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Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

23 June 2016

Cathy Wilcox Cartoon in The Age 20 June 2016

The Cathy Wilcox cartoon printed in The Age on 20 June 2016 seems to imply that religious groups support homophobia.  This displays religious intolerance of the kind that a major newspaper should be condemning rather than publishing.

Yes, there are some faith leaders and faith groups that express homophobic comments, and sometimes terrible, extreme opinions but most people of faith and faith leaders would condemn such attitudes.  These sorts of vitriol should be called out and strongly condemned.

In fact last week a coalition of over fifty faith groups, religious institutions and faith leaders issued a strong statement condemning homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. The statement and the current list of supporters is reproduced below.

It may be telling that The Australian printed the statement last week and the Herald Sun reported on it, but I don’t believe that The Age printed or mentioned it anywhere.  I hope that The Age will apologise for the cartoon, or at least print the statement below.  It is an important message to not just the general community, but especially to LGBTI members of the community that they are valued and respected members of the community.

Multifaith Statement Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

The incredible violence against innocent LGBTI community members in Orlando is deplored in the strongest possible terms. There is no excuse for such appalling and evil actions, driven by hate and intolerance.

As faith leaders in the Victorian community, we recognise the sanctity of every human life. Every community member is entitled to live their lives free of fear, bullying, intimidation or violence.

Everyone, of any sexual orientation or gender identity should be treated with respect and dignity. The physical health, safety and mental health of all Victorian community members is of vital importance. To this end, we call for all faith communities and community members to take a strong stand against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

Supported by:


AMAFHH Federation
Australian Asian Alliance
Australian Catholics for Equality
Australian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) Vic
B’nai B’rith Antidefamation Commission (ADC)
Prof Gary Bouma, The UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific and Associate Priest, St John’s Anglican Parish, East Malvern
Brahma Kumaris Australia
Buddhist Council of Victoria
Council of Christians and Jews
Dr Hass Dellal AO, Executive Director, Australian Multicultural Foundation
Mohammed Elleissy, Community Worker
Mohamed Elrafihi, Adviser to Minister for Finance & Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott
Sam Afra, Chair of the Ethnic Communities Council of the South East (ECCOSE) Inc
Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV)
Solaimon Fahiz, Chief of Staff to Minister Robin Scott
Sheihk Riad Galil OAM, Senior Imam West Heidelberg Mosque
Benjamin Oh, Chair, GLBTIQ Interfaith & Intercultural Network (GIIN)
Hindu Council of Australia, Victorian Division
Hindu Foundation
Bishop Philip Huggins, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne
Jewish Care Victoria
Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV)
Kehilat Nitzan
Dr Michael Bernard Kelly, Catholic writer and activist, Monash University
Keshet Australia
LGBTI Latin and Hispanics in Victoria
Lutheran Church of Australia Victorian District
Muslims for Progressive Values - Australia
Imam Nur Warsame and Marhaba
National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Vic) (NCJWA)
North Eastern Jewish Centre (NEJC)
Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI)
Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Founding Member on behalf of the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council (AGMC)
Progressive Judaism Victoria
Rainbow Catholic Interagency for Ministry
Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV)
Dr Gavi Ansara, Founding Coordinator, Rosh Pinah: An Affirming Orthodox Jewish Network
The Salvation Army
Sikh Interfaith Council
Socially Engaged Buddhists of Australia
Temple Beth Israel
Sharon Hollis, Moderator, Uniting Church of Australia Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
United Religions Initiative
Anthony Venn-Brown, CEO, Ambassadors and Bridge Builders International (ABBI)
Victorian Council of Churches (VCC)
Wesley Mission Victoria

Yours sincerely,

Jennifer Huppert                                      David Marlow
President                                                      Executive Director




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