For the secular left, social activism is all about “two steps forward, one step back”. That is, they know they can never foist their radical agendas on the rest of society all at once, and must therefore use an incremental approach. Thus a few setbacks along the way are all a part of their relentless march forward.
Indeed, Lenin used the phrase to describe the slow but steady progress of the Russian Revolution. And the same strategy is being used today. Our coercive utopians will never rest until their visions for humanity are realised. They are quite happy to make apparent compromises, and take some detours along the way, knowing that each little step forward will eventually mean reaching their goal.
We have a great example of this coming from Victoria’s activist Attorney-General, Rob Hulls. Yesterday he appeared to be taking one of those backward steps in announcing a “compromise” plan on ridding our equal opportunity laws of religious exemptions. But it is simply another step along the way on his radical social crusade.
Mr Hulls said a new Equal Opportunity Bill would be presented next year in parliament. As one press account puts it, “Under the changes, religious groups will no longer be able to discriminate on the grounds of race, disability, age, physical features, political belief or breastfeeding. But they can continue to discriminate on grounds including sexuality or marital status if it is in accordance with their beliefs.”
Homosexual groups have attacked the announcement, while some Christian groups have praised it. But the truth is, this is simply more bad news for religious groups everywhere, especially Christian groups who hold to a high view of Scripture, and seek to live out their faith in the public arena.
This becomes clear in the words of another press account of the story: “Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission chief executive officer Helen Szoke said the move was a good step, but ‘a whole section of the community is still left out’. She hoped that eventually the community would understand there was no reason to treat people differently because of their sexual preferences or marital status.”
She said the burden of proof would be on religious groups: “Religious schools or religious charities, for example, will have to show how belonging to a particular religion is relevant to the job they are trying to fill. In the case of religious education teachers or chaplains, this will be clear. However, in the case of office staff or the maths teacher it will need to be made explicit how religion is relevant to the job.”
This is clearly no victory for religious freedom. While we still must await what the government will in fact produce next year, if these press reports are anything to go on, we have plenty to still worry about. This is simply a ruse to lull the Christian community back to its usual condition – that of a deep sleep.
Core and non-core Christianity?
It is clear that the government, Hulls, Szoke and others still don’t get it – or don’t want to get it. It is impossible to separate Christian work into ‘core’ and ‘non-core’ activities, as the government’s initial proposals sought to do. To use Szoke’s example, consider a math teacher at a Christian school. In one sense, it would be assumed that math can be taught by anyone, and that religious viewpoints or moral dispositions should have nothing to do with it.
But things of course are not that simple. A Christian school will be interested in all areas of life, including the moral and spiritual aspects. A Christian school may well have every class begin in prayer. Obviously an atheist, Muslim or Hindu would not at all be in the same place in regards to such prayers.
A student in the class may need some counselling or pastoral care. Again, a Christian school (along with the child’s Christian parents) would obviously want a teacher who reflects biblical Christianity to do such counselling. They would not want a secular humanist, a witch, a homosexual activist, or a Satanist involved in this.
And talk of discrimination is just plain ludicrous anyway. Everyone discriminates all the time, and for good reasons. To have a decidedly Christian janitor, math’s teacher, receptionist and administrator would all be part of the rationale and basis for a Christian school.
The government might as well argue that rabid Carlton, Richmond and St. Kilda supporters be allowed to hold positions in the Geelong Football Club. Sorry, the Club wants people who support everything about Geelong to be on board, from lowly positions to higher up ones.
A Christian school (or charity, or business, or whatever) wants among other things, a complete unity of purpose, vision, aim and ethos. Having a homosexual physical education teacher, or a Muslim history teacher, or a Wiccan chemistry teacher would instantly render impossible that sort of unity.
A Christian school would of course also expect the highest moral standards of those who work for it. To say it must be forced to hire an adulterous gardener, or an alcoholic secretary, or a dope-smoking janitor (because what they are doing is only ‘peripheral’ to the purpose of the school) would in effect be suicide for that institution. The school could not function at all under such circumstances.
The Christian faith, in other words, permeates every aspect of life, and a Christian business or charity or educational institution expects to see Christian beliefs and values held to by everyone employed there, whether a principal or a floor sweeper.
Thus this ‘compromise’ by Hulls is nothing of the sort, and is just another nail in the coffin of Christian freedom. While we must await the actual legislation when it is introduced next year, if the remarks of Hulls, Szoke and others are anything to go by, Christians have not won anything of substance here.
Instead, we have here simply another “two steps forward, one step back” approach in which the final outcome will be just the same: the complete loss of vital Christian freedoms. It is just being realised piecemeal, instead of in one fell swoop. Lenin knew the value of this approach, and so do Victoria’s social engineers.