Review: Chalice of Liberty: Protecting Religious Freedom in Australia

Chalice of Liberty: Protecting Religious Freedom in AustraliaChalice of Liberty: Protecting Religious Freedom in Australia by Frank Brennan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the climate of Australian public discourse at the moment, and in light of recent developments that have had or will have significant consequences for religious freedom in Australia, this volume is a timely contribution.

Essentially consisting of two essays – one by Frank Brennan and Michael Casey on the importance of religious freedom for the well being of a secular democracy like Australia, and the other by Greg Craven looking at the legal protection of religious freedom in Australia – this book sets out very clearly the nature and necessity of everyone – religious, agnostic or atheist – ensuring the religious freedom, and its protection, continue to be a topic of interest and discussion in Australia.

Some of the comments in both essays might surprise those who think they know what religious freedom is (hint: they may not), and the ten principles of religious freedom contained in the first essay are worthy of reflection and consideration by every Australian, regardless of their religious affiliation. Couched very clearly in terms of human dignity and human rights, the arguments put forward in these essays are not easily dismissed – or are dismissed to the detriment of the broader society.

As you would expect from writers of the calibre of Brennan, Casey and Craven, this book is both easily accessible yet intellectually rigorous. A must-read for anyone who believes that human dignity and human flourishing is something to be sort by everyone for the sake of society.

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