Of course, the religious group that is spying on others looking to collect info for court cases is … you guessed it. There is a major case going on in Australia right now in which two Christian preachers are being sued by a Muslim group for talking about Islam and violence. The trial, however, has somewhat backfired on the Muslims, who have been compelled on the witness stand to read from their own sacred books. But in any case, Costello is right: all this comes from bad laws that should be repealed. From The Australian, with thanks to Nicolei:
FEDERAL Treasurer Peter Costello today slammed Victoria’s religious vilification laws, saying religious harmony would not be promoted by representatives of different religious groups spying on each other to collect evidence for court cases.
In an address to the national day of thanksgiving commemoration in Melbourne, Mr Costello said differing views of religion should not be resolved through civil lawsuits.
He said religious leaders should be free to express their doctrines and their comparative views of other doctrines, although advocating violence or terrorism should be an offence.
Mr Costello conceded his thanksgiving day speech, presented at Melbourne’s Scots Church, had already sparked some controversy.
Earlier this month The Age newspaper reported criticism from the Islamic Council of Victoria which suggested he could be giving legitimacy to those the Islamic Council was suing under Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001.
That relates to a controversial case in which the council is suing two fundamentalist Christian ministers for allegedly accusing Muslims of being terrorists and rapists.
The council lodged the complaint on behalf of two Muslim men and a Muslim woman who were among 250 people who attended the fundamentalist Christian seminar.
Mr Costello said he had no intention of seeking to influence the court case.
“Since the issue has been raised, I will state my view,” he said.
“I do not think that we should resolve differences about religious views in our community with lawsuits between differing religions.
“Nor do I think that the object of religious harmony will be promoted by organising witnesses to go along to the meetings of other religions to collect evidence for the purpose of later litigation.”
Mr Costello said no-one liked vilification.
“But if rival camps start sending informants to rival meetings so they can take legal proceedings against each other in publicly funded tribunals we shall not enhance our openness or tolerance,” he said.
“The proceedings that have been taken, the time, the cost, the extent of the proceedings, the remedies that are available all illustrate in my view that this is a bad law.”
Mr Costello lamented that the legacy of the Judeo-Christian tradition seemed to be fraying, with evidence of moral decay all around.