The Bishop of Melbourne has hit out at the government’s proposed church tax, saying churches should be a “community centre” rather than an “outdoor institution”.
Former Bishop of St Kilda Kevin Courtney was speaking at the National Press Club on Tuesday, calling for churches to be “a community centre”.
“We have a lot of issues in our community, and the church is a place where you can sit in a circle, talk to other people, and have some kind of conversation, and we can all come together and have a better life,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s a good place to start trying to sort out how we should spend the next five or 10 years.”
There’s not a lot to be done.
It’s the church itself.
It doesn’t have the resources to do anything in the community.
“[The church] is the centre for the community, but it’s also a place that provides services to people that are in crisis.”
The bishop also called for the government to stop the church tax in its tracks.
“We’re not in the business of asking people to pay for the church.
We’re in the industry of asking them to pay money,” he told the ABC.
He added the church’s budget was a “disappointing” example of the Coalition’s “political correctness”.
“We don’t need any more of this politics of blaming people for things that have nothing to do with politics.”
It’s not about the church, it’s about the community and that’s why we’ve got to do something about it.
“Mr Courtney said the church would continue to work in the local community, even if the tax was introduced.”
I hope people understand we’re all in this together,” he added.