But Religious Leaders Unite In Their Vow To Keep Quiet About Confessions
Australian Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders have all vowed they will not betray their followers by passing information they may learn through confessions to national security authorities, unless there were direct threats that impacted on the safety and wellbeing of other people.
Radical religious views and beliefs, however, are unlikely to be viewed by the leaders of Australian faiths as worthy of supply "tip-offs" to anti-terror investigators.
How could they betray "the trust of their followers", they argue, when the protection of confidential information was their "bread and butter" :
The Jesuit Social Services associate director, Peter Norden, told The Australian he would be prepared to give police information only if the tip-off was crucial for the safety of others.
But he said he would make sure the information given did not identify the person who provided it.
"You would be entitled to take some steps to protect human life but you need to do that in such a way that it was of a general nature and wouldn't identify the person concerned."
"If you were (to betray confessors), you would have to do away with the profession for minister of religion."
The Rabbinical Council of Victoria president Meir Shlomo Kluwgant said rabbis were bound to the same confidentiality procedures as counsellors, but were able to tip-off the authorities if the information they received suggested someone's life was in danger.
"Certainly the very first thing that a rabbi would do would be to dissuade their congregant from committing a crime," he said.
Muslim clerics were revealed, last week, to have not alerted federal police when they had been asked about the rights and wrongs of joining the international jihad.
Tim Dunlop, at Blogocracy :
Maybe the leaders of Australia's major religions have got a gut feeling that the violations of human rights and civil liberties that are becoming the "bread and butter" of the 'War on Terror' are not always going to be confined to the followers of the Islamic religion.
Maybe all this means is that they are willing to be prosecuted rather than disclose all the information they have, though Norden’s further comments—that “If you were (to betray confessors), you would have to do away with the profession for minister of religion”—seems wide of the mark. Why would that be the case? And I’m really not sure why informing authorities of a crime should even count as “betraying confessors”.
...it’s interesting that all the major religions line-up on the issue...