CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Don’t Mention That ‘H’ Word

Apr 7, 2010

Freedom of speech is under threat. Freedom of religion is under threat. Freedom of conscience is under threat. And much of the threat comes from the militant and intolerant homosexual lobby. All around the Western world homosexual activists are picking off freedoms and holding democracies to ransom.

There have been hundreds of examples of this over recent years, and I try my best to report on some of them. But it is a full time job just to chronicle the various assaults on freedom and democracy coming from these militants. Consider the latest outrageous example, this time from Scotland.

Here is how one press account begins the story: “A street preacher has been fined £1,000 by a Scottish court after answering a question about homosexuality. Shawn Holes, who is American, was kept in a police cell overnight and then charged with a breach of the peace. The accusation was that he had used ‘homophobic remarks’ that were ‘aggravated by religious prejudice’. Concerns have been raised that this case shows religious freedom is under threat.”

The report continues, “Shawn Holes was in Scotland with a group of American colleagues preaching on a wide variety of topics. ‘I was talking generally about Christianity and sin’, he said. He continued: ‘I only talked about these other issues because I was specifically asked. ‘There were homosexuals listening – around six or eight – who were kissing each other and cuddling, and asking “What do you think of this?”

“Mr Holes later commented: ‘It felt like a set-up by gay campaigners’.” It sure does sound like a set-up. The moral of the story is this: it is quickly becoming illegal to say anything whatsoever that might in the slightest way upset a homosexual. Of course writing this right now is going to offend the militants. So throw me in jail already.

This sort of madness is occurring all over the Western world. Right now here in Victoria new laws are being debated which will simply result in more of the same. Proposed changes would give sweeping new powers to the Equal Opportunity Commission. It would give them:
-The power to enter a church or meeting for the sole purpose of assessing what is said.
-The right to demand that a religious organisation hand over files.
-The right to compel church folk to attend a hearing at the Commission without any complaint being made.
-The power to initiate a complaint of discrimination.

This is how Salt Shakers writes up this ominous development:

The Victorian Labor government has put legislation into the Parliament, on 10 March 2010, that would severely restrict religious freedom and give more power to the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. The Bill was passed by the Legislative Assembly on 25 March 2010.

It goes to the Legislative Council two weeks from that date (this will be from 13 April 2010). The legislation, the Equal Opportunity Bill 2010, removes many of the exemptions for churches in areas such as age, race etc. The right to discriminate on grounds such as marital status, sexuality and gender have been retained.

However, if passed, the new law will require that religious bodies and schools prove why it is “reasonably necessary” for them to discriminate in these areas in order to adhere to the doctrines of their faith. This will result in numerous complaints and cases at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

In the area of employment it is even worse. Religious bodies and schools will be required to prove that it is an “inherent requirement” of the job for the employee to be of that faith, to not be homosexual etc. This would apply to “maths teachers” for instance, on the basis the government thinks a maths teacher in a Christian school doesn’t need to be a Christian!

That’s nonsense! One just has to compare the exemption granted to political parties. They don’t have to employ anyone from a competing political party!

The second major objection to the Bill is the new sweeping powers it gives to the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission – they would have the power to launch their own investigations, even when a complaint hasn’t been made! The Commission would also be given the power to investigate businesses and organisations – compelling them to hand over documents and to attend hearings!

This is what Free To Believe says about this dangerous bill:

Rob Hull’s
Equal Opportunity Bill (2010) will be debated in Victoria’s parliament next week. Hypocritically, politicians will be able to require that their employees are members of their political party, but ministers of religion will not be able to require that their employees are members of their own faith. Under the new Victorian Equal Opportunity Act, political parties will be automatically exempt from the new Act, but churches won’t.

It appears that current employment contracts of church-based organizations – which often specify that administrators, playgroup or kindergarten coordinators, finance offices or site managers must be of the organization’s faith – may be illegal under the new law. The new Equal Opportunity Bill leaves these contracts open to be challenged in the courts.

Under current legislation, schools can assess who they employ to reflect the school’s culture on a case by case basis, taking into account a person’s moral values, religious beliefs and life style. Under the new Equal Opportunity legislation, the courts will decide if inherent religious requirements are necessary for the teaching of secular subjects like English, Maths or Physics. This will deny schools the right to exercise their discretion in employing people who will reflect their religious culture across the school.

Equally of concern, the act does not define “religion.” So is a Baptist school of the “Baptist religion” or will the courts judge it more broadly as being of the “Christian religion”? It will be entirely up to the courts to decide which definition of religion will be applied to such a school.

Indeed, the new Equal Opportunity Act “inherent requirements” rules are so ambiguous, they leave religious organizations open to a range of legal prosecutions. The new legislation effectively gives the courts grounds to prevent schools and other religious organisations from dismissing or denying employment to people who are actively opposed to the religious beliefs of the institution. These same ambiguous “inherent requirements” rules will apply to volunteers as well as paid employees!

The new legislation gives the Equal Opportunity Commission extensive new powers for investigating suspected “systematic discrimination,” even if no complaint has been made. Further, accused persons or church organisations will be required to provide documents in evidence to the Commission and to attend Commission hearings into their organization.

This is clearly Brave New World stuff happening right before our very eyes. I hope every one of you reading this will be willing to take a stand on this one. Please follow the last two links below for more practical information on how you can stand up and be counted on this crucial issue.

www.christian.org.uk/news/christian-preacher-fined-for-speaking-on-homosexuality/?e010410
www.saltshakers.org.au/take-action/campaigns/611
www.free2believe.org.au/

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53 Responses to Don’t Mention That ‘H’ Word

  • Bill, I want to encourage readers who are on the Lord’s side to pray regularly that you will keep in good form and continue this apstolate.
    Stan Fishley

  • Bill, our God will propagate a tsunami from your exposure. No legisators may rightly pass this law until they have taken to court the instigators of this uprisng. They must sue the writers of God’s Word for propounding such wholesome, protective law as in most books of the eternal word. They were sworn into their sacred office on this BOOK. The judges will administer justice from those who have sworn on this blessed BOOK. God’s people must challenge them with this grievous hypocrisy. May ten thousand wave their precious bibles at every red light halt. Ask God to spare you from road rage!
    http://www.biblestories.stellaris.com.au -has studies on sexuality.
    Harrold Steward

  • At least Peter Tatchell showed some common sense on this occasion it seems:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1262310/Gay-rights-campaigner-condemns-1-000-fine-preacher-said-homosexuality-sin.html

    Servaas Hofmeyr

  • Displaced Persons:

    Say this city has ten million souls,
    Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
    Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us.

    Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
    Look in the atlas and you’ll find it there:
    We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.

    In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
    Every spring it blossoms anew:
    Old passports can’t do that, my dear, old passports can’t do that.

    The consul banged the table and said,
    “If you’ve got no passport you’re officially dead”:
    But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

    Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
    Asked me politely to return next year:
    But where shall we go to-day, my dear, but where shall we go to-day?

    Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said;
    “If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread”:
    He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

    Thought I heard the threats and rumbling on Sky;
    It was the Gays, in Europe, saying, “Christians must die”:
    O we were in their mind, my dear, O we were in their mind.

    Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
    Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
    But they weren’t Christians , my dear, but they weren’t Christians .

    Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
    Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
    Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.

    Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
    They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
    They weren’t the human race, my dear, they weren’t the human race.

    Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
    A thousand windows and a thousand doors:
    Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

    Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
    Ten thousand police marched to and fro:
    Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.

    Apologies to W.H. Auden

    We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions when it cuts itself loose from Judeo Christian morality. As a whale goes through a net, greed, ambition, revenge and a demand for absolute human rights break the cords of democracy and rational debate . Our constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.

    Apologies to John Adams, 2nd president of the USA

    We have almost reached to point where democracy and reason no longer operate and when this happens, Judeo Christians will have only two choices: one to roll over and resign themselves to inevitable oppression; or two to take to action .

    There is no middle way.

    David Skinner, UK

  • You might find this worth a look.

    Done in response to the proposed changes to the EOC

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZX1s_XdOcM

    David Ross

  • Thanks David

    The video is especially helpful at the end when it displays footage about the great harm and scandal hate crimes laws are having in Canada. Well worth watching. Thanks for the tip.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill, these 4 points sound extremely serious.
    -The power to enter a church or meeting for the sole purpose of assessing what is said.
    -The right to demand that a religious organisation hand over files.
    -The right to compel church folk to attend a hearing at the Commission without any complaint being made.
    -The power to initiate a complaint of discrimination.

    It would be very helpful to us all if you or somebody else could point to the precise parts of the legislation which will grant these powers to the EOC. I am assuming that the legislation is publicly available.

    Thanks
    Jereth Kok

  • Thanks Jereth

    There are some links to the relevant bits of the legislation here: http://www.saltshakers.org.au/take-action/campaigns/611

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • This is a pretty disappointing development.

    What can be done? Perhaps Christians should say, “look if that is the way you want to go fine”. If Christians can’t make employment decisions and the like on perfectly reasonable grounds then they should simply pack up shop. Close down all the charities and schools and other organizations and say “As you wish, you leave us no choice”. The Catholic Church had the stones to do it when push came to shove, and perhaps us protestants should have the stones to follow suit.

    The secularists want all the benefits of having Christians in the community but also want to push them around and tell them what to do. They can’t have it both ways and it is time we stopped letting them have it both ways.

    Also, is there not room to simply abuse these laws ourselves to show how ridiculous they are? Insisting that homosexual activists groups hire outspoken Christians etc? That atheists groups hire Christians and the like. Just generally seek to play their own game against them?

    Jason Rennie

  • Thanks Bill.
    What I find infuriating about this is the way erstwhile Christians continue to support Labor governments, and also this one in Victoria, even when they come up with this sort of insidious attack on our historic liberties and blithely dismiss any objections from Christian believers. These “lefty” Christians seem to have the mindset of “The Labor Party right or wrong”, and are selling the rest of us down the river. I’m sorry if I sound bitter or churlish, but my attitude to them is utter contempt. In the light of what is going on, which you highlight, I see these people as traitors – to their Christian brethren, to the Church of Christ, and to Christ Himself.
    Then there are the many in churches across the land who continue to praise the Lord “for the freedoms we enjoy in this country”, while those freedoms are inexorably being eroded by politicians on one hand who are hostile to Christianity, and on the other who sell their soul for a vote. The church is asleep at the helm of Christ’s ship!
    Murray R. Adamthwaite

  • My wife and I have been talking over the last few months about how life might look in the future, under more hostile conditions. Both of us during our childhood attended Christian schools which required the teachers and staff to be believers. We have been brainstorming ways that Christians can adapt to the new situation. Here are some ideas we have had:

    – Christian schools can make it a requirement that ALL teachers lead worship and devotions each morning, and say a prayer at the start of each class. It should also be part of their job description that they must be able to provide spiritual counselling to students. Thus it can be argued that Christian faith is an “inherent requirement” of the job, even for a maths or English teacher
    – Christian schools should advertise jobs exclusively within Christian circles: word of mouth, church newsletters, etc.
    – Christian teachers applying for jobs at a Christian school should clearly identify their beliefs on their CV and application letters. They should provide a reference from their Pastor. (The law cannot forbid job applicants from volunteering this sort of information, it can only forbid an employer from demanding it.)

    Given that the Government seems determined in pressing forward with its anti-religion agenda, and will most likely be successful, we should accept that the future will be more difficult for us. Nevertheless, there is nothing stopping us from being more creative to get around the new laws.

    Jereth Kok

  • Hi Jereth,

    I am not sure about the second two suggestions but that first suggestion is a great one. One thing to watch out for though, is requirements that “counsel” can only be given by a “trained counsellor or psychologist” or some such drivel coming down the pipe.

    Jason Rennie

  • Thanks Bill

    Why is it that I have to come to your site to get this information? The case of the street preacher is outrageous, an unmasked assault on the freedoms we have fought wars to protect. Every media organisation in the Western world should be incensed about it. Governments that allow this kind of erosion of our freedoms should be swept out of office. Scotland should be in a state of protest at the moment. What has happened to us? When are we going to stand up and fight back?

    As for Victoria, enough is enough. When is the Church in Victoria going to stand up and publicly proclaim a vote for the Labor Party is tantamount to walking in the counsel of the ungodly, standing in the way of sinners and sitting in the seat of mockers? Does God want his people to empower the wicked? Now is the time for the Church in Victoria to stand in unity and say, “We are not going to take it anymore. We are going to defy you. Here together we stand. We will obey God rather than you.”

    Des Morris

  • To Murray R. Adamthwaite,

    Mate – I can certainly understand exactly where you are coming from and what you are getting at – very well said and spot on! Of course you will be accused of “judging” and all that spineless drivel but without sounding self righteous, I cannot help thinking contemptuously of Christians who mix socialism with Christianity either so in that case you are not alone! I think the Labour party is nothing but a repugnant and morally bankrupt organisation and I cannot even begin to understand how any Christian could vote for these people at all!

    Steve Davis

  • Servaas Hofmeyr, yes Tatchell supports freedom of speech but only because he knows that the thing closest to the heart of the Islamic lobby is to censor all speech, especially that which criticises Islam. It will mean that he cannot rant about “homosexuals” being hung in Iran. For him not to defend freedom of speech would take away his own freedom to peddle his deviancy, deception, distortion, defiance, denial, delusion and despair. When Tatchell appears on TV, on public forums, we get only the sanitised face – which is bad enough; but were his words to be aired, direct from his blog, all hell would break loose. But would it? Perhaps we as westerners are so far gone, that the public have become totally apathetic?

    Drink it to the last bitter drop: http://www.petertatchell.net/

    Jason Rennie, you assume that these people care about charities or the value of the good Christian works. Believe me they don’t. They dismiss Wilberforece, Lord Shafstbury and the role that Christians have played in forming western democracy. They, like Tatchell, just deny it. Do they rush to replace the adoption agencies that they have forced to be shut down? The only charities they support are those connected with AIDS and HIV. You credit them with being motivated by human concerns; but they are driven only by an ideology that logically ends of with Pol Pot and death.

    Jereth Kok, I think that this is good thinking. Recently in Britain the government tried to force churches to employ homosexuals, Satanists and atheists, as part of the Equality and Human Rights legislation. The only exemption would have been for those, like a church minister, who have responsibility for the preaching on Sunday. All other posts would have to be open to people of all persuasions. But if a requirement was that every active church member was to be able to preach, or lead in Bible study and prayer, this would have the double effect of protecting churches from subversives but also to force the individual members of churches to live up to their responsibilities, rather than, as many do now, to leave it to the “professionals.”

    David Skinner, UK

  • Bill,

    2 things …

    1. Your links …

    http://www.saltshakers.org.au/take-action/campaigns/611
    http://www.free2believe.org.au/

    … only list action that can be taken by Victorians. Can non-Victorians help in any way?

    2. I like Jereth Kok’s comment re: “Christian schools can make it a requirement that ALL teachers lead worship and devotions etc. …” – excellent way of not just circumventing but of making sure that schools do adhere to the teaching of the faith. I have several Catholic friends who, disgusted with some of the teachers in their own schools, have sent their kids to protestant schools but making sure they teach the specifics of the Catholic faith at home to their kids, or, in the case of another Catholic family home schooled their 9 kids (good Catholic family in more ways than one!) all 9 of whom graduated from university, several as doctors, 1 engineer and 1 lawyer that I know of.

    Graeme Cumming

  • Discussing homosexuality is uniquely difficult in the 21st century, as opposed to discussing at any other time, for homosexuality today is not just a manifestation of a disorder, or condition, but has taken on something of a much greater significance. It reveals itself to be a hundred-headed hydra that is presently attacking all that we have taken for granted concerning the deep complexities of truth, metaphysics, religion, authority, morals, psychology, science, medicine, sociology, history, language, reason, education, the arts, marriage, family, politics, justice, democracy, freedom and of childhood. It seems as though homosexuality is the Trojan horse designed to challenge and deny every notion that we had about a reality, formerly accounted for and explained through a biblical prism that no longer has any credibility in the minds of the great majority of the public.

    Homosexuality in the 21st century has now assumed not merely a sexual act but the incarnation of a worldview that has come to dominate all of society. My first experience of the tectonic collision between the old Judeo Christian worldview and that of the brave new world, so clearly articulated by Edmund Leach, in the BBC Reith Lectures of 1967, entitled, Runaway World, came about during my time as a teacher during a school, staff meeting in 1997. We were taken by surprise by a young anarchist teacher, not a homosexual himself, who had been given leave to suggest the promotion of homosexuality throughout the curriculum, as part of the new Equality Bill, the jewel in the Crown of the newly elected Labour Party. Amongst a staff of over eighty, there was hardly a word of protest. Since that time, the public not being sufficiently grounded in Biblical truth have been unable to recognise the incoming tide of Hegelian Marxist ideology that has swept through every hole and crack in the Christendom dam.

    Francis Schaeffer said in Chapter 1 “The God Who Is There,” first published in 1968, “Wherever you look today, the new concept holds the field. The consensus about us is almost monolithic, whether you review the arts, literature or simply read the news papers and magazines such as Time, Life, Newsweek, The Listener or The Observer. On every side you can feel the stranglehold of this new methodology – and by ‘methodology’ we mean the way we approach truth and knowing. It is like suffocating in a particularly bad London fog. And just as fog cannot be kept out by the walls or doors, so this consensus comes in around us, until the room we live in is no longer unpolluted, and yet we hardly realize what has happened.”

    If politicians have been put at a disadvantage in the both houses of parliament to present a credible defence against homosexuality, how is a parent expected to fair any better when the activists coming spreading their ideology through the school at which their child attends?

    David Skinner, UK

  • Thanks Graeme

    Good question about what non-Victorians can do. Writing to Victorian MPs should only be done by Victorians, as they will discount anything coming from out of state. But there are many things non-Victorians can do:

    -Tell as many people as you can about this.
    -Make sure every church and religious group you know of becomes aware of these threats.
    -Become fully informed about these sorts of issues.
    -Realise that this will come to other states as well soon enough.
    -Be proactive in defending religious freedom where you live, before it becomes too late.
    -Write letters to newspapers.
    -Get on talk back radio about this.
    -Pray like mad.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • We can take action: http://www.afa.net/Detail.aspx?id=2147493318
    David Skinner, UK

  • Bill,

    Is you 3rd link http://www.christian.org.uk/news/christian-preacher-fined-for-speaking-on-homosexuality/?e010410 down? I can’t access it.

    Graeme Cumming

  • Thanks Graeme

    I just clicked on it and it seems to work fine.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks David Skinner.
    Yes, I also saw your previous link to him in the porn article I think.
    I also understand that enemies could “support” one at times where we mutually benefit from something such as freedom of speech. Do find it comforting though that he recognises that right and spoke out against the police’s action – the question is probably to what extent will he support the right to freedom of speech? He mentions “Only incitements to violence should be illegal”. Who draws the line here and determines when something is an incitement to violence?

    Servaas Hofmeyr, South Africa

  • In January 1649 John Cooke lawyer penned the brief that was to send King Charles to the block. Its principles are still used today in trying war criminals. It runs as follows: “To the end that no chief officer or magistrate may hereafter presume traitorously or maliciously to imagine or contrive the enslaving or destroying of the English nation, and expect impunity for so doing…”

    Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Stonewall, and all other ministers who have conspired to destroy Britain’s Christian heritage are guilty of nothing less than treason. Some say that they do not know what they are doing or that they do not understand. Really? According to the Christian Institute, “Actor and homosexual campaigner Sir Ian McKellen has revealed the level of influence ‘gay rights’ group Stonewall exerted on Tony Blair’s policies while he was Prime Minister. Speaking at Stonewall’s annual ‘Equality Dinner’ fundraiser, Sir Ian recalled meeting Tony Blair on behalf of Stonewall three months before his election as Prime Minister( 1997) “I reeled off Stonewall’s demands, and he nodded, wrote them down and put a tick by them all. Then he said we will do all that,” he said…A flood of ‘gay rights’ legislation was introduced during Mr Blair’s time in Downing Street.”
    http://www.christian.org.uk/news/tony-blair-did-stonewalls-bidding-says-ian-mckellen/

    And now we have this: http://www.christian.org.uk/news/labour-vows-to-rip-up-free-speech-safeguard/

    We do indeed live in remarkable times.
    David Skinner, UK

  • Thanks Servaas

    But many homosexuals do regard any anti-homosexual language as “inciting violence”. So you need not be too quick to praise Tatchell here. He and many other activists would probably just a soon jail someone like me as look at me.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Servaas

    It’s just that when I read and listen to all of what Tatchell thinks, I am led to wonder what motivates him to defend freedom of speech. He gives no credit for the fact it was the Bible that laid the foundations for freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. His motivation is totally self-serving and were he others like him to assume domination of society, the first thing to go would be freedom of speech.

    Anyway that is my opinion, whilst I have the freedom to express it.

    David Skinner, UK

  • Bill,

    Got access to that link now.

    Graeme Cumming

  • Fully agree, thanks guys.
    Servaas Hofmeyr

  • Yes this issue of changes in the EOC is certainly of great concern but as is usual, this generally comes from Party’s such as Labour. We are also fighting hard to combat such. One of our Ministry departments has also gotten back to me with details that the man who was fined, pleaded guilty to the charges trumped against him, not because they were true, to the contrary they were not true, but because he was offered the fine and didnt want to continue the issues which would take around 8 weeks and in which case he was told he had a good chance of winning. Now I am not judging this fella for his decision, but,
    1) By pleading guilty doesnt that mean he lied?
    2) Having not stood the case against him, doesnt this only embolden the police to arrest others again rather than be shown to falsely interpret the events and thus have them think about the events a little more before they rashly act (as is now the case with the geelong police in wrongly stopping a Christian outreach).
    3) The courts may now see that indeed certain Christians have been found guilty of committing such offences?

    Forgive me if im wrong, but I see this ‘pleading guilty’ as a severe defeat for freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and please dont misunderstand me, i am not aware of the mans motives, i have relayed the issue as i have understood it, correct me if im wrong, but I was simply saddened by the latter end of this event.
    Dorian Ballard

  • Don’t Mention That ‘H’ Word

    All right, I will use ‘Sodomy’ and ‘Sodomite’ instead!

    David Clay, Hamilton

  • Dorian,

    The man’s motives were that his father was unwell in the USA and that he wished to return there. I do share your concerns however.

    Graeme Cumming

  • Dorian Ballard, I completely agree. Bearing in mind that Christians around the world, even as I type, are prepared to lay their all on the altar to Christ, especially in Islamic countries and North Korea, Shawn Holes should have counted the cost before heading for Scotland. Perhaps he was naively thinking in old currency, that the Christian world view still held sway in the UK. I may be out of line, here, but I think he needs to redeem the situation, by fixing up a return match in Scotland. I think he should go back, clear his name and claim substantial damages from the Scottish Crown Court. And as you say, this weakens considerably the position of evangelists, not just on the streets, but in any public space.

    Paul was never slow in claiming his rights as a Roman citizen.

    David Skinner, UK

  • Just to let you know of the response I got when I emailed Brian Tee (Labor rep for Eastern Metro region) with my concerns regarding this legislation. Talk about missing the point! While I’ve replied to him, anyone else planning on emailing him might like to pre-empt his response:
    “Thank you for your email on this important issue.
    “I believe that the current Act which provides an exemption allowing religious bodies, including religious schools, to discriminate on grounds such as race is offensive and should be repealed. I have met with a number of religious leaders and they all agree.
    “More generally Churches like the Catholic Church believe that the bill strikes a fair balance by protecting the rights of individuals from discriminatory conduct while allowing religious organisations including religious schools to act consistently with their doctrines and beliefs.”
    Fiona Visser

  • Thanks Fiona

    Yes I got exactly the same silly form letter. I wrote back to him, challenging him, and I suggest you and everyone else who gets fobbed off by him do the same. This is what I wrote in reply:

    Thanks Brian

    You have obviously only very selectively met with religious leaders. Just how many did you meet with and who were they?

    And the issue here is not at all discrimination based on race, but discrimination based on religious beliefs, and the draconian powers this bill will give to the EOC. Those are the very real issues which need to be discussed.

    I can point to hundreds here in Victoria who do not support the bill. Are you willing to meet with them, or do you only meet with those who side with you on this? Please let me know, and I will be happy to arrange a delegation of religious leaders to speak with you about this.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Wow. Well, one positive thing that might come from inappropriate legislation of organized church gatherings, would be to spark an interest in home churches and otherwise first-century styled assembly. They can’t legislate private gatherings, after all. 🙂

    In my opinion, organized church needs another good kick in the teeth in order to get it to be more Christ-led and less focused on a central speaker to a passive audience.

    When church becomes a business or an organization, rather than a simple assembly of followers of Christ, it sets itself up for government legislation. This is to be expected, as sad as it may be for those who are a part of that organization. Consider though – what business does the secular government have in legislating an activity sanctioned by God Almighty? The problem may appear daunting, and discouraging, but the solution is quite simple. Meet as Christ set up the original Ekklesia. Before the Roman government assimilated it the first time. This style of gathering attracts little attention from authorities, and operates on practically no budget. Its a style of assembly I hope to promote in Australia when I get there. 🙂 Probably off topic, but I figured a little encouragement is due.

    Nathan Schellinger

  • Thanks Nathan

    I certainly agree with you that the “organized church needs another good kick in the teeth in order to get it to be more Christ-led”.

    However, sadly, you are wrong to suggest that “They can’t legislate private gatherings, after all”. Hate crime laws and other pernicious legislation will certainly cover those as well. Indeed, it is already occurring. Recall a post I did a while back about a home Bible study being banned in California: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2009/05/24/christian-persecution-on-the-rise/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill

    Thanks for being the watchman on the wall once again with this article. The remainder of my comments are a cry for something else.

    It would be wonderful, if those among us, who are called to political action could help develop a longer term strategy in this war. One of the dangers I see – certainly from one just over the border in South Australia – is that the Christian community seems to be called to resist in a knee jerk fashion, to every push from the other side. How do we move from this position, which can be absolutely exhausting and totally debilitating, to a position where achievable strategies are being set in place for the longer term? In the Christian political realm there is a need for some inspired leadership (and I don’t necessarily mean Christian MPs). We need leaders who are developing strategies over the longer term – in and for the broad church – who anticipate some defeats in the short term. We have to stop dying the death of a thousand cuts. Maybe this is already happening. I would like to think so. This is my prayer.

    Chris McNicol

    P.S. In the mean time I’ll do my bit and let more people know as you have suggested.

  • Weird stuff! Brought about by weirdo’s! Thank God that the Lord is with us everyday! Otherwise we would never cope!!
    Jane Byrne

  • Bill,

    I just re-read the story you mentioned re: the home bible study in California, i.e. https://billmuehlenberg.com/2009/05/24/christian-persecution-on-the-rise/

    Do you have any follow-up information as to what happended in that case?

    Graeme Cumming

  • Regarding the incident in San Diego, I think it would be exceedingly difficult for a government to enforce the ban of gathering of believers in the privacy of their own homes. The current organized church is extremely visible and easy to persecute. They have large obvious buildings they meet in, and they aren’t shy about letting everyone know who they are. If persecution becomes the norm, we will all need to be a lot more discreet in our gatherings in the privacy of our homes. But we will still meet. I don’t believe there will ever be a time when the followers of Christ are unable to gather in the assembly in one form or another.
    Nathan Schellinger

  • Thanks Nathan

    Sure, like Chinese believers we can secretly meet in the forests and elsewhere, and still worship. But the issue is, will Christians in the West stand by quietly and allow such persecution to occur, or will we fight for religious freedom while we still have the chance? It is the apathy and indifference of Western Christians to the loss of their freedoms that bothers me.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Murray Adamthwaite, yes, these lefty Christians are traitors.
    Stan Fishley

  • I know I’m going to get flamed for this, but I’m an atheist. My son goes to an Anglican private school – not for religious reasons, clearly, but because it is one of the best schools in Canberra.

    Now, my son doesn’t know I’m an atheist. I decided long ago to not tell him so he could go to school with an open and objective mind, take in his religious instruction and decide for himself what feels right. When he understands enough to ask the right questions of me then I’ll explain my views (and that they are mine alone), but until then I just skirt around the subject.

    So with this in mind, may I ask what is wrong with a hiring a “non-believer” to teach secularist subjects? If a school wants to hire the best metal-work teacher in the region, but can’t because he’s a Hindu then it’s only the children who will ultimately suffer. And what could an atheist maths teacher say that could sway supple minds away from Christian beliefs? That Pythagoras believed in metempsychosis which would probably make him a Buddhist if he were alive today?

    As I said earlier, I’m going to get slammed for this – and I would expect nothing less as there doesn’t seem to be many “non-believers” writing here today (maybe they’ve popped out for coffee) – but I really am curious as to what this community feels is the greatest threat here.

    And please don’t take this as an insult, it certainly isn’t intended as such (more a point of discussion), but do you believe that your children’s faith is so fragile that even the mere presence of an outside influence could break it? Wouldn’t they be stronger adults (and possibly stronger Christians) if given access to broader subjects than narrower? People must know the world around them, even the uglier stuff, if just to put it all in perspective. Ignorance can only lead to intolerance; intolerance feeds separation, hatred, and ultimately violence. I’m not suggesting your children embrace homosexuality, Islam, or Evolutionary Science, rather that they should know that they exist and for innumerable reasons.

    Thanks so much for your time and I look forward to your interesting, if not colourful, replies. 😉 And I apologise for the lengthy post (I seem to have somewhat transgressed Bill’s Rule #3).

    Jason Bertles

  • Thanks Jason

    The short answer is this: when atheists start allowing Christians to work in their institutions, I will consider allowing them in ours.

    The longer answer is this: If you have a Christian school (or a Muslim school, or a Jewish school) it is quite reasonable to expect that those who work their share the same worldview, same values, same ethics and same philosophy. Nothing too outrageous there.

    I am not aware of the Geelong football club being forced to hire ardent Hawks fans into their side. I don’t expect women’s health clubs to have to admit males. I am not aware of senior citizens groups forced to take in teenagers.The Liberal Party is not compelled to hire Labor party members. So why should religious institutions have to violate their own principles and be forced into compromise in the name of misplaced concepts such as fairness, tolerance and the like?

    An atheist may well be able to teach some basic classes, such as maths, but that is not all that a religious school is about. Workers at a religious school will share in other tasks, such as praying together, worshipping together and so on.

    And many religions do not regard there to be such things as “secularist subjects”. A Christian for example may well look at any number of subjects differently than would an atheist. As even Dawkins admits, a world with a God would look quite different from a world without a God, and this can show up in even quite mundane subjects.

    Just as an atheist club would not be able to do its thing if they were forced to hire Christians, so too Christian groups would have real troubles working closely with those of quite differing beliefs. Religious institutions have good reason to want to employ those who share closely in their beliefs and values.

    As to a religious person being made stronger by being exposed to other beliefs, why is that not happening already? Simply living in a country like Australia exposes one every say to secular and other beliefs and practices. Why can’t those wanting a certain education at least be assured that at that school, they will get what they are looking for, to offset what they are being bombarded with by the surrounding culture?

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks, Bill, for your rather quick response.

    A couple of points, if I may. Firstly, your short answer, “when atheists start allowing Christians to work in their institutions…” doesn’t quite work because we are not an organisation – we don’t meet every Thursday afternoon and certainly are not a closed society. The world is our institution: libraries, free discussion, enthusiastic debate. You, and all on this forum, are always welcome to join in, but you never come to the meetings! That was a joke, btw.

    And I think it IS unreasonable to expect that everyone you (and your children) converse with to share the “same worldview, same values, same ethics and same philosophy”. Where is the diversity, the pleasure of learning, the accepting other people and their beliefs? There is nothing more rewarding than saying to someone, “I accept you for who YOU are, regardless of your worldview.”

    Also, it is simplification to suggest that being forced to hire an atheist is likened to the Labor Party being forced to take on a Liberal supporter and the like. There are no quotas that dictate that you must take on 10% “non-believer” staff, it is that you must justify why you shouldn’t if one were to apply and be otherwise found suitable. And to follow your example further, if a supporter of the Liberal party was not given a position in the Labor party (who otherwise would have been found suitable) simply due to his political leaning then that would be discrimination. Being a religious organisation should not be an excuse to waive that person’s inexorable right. Tolerance is a two-way street where everybody benefits.

    Now, your comment, and if I may quote you here, “[why should religious institutions]…be forced into compromise in the name of concepts such as fairness, tolerance and the like?” Fairness and tolerance aren’t throwaway concepts, they are virtues that we should hold dear and actually fight for. Are not these what all society should be based upon, aren’t these two of the truer pillars of humanity? Please don’t misconstrue my meaning here when I say that I’m dumbfounded by your words and hope that you say them in jest (or in error) due to the lateness of the hour.

    And one final point, returning to the original point of discussion, though I agree there could be some awkwardness regarding prayer time, etc, I firmly believe that subjects such as mathematics could easily be handled by an atheist in a religious context. Up until recently (~200 years ago) many pure mathematicians believed that the true word of God could only be found in the context, and awe-inspiring beauty, of numbers. The deeper they penetrated the more beautiful they found it and they strove towards the perfection of numeracy. A perfection that, to them, was evidence of the divine. I can understand this, I don’t believe it obviously, but I can see how one can be swept away by it. An expert who clearly knew these things would be just as well equipped to teach secular subjects in religious context – probably more than a lesser expert who happened to share the same worldview as his employers.

    Again, I thank you, Bill for your time.

    Jason Bertles

  • Hi Jason,

    You asked,

    So with this in mind, may I ask what is wrong with a hiring a “non-believer” to teach secularist subjects? If a school wants to hire the best metal-work teacher in the region, but can’t because he’s a Hindu then it’s only the children who will ultimately suffer. And what could an atheist maths teacher say that could sway supple minds away from Christian beliefs? That Pythagoras believed in metempsychosis which would probably make him a Buddhist if he were alive today?

    The answer is nothing at all. But that is not what is at issue here. It is that the Christian groups will be forced at the point of a gun to hire people they would not want to hire.

    The school (actually anybody IMO) should be allowed to hire who ever they like for whatever criteria they like. If they don’t want to hire non-christians they shouldn’t have to deal with some collection of PC idiots insisting that is somehow unfair. It is their money they pay for their employees surely it is up to them how they want to dispose of it.

    Actually the whole concept of anti-discrimination law in hiring is really quite a totalitarian idea, but that is what you get from the left and their useful idiot followers. (Not to suggest you are in that camp).

    It is as stupid to insist that a christian school must hire non-christians as it is to insist that hospitals hire unskilled workers as brain surgeons.

    Jason Rennie

  • Thanks Jason

    But now the real atheist crusader is beginning to emerge. As always, they begin innocuously and innocently enough, pretending to have a few honest questions. But once challenged, then they show their true colours. They have their agenda and they fully intend on pushing it.

    Let me call your bluff here. Of course there are many hundreds of atheist and secularist organizations. As soon as Dawkins lets me into his The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, for example, I will let you into mine. In the meantime, spare us this blatant misinformation and special pleading.

    And I also have to call your bluff about “diversity”. On the one hand you say we need atheists to bring in diversity, yet on the other hand you say certain topics can be taught by anyone, so why is the diversity needed? The truth is, any decent religious school will expose their students to various worldviews and different opinions on various issues. You simply have a prejudiced and stereotypical view of what a religious school is all about.

    The truth is, on hot potato issues like evolution, a good Christian school will teach that and creation to their students, and allow them to weigh up the issues. However most secular schools today will only give one side of the debate here. So much for diversity Jason.

    And as I said, people live in the real world, with all of its diversity already. So why can’t Jewish parents, for example, allow their kids to have perhaps 30 hours a week where Jewish values and beliefs will be taught to offset those countervailing beliefs and values of the surrounding culture which the kids are exposed to 24/7?

    And the again I have to call your bluff. What do you think all anti-discrimination laws and affirmative action programs involve? They involve quotas. As an increasingly secular government passes more and more laws which are aimed at curtailing the influence of religious groups in the public arena, you can bet your boots that things like quotas will be mandated. If the secular state insists that religious schools must embrace non-religious workers, it will follow that up by the strong arm of the law.

    And I am not buying your distorted concepts of fairness and tolerance. I have written plenty about the latter term, so look up what I have elsewhere said about that. As to fairness, try telling that to Dawkins when he refuses to employ me in his organisation.

    And you refuse to understand the nature of religious education. Why do you think it is called that? As I said, some topics may well be taught by anyone. But that is not the sole purpose. It is to equip and nurture students with the ethos and values of the particular religion.

    If a math student got injured, a Christian school would among other things wish to pray for him. I don’t think an atheist math teacher would be of much use in that regard. But there are plenty of other ways in which an atheist would be a bad fit in a religious school, just as a religious person would be a bad fit in an atheist institution.

    So just be thankful for all the fairness, tolerance and diversity that are allowed on this site, as atheists like you push their agendas.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill, do you happen to know where we can find out how our VIC politicians voted on this bill. I would like to know, both lower house AND upper house.
    Stephen Frost

  • Thanks Stephen

    The short answer is this is how the voting went in the Upper house on Thursday:
    -All the Libs and Nats and DLP voted against it.
    -All the Greens and Labor voted for it.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I will be approaching my electorate’s Liberal members (lower and upper house) and demanding that they adopt a policy which will require this legislation to be repealed when they next win government. If they do not adopt such a policy, they will not receive my vote ever again. As for Labor, they are beyond redemption now.
    Stephen Frost

  • Jason,
    “There is nothing more rewarding than saying to someone, “I accept you for who YOU are, regardless of your worldview.”
    There is a problem with this and that is that a major part of who YOU are is your world view!
    Would a person marry someone who has opposing views?
    Linda Ure

  • In 2010 the NSW Penny Sharpe MP tried to call you a hate criminal for opposing the suppression of free speech. I just found this in my research. I thought you would be interested.

    http://theglorias.com.au/voting_form

  • Thanks Luke. I must be a real hater: I was the only person to be nominated twice in one section of this poll. Even fellow haters like Warwick Marsh got only one nomination!

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