Following my request to the President of the UCA for a clarification of the recent ABC TV, Radio and Online news other media reports that the Uniting Church had joined a small number of other denominations in presenting a petition to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader related to so called “freedom of religion” in the Israel Folau case, I have received the following:
At our urging, the ABC has acknowledged, corrected the online story and apologised to us for its error. The SMH also corrected its story at our urging to distinguish between Dr Fihaki’s comments and any official position of the Church.
We are reminding news editors that the Uniting Church is not a signatory to any letter to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader seeking reassurances about freedom of religion.
The Uniting Church’s actual position on freedom of religion, as expressed to the Expert Panel of Religious Freedom in January 2018, is that “such freedoms are never to be self-serving, but rather ought to be directed toward the Church’s continuing commitment to seeking human flourishing and wholeness within a healthy, diverse society.” The full submission is available here.
Individual Uniting Church ministers and other members of the Church from time to time express a range of public views.
However, we expect ministers, lay leaders and others and the journalists who cover them not to misrepresent these views as official positions of the Church.
The only authorised spokespeople on the Church’s national positions are the President Dr Deidre Palmer or in matters of regional significance, the Moderators of Synods.
Thanks for your query.
Matt/Assembly Comms “