More Attacks on Religious Freedom

Throughout the Western world rights talk is being used to promote the agendas of activist minority groups, and to silence Christians from publically affirming their faith. This takes many forms: hate crimes legislation, equal opportunity laws, anti-discrimination legislation, and so on.

The militant homosexual lobby especially likes these laws, because under the guise of “fairness” and “human rights” they are seeing the rights of believers to uphold their conscience in the public arena taken away, while they manage to get special rights granted to themselves by governments.

Of course the militant activists know that the two main institutions standing in the way of their agendas are the church and the family. That is why both are under such ferocious assault recently. Examples of this abound. Here in Victoria for example the activist government is holding an inquiry into its Equal Opportunity Act, and is looking to remove religious exemptions to it.

The entire 173-page document is a worry, but the main concern involves sections 75 to 77 (pp. 106-131). These sections specifically have to do with religious exemptions. I offer a link to the document below. It is vital that all concerned Victorians look at the document and put in a submission on this.

A good way to see how dangerous such moves are is to look overseas where similar attacks on religious freedom have been occurring. Chuck Colson recently had a two-part commentary on how Christians are increasingly losing their freedoms as militant homosexuals use rights legislation to silence dissent and force conformity to their lifestyle. He offers the following stories:

“Two women decided to hold their civil union ceremony at a New Jersey pavilion owned by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. This Methodist group told the women they could not ‘marry’ in any building used for religious purposes. The Rev. Scott Hoffman said a theological principle – that marriage can only exist between one man and one woman – was at stake. The women filed a discrimination complaint with the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights. The Methodists said the First Amendment protected their right to practice their faith without being punished by the government. But punish the Methodists is exactly what New Jersey did. It revoked their tax exemption – a move that cost them $20,000.

“Then there’s the case of the Christian physicians who refused to provide in vitro fertilization treatment to a woman in a lesbian relationship. The doctors referred her to their partners, who were willing to provide the treatment. But that wasn’t good enough. The woman sued. The California Supreme Court agreed with the woman, saying that the doctors’ religious beliefs didn’t give them the right to refuse the controversial treatment.

“In Massachusetts, Catholic Charities was told they had to accept homosexual couples in their adoption service, or get out of the adoption business. They chose correctly – get out of the business. In Mississippi, a mental health counselor was sued for refusing to provide therapy to a woman looking to improve her lesbian relationship. The counselor’s employers fired her – a move that was backed up by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“In New York, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University refused to allow same-sex couples to live in married student housing, in keeping with the school’s orthodox Jewish teachings. But in 2001, the New York State Supreme Court forced them to do so anyway – even though New York has no same-sex ‘marriage’ law.

“In Albuquerque, a same-sex couple asked a Christian wedding photographer to film their commitment ceremony – and sued the photographer when she declined. An online adoption service was forced to stop doing business in California when a same-sex couple sued the service for refusing, on religious grounds, to assist them.

“Convinced? Clearly, homosexual ‘marriage’ and religious liberty cannot co-exist – because gay activists will not allow them to. As marriage expert Maggie Gallagher puts it, same-sex ‘marriage’ advocates claim that religious faith ‘itself is a form of bigotry’.”

And one last example: “eHarmony is a popular online dating service designed by Neil Clark Warren, an evangelical Christian psychologist. The site claims that, on average, 236 eHarmony members marry every day. That’s good news. The bad news is that, in 2005, a man claimed the company violated his rights by not offering a matchmaking service to homosexuals. He lodged a complaint with the New Jersey attorney general, who found probable cause that eHarmony had violated state anti-discrimination laws. eHarmony vigorously disagreed. Nevertheless, last year, eHarmony agreed to develop a matchmaking service for same-sex couples—and pay $55,000 in fines.”

As Colson summarises, “We’ve seen this scenario over and over again. Christians or Orthodox Jews open up a business, ministry, or school, and sooner or later, a same-sex couple shows up demanding services that conflict with the sincerely held religious convictions of those they confront. When the same-sex couple is turned down, they promptly sue – even if others offer to accommodate them for the same services. And too often, they are winning their cases. It’s as if the First Amendment no longer exists. I can’t help but suspect that radical gays deliberately target outfits run by religious believers in order to force them to accommodate their political agenda – or go out of business.”

Exactly right. That is why it is absolutely vital that everyone reading these words puts in a submission – no matter how brief – urging the government to leave religious bodies alone, and keep these vital exemptions in place. If these proposed changes go ahead, Christians will find themselves spending a lot of money on fines, or spending a lot of time in prison.

[944 words]

26 Replies to “More Attacks on Religious Freedom”

  1. Why is homosexuality still being pushed as anything more than an act motivated by will and desire? In essence aren’t true human rights based on who and what you are, not merely how you act? Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t the big DNA gay gene been revealed to be the deceptive folly that it is? This then is all about forcing others to accept your actions and lifestyle no matter how repulsive they are. I have the motive and desire to live the Christian lifestyle. Christian parents have the motive and desire to see their children taught Christian values in school. Why then is a desire more valid because it is sexual in nature? I wonder if we will see “temporary gays” start to emerge in order to get that job in the Christian School down the road, or any other preferential treatment. Your gay then your not, your gay then your not. But then who am I to question the integrity of the gay identity? What a confused joke.
    Anthony McGregor

  2. Governments only respect militant pressure groups. The only way Christians are going to claim to be victims of discrimination is to take a militant stand. Militancy is the only language some governments respect. Now we can see why the muslims have to defend ther beliefs so violently. How often have we dared these groups to try thier tactics against Muslims.
    Pat Brams

  3. I often get the feeling that these cases of homosexual couples against religious organisations are overseen by judges who have their own agendas. Maybe i’m just making an assumption here, but it would seem that the judges are either in favour of homosexual relationships, or are hostile toward the church, or both. In all of these cases there really should be no reason to persecute these christian and jewish business owners on the basis of religious convictions. If the judges would judge fairly then these cases should have been thrown out.

    Perhaps we should find some gay businesses and demand that they provide services which go against their deeply held convictions and then when they refuse services to us we should sue them and see what happens.

    Sorry if that didnt make much sense, I’m just thinking it through.

    Anatolyi Psarev

  4. Bill next Wednesday night there is being held a information night at the auditorium of Crossway Baptist Church in Melbourne to discuss an Australian Bill of Rights. Speakers include Bob Carr former NSW permier
    and Greg Craven a law professor from ACU.
    It is timed to go between 7.30 and 9.30pm and is being organised by Australian Christian Lobby, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and the Presbyterian Church of Victoria. I think it would cover issues such as the ones you raised. Interestingly I sent a notice of this to my church early today and their weekly communique came out later this pm. Guess what? Not a mention. But then they made no comment about the abortion law debate.
    Wayne Pelling

  5. I find it very interesting that when a gay is confronted with the issue of polygamy they invariably stand opposed.

    This sort of perversion offends the average gay person and i find it very hypocritical becasue homosexuality and polygomy are one in the same. Both are serious deviations from what is considered to be orthodox or normal human behavior.

    So should same sex marriage be legalised? The liberal mind answers “YES”. Should polygomy be legalised? The liberal mind answers “NO, NO, NO! How dare you even suggest such a thing!”

    Danilo Rajkovic

  6. You’d think groups pushing for this sort of advocacy would be more careful with how they do it.

    It is terrible fellow Christians are being persecuted for the “crime” of being moral and principled, but Jesus warned us that such things would happen. I trust God knows what he is doing allowing it, although Christians should take the opportunity to stand up for what they believe in.

    But back to my first point, do these people really think this approach of “sue to get my own way and shut up those who dare disagree” is going to go well for them in the long run ?

    If using friendly courts to get your own way, regardless of the express will of the people and the rule of law, is an acceptable action, what do they think is going to happen when people that disagree with them get sick of “playing by the rules” and adopt the same strategy ?

    I suspect complaints will be raised at that point, but of course the ground rules have been set by those that can only charitably be called “advocates for evil” and they may well have literally dug their own graves.

    It is strange to me that people can be so willfully short sighted when it comes to looking out for their own interests.

    Jason Rennie

  7. Sadly, if it is true that liberals would currently oppose group marriage (I suspect they’re open to it, even if they do), I believe that if same-sex marriage gains wider acceptance, then so to will group marriage. The liberal left will change their minds on group marriage – I’m almost certain of it.

    Polyamorists, in the wake of same-sex marriage legislature across the States, are already demanding that the definition of marriage be further extended to include their lifestyle as well.

    Thanks for the links, Bill. I will look into making my own submission.

    Mathew Hamilton, Victoria

  8. Bill
    I have not yet been able to study this document closely but the direction in which this is headed is not difficult to detect behind the veneer of ‘reasonableness’ and ‘tolerance’. I think that the following extract gives a good flavour of where this ‘review’ is headed.
    “It is clear that religious organisations have a different view about where the line is to be drawn between ‘religious activities’ and secular activities of a relgious organisation, and what makes the organisation or the particular activity religious. It would be desirable for the EO Act to encourage organisations that want to rely on these exceptions in relation to extended activities (ie outside the core or internal area) to identify and state what makes the position or activity inherently religious.”
    That would of course be a terrible outcome but I have to say that it seems likely at the moment.
    On a slightly different point (the Bill of Rights – I hope this is not too much of a tangent), I see the Victorian Charter as being potentially useful in this sort of situation and it is something that even as a conservative Christian I think we should be slow to dismiss. If we assume (for the sake of argument) that there is no Charter and that the EO Act is amended in ways that curtail the freedoms of religious people, there is in that case nothing that religious people can do apart from badger their MPs for further legislative amendments. With the Charter there is always the possibility of arguing that the our zealous legislators have gone too far and have infringed our Charter rights. There is nothing in the Charter that requires the balance to be struck one way or the other, the Charter is simply a tool. How such an argument would be received by the Victorian judiciary is another question.
    Simon French

  9. I found a recent episode of Boston Legal both amusing and alarming. In this episode two of the central characters (Alan Shaw & Denny Crane) decide to get married to by-pass the death & estate taxes legislation. However, this was an affront to the gay community who saw the Massachusetts same sex marriage laws as their own and no-one elses. They even sued to get their way. In the judgement the judge stated that the law doesn’t require love to be present to make a marriage legal. One wonders when this cynical view of marriage will escape the world of fiction and into the world of the real.
    How long till pedophilia becomes the new homosexuality (ie its’ an alternative lifestyle – “I was born this way” – et cetera)?
    Peter Colsell

  10. So what does all this mean if three or more brothers want to get ‘married’? I mean, they love each other, right? And there’s no fear of congenital diseases is there, right? Isn’t that also OK?

    If those advocating this madness can’t see that the logical extension of this push for ‘equal rights’ would effectively only end if everyone in the world was ‘married’ to everybody else (thus truly eliminating ‘discrimination’) and thereby render the definition completely pointless, they perhaps need to take a moment to consider how stupid it is what they believe.

    But I’m not holding my breath – rational thought is certainly not behind this, just darkened minds and an errant belief that if someone has a desire, it must be OK. Didn’t Adam & Eve have the same idea which first got us into this mess?

    Mark Rabich

  11. Thanks Simon

    I am far less optimistic about a Charter of Rights. As I argue elsewhere on this site, a Bill of Rights will in fact likely compound the problems, not alleviate them. It will just be another tool to press for special rights for activist minority groups, while taking away rights from the majority, and especially from Christians.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  12. We are going through similar crisis in South Australia. Under the current SA Equal Opportunity Act, churches and faith-based organisations have certain exemptions, such as the freedom to discriminate on the ground of sexuality in their choice of staff. However, this is all about to change.

    Under the new proposed Equal Opportunity (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill, churches would retain this freedom – but not para-church agencies (eg hospitals, retirement/elderly villages, foster agencies, pregnancy support, etc) or faith-based businesses (eg bookshops, coffee shops, printers, etc).

    Even though the bill would obviously seriously undermine religious freedom in South Australia, it is unfortunate (or more precisely incredible) that the Christian community is doing very little in the way of opposing this bill, which easily has the support from both Labor and Liberal Parties to get passed.

    Yet, the reality is, if the majority of the Christian community isn’t prepared to stand up and fight for our State’s most vulnerable – the unborn (who are being killed by the thousands every year), why should one expect that they stand up against this proposed legislation?

    Trevor Grace, SA

  13. Dear Bill.
    2 Peter Ch 2 explains all this quite nicely thankyou! What was predicted is happening now. “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done” Father/Papa/Abba/Dad-amen
    Lou d’Alpuget

  14. The plan of the Frankfurt School to use black militants, feminists and homosexuals to bring in Marxism under the radar screen is unfolding before our eyes. The homosexual issue will result in a one party state where dissent is ruthlessly crushed.

    To quote an article on Anglican Mainstream:

    “On April 1st the European Parliament will finally decide in plenary (i.e. all MEPs not just a committee) whether or not to accept the highly controversial Equal Treatment Directive. This will be a very important vote. Among other things, the Directive introduces a new offence of harassment in relation to religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age. Harassment is defined as ‘unwanted conduct which takes place with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.’ Defined in these terms there are major concerns that: Christians preaching the gospel to people from other faiths could be found guilty of harassing them. Christians defending a biblical approach to sexual relations in the context of monogamous heterosexual marriage could be found guilty of harassing those living in active gay relationships. The proposed harassment offence is very illiberal and constitutes a major threat to free speech.” :

    I wrote to several Members of European Parliament: “May I say that this ETD will not only make a huge impact on minority groups who identify themselves by one, some, or all of the following descriptors: religion, gender, age, ethnicity, disability, sexual predilection, height, intelligence, hair colour etc. but on political parties themselves. If MEPs vote in favour of this they will be like turkeys voting for Christmas.

    In an age where there are no longer absolute and objective truths that are sufficient points of reference or integration, those in power are able to define words how they wish, it will be for them to say what is intimidating, hostile, degrading , humiliating, offensive, distressing, threatening etc. I find that much of what the present government has passed in the way of legislation over the last twelve years is offensive and threatening to me, but no matter I am only a Christian. But the ETD will not only effect morality but political parties. Ultimately for fear of offending anyone, all views must be the same. There will be no place for antithesis or dissent. For the European Parliament to vote this bill through will get rid of all parties at a stroke and bring a totalitarian one party state, where dissenters and dissidents are silenced by one means or another. This directive is not only threatening but delusional on any scale.”

    One MEP answered thus: “If I have understood you correctly, for the provisions on religious discrimination to be removed from the Directive, and your logic is impeccable: institutions should be free to hire whom they please, and employees to work for anyone they choose. Why, though, stick at religious affiliation? The EUs law, as it stands, opens the door to all sorts of absurdities. A strict reading of it would criminalise the Labour Party if it refused to hire a Conservative politician as its press officer, or an opera company if it declined to cast men in soprano roles. When I raised these points during the passage of the legislation, its supporters said: “Well, yes, but it would never actually be applied that way: everyone knows what it really means”

    The trick is that everyone does not know what it means. Consequently everyone will play safe and keep their mouths shut. May I suggest that you in Australia ask those who are driving this legislation to make it beyond doubt the kind of things the one must not say and the kind of things that one must accept – not with vague abstractions but with real examples. For instance if there were a reading in Parliament of “The Love that Dares to Speak its Name” by James Kirkup would anyone expressing criticism be found guilty of an incitement to homophobic hatred? This is not the time for vague, philosophical abstractions, but reality.

    David Skinner, UK

  15. All you say Bill is correct, “rights” legislation and regulations are being used to whittle the freedoms of anyone who opposes the radical social agenda. Radicals have always sought change to accommodate their views, but the real difference today is that governments are becoming so compliant. This is happening because those radical groups have progressively infiltrated the media to change social perceptions, and government posts to influence policy development.

    Governments are now overstepping their former roles and moving into domains that have never been theirs. They are moving into our households and how we run our families, they are moving into non goverment schools to change the curriculum and they are now moving into the realm of conscience to control what we think. The rise of activist judges make sure that dissent is quashed and the government’s agenda is fulfilled.

    For decades we criticised facism, nazism, marxism, socialism and military dictatorships because they stiffled the freedom to think, the freedom to practice our faith and the freedom to speak in opposition. But now, governments who hail themselves as champions of democracy are displaying, albeit in different ways, the propensity to undermine the very democracy they trumpet. And all along they are telling us we need this to make us a better society. When no aspect of our life is free of control by the state we cease to be a democracy and tyranny prevails.

    I urge everyone to make a submission and make it clear that interference in practice of ones faith is NOT the role or concern of a supposedly democratic government. Our voices must be many and must be loud.

    Frank Norros

  16. Frank you have just said so elegantly in under 300 words what it has taken me a hundred times that amount to say. In Britain what used to be called the Department of Education has for the last few years been called the Department of Children, Schools and Families. What’s in a name people will say? One hell of a lot.

    In 1968, Francis Schaeffer in “The God Who Is There” wrote in Chapter Three, under a paragraph entitled Philosophic Homosexuality: “Some forms of homosexuality today are of a similar nature, in that they are not just homosexuality but a philosophic expression. One must have understanding for the real homophile’s problem. But much modern homosexuality is an expression of the current denial of antithesis . It has led in this case to obliteration of the distinction between man and woman. So the male and the female as complementary partners are finished. This is a form of homosexuality which is part of the movement below the line of despair. In much of modern thinking, all antithesis and all the order of God’s creation is to be fought against- including the male – female distinctions. The pressure toward unisex is largely rooted here. But this is not an isolated problem; it s a part of the world- spirit of the generation which surrounds us . It is imperative that Christians realize the conclusions which are being drawn as a result of the death of absolutes.”

    The antithesis of a phobia is a philia and we cannot love and hate something at the same time. If we love one thing we will hate its opposite. Who said that? Why we also not be allowed to be philiacs without ceasing to be phobics? Why should we also not be allowed to hate and fear something at the same time. I am fearful of homosexuality because of what it will do to our kids. Beginning of wisdom is a fear of God. Is that a phobia?

    As the Alphadictionary for Kids says: ”Our list of philias was created from the corrected list of phobias by simply replacing phobia with philia. Theoretically, this should work, although there are some things we fear that we usually don’t love. This does not mean that the philia word is not possible, so we have simply generated the list to remind ourselves that obsessive love is as real a potential human condition as obsessive fear.

    As this site for kids correctly says Homophobia simply means a fear of the same. Thus strictly speaking, Heterophilia, is the love of its antithesis, a love of the opposite.

    The hatred laws therefore have nothing to do with morality or will, but psychiatry. Hatred is deemed a crime when strictly speaking it is, in the original sense, an emotional state? The homophile lobby know fully well what they are doing when they call phobia a crime. They are giving moral authority for sending people to diversity training courses and eventually to lunatic asylums in order to be engineered to be docile, controllable citizens.

    Let us no longer apologise for our God-given ability to feel hatred and love without which we would not be able to function, but “come out” just as the philias have come out. Yes, I am proud to say that I am homophobic. As has been already said on this site we will all be forced to accept this little lot as the same and equivalent.

    David Skinner, UK

  17. As a somewhat older person, I am beginning to become very afraid of the future for my grandchildren. These days, they are being taught about homosexuality (and how it is ‘ok and ‘normal’) almost from kindergarten. This is of course, just brainwashing. The same schools, however, are not allowed to teach any Christian message – in case we offend anyone who is not Christian. There seems to be no logic in this, but we have a Government which not only condones this sort of thing, but which actively promotes a homosexual lifestyle. As Christians we are discriminated against – and this is in our “Anti Discrimination Laws”.

    I just place my trust in God, and continue to pray for our Country each day, but like some of your previous correspondents, I despair of my fellow Christians, who not only seem to be ignoring the dangers before us, but are compromising their beliefs by becoming more Politically Correct by the day.

    Joan Davidson

  18. In general terms I support this article. However, it seems obvious to me that despite what has happened, legal redress is available to at least some of the parties, and it is not apparent that it has been sought. For example, surely the Methodist Church in the first example could appeal the decision against them in the Supreme Court — using the first amendment as their argument!

    Of course, we all as believers have access to the highest court of all — the heavenly throne, and we are assured that he hears the deepest cares of our hearts. However, his judgments are not always what we expect.

    May the Lord bless you in your work.

    Barrie Robinson

  19. Thanks Barrie

    It may be easier said than done however. The American courts are increasingly taking on an adversarial role, one which is hostile to Christianity. Many judges have been effectively ignoring the First Amendment altogether. Most of these cases have been defended by Christian lawyers, but often they are not winning. It really is all out war over there.

    But you are certainly right about our divine defence attorney.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  20. Hello.

    As so nicely stated to the left of this comment box, I read your comment rules and couldn’t but laugh. Your commenting rules practically just sum up the christian way of thinking — “I am not going to listen to what any one else says, because I am right. God is real, we have irrefutable proof — this unsourced book written 2000 years ago by bunch of misogynists.” I also couldn’t but wonder if all these comments are written by you under pseudonyms. Does anyone think like this anymore?

    I realize you will not post this comment for public view, or probably even read it in its entirety, because it questions said infallible book.

    But nonetheless, I am going to express my opinion anyway — because the law allows me to. Firstly, I assume you’re a very educated person, which is clearly evident in your vocabulary and the way that you write. Yet, how can you not understand that one of the fundamental building blocks of Australia is multiculturalism and secularism?

    Australia is political secular (well, in theory), and this allows for the practicing of all religions — to in turn cater and protect all religions. It is not all about you. The christian lobby seems to believe that their values are the only ones that deserve to be integrated into the law. You are saying that we should all abide by your conservative rules, and I, as well as about 30% of the Australian population say: we do not want to. And I guarantee that a sizable proportion of Christians do not agree with Christian lobby.

    Its actually quite funny that you think you are being discriminated against, when you are the ones that are clearly discriminating in not-so-very-nice words. I don’t think anyone has ever protested a Christian person’s funeral claiming that they “deserved” to die. Nor have homosexuals ever tried to tear you away from your precious beliefs.

    I’m sorry, but a secular society can simply not cater to such radical one-sided views. In a perfect secular society, by its very definition, there would be no religious exempts for anything. Christmas should not even be a public holiday. Do you see where I am going with this? Christmas, a christian based holiday, is a mandated public holiday. Ramadan and Hanuka are not.

    But I’ve strayed from my initial argument — why is homosexuality something to fear? I don’t see how it affects you. I don’t see how the idea same-sex civil unions can repulse you so much, that you need to put a stop to it — and I’m going to use a phrase that I read in another comment — “under the guise religious freedom”. Religious freedom does not entitle you to discriminate so blatantly.

    I’m sure none of this has gotten through to you in the slightest — but, I expect nothing more from a Christian activist. You are the militant group, not we.

    In the words of the fabulous Lily Allen: “F**k you. F**k you very, very much. Because we hate what you do, and we hate your whole crew, so please don’t stay in touch.”

    Kissies, Weshena Katerford

  21. Thanks Weshena

    But your last line (which I had to edit slightly for the sake of decency) very nicely summarises where the atheist and homosexual activists are at. So much for tolerance, acceptance and openness. Nice of you to reveal the real you.

    As to your various objections, I have dealt with all of them elsewhere on this site. Thus if you are not asking mere rhetorical questions, feel free to study my answers found in related posts here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  22. Don’t be to hard on Weshena Bill. It isn’t like you’d mistake her screed for a coherent argument.

    Also, am I the only one that chuckled at

    The christian lobby seems to believe that their values are the only ones that deserve to be integrated into the law. You are saying that we should all abide by your conservative rules, and I, as well as about 30% of the Australian population say: we do not want to.

    I’m pretty sure radical islamists would love to see their ideas and values integrated into Australian law. Ok, that would included killing Homosexuals but in Weshena’s words, it would be diverse and multicultural.

    Also i’m pretty sure nobody is forcing homosexuals to do anything. asking the state to recognise and regulate a relationship is asking for something to be forced on other people. Saying no to having something forced on you, isn’t forcing anybody to do anything. Quite the opposite.

    Welcome to the secularists world of newspeak and the fascist impulse that goes with it. Tolerance is Intolerance and Free Speech is Censorship!

    Jason Rennie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *