Female WAFL Giants player Haneen Zreika is Muslim. Last week she refused to play – she was unwilling to wear the pride round jumper.
"As the first Australian Muslim woman in the AFLW, I have a responsibility to represent my faith and my community," Zreika wrote. “I respect people, regardless of their sexual orientation.”
The public response was balanced and fair. The head of the AFL's inclusion and social policy, Tanya Hosch, notes that inclusion was a complicated matter. "People of faith have rights as well," Hosch said. "Obviously this is one of those situations where there's an intersection of rights…."
Segments of the gay lobby were disappointed but understood Haneen’s position. Reaction on social media was mixed.
Contrast this with Citipointe Christian College. In their media statement, they state that “Citipointe does not judge students on their sexuality or gender identity…. [They] unequivocally love and respect all people regardless of their lifestyle and choices, even if those choices are different to our beliefs and practice.”
Like Haneen, Citipointe wishes to be a school that is true to its faith heritage and community. So they say: “The College offers our faith-based education as a choice among many other schooling options available to parents. Our society gives people freedom to be a part of groups and organisations with shared beliefs. The College, through the freedoms afforded to it by law, has outlined our common beliefs and practices, so that parents can choose for their children to be educated at Citipointe and join our faith-based community.”
The media response is anything but fair and balanced. And I am not surprised. I do not expect Christianity to get an unbiased hearing. Much of Australia or the West is not nearly as open-minded as it thinks. But then, Jesus said that if the world hates us, it hated Him first.
Rev David Rietveld