Culture Wars and the Wheat and the Tares

Divisions are clearly showing up both within churches and within politics:

I have said it before: sometimes the best thing about the wars that we find ourselves in is you can clearly determine who is your friend and who is your enemy. Or to use biblical parlance, you can easily tell who are the sheep and who are the goats. The delineation between the good guys and the bad guys becomes plain – plain as the difference between night and day.

Sometimes we see this being played out in politics. Sometimes we see it played out in the churches. And sometimes we find it happening in both realms, simultaneously. And that is just what we find today, with the press reporting on how both spheres are heading on collision courses.

It all has to do with yet another dangerous and diabolical bill put forward by Dan Andrews and the Victorian Labor government. The bill, to outlaw and drastically punish anyone involved in, “conversion therapy” is splitting the ranks of some churches as well as the ranks of the Liberal Party.

Those struggling with same-sex attraction and wanting some help and counsel will be denied this assistance, and those who offer such help will be subject to massive fines and lengthy prison sentences. I have discussed this nasty piece of legislation elsewhere. See here: billmuehlenberg.com/2020/11/26/victoria-tells-those-seeking-help-let-them-rot/

And here: billmuehlenberg.com/2020/11/28/you-are-forbidden-from-getting-help/

Today the two main Victorian newspapers the Herald Sun and the Age both ran major stories on the divisions that are now obviously occurring concerning this legislation. I will use an article from the latter as the former is hidden behind a paywall. It says this in part:

A number of faith leaders have spoken publicly in support of the state government’s controversial legislation to ban gay conversion therapy as an internal tussle has broken out within the Victorian Liberal Party over the issue. The Andrews government is on a collision course with church groups around the country, including Melbourne’s Catholic Archbishop Peter Comensoli, over its push to criminalise attempts to suppress or change an LGBTI person’s gender or sexuality, including through faith, with a number of leaders calling the new law a serious attack on religious freedom.

But on Monday, University of Divinity vice-chancellor Peter Sherlock said the proposed laws “protect the religious freedom of LGBT people of faith” and “prevent the programatic deployment of prayer” as a way of forcing someone to change who they are. Pastor Teash Taylor from the St Kilda Baptist Church said that reforms had “the potential to be life saving”.

Divided opinion was also evident in the Liberal Party, which is due to decide in a party room meeting on Tuesday if it will offer a conscience vote on the issue. Ahead of the meeting, former federal Liberal vice-president and influential party figure Karina Okotel – a religious hardliner – emailed all Victorian Liberal state MPs suggesting it should be legal for people to attend prayer groups to reverse their sexuality but illegal for extreme medical measures such as shock therapy to be used to achieve the same ends.

The Andrews government laws would ban both methods. In response to Ms Okotel’s email, Liberal frontbencher Tim Smith sent a reply-all email saying: “You should have been expelled from the Liberal Party, and your poorly timed intervention provides me with the opportunity to ask Michael O’Brien why you are still a member of our party.”

“Michael, do explain why this individual is still a member of our party, with your factional allies’ support? Heaven help the lot of us.” The challenge by Mr Smith comes as Mr O’Brien is already facing criticism from within the Liberals over the party’s direction. The decision will be difficult for a party which values religious freedom but whose MPs are on the record saying they do not agree with gay conversion therapy.

Victoria’s legislation goes significantly further than a similar law passed earlier this year in Queensland in that it bans certain religious practices. The Queensland legislation only covers health settings such as counselling, psychotherapy, or support groups referred by healthcare practitioners. The decision to also include harmful “religious-based practices” and “prayer-based practices” in the bill – such as exorcisms, deliverance or spiritual guidance designed to overcome same-sex attraction – has alarmed proponents of religious freedom.

Some faith leaders, such as Archbishop Comensoli, argued that the government was going too far by legislating on prayer at all. But as Parliament prepares to debate the bill this week, other faith leaders and academics have thrown their support behind the bill and rejected the claims of government over-reach. Pastor Teash said she had met many LGBTI people who had been damaged because their church had made them feel “unloveable and unloved.” However, churches “don’t often understand the consequences of the actions that they engage in,” and that they need to come to terms with that if there’s going to be any change. www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/liberals-tussle-over-gay-conversion-laws-as-religious-leaders-split-20201207-p56le8.html

Well there you have it folks. This issue has become a clear line of demarcation between true Bible-believing Christians and the progressive left fakes who run with every trendy secular left agenda item, including the full support of the radical homosexual agenda.

These “progressive” Christians often are indistinguishable from their lefty pagan partners in crime. They seem far more sold out to the Gospel of Marx than the Gospel of Mark. They seem to take their marching orders from the New York Times and the ABC instead of from the clear teachings found in the word of God. See more on this here: billmuehlenberg.com/2011/01/23/progressive-christianity/

But we also have divisions in the ranks of the so-called conservative party here as well. The Liberals were meant to be on the side of the small state, the free market, and conservative values. Now increasingly they are only into the free markets, while seemingly happy with the expansive state (something this bill further enables) and oblivious to the moral and cultural issues.

All true conservatives and Christians also care deeply about these key moral matters and culture war issues: the sanctity of life, and the importance of marriage and family, and so on. But so many “conservative” politicians – especially the more secular ones – really do not seem to give a rip about them.

They can be just as cavalier about these vitally important issues as Labor and the Greens. That has long been the curse of conservative politics in Australia. In so many states, and often on a federal level as well, the so-called opposition parties are little better than the Labor and Greens parties on these issues.

That leaves little hope for conservatives and Christians as to who to vote for, and that explains why so many smaller pro-family and pro-faith political parties have been set up over recent years. Christians and conservatives are increasingly being alienated from the Libs – and often from the Nats as well.

I am not picking on anyone here, as these folks would be all rather representative, but Tim Smith is a case in point. He is a nice guy, and I have shared speaking platforms with him over the years. When it comes to taking on Andrews and his bungling of the hotel quarantine program and so on, he does a great job, and is good to have on the team.

But when it comes to these sorts of issues, he can be weak as water, and can often be singing from the same song sheet as Labor and the Greens. Sadly too many Libs are in the same place. Thus they end up turning on Christian conservatives like Okotel who I also happen to know.

As I say, this is a big problem for Australian politics: true conservatives are becoming ever more of an endangered species. Invariably those who are the strongest on the moral and cultural and social issues that matter so much to us are those who are also Christians.

Sure, one can have solid conservative values and be an atheist or a secularist, but there are not too many who fit this description. The biblical worldview and the solid rock of biblical faith seem to offer the best foundation on which to solidly and consistently build a strong conservative politic structure. Otherwise it tends to collapse being built on sinking sand.

This has been the problem with our so-called conservative media as well, and is something I have also written a lot about. Our Sky News evening presenters are good in many ways, but almost all of them are non-Christians – and it shows. They are almost all pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality, making them more libertarian than conservative.

That includes all the heavy hitters, be it Bolt or Jones or Murray or Panahi or Dean, etc. So both in the media and in the political arena, we are seriously lacking genuine solid conservative voices who do run with the whole conservative platform, not just economic concerns.

But as I say, all this serves nicely to act as a sieve. It is separating the men from the boys. It is separating real deal conservatives from those who are not so conservative. That kind of differentiating process can come in handy. Things will be getting worse in the short term, and not better, and we need to know which politicians we can really count on, and which ones will let us down.

We need to know who our real friends are, and who we can really depend upon in crunch times. This sort of division is showing us where folks stand – if we did not already know where they stood. And it is the same in the churches. These key issues become a major means by which we can tell fake news believers from real deal believers.

It’s those who really fear God and tremble at his Word, versus those who cozy up to the world and turn on those who stand resolutely on Scripture and faithfully serve the Living God. As such, these splits serve a useful purpose. Yes, they are painful as well, as we see those we thought were our friends, our allies, and our comrades actually turning against us.

As to the way forward, well, it depends. If you are in a church that is becoming increasingly apostate, the best move is probably to just leave, and find a real church with real gospel preaching and convictions. As to conservative parties that increasingly become liberal on too many matters, that is a tougher call.

Do you stay and fight and seek to reorientate it to real conservatives, or do you seek to set up a new party instead? Of course that has been done before, with varying degrees of success. While the old DLP which broke away from the ALP did do a lot of good for quite a long time, it is now near the end of its course.

Other parties, like the Australian Conservatives under Cory Bernardi, sadly lasted only a few years. So the way ahead for conservatives who are more and more dissatisfied with the Libs is not clear-cut. They will need the wisdom of Solomon as to the best way forward.

In the meantime, we can at least be thankful that the wheat and the tares are becoming further distinguished and more clearly highlighted. But it is a real pity that such distinctions within our conservative political parties will almost certainly guarantee that this horrific bill will easily pass.

It will be yet another nail in Victoria’s coffin, resulting in even more ugly clampdowns on religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

[1907 words]

19 Replies to “Culture Wars and the Wheat and the Tares”

  1. Regrettably, your views are absolutely correct, both concerning political and ‘Christian’ (if it can be called that) weakness over such critical social and moral matters. The Andrew Government is leading Victoria down a rabbit hole where there is a wolf waiting at the end of the tunnel.
    Bible-believing Christians must continue to contend for the gospel one for all time entrusted to them (Jude 3). It will be increasingly difficult and probably painful for some of us but this is the inevitable end for those of us who take these matters seriously. Matthew chapter 10.

  2. Thank you Bill. May I add a couple of perhaps clarifying points to your great work above please?

    1. This evil Bill will pass the LOWER House without raising a sweat simply because Mr Andrews has the numbers of minion-wearing-Red-shirts to do whatever he wants – or in other words; Victorians got the State Government they deserved because ‘they’ elected it. The Current Flock Of Spineless Liberal Team Leaders (CFOSLTL) in Opposition is a separate matter, see #3. below.

    2. This evil Bill will potentially pass the UPPER House; raising barely a medium Lockdown sweat simply because…….. see #1. above.

    3. The CFOSLTL are almost irrelevant to the outcome of this evil Bill. They can become as conservative as both Mr Menzies and his dog combined, but without the numbers referred to above, it’s all over to the Red rover.

    So, what are we going to do about it? Is it; ‘nothing for Christians to see here’, and ‘nothing for Christians to do here’ either?

    4. “…or do you seek to set up a new party instead.” Some great folk like Cory, Kevin B., Lyle S. and many many other good people (from Rise Up Aus. to the good old DLP) got as good as zero traction last election.
    Was this a good idea from another time perhaps?

    5. Bill, this observation is a fair one; “So the way ahead for conservatives who are more and more dissatisfied with the Libs is not clear-cut.” However; what about this notion: “Do you stay and fight and seek to reorientate it to real conservatives…?”

    May I suggest that #5. contains the best outcome – Stay and Fight!
    Some say that “a dog is like its owner”, and I wonder if we have such a diabolical, bent-out-of-shape, evil and murderous Government; together with a spineless Opposition simply because they reflect the lack of Conservative values held by Victorians – and dare I add; held by Victorian Christians?
    Perhaps there actually IS something for Christians to do in this space….

    Nehemiah reminds us in chapter 4, that good people can work at rebuilding, AND carry a weapon at the same time.

  3. Don’t worry your head, Bill. God is getting rid of all the dross and dead wood in the church. They have been warming the pews too long! Good bye and shut the door when you leave, please, dear pretend Christian!

  4. Good morning Bill,
    Congratulations on still publicly in the fight. The “powers” have not eliminated you Praise God.
    Your responses have been though the 24 from yesterday and 4 from this one do not appear below as usual, not sure if that is you or the sinister ones behind the wall?
    I continue to pray that you will stay available to us all.
    Mark Bryant

  5. I think God will get rid of all the dross and dead wood in our parliaments as well. People have had enough of high costing renewables, gender transitioning, authorities trying to take medals off our war service people, lockdowns etc. It will only take time for people to wake up to all these elites telling us what to do and how to live our lives. Maybe I’m wrong, but most people learn from mistakes in the past, even our young people unless they’ve chosen to remain brainwashed by our educational system.

    Regarding good conservative parties, in NSW we have Pauline Hanson’s One Nation with Mark Latham in the NSW senate. (Mark Latham’s maiden speech is worth listening to even though he is not a Christian) and Lieutenant Colonel Riccardo Bosi’s Australia One Party has taken over from Cory Bernardi’s disbanded Conservative Party, and Riccardo has plenty of fight left in him.

  6. Same problem in America as conservatives sold out all their beliefs but the economic. No morals but we have lots of money! (Also morals for the most past have been replaced ethics)

    to prevent the programatic deployment of prayer

    in the King’s English to shut those pesky Christians up.

  7. Absolutely correct! What will actually result in more suicidal deaths is the approach of facilitating the luring of young people into the homosexual and transgender lifestyles which will inevitably lead to their “sexuality” being in conflict with their physiology and natural instincts. The most significant reason people like this suicide at a higher rate is not because of lack of approval but because of internal conflict caused by their sexual conditioning not being in line with their natural function and/or because the base problems are not dealt with. The transference of the cause of their internal conflict to others in their mind is because they do not want to face up to the real causes of what is creating their grief. Those that agree with the principle that these things are simply “who they are” are subscribing to that clearly false view of the situation because the science is absolutely clear that these things have sociological causes. It is not a matter of “who they are” but of “who they have been caused to be.”

    Claimed Christians who embrace these ideas, that are so blatantly opposed to what God has tried to teach us, are simply proving they don’t love God nor one another and have no faith in God and in fact are blaspheming Him. Unfortunately they are simply demonstrating why they cannot possibly be saved.

  8. Responses are missing! Four responses are recorded at this present time
    but I cannot see them at all.

    Has someone tried sowing tares on your website to spoil the wheat?

  9. Thanks Mark and Bill. Yes some problems with comments have arisen, and my computer guy has been working on it. Hopefully it is fixed now, although i had to manually repost some recent comments.

  10. Dear Bill,

    Thank you for your article. There is so much truth in it and I also detect a certain sadness as I feel it too. As you say there are so few really traditionalist Christian leaders speaking out against all these grave evils which are so much in evidence today. We have to actively look for traditionalist Christian leaders and listen carefully to what they say and give them our support as you always do. Unfortunately, I personally wouldn’t count Pope Francis amongst their thinning ranks! Our Lady of Fatima spoke of the Great Apostasy.

    As for the so called conservative politicians and journalists they are not perfect but are better than nothing and we have to constantly tell ourselves that God knows what He is doing and allows some very unexpected people to do His work. For instance if it had not been for journalists like Andrew Bolt and his staunch defence of Cardinal Pell things might have turned out much differently. I really believe that these self professed agnostics and atheists are not as convinced about their beliefs as they would have us believe. As St John Paul 2 used to say even the secret inward desire to believe is enough.

    Also we have Donald Trump whose past life has not been perfect but neither was St Francis’s or St Augustine’s and look what they achieved when they reformed their lives. Donald Trump could have given up by now and retired comfortably with all his vast wealth but something inside him which can only be put down to the Holy Spirit which ‘blows where it will’ keeps him going for the good of his beloved America which he knows was founded on Christian principles. He is not a godless globalist and that is why the Democrats have tried so hard to get rid of him.

    One last thing. I found out today that the Sacred Heart museum in Bilbao in Spain have used the Nativity scene as a propaganda exercise to brainwash gullible tourists and citizens about the plandemic by putting masks on all the traditional figures who make up this beautiful ancient scene.They have made the stable out of toilet rolls and the star out of surgical gloves. Hand sanitiser is on display and social distancing tape. The cranks have made the message abundantly clear. Jesus must be isolated and quarantined. It is nothing short of blasphemy. I have had a Nativity scene on display in my home during Advent all my 65 years of married life. My children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have grown up with knowing through its presence what Christmas is REALLY all about. Through it they know it is not just Santa Claus and Christmas trees alone but the birth of Jesus. Therefore I was very upset to learn about this blasphemy and naturally would like to know if the Spanish bishops have spoken out against it. If they haven’t and it wouldn’t surprise me if they haven’t bothered they would be a good example of what your article has covered. I don’t think Spain has ever really got rid of communism and anti clericalism after the terrible Civil war in Spain in 1938.

    The issue is covered on U Tube by Dr Taylor Marshall in the US. I hope your readers will view it.

    Sorry for this reply to be so long

  11. Good to see these responses again. No more tares to worry about .

    It is a concern that certain Liberals are in disagreement about Andrews’
    attempt to ban all kinds of so-called “conversion therapy”. This is likely
    to help Andrews’ attempt to foist that ban on everyone in Victoria.

  12. Remember the marriage equality bill, the postal vote, the promise nothing will change if we pass the legislation to legalise SSM. The growing influence by the LBGTQ is fast tracking many changes, more power, more influence, and more demands. Gender fluidity, safe schools, all are pushed and demanded by the LBGTQ activists, it is causing great division the modern church. So the false promise nothing will change, is being played out in this type of legislation. The consequences are exposed, and many politicians fear the LBGTQ activists, including leaders of the conservative party, so they appease at every turn to avoid their violent verbal attacks, such as Israel Folau and Margaret Court experienced, even Prime Minister Morrison condemned Israel publicity, appeasement is real and dangerous to our rightful freedoms, with little concern from so claimed Christians in politics, and now within the leadership of churches.
    Thank you Bill, your piece reveals the true facts on the loss of religious liberty.

  13. I didn’t think ‘conversion therapy’ existed in Australia.
    This seems to be another attempt to curtail freedom of religion and speech.
    Overreach of government.
    I thought we were meant to be living in a democracy, not ‘1984’.
    The church is meant to reflect God’s plan through the bible, not man’s viewpoint.
    I thought the liberal party at it’s core, was meant to reflect socially conservative views.
    We have the labor party or ‘the greens’ to represent the opposing viewpoint.

  14. Thanks Peter Killin for your insightful comments. From a ‘real deal conservative’, not to be confused with a new deal conservative.

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