued. An intersex member of the Synod (as Eternity understood the speech) explained that intersex people should not be covered in a footnote. In a powerful speech, Eternity columnist Michael Jensen requested that the hope given by the gospel be included in the doctrinal statement. These changes were made during a massive overnight redesign.

The Synod adopted the doctrinal statement and a set of pastoral guidelines for schools and organizations, but ran out of time to create a set of guidelines for local churches.

The doctrine statement affirms a traditional understanding of gender identity. “The Bible never approves of a discrepancy between biological sex and gender identity or expression. He continues: “Our gender identity is not a social construct.” (One of the statements added in the reformulation process.)

Schools and other organizations are invited to show their love by…. “Rejecting all bullying, mockery, mistreatment and abuse against gender nonconforming people. “

A typical statement in pastoral guidelines reads: “While gender dysphoria can be a lifelong battle for you, the word of God declares that all who have faith in Christ are loved by God and belong to the Lord. body of Christ, and that nothing can separate them from the love of God in Jesus.

Schools and other organizations are urged to show love, among other actions, by “rejecting all bullying, ridicule, mistreatment and abuse of gender nonconforming people”.

Although the parish guidelines were not adopted, a key change to these in the overhaul was to remove a suggestion that “ministry staff should encourage the person who has already made the transition to consider a de-. transition if possible ”.

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