Council for Multicultural Australia Chairman Neville Roach jas challenged churches to do a better job of providing moral leadership in the areas of race, reconciliation and the treatment of migrants and refugees.
    Speaking at the Catholic Church's 'Building Bridges' Conference in Sydney at the weekend, he said: "Church leaders should have the courage to influence [practising Christian politicians] from the pulpit by stressing the moral imperative of fighting racism and urgently achieving a basic document of reconciliation which includes an apology to the indigenous Australians from all other Australians."
    Mr Roach suggested that the need to be tolerant of non-Christian religions was compromised by Christian missionary activities aimed at conversion. He proposed a 'code of conduct' to keep evangelism in check.
    He also expressed his belief that the unequal participation of women, particularly in the Catholic Church, conflicts with the inclusive values of multiculturalism and the celebration of diversity.
    Other concerns Mr Roach articulated included the insistance of some church-run employment agencies on employees with a 'Christian' (rather than 'Australian' ethos, and churches using Olympic Games hosting programs as an opportunity to preach Christianity to their guests.
11 July 00

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