The Australian Christian Lobby has launched a campaign to preserve religious schools’ ability to discriminate against LGBTI students and staff called ‘Save our Schools’.

The ACL said they launched ‘Save our Schools’ in response to the Senate inquiry into exemptions to discrimination laws afforded to religious schools.

“It’s critical that the voices of concerned parents are heard over the activists,” said ACL Managing Director Martyn Iles.

“The orchestrated push to shut down freedom for religious schools is ultimately an attack on their Australian way of life.

“Any changes to the Sex Discrimination Act would be based on the lie that religious schools are expelling students simply because they are gay,” Iles said.

“The devil is so often in the detail when it comes to legislation, and the situation is no different here.

“The existing law goes a long way to protecting the integrity of faith-based school communities which so many parents choose for their kids.

“But it is not used to disbar same-sex attracted children. That simply isn’t happening,” he said, ignoring the degree to which the exemptions have been used to instil fear and justify discrimination even if they haven’t often been acted on in a literal sense.

“To erode the freedoms that so many parents hold dear in the education of their children over a lie is untenable. The government should not countenance it.”

The ACL says that ‘Save our Schools’ is designed to give a platform to “parents and grandparents whose voices have been pushed aside in the school freedoms debate” according to their statement.

“They are the people who work hard and make sacrifices to send their children to schools who hold to a religious ethos and biblical principles.”

The ACL’s website encouraged parents, grandparents and even students to sign an open letter to be sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has routinely made use of rhetoric similar to the ACL’s in his infamous public comments about trans and gender diverse young people, as well as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

“Knowing that my school has the legal protection to safeguard its Christian ethos is very important to my family,” reads the form letter students are encouraged to sign.

“Please do not dishonour the sacrifices my parents have made so that I can be part of a Christian school community.”

This new ACL campaign bears striking similarities to a ‘Parental Rights’ campaign launched in August, which saw the far-right lobby group launch a petition against Labor’s proposed banning of conversion therapy.

More recently, Iles hit out at anti-bullying program Project Rockit and the LGBTI Australians behind it.

Though the ACL suggests that religious “counselling” over issues of gender and sexuality does not align with its media portrayals and that anti-LGBTI discrimination does not exist in schools, they continue to fight doggedly for the preservation of legal rights to enact both.

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