History repeats itself, which is why we all need to be students of history. And when we ignore or forget the lessons of history, we simply end up repeating the mistakes of history. Consider the increased paganisation of the West and the corresponding rise in anti-Christian bigotry and persecution.
We have of course seen this before. The persecution of the early Christians took place over several centuries, beginning with the Roman emperor Nero (37–68). Various means were implemented to silence believers, strip away their rights, and force them to remain silent – even renounce their faith.
Why does it seem that what we find all over the West today is starting to have some eerie and scary similarities to what took place back then? To see the clear parallels, let me offer an imaginary newspaper article from first century Rome.
Emperor Nero says the practice of Christian conversion is “bigoted quackery that masquerades as religion” and it will be banned in Rome. The government says the ban would be a Roman empire first and comes after an investigation by the Religious Complaints Commission the practice resulted in long-term psychological harm and distress.
The so-called conversion has changed and even cost people their lives, Nero said before joining the Midsumma Pagan Pride March on Sunday. “This bigoted quackery that masquerades as religion, the notion that any gay Roman is broken and needs to be fixed … that’s such a hurtful, wrong and frankly an absolutely disgraceful way to approach what should be about inclusion and acceptance and valuing people just for who they are,” he said.
It’ll be a year at least before legislation is introduced to the Senate, allowing for consultation and to ensure the laws are exactly right, Equality Minister Arelius said.
OK, an imaginary story, but actually it is almost a word for word copy of what we just heard yesterday in the media. Here is the more recent – and real – version of events:
Premier Daniel Andrews says the practice of gay conversion therapy is “bigoted quackery that masquerades as healthcare” and it will be banned in Victoria. The state government says the ban would be an Australian first and comes after an investigation by the Health Complaints Commission the practice resulted in long-term psychological harm and distress.
The so-called therapy has changed and even cost people their lives, Mr Andrews said before joining the Midsumma Pride March in St Kilda on Sunday. “This bigoted quackery that masquerades as healthcare, the notion that any gay Victorian is broken and needs to be fixed … that’s such a hurtful, wrong and frankly an absolutely disgraceful way to approach what should be about inclusion and acceptance and valuing people just for who they are,” he said.
It’ll be a year at least before legislation is introduced to parliament, allowing for consultation and to ensure the laws are exactly right, Equality Minister Martin Foley said.
I would like to know how the two scenarios differ to any significant degree. In both cases the heavy hand of the law is being brought to bear on the Christian population. In both cases we have state-sponsored anti-Christian bigotry, along with ramped-up persecution of those who fail to bow to the demands of the imperial state.
As to the actual proposal here, this is shocking stuff indeed. It is not just Christians of course who have long offered such help and counsel to those seeking it. Non-Christian groups and even secular groups have offered this over the years. There is no “bigoted quackery” going on here – just much-needed alternatives for those who struggle with or are unhappy about their sexual attractions.
And of course the pejorative term “conversion therapy” is not our term, but theirs. The bogus idea being pushed here is that sinister Christian groups are going around kidnapping homosexuals and forcing them against their wills to become straight. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This is simply about offering real choice to those who might be seeking help in this area. But I have spoken to all this in some detail. See this recent article for example: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/12/11/the-war-against-conversion-therapy/
As I said in that piece:
Christianity insists that we are all born sinners, but that Christ came to deal with the sin question, as well as provide a way out of our chains. Christianity is a transformative religion in which people really can become new creatures in Christ. And that means even homosexuals can be transformed if they want to be.
But that threatens the very core of the homosexual narrative, depending as it does on the myth that homosexuals are born that way and can never change. Never mind all the honest homosexuals who have disagreed with this, and all those ex-homosexuals who prove this to be a lie.
Freedom and choice
Most folks would understand that when we talk about freedom, in large measure we are talking about choice. The ability to choose between varying options is part and parcel of what real freedom is all about. But the ominous thing is, while the secular left is always talking about choice, increasingly they are taking freedoms away from various groups of people.
The examples are legion. We talk about choice when it comes to reproductive health, but all that really means is giving a mother the right to kill her own baby. Where is the right of choice for the unborn baby? That is taken away from the very start.
And those who want to peacefully and gently be present to share options with mothers heading into abortion mills are having their rights of choice taken away as they are banned from being anywhere near an abortion clinic. Where is their choice?
Increasingly the choices of Christians and others in Australia are being taken away from them as more and more “hate crimes” and “anti-discrimination” laws are being passed. Simply having the right to hold a public meeting is being denied many as their choice to have a contrary point of view is being denied them.
We have had plenty of speakers and organisations who happen to hold to non-PC points of view being denied the right to speak at various venues or to hold conferences, etc. Their choices are becoming narrower and fewer as we continue to call contrary points of view “hate speech” and the like.
And in this Victorian case, the secular left is more than happy for people to be able to choose their sexuality, their sexual identity, even what sex they prefer to be. But here they are taking choice AWAY from those who want some help with unwanted sexual attractions.
Those who simply may be uncomfortable or unhappy with where they are at, and just wish to get a bit of counsel and advice are having that right arbitrarily and unfairly stripped away from them. What about their choice? Why are they the only ones who can have no say in their own sexuality?
The move by Dan Andrews and his Labor government to strip away real choice and freedom from some groups simply to maintain a radical secular left ideology at all costs is getting worse by the month. And the parallels we find here and what took place in ancient Rome are frightening indeed.
I know of Victorians who offer this helpful service to those who seek it. These folks are mainly ex-homosexuals themselves. They have found a way out of a dead-end lifestyle, and they are offering the same help for anyone else who might want it. But when laws like this go through, their work will become illegal, and if they continue in it, they will become outlaws.
And thousands of churches, pastors, counsellors, Bible teachers, therapists and others who deal in these areas will also become criminals in the People’s Republik of Victoria. Oh, and the Bible speaks about the sin of homosexuality as well as how God can set these and other people free and have new life in Christ.
So when does the Bible become verboten here Dan? What is your timeline to have all Bibles confiscated and all sermons that speak about this declared to be illegal? And when will you have my own website taken down for hate speech? It is all just a matter of time it seems.
About all that remains is to start throwing those pesky Christians to the lions again, or to start burning them at the stake. Hey, the MCG would be a great venue for all this Dan. Indeed, it could make for terrific halftime entertainment at the next AFL gay pride round.
Oops, I better not give Rainbow Dan any more ideas.