RELIGIOUS VILIFICATION LAWS: by Salt Shakers VictoriaNews Weekly
"Witch" sues over Christian Bible study
, May 7, 2005
A self-confessed witch and convicted sex-offender in Western Victoria has launched a lawsuit against the popular Alpha Bible Study course.
Robin Fletcher is serving a 10-year sentence in a jail in Ararat, Victoria, for having sexually abused two teenage girls in 1998. He has alleged that references to witchcraft in Alpha program videos and manuals are both offensive and vilifying.
Fletcher has lodged complaints against the Salvation Army (which ran the course in the Ararat jail); Corrections Victoria (the Victorian Government's prison administration); and CMC Australasia Pty Ltd (distributors of the Alpha program materials).
He is seeking to ban the Alpha program throughout Victoria, unless Alpha deletes from its course material he deems offensive - presumably Alpha's critical references to witchcraft and the occult. Fletcher has now referred his complaint to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), which recently found two Christian pastors of Catch the Fires Ministries guilty of supposedly vilifying Islam under the terms of Victoria's Religious Tolerance Act.
In a letter to Corrections Victoria, Fletcher has declared: "I consider that [the Alpha] program is in violation of the Equal Opportunity Act of Victoria, and also of the Religious Tolerance Act of Victoria ...
"I am further asking for the discontinuation of the Alpha program because it constitutes a personal danger to my health and safety within the prison system."
He went on to threaten Corrections Victoria with further legal action should they not comply with his demands: "In this case, because the matter is a serious one involving potential of physical harm to myself and others, you may be vicariously in breach of the 'serious violations section' of the Religious Tolerance Act."