On the Religious Discrimination Bill

What to make of the religious freedom debacle:

Plenty of commentary has already been offered on the rise and fall of the Religious Discrimination Bill, so I will not repeat all the details here. The bottom line is this: it seems to be well and truly dead in the water. And many can take responsibility for this, including the Prime Minister himself.

A bit of background. When homosexual marriage was debated and then legalised in Australia, both main parties assured us that religious freedom would not be impacted. (That of course was always a lie, and we have seen countless cases of religion under assault since then.) So the idea of a bill like this was discussed back then.

Scott Morrison of course made it a major election promise. Recall that he was elected back in May 2019. So he has basically sat on this promise until just this week – far too little, far too late. With a handful of sitting days left, it never had a chance to be properly debated and approved. So it seems Morrison was not all that keen on it as he had let on.

And of course with threatened amendments to be added in the Senate, and with five renegade “moderate” Libs joining with Labor, things just went from bad to worse, so all that could be done was to drop it altogether – at least until after the federal election in May.

So now we are back to square one. As I just said in a radio interview, while it is business as usual for conservatives and Christians, the other side continues to fervently work to achieve their aims. They want even more religious freedoms stripped away from us and even more pro-militant agenda items implemented and promoted everywhere, including in our churches and Christian schools.

A couple of big picture items need to be raised. While many Christians thought that such a bill was a good idea, not everyone did. The problem with a bill like this, like the broader notion of bringing in a Bill of Rights to Australia, is that it tends to politicise everything and codify rights, giving judges and lawyers the most power.

Simply making more laws tends to be unhelpful in many cases – and that is true here. Some Libs like NSW Premier Perrottet have argued that bills like this are not needed. They tend to be a heavy-handed approach to what is often the stuff of sensitive pastoral situations (helping confused students deal with identity questions, and so on).

In the codifying of rights we often end up with judge-made rights. Judicial activism is real, and bills like these only give them more power. If the various human rights bodies that already exist have too much power and tend to side with the secular left over against the religious right, then adding even more Federal powers in this regard via such a bill would have been a wrong way to go.

It is the same with calling for a Bill of Rights in Australia. It is better to rest such matters on things like common law, etc. The creation of even more laws and bureaucratic bodies is seldom a panacea here. As I said back in 2005, there are at least ten reasons why we should avoid heading down this route: billmuehlenberg.com/2005/08/07/what-is-wrong-with-a-bill-of-rights/

And as Queensland National Senator Ron Boswell said in a piece I wrote in 2009:

This is effectively a huge wish list from the Australian Human Rights Commission who would become a bloated organisation with greatly expanded powers to inquire into any act of a federal public authority that might be inconsistent with the definitive list of rights. Courts are to be the ultimate arbiters of whether unlawful discrimination has occurred. This is where churches stand to lose their ability to employ people who share their values. The committee tries to stop the courts having a role in relation to economic, social and cultural rights, but that division in itself would be a mess for lawyers to argue over which right fell into which category. billmuehlenberg.com/2009/10/08/a-bill-of-rights-is-wrong-wrong-wrong/

That is still true today, and if a bill like this has been passed, we would have seen more such power grabs and expanding bureaucracies. Thus many of us had had problems all along with heading down this path. But the real problem is this: some of us were warning many decades ago that this war on faith and freedom would escalate if we went with special rights for homosexuals and sought to legalise homosexual marriage.

But our warnings largely fell on deaf ears. The church should have been awake and aware of this many decades ago, and taken action back then to try to head some of this off at the pass. But now Pandora’s Box is well and truly open, and there is almost no chance of turning things around at this late stage.

And as I say, the militants on the other side will just keep working away, pushing for ever more special rights at the expense of ordinary Australians – especially religious Australians. Thus if they did not get their way this week on things like clause 38(3) of the Sex Discrimination Act, just give them a bit more time. If Labor wins the Federal election, this will be on top of their hit-list.

For those unaware of what this section says, it is this:

Nothing in section 21 renders it unlawful for a person to discriminate against another person on the ground of the other person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or relationship status or pregnancy in connection with the provision of education or training by an educational institution that is conducted in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of a particular religion or creed, if the first-mentioned person so discriminates in good faith in order to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherents of that religion or creed.

This is just one of the things the activists (and the five lefty Libs) want changed. They do not want religious institutions and schools to have ANY ability to enforce its biblical ethos and beliefs and practices. They want to see all Christian schools (and eventually all churches) so gutted that they cannot stand up in the slightest for any basic Christian values, certainly in the area of sexuality.

Even a non-Christian like Mark Latham is fully aware of what is going on here. He said this about such proposed changes:

Please understand what insane Morrison has facilitated: A 14yo boy attends a religious school announcing that he’s now a girl and wants access to the girls’ toilets/change rooms. Access denied. Leftwing gender activists can now take the school to the Human Rights Commission. Ending the Sex Discrimination Act exemptions for religious schools was never about caring for students. It is to empower Leftwing gender activists to drag the schools before ‘human rights’ tribunals in a political campaign of harassment.

Yes exactly. The non-religious Latham is far more cluey on these matters than most Christians are! He knows full well the endgame of all this. Yet our “Christian” Prime Minister seems not at all to have been aware of this, or in fact supported it. Indeed, given how he just recently sided with the homosexual activists against a Christian school in Brisbane, he cannot be counted on at all to help us here: billmuehlenberg.com/2022/02/08/much-needed-clarity-on-christian-schools/

Although we have this update from today’s press:

One of the government’s most senior ministers says Prime Minister Scott Morrison was misled on how his party would vote on proposed religious discrimination laws, leading to a major government defeat in parliament. . . . Defence Minister Peter Dutton told the ABC the defeat was unexpected because MPs had given their word they would not cross the floor. “He was frankly, I think, misled,” Mr Dutton said. www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-11/morrison-misled-by-moderate-liberals-on-religious-discrimination/100821902

Be that as it may, as I said in my radio interview moments ago, all sides can take some blame here. But clearly this has been another mess-up by the government. As it seeks to be such a ‘broad church,’ inclusive of so many political points of view, it is becoming less and less conservative by the day.

Indeed, we see in the two major parties a general move to the left. What was once centre-right is now really centre-left. The Liberals are becoming increasingly unreliable in representing any conservative and Christian values. That leaves conservatives and Christians wondering where to turn at the upcoming federal election.

With the two main parties becoming indistinguishable from one another, where do these folks go? It seems some 30 per cent of the electorate is looking elsewhere – be it smaller parties, independents, and so on. But as I also said at the end of my interview today, there is one good thing to come from all of this.

As we are losing any viable political options and help, that leaves Christians going back to where they always should have been: radically seeking God for help. Politics will not save us. ScoMo and the Libs will not save us. Only God can get us out of the swamp we are now in.

Of course I am not saying we should not stay involved in politics and social and cultural issues. We must continue to fight on all fronts. But we must keep recalling that at the end of the day, it is only as we fully engage in the spiritual battle that we can have any hope of seeing a few wins in the political battles.

Our current political options are drying up and leaving us hopeless, but we need to be where there is always hope: God. So let me encourage Christians who are becoming increasingly discouraged at the growing darkness all around them to get down on their knees and redouble the most important task of all: seeking God, praying fervently, and asking him to break through in a hopeless situation.

[1650 words]

18 Replies to “On the Religious Discrimination Bill”

  1. It is sad to see a Prime Minister who recognized the miraculous result of his election in 2019, to be spitting in the face of Jesus & shaming the name of Jesus.

    The Australia One Party whose leader is a committed Christian, namely Riccardo Bosi (who has fought to defend Australia as a military man) seems to be standing up for Australian Christian values.

    Pauline Hanson has consistently stood up for Christian values & our nation!
    The Great Australia Party seems to be standing up for Australians as well!

    They are some that could be considered in the lead up to the elections.

  2. ScoMo was touted as a Christian but his fruit is not showing it. Reminds my of dubya Bush. I warned people about him during the 2000 election year but was poo-pood. This was “God’s man”. I said we should hold his feet to the fire and ask questions about what he believes again I was rebuffed.

    Sounds like your country is in the same place we are both parties are virtually the same but one uses Christian words and phrases to dupe the pew warmers that fill most church buildings. We the lemmings might be more appropriate than we the sheeple.

  3. I think the really sad part of all this is that the LGBT etc. community are being used as “usefull idiots” in socialisms takeover. The long march is now including the churches after successfully taking over the media, academia, schools and the bureaucracy. The church must be brought into line as it supports the sanctity of the family where non- socialist values are passed on exclusive of the government education system.
    The church is and always has been that which stands between communism and a free society.

  4. True Philip. Also true of other leftists. It is the people who overthrow the previous government and install the dictatorial one that are the first to go. After all if they could overthrow the previous government they could overthrow them too and they can’t allow that.

  5. A Scott Morrison biography or autobiography will be far more interesting than most of our former Prime Ministerial tomes, because it will be about a person who openly declared his Christian faith, while trying to govern in the postmodern period.
    If Morrison is seen to be supporting a Christian cause, he is accused of bias. If he supports a sectarian cause, he is found wanting.
    He has steered the nation through a pandemic, forming a National Cabinet, kept the economy functioning through compensation to workers which some commentators said was almost unheard of for a Liberal Government, negotiated markets in the wake of Chinese economic intimidation, signed us up to AUKUS and the Quad to improve our chances of keeping the Indo-Pacific open to free trade and all this while some in the Left accuse his government of “warmongering.”
    He has had to deal with new ideological and culture wars in his term, apologised for the way that women have experienced the parliamentary workplace, while still copping criticism from Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins.
    He left the passage of the Religious Discrimination Bill until the eleventh hour, getting it through the lower house in the midst of enjoying a reasonable “miracle” win in the last election. How it foundered has revealed the difficulty of satisfying competing rights in a sexual and gender wilderness. This is yet to be thrashed out, despite Albanese glibly promising to set it right is elected.
    The PM has no doubt made mistakes in the bearpit of politics, graciously refusing to accept Barnaby Joyce’s resignation over his loose-lipped accusations and possibly been too trusting with his open style.
    No doubt, his hide has thickened in recent times, but as he told Perth radio listeners, after the election McGowan will still be Premier. The relevance of all this for disappointed Christians is whether Morrison or Albanese will be Prime Minister.

  6. I would have little doubt that those who crossed the floor were deceitful. The fact is you seldom find just one type of immorality in an immoral person.

    Unfortunately, at the moment, our politics reflects our nation and until we get people willing to stand up forcefully for truth within the political sphere we are going to see this sort of thing.

    It is, however, very sad to see those within the LP who would deliberately undermine LP policy being allowed into positions of power.

    If Labor gets in all is lost anyway and if the LP gets three more seats the immorals will likely not get their way anyway.

    The question now for the LP is what disciplinary action to take. One would hope severe.

  7. We are now in a culture where there is no community consensus on sexual ethics, gender identity or matters of religious conscience.

    What is for the New Left a matter of an endless revolution of the allegedly oppressed cohorts of society against the status quo has become for civil libertarian adherents of classic, “small-l” liberalism, an article of faith in the upholding of the rights of the individual against the collectivities of government and religion.

    The ultimate folly of a nation where God is no longer truly revered and obeyed is that community ethics and popular opinion are like a game of football where the goalposts, the boundaries are always “moving forward” and the rules of the game are endlessly changing.

    Trouble is too few Australians have any idea how to tell “forward” from “backwards”, “sideways”, “up” or “down” when it comes to ultimate ethical questions and gauging the truth or otherwise of popularly touted opinions.

  8. Where were we derailed … ????

    If it was OK … for the Founders of this Nation … to appeal to The Creator of this Universe for assistence … We have voted in thugs … who are now DEMANDING WE CHANGE ?????

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZbq7kc2rrY&feature=youtu.be

    Imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t pray | Josh’s Story

    http://chr.org.au/books/understanding-our-christian-heritage-volume-two/page14.html

    I suspect the officers of the “supreme” court … may cringe when the hear the Declaration of The Behema Court … this is the real Court of No Appeal – It’s Officers have full and intimate knowledge of all and every action of those in It’s It’s Dock … an the Judgement is a rather heated one … !

    A wise man … takes note and responds accordingly …

    “… PRAYER AND PRAISE.

    The Hundredth Psalm was then sung with accompaniment by the orchestra.

    His Excellency the Governor-General read prayers as follows:-

    O Lord, our heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Ruler of princes, who dost from Thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth, most heartily we beseech Thee with Thy favour to behold our most gracious Sovereign Lord King Edward, and so replenish him with the grace of Thy Holy Spirit that he may always incline to Thy will and walk in Thy way. Endue him plenteously with heavenly gifts, grant him in health and wealth long to live, strengthen him that he may vanquish and overcome all his enemies; and finally, after this life he may attain everlasting joy and felicity, through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Amen.

    Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness, we humby beseech Thee to bless our gracious Queen Alexandra, George Duke of Cornwall and York, the Duchess of Cornwall and York, and all the Royal Family; endue them with Thy Holy Spirit; enrich them with Thy heavenly grace; prosper them with all happiness; and bring them to Thine everlasting Kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Amen.

    Almighty God, we humbly beseech Thee to regard with Thy merciful favour the people of this land, now united in one Commonwealth. We pray for Thy servants the Governor-General, the Governors of the States, and all who are or who shall be associated with them in the administration of their several offices.

    We pray Thee at this time to vouchsafe Thy special blessing upon the Federal Parliament now assembling for their first session, and that Thou wouldst be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations to the advancement of Thy glory and to the true welfare of the people of Australia, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who has taught us when we pray to say –

    Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil; for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. – Amen.

    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all, evermore. – Amen. …”
    .
    http://chr.org.au/books/understanding-our-christian-heritage-volume-two/page14.html

  9. This whole process has opened the door to Labor and the Greens amending the discrimination acts. Hopefully the Christian schools will take up the fight and make it known during the lead up to the election that any changes will not be tolerated. Waiting until after the election will be too late.

  10. I think we have a short reprieve, now that the bill has ceased progress.
    I have long agreed that defining such things in written law only makes the situation worse.
    People will deliberately seek occasion to use that law to wedge any dispute, or indeed to actually bring on a dispute. The result is always a great deal of loss, financial loss, time loss, emotional loss, loss of friends, loss of respect. Such a law arms the self aggrieved with their most prized and effective weapons.
    Let’s hope and pray that this is the end of the matter.

  11. Why is everything anti discrimination that is Christian yet handing out leaflets/pamphlets of Christian biblical truths could land you in jail if the person says this is bias against His/her beliefs? There is a lot of unbalanced ideals between a separate church,and state, where the lines areas become so far blurred nowadays, it is hard to tell which is government and which is church run on biblical principles. There being a huge government encroachment on how a organisation founded on Christian biblical doctrine. Now if that could offend another person in a government run business then I’m willing to say it is government run a legal right to not try to Christianise that organisation, ok.
    Yet if a Christian run and based on biblical tenets or their personal view or integrity is based on Christian biblical principles ie an aged care, a school, or even a church itself or its outreach programs ie food hampers, free meal services it is still expected to adhere to govt rules whether against biblical principles or not.

  12. It always starts somewhere small, remote and seemingly insignificant in the grand scheme of things and then like a plague it catches on everywhere.

    https://www.foxnews.com/media/finnish-lawmaker-being-charged-expressing-religious-views-speaks-out

    BeyondWords
    Finnish members of Parliament Päivi Räsänen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola were in a courtroom Monday facing up to two years in prison. Their crime: expressing religious views.

    Räsänen faces three charges of ethnic agitation for a 2004 pamphlet, for taking part in a discussion on a radio show in 2019, and most recently, for tweeting a picture of the Bible.

    In a 2019 tweet, Räsänen questioned her church’s sponsorship of an LGBTQ Pride event, and linked to an Instagram post with a picture of Romans 1:24-27.”

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