The growing hostility towards Christians in all aspects of life is making living out one’s faith and convictions in public increasingly more difficult.
A new initiative from the Human Rights Law Alliance (HRLA) aims to equip the next generation of young law students and graduates with the skills necessary to represent and defend those who face legal action for expressing their faith in public.
In a country where every person, regardless of their faith, philosophy or creed should be free to speak openly about what they believe and practise their beliefs without fear of exclusion, hostility or unfair treatment, the opposite is happening.
We see instead the increased silencing of religious voices and a move towards conformity, enforced groupthink and thought policing.
These changes mean that Christians are increasingly targeted and punished for standing up for what they believe.
This cultural shift happening in Australia (and throughout much of the western world) is not just theoretical; its consequences are felt and experienced by real people who risk losing their jobs, their livelihoods and their reputations.
People like HRLA client Samantha*, a university lecturer in Western Australia who received a written warning from her employer for engaging in casual discussions about Christianity with staff and students, are but one example.
Or Ben*, a taxi driver in New South Wales who was instructed by his employer not to discuss faith or politics at work after an anonymous complaint was made about him, even though Ben had never forced conversations about politics or religion on any of his customers, and had never had a complaint made against him before.
It is challenges such as these that have prompted this new initiative from the HRLA. The next generation of lawyers will receive training to equip them to understand issues of faith, freedom, and the law from a Christian worldview in order to be able to defend ordinary Australians.
The Legal Academy is an intensive, week-long training program scheduled for September this year, which aims to inspire and empower the upcoming generation of Australian law students and graduates to apply Biblical principles and defend religious freedom rights.
The primary goal of this program is to support fellow Australians and protect their ability to live out their convictions and faith publicly.
The team at HRLA has been heartened by the overwhelming support and interest expressed by law students and graduates eager to take up this unique opportunity.
*Clients have been de-identified where settlements were confidential, where issues are sensitive, where requested or where a matter is currently before the Courts.
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