LUCY- RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ATTACKED BY ACTIVISTS

Case Type:

Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, The Risks of Social Media

Lucy- Religious Freedom Attacked by Activists

Status: Settled by negotiation

Lucy- Religious Freedom Attacked by Activists

Lucy* is a Christian foster carer and volunteers on the board of a foster care organisation. She also volunteers instructing religious studies in a Victorian state primary school. An activist organisation devoted to removing religious education in schools harassed Lucy for her personal blog posts on same-sex marriage. She was forced to step down from the foster board, lost her instructor role, and almost had her foster children removed from her care.

Lucy kept her blog as a way of expressing her Christian beliefs in her own time. Lucy was aware that the public debate on same sex marriage covered many different views. She believed that just like everyone else, she had a right to speak openly and contribute to the public debate on her blog.

The activists found her blog and orchestrated a deluge of negative press against Lucy, writing to the Department of Education arguing that Lucy should be banned from instructing in schools because of her views. However, Lucy was following a department approved set curriculum and never imposed her Christian beliefs on others when volunteering at the school and on the foster board.

The negative publicity forced Lucy to step down from the foster care board, ostracised by her peers. She was also forced to resign from her voluntary position at the school. The organisation she fostered with tried to remove her foster children. It was only with the help of family and lawyers that that she was able to keep her family together.

The activists have effectively punished Lucy for publicly expressing her Christian beliefs.

*Clients have been de-identified where settlements were confidential, where issues are sensitive, where requested or where the matter is currently before the Courts.

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