CultureWatch

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

How Will You Respond to the New Tyranny? We Need to Decide NOW

May 1, 2019

People always have at least two choices to make in the face of tyranny, repression, censorship, and attacks on their fundamental rights and freedoms: they can stand up and resist, or they can simply submit and give in. Yes, there may be other options, but when push comes to shove, these are the main two responses we can make.

Do we say no to Big Brother tyranny and do what we can to resist the various forms of fascism emerging everywhere in the West, or do we just cowardly give up, refuse to stand for what is right, and just go with the flow? At some point soon we all may need to make such a choice.

I think we should be clear about how we will respond now, and not wait until it is really crunch time. We need to decide ahead of time whether it will be fight or flight. It will do little good when the really hardcore crackdown begins and we finally start to think about this. Make up your minds now!

I discuss all this in light of some recent updates to the ongoing Israel Folau saga. Of course if you have no idea what the Folau saga is all about, you may have been living on the moon for the past month. I only wrote four recent articles on the matter myself! Here are two of them:

billmuehlenberg.com/2019/04/11/outspoken-christians-will-not-be-tolerated/

billmuehlenberg.com/2019/04/15/folau-and-the-fallout/

The outspoken Christian sportsman has called down upon himself the wrath of nearly everyone – sporting bodies, the media, politicians, commentators, even Christian leaders – all because he thought it was good to share some biblical truth in public. The persecution and opposition have been unrelenting ever since.

But the matter will just not go away quietly. Things are still bubbling along, and just in the past few days we have had other athletes responding to this matter. One took a stand, but then seemed to have quickly backed down and apologised. As one media report says:

Rugby star Samu Kerevi has apologised for ‘offending’ fans after declaring ‘I love Jesus’ in an Instagram post at Easter. The Queensland Reds captain caused controversy among fans when he shared a Bible verse on his Instagram account on Easter Thursday.

The Fijian-born sports star posted a picture of him from a recent match with the caption: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  The 25-year-old added: ‘Thank You Jesus for dying on the cross for me. I love you Jesus.’

While most fans supported Kerevi for promoting his religious beliefs, some questioned whether he would publicly declare his support for gay Australians. ‘I know a lot of gay kids and adults in our sport would love to hear a rugby leader like you say you love and respect them for who they are – are you willing to endorse that message?’ wrote one fan. ‘I hope you don’t support Israel’s comments Samu,’ added a second.

Kerevi later apologised for upsetting some fans with his Easter post, The Australian reported. The rugby ace dedicated his apology to ‘anyone that I have offended in giving praise to our God on a weekend that we take off to celebrate his sacrifice for you and I’. When contacted by the Daily Mail Australia, a spokesman for Queensland Rugby declined to comment ‘as Kerevi had quoted a text from the Bible celebrating Easter’.

Kerevi’s bizarre apology comes as Rugby Australia prepares to hold a hearing about whether star Israel Folau should be stripped of his multi-million dollar contract for saying gays would ‘go to hell’. Rugby Australia will hold a hearing into the Folau matter on Saturday. The 30-year-old, who is a devout Christian, was handed a ‘high level’ breach notice over posts he made on social media on Twitter and Instagram on April 10.
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6974079/Rugby-star-apologises-offended-fans-saying-love-Jesus.html

So he seems to have backtracked big time. But other athletes – notably other Pacific Islanders – are now getting some backbone and supporting Folau in a very public manner. Says one report:

Rugby Australia is facing a potential Polynesian player mutiny after one of the Wallabies’ most exciting prospects claimed all Pacific Islanders “might as well just be sacked” because of their religious beliefs. In an explosive development days out from Israel Folau’s attempt to save his multimillion-dollar career at an RA code of conduct hearing, Queensland Reds and Wallabies hooker Taniela Tupou took to Facebook to express his support for the under-fire superstar.

“Seriously ?????????? Might as well sack me and all the other Pacific Islands rugby players around the world because we have the same Christian beliefs ??????,” Tupou posted late on Tuesday night. I will never apologise for my faith and what i believe in, religion had nothing to do with rugby anyways ???????? #TYJ”

Tupou, aka “Tongan Thor”, attached a link to an earlier post from fellow Wallabies teammate and Reds captain Samu Kerevi, who felt compelled to apologise for taking to Instagram at Easter thanking “Jesus for dying on the cross for me. I love you Jesus#”.”

“I appreciate the kind words from everyone,” Kerevi posted. “But to be clear I’m not apologising for my faith in Jesus Christ my saviour. God will always come first in my life and many other professional rugby players. Today, I felt things were taken out of context in regards to certain articles. I do not feel obliged to apologise to people because of the situation happening right now with a brother of mine.”
au.sports.yahoo.com/sack-us-israel-folau-firestorm-takes-explosive-twist-203942475.html?soc_src=community&fbclid=IwAR36zjBJuQIOXuZf526_kRfVSpwVAPMhPCOCYvML9NEGvx22gWoRyj5cUKQ

According to this second report, Kerevi has not backed down as much as it first appeared. Be that as it may, we do know that overwhelmingly most athletes – whether in rugby or not – have been too cowardly to say anything. Certainly next to none have come out in public support of Folau.

And if they did, they too came under massive attack, with a few also backing down. For example Gary Ablett of the AFL spoke out briefly, then backtracked almost as fast. And an English footballer, Billy Vunipola, has been given real grief by the Rugby Football Union for daring to publicly support Folau as well.

All this underlines the need for all of us Christians to make up our minds ahead of time on where we will stand on these sorts of issues. Will we decide ahead of time to stand strong, proclaim truth, and not worry about the inevitable attacks, including some rather unpleasant consequences, or will we decide that we will not stand and be counted when such a stance is most needed?

The choice is up to you. We either act courageously here or we act cowardly. We either decide that Jesus and the Bible will fearlessly be championed in public – especially as they more and more come under attack – no matter what the negative fallout, or we will decide saving our own skin is more important.

Whose side are you on? You better settle this matter real soon. Things are getting worse by the day in terms of freedom of religion and the ability to live out your faith in the public arena. These six quotes on courage will not go astray here:

“Desperate times call for faithful men, and not careful men. The careful men come later and write the biographies of the faithful men, lauding them for their courage.” Doug Wilson

“It’s going to demand a lot of courage before too long— to really live and maintain the true Christian life according to the Word of the Living God.” Leonard Ravenhill

“The true follower of Christ will not ask, ‘If I embrace this truth, what will it cost me?’ Rather he will say, ‘This is truth. God help me to walk in it, let come what may!'” A. W. Tozer

When people say ‘You can’t do that, it’s not safe!’ quote Brother Andrew: “God said to go. He didn’t promise you would come back.”

“Rule of thumb: if your principles evaporate the moment courage is required to defend them, you have no principles. You’re a panderer, not a warrior.” Matt Walsh

“Once upon a time, there was a safe, private place to take your controversial stand for Jesus. No more. If you are going to stand, you will be shot at—either figuratively or literally.” John Piper

And three biblical texts come to mind here about making the right choices. They are well worth closing with.

Joshua put it this way (Joshua 24:15): “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

And Elijah issued a similar call for making a choice (1 Kings 18:21): “Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him’.” Or as Jesus himself put it in Matthew 12:30, “He who is not with me is against me.”

[1532 words]

22 Responses to How Will You Respond to the New Tyranny? We Need to Decide NOW

  • I am eighty years old this year and can therefore look back quite a way to the days when the Judeo-Christian ethic was dominant, even among non-Christians. Over the years we have seen the eroding of all of the principles we once held and I do not believe it is an accident.

    In the 1920s Italian communist Antonio Gramsci advocated de-Christianising the West; He said: “The civilised world has been throroughly saturated with Christianity for 2000 years. Any country grounded in Judeo-Christian values cannot therefore be overthrown until those roots are cut. To cut the roots, to change the culture, a long march through the institutions is necessary. Only then will power fall into our laps like ripened fruit.”

    This is a policy driven by the Frankfurt School, numbers of whom fled to the USA in the late 1930s with the rise of Hitler and spread their poison through the universities. That long march has today saturated the West and we are reaping the results.

    Christians are going to be tested, and with the apathy towards a knowledge of the Scriptures and consequent spiritual growth I have to wonder how many will stand tall. The time has come for every believer in Jesus Christ to take a stand and let the chips fall where they may. We need to remember the promises of God and rely completely on Him. “The battle is the Lord’s”.

  • Amen Brother Graeme, Amen
    I may be isolated Bill, but I will stand. I will stand upon The Rock who died for me. Wretch that I am He died and forgave me.
    Praise the name of The Lord most high oh praise his name forever more. Jesus Christ the son of the Living God.
    Mark Bryant

  • It’s curious: The current Australian federal election has several times had its “intended headlines” overshadowed by matters related to freedom of religion and persecution of Christians. Mr Folau’s matter has been followed by the Easter Sunday atrocities in Sri Lanka. Then there’s the the international attention attracted by the Notre Dame fire… Apparently, sometimes events outside the “politics – mass media bubble” do actually upset the expected, “canonical” mainstream subtext of what passes for public life and debate…

    Courage in standing for God’s honest truth will also need to be mixed with a huge serving of sharp, clear thinking and shrewdly-chosen words when it comes to answering what now passes for popular wisdom.

    Hell and The Last Judgement are not popular topics to a world where “diversity” is cast as the highest virtue, where truth is for many no longer held to be a universal absolute. When the prospect of Jesus of Nazareth as the Judge of the entire human race no longer appeals to Westerners, the very word “Hell” should bring bitter tears to Christians’ eyes and deep sorrow to Christians’ hearts for their unbelieving, unrepentant neighbours.

  • Being a bit of a tv addict (Criminal Minds, Major Crimes and the like) i have seen so many shows that do more than just have a gay (or whatever) character in or appear on their show. They must also say a line that endorses the lifestyle of said person, even when it is not needed. I have no problem with the diversness of modern society being represented but this is not what is going on. If you thumbs up these lifestyles as good, acceptable, whatever you are socially acceptable. You are in with the Kylie Minogues… if you don’t endorse it (but still show common human respect to all) you are out, you are an Israel Folau.
    The powers that be don’t want tolerance, they want to be sanctioned by society or else you will be labelled the villain.
    I have stood with Jesus since 1983 and will do so for the rest of my life. It has cost me, it will continue to do so. But if i am punished for not pandering to the bullies, punished for simply not thinking and speaking in accordance to their decrees then i will “count the cost” as need be.
    No going with the flow for this girl.
    (Thanks David Meece for the song that has fortified my resolve.)

  • One public figure who has not backed down so far is Senator Fraser Anning, who continues to stand by his original remarks made after the Christchurch shootings.
    This is despite extensive misreporting by an aggressively hostile media, a change.org petition calling for his removal from parliament literally getting more than a million signatures, and a parliamentary censure motion passing with bipartisan support.
    Without getting into a discussion about the wisdom or otherwise of the wording and timing of those original remarks, it is worth noting that such tenacity is virtually unheard of in contemporary public life.

    It may be of interest to readers of this forum to note that the policy platform of Fraser Anning’s National Conservative Party reads as a more muscular and nationalist leaning version of those of the so-called ‘Christian’ parties in Australia, with an apparent Distributist economic bent.
    (Distributism is based upon the principles of Catholic social teaching, especially the teachings of Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Rerum novarum (1891) and Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo anno (1931)).

    Policies of particular interest to readers of this forum include:
    “iii) traditional family values, including recognising marriage as only the union of a man and a woman and the sanctity of human life at all ages, including both the unborn and the elderly;”
    “ii) social cohesion by an immigration program that gives preference to those best able to integrate and assimilate;”
    “v) individual freedom, including unrestricted freedom of speech, association and belief;”
    The rest can be found at:
    https://www.conservativenationalparty.org/policies

    Is Fraser Anning’s National Conservative Party worthy of being included on the Australian Christian Values Institute election checklist along with the Christian Democrats, DLP, Australian Conservatives etc, especially given that Fraser Anning is a current serving Senator?

  • We thought Graeme Hunt, Mark Bryant and John C. Wigg posts were lovely.

    We cannot write posts like the ones we see above as Milly, Alice and I type this post. We live in another land and have had different experiences as we are still at school.

    We do not have two or three good choices to choose from we only have one and that is Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Standing for what is right and good if you have known and experienced hell on earth is not that hard especially if you have Jesus in your life. Things will happen that will show you the world isn’t fair or loving; it may start with little things like being dumped by a boy as some girls in my class are experiencing. Some will suffer bigger things like being unloved. the unloved need to know we will never be unloved if we love Jesus as he will love us back with a love the world can’t take away from us.

    The brave stand out even if they are standing out because they are being criticised. When we see the brave standing out being criticised whether it be a brave girl taking on the whole class and teacher for the sake of the good or a footballer for his God. Those people are elevated in our lives and we want to be like them. We see they are not fighting for their own gain, they are fighting for the good using courage. Courage makes the world a better place and the people who exercise it, the good.

    Milly, Molly, and Atheistic not Alice, with a little help from my Mom.

  • I have just spotted this video by Jordan Peterson.
    “Take Aim, Even Badly” (8mins)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwGDnSWmqhM
    I think it adds to our thoughts, motivations, and methods here.

    Many have criticized Israel Falau for his statements, but he did it.
    Did he do it badly? Maybe. But then, so what! He did it.

    Perhaps I have begun badly, and will continue badly.
    I did it and got threatened. Scary, now I have to push through.
    Push through the badly, push through the fear, push through the whatever consequences.

    The two Liberal candidates copped it. Did they begin badly? Perhaps.
    There is another economy, and that is the economy of God, where “badly” is forgiven and even redeemed into the victory that is intended.

    We must begin.
    We MUST begin.
    We must BEGIN
    WE must begin

  • Hello Bill, thanks for another great article . It is a sad state of affairs when “opinion” is called “hate speech” . The insanity that is taking place in government and the Media and the community is accelerating at a rapid pace . It appears the Insanity will have to get worse until many sane folk cant take it anymore and are jolted into action to resist . Keep up the Good work Bill.
    Tony and Suzanne Villani Melbourne

  • Change will only happen … when the person you see in the mirror … is serious about … change !!!
    .
    Remember … We cannot replace something with nothing …
    .
    The Snowflake Entitlement Generation have been educated by very efficient and effective Cultural Marxists … [abetted by the deluded Oz Xn Baptised Statists !!!!} … but they are about to share in the economic and cultural collapse they have been trained to create …
    .
    We now need to accept and restore the Tasks, Responsibilities and Accountabilities that belongs to Individuals, Families, Churches, Enterprises and Associations that the Secularists deluded us into believing that they could supply, by an ever bigger Corporate Bureaucratic Father Christmas … who like the Cargo Cult of a generation past … claimed it could create wealth and “happiness” by Divine Legislative Fiat !!!!
    .
    BTW … restoration is NOT going to happen overnight !!!
    .
    But persevere … it is possible to escape the secular tyranny !!!

    https://youtu.be/MqoGORXAv2o

  • David Horowitz has some interesting comments in his books and clips. As a ex leftist he is very much in the know of what had happened in the last 50 years

  • Peter Killin has resigned as Liberal candidate in the upcoming election, giving in to the mass hysteria whipped up by the media over the fact that he commented in support of a post on this site (described by the media as an extraordinary homophobic rant).

    Jeremy Hearn commented over on Quadrant a couple of years ago making perfectly valid observations about Muslims wanting to impose Sharia in Australia which comment has just been discivered by the media who have attacked him as Islamophobic. Rather than sticking up for himself he in effect called himself a liar hoping that would satisfy the mob but no, he had to withdraw as a candidate.

  • Bill,
    Thanks for your article/s.
    Dismayed and disgusted as I am by the antics of Rugby Australia, I am even more upset and ashamed by the comments of Israel Folau’s Wallaby and Waratah coaches, who have basically thrown him under the bus. And as if that wasn’t enough, some of his Wallaby and Waratah teammates, including the captain and some of the senior players, have done the same. He has been coached by or played with these men for a number of years but now, all of sudden, he’s persona non grata – ‘it would be incredibly difficult to play in the same team as Folau’.
    I have always loved rugby. I went to a school which has produced a number of Wallabies (there were four from my final year who went on to represent their country), but if this is how RA responds, then it’s lost my support – though it’s no use going to any of the other codes.
    My prayer is that you and I and our fellow believers will remain true to ‘the Captain of our salvation’.

  • The apostle Peter caved as we know, but was restored by Jesus Christ.

  • Ok Bill, I spotted the new piece as soon I posted my comment. These politicians, and another one today, caving in to the lies illustrates the theme of this particular post as I read it: people who stick their neck out need to decide at that time how they will handle the inevitable onslaught. Otherwise they will react out of fear, and capitulate.

  • I perceived Kerevi’s apologetic remarks as being a facetious, tongue-in-cheek, slightly in-your-face way of publicly clarifying his beliefs, position and ultimate stand. Seeing that I often use facetiousness and irony in my online comments I guess it’s natural for me to see his remarks in the same light. It is truly hard at times to adequately convey your tone and intent when writing online. Even emojis often fail to clarify your intent. I know you are well-acquainted with that in your writings, Bill. I sometimes marvel at comments here by those who jump all over you because they’ve completely missed your use of satire and hyperbole to make a case.

    That aside, I totally agree that it’s best to settle beforehand what you will do if and when you are faced with persecution of any kind. Since 9/11, many families have set up emergency plans, like where to meet up after a disaster, etc. But knowing in advance where you stand on Biblical issues and state tyrannical interference with that, how you will handle it, how far you are willing to go…how you will handle if your family is used against you to try to bring you to your knees before a diabolical government….waiting until that moment comes is a very bad idea.

  • In connection with my earlier comments, I should also have mentioned my disappointment (to put it mildly) that there were some ex-players and commentators who are well versed in rugby but who came up well short when arguing theology.

  • How disappointing it is to find a weakness of character in those Rugby Union players and others that proudly waved the Christian flag for Israel Folau, but when the blow torch was applied to their faith resolve, they turn out to be just Clayton Christians.
    I don’t know what may have led to them recanting, but he was being held out to dry by the powers in Rugby and really needed his brothers to gather around him and demonstrate their care. Instead, they ran for their burrows like faithless rabbets.
    What was the carrot that turned their support for Israel into a pathetic backflip? Could it have been money, maybe a secure place in the team, who knows? Whatever it was the Christian spine down their backs is definitely really flexible.
    There’s one thing for sure that’s come out of this mess. Some Christians believe Jesus when he said “the truth will set you free” but some other Christians believe that He wasn’t really serious at all when he said it.

  • Totes. I’m constantly perplexed by the inaction and ignorance of Christians when it comes to addressing critical cultural trends. God help us.

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