Religious Freedom
Monday, 14 May 2018 21:26

Preaching to an Intolerant Choir

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Israel Folau is known for being one of the best rugby players in Australia. Folau is also a practising Christian who isn't afraid to give his opinion and express his religious views. He has been under fire recently - to the point of being accused of hate crimes - for publicly stating that homosexuality is a sin. Wayne Smith, of the Australian, complained that Israel Folau should stop 'preaching' if he wants to keep playing football. Former rugby player, George Gregan, agreed and suggested that it is inappropriate for Folau to put his beliefs on a huge platform - despite those beliefs being shared by millions of people, of many diverse religious persuasions.

The recent decision of the England and Wales Court of Appeal in Pemberton v Inwood [2018] EWCA Civ 564 (22 March 2018) upholds what was in effect disciplinary action taken against a Church of England clergyman, the Reverend Canon Jeremy Pemberton, on account of his entering into a same-sex marriage. The decision is a sensible one which upholds the religious freedom of the Anglican church to operate in accordance with its fundamental religious beliefs.

A student Christian group at the University of Iowa has been reinstated as a registered student organisation by a US Federal District Court Judge, after previously having its status revoked by University authorities. The student group, Business Leaders in Christ (“BLinC”), had been penalised because it would not agree to appoint to its leadership a same-sex attracted student, who said that they would not undertake to comply with the group’s commitment to Biblical sexual values. The University claimed that this was a breach of its Policy on Human Rights, forbidding discrimination on the basis of, among other things, sexual orientation. BLinC claimed, however, that the issue was not the student’s orientation, but their express refusal to modify their behaviour to accord with Biblical norms.

There have been a number of “wedding industry” religious freedom cases arising in the United States and the UK over the last few years. On 28 December 2017 the Oregon Court of Appeals, in Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (CA Or; Dec 28, 2017, — P.3d —-, 2017 WL 6613356; 289 Or App 507 (2017)upheld a $135,000 fine levied on the Kleins, wedding cake makers, for declining to make a cake for the wedding of Rachel and Laurel Bowmen-Cryer. The case is another example of religious freedom (and, arguably, freedom of speech) being over-ridden in the name of “dignitary harm” to same-sex couples. It is a good example of the issues being presented to the current Ruddock Inquiry into Religious Freedom being conducted in Australia at the moment.

Australia is in the middle of a debate as to the extent to which religious freedom rights should be accommodated in legislation introducing “same sex marriage” (SSM). Those who object to this idea tell us that:

Christian conservatives – following the lead of their counterparts in the United States – seek to use freedom of religion to justify discrimination against members of the LGBTQI community. This agenda is now being pursued under the guise of the debate for a marriage equality bill. (“After the yes vote, let’s not remove one inequality and replace it with another” The Guardian online, 22 Nov 2017)

I recently attended a colloquium run by the Presbyterian Church, Religion in the Public Square. Speakers included the illustrious Augusto Zimmerman, journalist Angela Shanahan, and other cultural commentators. The talks covered the current litany of restrictions being placed on Christians in the public arena. It was sobering to hear spectrum of persecutions being waged against us both in Australia and overseas - remember this was before the results of the postal vote on marriage were known. If it was bad before, then it prosises to be much worse from now on.

Australia is a multi-faith society. The 2016 Census shows that, while the mix of beliefs has changed over the years, Australia remains a pretty religious place. In the last census, nearly 70% of Australians self-identified as religious. The number of Australians who have self-identified as Christian in the census has fallen from 88.2% in 1966 to 52.1% in 2016. The number of Australians identifying as being of another religion has grown from 0.8% to 8.2%, with Islam (2.6%), Buddhism (2.4%) and Hinduism (1.9%) being the largest non-Christian faiths. The number who self-identified in the category of “no religion” has grown from 0.8% to 30.1%. This category includes having secular beliefs, other spiritual beliefs or having no religion. This makes it hard to be sure what these Australians believe.

Let me open with a few home truths: -Those demanding the complete redefinition – and thus destruction – of marriage do NOT want a debate on the matter. -They want it rammed through without the agreement of the public. -They do not have facts and evidence on their side, which is why they despise debate. -They therefore do not seek to win the debate – they seek to shut down the debate. -If they must engage in debate, the best they can come up with is ad hominem attacks, mud-slinging, name-calling, hate and hysteria. All this is easily enough documented. As to the other side preventing genuine debate from taking place, and shutting down the ‘No’ voice on homosexual marriage, consider a few recent articles.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017 07:43

As for Me and My House

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Julie Robinson, wife of Queensland MP Mark Robinson, wrote this excellent social media post about the end goal of Marxism - the destruction of the family. Julie has kindly allowed me to reproduce her article here. 

As For Me and My House.

  What we're facing here is nothing new. Marxism has always taught that the nuclear family - father, mother and children must be eradicated. It is, according to Marx and Engels both a result of capitalism, and designed to perpetuate it. Wealth passed down through family lines only ensures class divisions continue. Patriarchy (and marriage) maintain oppression of women and children as they have less control over resources and are therefore less powerful. In a truly Marxist society, Family must go - or at least family as defined as father, mother and their children. To destroy family, one must first undermine or weaken that unique and powerful bond between husband and wife, and put a wedge between children and parents. State encouragement of sexual experimentation is designed to bring an end to monogamy - all in the name of freedom and equality.

The debate over same sex marriage in Australia has been re-ignited by news that some members of the federal governing Liberal/National Party (LNP) coalition are proposing, contrary to their party’s policy, to introduce legislation in Federal Parliament this coming week to redefine marriage to extend it to same sex couples. In particular, press reports today indicate that a new Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 will be introduced, one feature of which is that it contains legislative protections for religious freedom, designed to encourage support of the legislation by believers. In my view the protections to be provided, if press reports about the proposal are accurate, are far too few and far too narrow, and the proposal cannot be seen as providing adequate protection for this fundamental human right.

Thursday, 08 September 2016 19:38

More Anti-Christian Bigotry in Victoria

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Things are growing darker by the day in the People’s Republik of Victoria. I have documented a number of very ominous developments here under the radical leftist reign of Labor Premier Dan Andrews. He seems obsessed with wiping out Christianity and religious freedom while he implements every hard-core minority group agenda around. His latest attack of faith and freedom comes in the form of the Equal Opportunity Amendment (Religious Exceptions) Bill 2016. It is a frightening proposal which everyone concerned about freedom and religious freedom should know about.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016 01:17

The West's War Against Faith and Freedom

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The West developed largely as a result of the Judeo-Christian worldview, and it was known for centuries as the defender of free speech, as the defender of religious liberty, and as the defender of freedom of conscience, and so on. All that is unravelling right before our very eyes, and the West is quickly descending back into a new dark ages of repression and intolerance. It seems every time we open a newspaper or check out the evening news we have more cases of anti-Christian bigotry and the tolerance police in action.

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