In December 2017, after years of public debate and in response to a controversial “non-compulsory opinion survey” the Australian Parliament voted to approve same-sex marriage, preserving the right of religious celebrants to refuse to marry same sex couples. In July 2018, after decades of wrestling with the same matter the Uniting Church in Australia (the third largest Christian church in Australia) gave permission for its ministers to solemnise same-sex marriages. The UCA decision also preserved the right of ministers and congregation to continue to uphold a traditional view of marriage and to refuse to conduct same-sex marriages. The intense debate within the church following this decision throws light on a wide range of the key features of religion in contemporary Australia including the diversity of faith and practice, cultural and linguistic diversity, and the changing relation between the churches, society and government. This project maps and discusses those features, and asks what they suggest for the medium term future of a religious organisation like the Uniting Church in Australia.
Sexuality, Values, Politics, Christianity, Australia
The Politics of Religion
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Principal, Uniting College for Leadership & Theology, UCA Synod of South Australia
Rev Dr Andrew Dutney is Professor of Theology at Flinders University and the Principal of Uniting College for Leadership & Theology. He is the Executive Officer, Mission Resourcing for the Uniting Church in Australi (UCA) Synod of South Australia. He is a Past President (2012-2015) of the national Assembly of the UCA. He is widely published in religion, theology and ethics and is the preemient expert of the history, theology and polity of the UCA. He has long standing research and practical interests in bioethics and was the Chairperson of the South Australian Council on Reproductive Technology (1996-2006).