Australia Christianity Equality Ethics Scotland

Christians should not be Punished for Refusing to bow down to Progressive Ideas – CT

This weeks article in Christian Today – you can read the original here. 

My original title was “The Discrimination of the Anti-Discriminators”

Christians should not be punished for refusing to bow down to progressive ideas

No-one wants to be accused of discrimination, but we all do it. Discrimination at its most core level is simply making distinctions. It’s not wrong to have a discriminating taste. But the sense in which it is usually used in a pejorative way is that of making distinctions or judgements not upon individual merit, but because of prejudices based upon the group, class or category that the person being discriminated against belongs to.

But this is not as simple as it sounds. Accusations of discrimination are a two-edged sword. Three examples this week show how the language of anti-discrimination is itself being used to discriminate.

Dundee

In the city of Dundee, Scotland, the local food bank advertised for a worker with the stipulation that they be Christian. The food bank is a Christian organisation which provides services for all – without discrimination. It operates on Christian principles and with a Christian ethos. Is it unreasonable for them to ask that their workforce be Christian?

Fraser Sutherland, chief executive of Humanist Society Scotland, clearly thinks so: “It is disappointing to see a registered charity linked to the Trussell Trust flagrantly breaching the Equality Act so brazenly. The law is clear – you cannot discriminate against people from other faith or belief backgrounds when making an employment.”

One wonders in passing if the Humanist Society would employ someone who was not a Humanist?

Victoria

Meanwhile in Victoria, Australia, the Attorney General, Jaclyn Symes, has announced that religious schools “will be prohibited from sacking or refusing to employ teachers because of their sexuality or gender identity under sweeping social reforms proposed by the Andrews government.” According to Ms Symes, this is being done to close an “unfair, hurtful” gap in anti-discrimination laws that allow faith-based organisations to discriminate on the basis of sexuality, gender and marital status.

Put that way it sounds reasonable, don’t you think? Although I suspect that the government will not be enforcing this rule in Islamic schools! But think beyond the clichéd rhetoric and the picture is somewhat different. For example, what if a school says that it would not fire a teacher because of their sexuality, but they expect all teachers to hold to the Christian teaching that sex should be kept within marriage and marriage is between a man and a woman. Would that fall foul of the law? If so, then the law is forbidding a Christian school from teaching what Christ taught!

One of the purposes of the Christian church is education. Amazingly we believe in Christian education – that is, the implementation of a holistic worldview taught by those who live, believe and share that view. The Victorian government thinks that our Christianity should be confined to what they believe are the ‘religious’ bits. But that is their belief. And they will tell us what is ‘religious’ and what is not.

In addition, they are prepared to impose their belief on everyone else. They want to compel us to employ people who do not share our values, in an education establishment set up to teach those values. They believe in pluralism, equality and diversity of views in theory, but not in practice. We are allowed to have any view that we want, as long as it is theirs. Much like Henry Ford argued that people could have whatever colour of car they wanted, as long as it was black!

Our progressive authoritarians also seem somewhat confused. On the one hand, the Victorian government say there is no such thing as gay maths, but the Scottish government tells us that LGBTQ values should be ingrained in every subject.

The Victorian government so believes in diversity and pluralism that it has passed an Act which makes it illegal for Christians (and others) to pray with or speak with another person about sexuality and gender, with the aim of encouraging them to uphold Christian beliefs. Jesus Christ could be sent to jail in Victoria for teaching that God made us male and female!

Queensland

The third example of discrimination this week comes from Brisbane where the Queensland government has passed an Act permitting euthanasia – an Act which is so intolerant that if a Christian hospital refuses to allow people to be euthanised on its premises, it will be prosecuted.

It seems as though ‘progressive’ governments all over the world are quite happy discriminating against people in the name of being anti-discriminatory.

Back to the Victorian Attorney General. She made a fascinating statement: “People shouldn’t have to hide who they are to keep their job.” But is that true? What if someone is committed to polygamy? Or thinks that sex at any age is fine? Or that pornography is a healthy expression of sexuality? Does the government believe that Christian schools should be forced to employ them?

And as a general principle, is she prepared to enforce that principle across the board? Could a company fire someone who refused to participate in a gay pride parade on behalf of the company because it conflicted with ‘who they are’? What about a media outlet who sacks a journalist because they said that as a Catholic, they followed the teaching of their Church and believed that same-sex marriage and abortion were both wrong? Would they not be allowed to be ‘who they are’?

There may not be outright persecution against Christians in most Western liberal democracies, but as these democracies become less liberal and less democratic as they forsake their Christian roots, we can expect increasing discrimination against those of us who do not buy into their absolutist values.

Sadly, far too many churches and Christian organisations bow the knee to the new Baal and buy into the ‘progressive’ values that are leading us back into pre-Christian darkness. For example, the Trussell Trust spokesperson commenting on the Dundee case made it clear they disagreed with the foodbank’s stance: “The Trussell Trust is fully committed to working with people of all faiths and none and we encourage foodbanks to make all paid and volunteer opportunities as inclusive as possible.” Many organisations that start off as Christian end up as being only nominally, or historically so. Dependent on government cash and grant-awarding bodies, they sell their heritage, conform and end up being little different from the society around.

We need to hold our nerve. We need to stay committed to Christ and his teachings. That, after all, is why we exist. Caesar is not Lord. We don’t demand that everyone follow our way. We do not ask the State to enforce Christianity. We simply ask that we be given the freedom to practise our faith, care for the poor and preach the Gospel.

To punish us because we refuse to bow down to the progressive idols of our generation (which will change by the next one), is itself discrimination. We must stand against this while we still have the opportunity to do so.

David Robertson works as an evangelist with churches in Sydney, Australia. He blogs at The Wee Flea.

Article in the Mail on Sunday – Discrimination against Christians

Lessons and Hope from 9/11 – CT

 

24 comments

  1. Being a resident of Victoria, I have already sent the AG, Ms Symes, a lengthy, strongly-worded email pointing out the rank hypocrisy of her position. I would suggest others do likewise. If she and her political colleagues can positively discriminate (on the basis of political belief) in who they employ to all the roles within their offices and their party structure, why can’t a private, faith-based institution do likewise for all its employees (on the basis of faith commitment)? The urge of the left to control and force into conformity those with a differing view grows scarily stronger every day. They loathe the very diversity they claim to champion.

  2. Of course not .

    A word of caution though . In pagan times the Christians were the first group ( if one sets aside the OT Jews whose exclusion of Gentiles was a composite of the Racial and the Religious ) to insist that all other gods were non – existent and not to be countenanced.

    Even the pre – OT inventors of monotheism , the Zoroastrians , were tolerant of religious pluralism.

    The ( Mediterranean) Egyptians in Alexandria tolerated the Greek, and later Roman, god – believers insouciantly.

  3. Not only Christians but anyone who refuses regressive moves culturally.

    But then as a Christian, you know that you may be hated at times because of Christ. And if you are then you have encouragement from knowing the words of Jesus in blessed are you for great IS your reward in the kingdom. If you are not a Christian, you have to find some way of getting through. Either way the choice is to become better or bitter.

    And I write IS in capitals for emphasis. The reward is here and now. The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ passes understanding and love never fails. It is powerful, demanding justice, opposing anything that is not love and will prevail.

  4. Being tolerant obviously means different things to ordinary people and to the government and to the organisations and the government departments and policy drivers. If I want to tolerate Christianity I have to tolerate how it behaves. If Christians are breaking the moral codes that mostly are agreed were set down from ages past, or if they are having violent or anti social meetings which disturb people after bed time, or they are disrupting the lives and education or stopping people from doing anything they normally want to do, then make an approach to the Christians and ask them to change. Enter into dialogue with the Christians and you will not find them bad folk after all! They are pretty keen on having freedoms continue and do not want to interfere with peoples lives. They leave God to do that through the gospel of Christ!

  5. If this is true then it is true of anyone preaching from Genesis (Jew and Christian alike). Let’s have the first test case that the sillyness of the law can be seen to all. >>”Jesus Christ could be sent to jail in Victoria for teaching that God made us male and female!”

  6. Those ‘Churches’ that hold true to Christ centered and Biblical teaching in this rising tide of anti-christian discrimination are those who are holding fast, and riding above the crest of the wave.

    People who are searching for ‘the way, the truth and the life’ do not want to go to Churches that are in effect no different to attending the local theatre. In a secular world it is essential that Christians hold those values always, whether in employment or not, it is not a desirable add-on.

    The people who founded those organisations fully on Christian values would be saddened to see the dilution of those principles.

    Christian leaders must get together and speak up against this anti-Christian discrimination.

    1. It looks like the only denomination with the guts to speak out is fhe Roman Catholic church.
      Bless PopeFrancis for stating:-
      a) that abortion is murder and
      b) that the church does not have the authority to change God’s law that prohibits gay ‘marriage’.

      This staunch protestant may have to make some hard decisions if the C of S caves in next May

  7. … and yet:

    I hereby pledge myself to the Australian Labor Party to faithfully uphold to the best of my ability its Constitution and Platforms and to work and vote for the selected Labor candidates. I am not a member of any other organisation which pledges its members to support candidates for public office. I will forfeit my membership if I nominate against any endorsed Labor candidate. If I employ labour, I will actively encourage trade union membership.

    As an ALP member, you give consent to receive information from the ALP and its constituent units. The ALP respects your privacy and will only use your information for the purposes of the ALP.*

  8. I am clearly not the right kind of Christian for this blog and I am nervous to engage but I think that it is wrong to request a Christian to work for a charity that distributes food, as a knowledge of The Bible and scripture is not essential to the role and to exclude anyone else is wrong.

    The point about the Australian policy not being carried into Muslim schools is not backed up in this post by any fact and is purely inflammatory.

    I think its extremely un-christian to deny people the opportunity to learn anything about God because of their gender, sex, marital status or any other sort of characteristic. If you exclude them how can you ever hope to bring them to God?

    If we are allowed to discriminate on these factors who are we to say the death penalty should not be imposed or shariah law?

    1. Emily – you are always welcome to comment here. I have no idea what kind of Christian there is – I hope one that follows the Christ of the Bible.

      Yes – being part of an organisation which has a Christian ethos and requires its workers to share that does require people to be Christians. Why would you stop them doing that? Man shall not live by bread alone!

      Feel free to let us know of Muslim schools that are forced to employ people in SSM relationships or transgender.

      I also agree that it is wrong to exclude people from hearing about God – whatever their gender. Who do you think was arguing for that?

      Every organisation discriminates – it all depends on the basis of that discrimination. Why should Christians not use the Bible as their standard? Why would you discriminate against Christians?

      1. “Why should Christians not use the bible as their standard? ”

        Well, for one the bible contains discrimination.
        It also endorses slavery, and genocide.
        It turns a blind eye to incest.
        It endorses mysogeny.
        It is in certain passages anti-science.

        No doubt there are a great many more reasons why Christians, or anyone for that matter, should NOT use the bible as a standard.

      2. Ark – your post is full of discrimination – the kind that is based upon ignorance.

        The Bible does not endorse slavery, nor genocide.
        It does not turn a blind eye to incest – indeed it specifically and in detail forbids it. On what basis would you forbid incest – given that its two (or more) people who love one another?
        It does not endorse mysogyny (although we can spell it!)…and again please explain what your basis is for the equality between men and women.
        And it is never anti-science – unlike much of modern society which calls science that which is not, and ignores real science when it wants to…

      3. I have read those passages and I have listened to discussions/debates about the subject – I cannot see how it can honestly be asserted that the bible does not condone slavery – it seems perfectly clear to me.

    2. It sounds sensible, at a superficial level, to employ absolutely anyone to distribute food. On deeper reflection, however, to be seeking Christian employees for a Christian ministry makes huge sense. There are a range of reasons, some subtle and some clearer, but it sounds a fair approach.

  9. Secular humanists: “We tolerate all points of view and all lifestyles, as long as they’re ours.”

    It is truly incredible how these people think that their position is somehow a neutral one.

  10. And so, the circus continues – the institutionalised church is becoming more and more irrelevant by the day. Let it be said that it only has itself to blame for this sad state of affairs. Its readiness to abandon sound biblical teaching in its reckless desire to embrace postmodern liberalism, defies all logic and understanding.

    https://premierchristian.news/en/news/article/methodist-church-releases-guidance-and-liturgy-on-same-sex-marriage

  11. The other issue here is very real scandals in charismatic-evangelical groups. We can hide under the bed, or begin honestly addressing where things have gone so badly wrong.

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