Australia News & Commentary

Religious Freedom in a Dark Place

"Teaching certain aspects of the Christian faith is now criminal in parts of Australia because of legislation designed to protect LGBT people and their ideology."

The Religious Discrimination Bill 2021, a bill intended to protect the rights of religious individuals and institutions in Australia to practice and teach their faith, became a bill to protect transgender students from “discrimination” by Christian schools, after one evening of Labor amendments (supported by five “moderate” Liberal MPs). The bill failed to fulfill its initial purpose and was rightly shelved in the Senate after Liberal conservatives indicated they would not support it, and it is unlikely that it will be revisited prior to the federal election.

The bill was Scott Morrison’s promise to Australian Christians to address their concerns following the government’s altering of the legal definition of marriage in 2017. For some time, Christians have been concerned about the rising hostility towards them and their views, mostly from LGBT lobbyists, and wanted the government to protect their right to hold, practice, and teach biblically informed beliefs on gender and sexuality.

Most Australians are too terrified to criticise LGBT people, lest they find themselves accused of homophobia or some other meaningless thought-crime, but Christians are increasingly being discriminated against across the country. You can read about the cases which have made it to court here.

Of particular concern to many Christians is the freedom to teach the Christian view of sexuality to their children without being marked as bigots and child abusers, which the recent “conversion therapy” bills passed in various states make them out to be. In Victoria, a Christian parent could potentially go to prison for ten years for telling their supposedly transgender child that they are in fact their biological sex.

The need for safeguards around religious liberty is dire. Teaching certain aspects of the Christian faith is now criminal in parts of Australia because of legislation designed to protect LGBT people and their ideology. The sad state of religious freedom was recently illustrated after Citipointe Christian College had the temerity to send a letter to parents informing them that they would be teaching the Christian view of human sexuality and expected students not to undermine these teachings. It is a Christian school, after all, and parents should understand this when they enrol their child there.

The lamentably predictable result of what should have been an unremarkable event was that woke mainstream media outfits like ‘The Project’ and the ABC launched an incessant smear campaign against the school, accusing the principal of inflicting psychological harm to young LGBT people until he relented, apologised, and announced he would “step aside” to give the school “time to heal.” It was a textbook display of how LGBT lobbyists operate: accuse and slander your opponent until they crack and apologise for being a bigot after all. When will Christians learn that attempts to appease LGBT lobbyists by humiliating oneself and confessing one’s sins against the deity of diversity, equity, and inclusion never succeed but only embolden those who wish to bully others into submission to their demands?

The Citipointe episode sent a clear message that Christianity is not welcome in Australia. LGBT ideology has replaced it, and anyone who objects to this will be crushed. However, despite the clear need for the protection of religious liberties, and the Liberal party’s promise to Christians to deliver it, five Liberals crossed the floor to support Labor’s amendments designed to undermine the purpose of the bill. It would appear they believe Christian schools are run by bigots who seize every possible opportunity to vilify young transgender students (which is clearly not the case). More importantly, they believe that the transgender worldview is correct and the Christian worldview is not only wrong but intolerable.

There is no reconciling Christian belief with LGBT ideology. We hear a lot of talk about “balancing rights” but, in this case, one must choose between the doctrines of the Bible or of the LGBT lobbyists. The belief in one man and woman only expressing their sexual desires within the sacramental covenant of marriage is incompatible with the LGBT agenda, just as it is incompatible with pornography, incest, paedophilia, and any other sexual act outside of marriage. Scott Morrison, a professing Christian, ought to have understood this, and many Christians initially supported him because they believed he did. Unfortunately, his party is at ideological war with itself, and it is unclear what Morrison’s convictions are.

It seems the notion that traditional Christian views on gender and sexuality are harmful to LGBT people is almost beyond scepticism. “Harm” now means anything which causes offense or discomfort, so a tenuous connection is made between Christianity and LGBT people being depressed and even committing suicide. The message that the media and our governments have sent Christians is that our views are unacceptable to a progressive society in which LGBT people have the right not to be offended or told they are wrong and that Christian belief is dangerous to the mental health of others. What further draconian restrictions might Christians face in the name of “love” and “safety”?

If an LGBT organisation refused to employ a Christian who believed that homosexuality is a sin, nobody would care. It would be apparent to most that the organisation should not be forced to employ someone who might act in a way that fundamentally undermines their ethos. Christians do not enjoy the same liberty in Australia because their views are simply not respected. As one Liberal MP told ABC Radio, “This is not 1950 anymore … this is a new year, this is a new decade, this is a new Australia and there is no room.” No room for what, I wonder?

A quote from Peter Hitchens, although he is speaking of Britain, seems apt: “Christians, such as I am, need to learn to grasp that this is now a formally God-hating country and that its great institutions… now enshrine other beliefs, very different from Christian ones. Then Christians can go back to being outsiders, as we probably ought to be. When everyone sees what a post-Christian country is really like, they may begin to be interested in the gospels again.”