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Bigotry, Anger and Confusion – AP

This personal reflection on current events in Australia and the Church was first published in AP

A Bigoted Politician, an Angry Journalist and a Confused Church

The repercussions of the Andrew Thorburn case are playing out.  Hypocrisy and Hate in Anti-Christian Victoria – AP

Dan Andrews continues to stir up the mob – and advise the Church on what our theology should be.  When asked by a journalist whether ‘conservative religious figures’ could take a public role he said “They might want to have a think about whether to be bit more kind-hearted, a bit more inclusive, aren’t we all God’s children.  Seriously, seriously, there is no place for bigotry.  There is no place for stigmatising people”.   Mr Andrews thus stigmatises everyone who disagrees with him – including his own archbishop – as unkind, exclusive bigots.

And he’s not the only one.  Numerous commentators have joined in the pile on.   Apparently, it’s open house on attacking Christians.  For example, this interview from David Koch on Sunrise was a disgrace – ignorant, bigoted, sneering, mocking and bullying.

Guy Mason did well to stay calm.

Another commentator who weighed in was Mike Carlton, author, journalist and broadcaster.   He tweeted “I consistently failed Scripture at my Anglican private school, so I’d be glad if someone would show me where in the Bible that Jesus Christ came down hard on homosexuality and abortion. Anyone?”

When I offered to answer his question, he told me to ‘go for it’.  So I did.  And opened up a whole can of worms.  My answer was published here –
In response – not a word from Mike.  Although he continued to abuse and mock anyone else who dared to answer him.   He boasted that no-one had answered his question.  When I asked him what the problem was, he blocked me.  He then tweeted this: “This ***** is complaining that I blocked him” (in case you are wondering how I saw it when I am blocked – someone kindly passed it on to me).  I’m sure that the abuse and mockery continues on his timeline.  He does after all have around 200,000 followers.

This is the Australia that we live in today.  Senior journalists feel free to abuse and senior politicians join in.  I myself have received a considerable amount of personal abuse and hate mail.  I find it profoundly disturbing that someone can blaspheme and then write about me in public: “Who let this porridge wog into the country?”  Another asked: “Looks to me that immigration should check this guy’s status and see if he’s overstayed his visa. After all he’s a Scot in Australia.” Incredible how racist threats are acceptable against some immigrants!   It’s ironic how Dan Andrews and Mike Carlton complain about unkindness and bigotry and yet they encourage this.

And then of course there is the Twitter pile on about Galileo, the Pope, child abuse and wanting me to defend papal infallibility!   And the lies about City on a Hill – a church which apparently “hates gay people, blames natural disasters on gay marriage, equates SSM to Germany in the 1930’s, and doesn’t pay tax!”  I wish I was making this stuff up, or that it was exceptional.  That tweet I have just quoted is the most liked and requoted one on my own thread.   And all of it is a straight lie.

When people like Mike Carlton shut you down, they prevent you being able to discuss with those who have these ignorant and bigoted views.  The disinfectant of light is not allowed near the cesspit of lies.

Os Guinness in his book The Case for Civility argues that we need to find space for civil civic discourse in our culture.  If my experience of the past few days has been anything to go by, Australia is a long way from that – and the problem is primarily at the top.  When commentators like Mike Carlton, or politicians like Dan Andrews, mock and refuse to engage with any constructive dialogue, the rot is already in deep.    The same by the way applies for commentators or politicians on all sides.  Robust discussion and disagreement is fine.  Stirring up the mob, virtue signalling, demonising all who disagree with you, is not.

But then the response of the Church has also been revealing.   Whilst some have stepped up to the mark (the Presbyterian church for example made this excellent public statement on the Essendon situation) and many offered private and public support and prayers to those who are most under attack.  Others have kept silent, and sadly, some have even joined in with the mob.

I expect the world to hate us.  Jesus who warned us this would happen (John 15:18). But when the church sticks the boot in, it really hurts. Some of this is vicious; much of it is just confused.

One Christian argued that freedom of religion was being defended because Andrew Thorburn was free to leave his job, or leave his church.  That’s a bit like arguing that Archbishop Cranmer had freedom of religion because he could renounce his church or lose his life!  I watched another ‘Christian leader’ on TV give the standard progressives line beloved by the ABC – which is of course why she was on.  With friends like these who needs enemies?!

Another Christian leader tweeted “Mate, As I recall, Mike Carlton, asked about what Jesus said. In a quick read of your article, I didn’t find any mention of Jesus (did you forget?). You now call him a coward because he isn’t responding and does not want to engage with you on Twitter. Lol”

Given that in my article I mentioned the name of Jesus 32 times, made him the subject of a verb 43 times and quoted him directly 7 times, it is almost incomprehensible that anyone, let alone a Christian leader, could write such a falsehood.  But even more bizarre is that there were people who liked it and passed it on.  Which all goes to show that truth is irrelevant, and people seem to have an inbuilt algorithm which enables them to accept falsehoods, as long as it fits their prejudices!

It’s not just the extremes or the ridiculous.  There are others who offer fair comment and who are rightly critical of what was said.  I’m the last person to think that everything I write is infallible.  I’ve made way too many mistakes to live under that self-delusion!

So, when another Christian leader wrote that he thought I had got the tone wrong  I listened.  Because I often do get the tone wrong.  Indeed, before I published my article, I sent it to a friend who suggested I drop a couple of things.  Tone is always so difficult because it is often perceived through the ear of the listener.    But no – the concern was that it was too long and dense and that it was not jocular enough.  It was a fair point – my critic may have been correct – I don’t know.  Judge for yourself.  Ironically the couple of things I had dropped on my friend’s advice were jocular.

The point is that if you write in the public square, you are damned by Christians if you do and damned by Christians if you don’t.  Little wonder that so few dare.  I did Mr Carlton the respect of assuming that as an author he was capable of reading reasoned argument and that he was looking for evidence.  I’ve found out by bitter experience, that being jocular with angry atheists is worse than angry birds!

Whilst I was a wee bit surprised at that one, I was not surprised at the number of Christians who judged me in public for daring to ‘judge’ Mike Carlton in public.   The ones who do so are usually passive-aggressive and almost always tell you how they are doing, humbly of course.  And they invariably sign off with ‘God bless you’ – as though sticking the knife in with a twist of spiritual virtue signalling sometimes makes it better. At least it makes them feel better.  I am so thankful that the Lord does not bless in the same way as some of his people!  It’s also a little strange that people who complain about making criticisms in public, then criticise in public – rather than sending a private message.  That’s as inevitable as night follows day.   Also, it is somewhat extraordinary that Christians can see the anger of the mob – and then join in! Christians can be good at shooting their own wounded.  Or even doing the wounding!

On the one hand we complain about Christians getting involved in the public square.  On the other we snipe at them if they do.  Something is wrong.   If we cannot disagree well – in, what sense can we be salt and light?   When the Twitter mobs attack you, who will speak up for you?   As for me, sometimes I just feel like giving up.  The hatred, pettiness, and politics are all so depressing….and the irrelevancy of so much of the church.

Speaking of which the Archbishop of Canterbury was in town – in fact he was next door to my office.   Nice man as he is, I don’t think he will speak into the situation of his flock being attacked (City on a Hill is an Anglican church) – at least not with any force or power.   I hope I’m wrong.   Maybe Moore College will have a transforming effect!   But if you want to know how irrelevant the Church is perceived as being in today’s Australia – the day after the archbishop was in town the ABC had a headline news item about ‘faith leaders’ speaking on climate change in Australia, but nothing about the archbishop’s visit.  The Sydney Morning Herald had not a word.  If a parent wants to complain about an Anglican school, it will be headline news – but having the world’s most senior Anglican in town merits not a mention.

Meanwhile I’m beginning to wonder if Rod Dreher isn’t right after all – maybe it’s better to take the Benedict Option!

Where in the Bible did Jesus deal with Homosexuality and Abortion? An Answer for Mike Carlton


  1. Sorry for all the hate you’re receiving for speaking Jesus’ truth in love. As He Himself said, you’re blessed when you’re persecuted (though it doesn’t feel it at the time), because great is your reward in heaven.

  2. David, please don’t give up. I for one take a great deal of encouragement from all of your work in identifying and standing up to the madness of woke ideology and “progressive” Christianity.

    As always the underlying message is “It’s OK when WE do it”. They are hypocrites, pure and simple, so convinced of their own righteousness and their own victimhood (or victim advocacy) that ANYTHING they say or do is justified.

  3. David, you are a soldier for Christ. Many haven’t bowed the knee to Baal and you courageously speak for us. God has given you a megaphone. The howls of rage are a sign you are wielding the sword of truth. They hate you because they hate Him.
    God bless you (and I mean it!)

  4. The technique is well-used, of publicly claiming on a platform like Twitter that nobody who disagrees with one has even begun to refute what one claims, and challenging any dissenter to debate. As soon as anybody offers to take up the challenge, one publicly accepts their offer, inviting them publicly to begin debating, but clandestinely blocks them, so that they cannot begin. One then mocks them for having failed to begin, all-the-while maintaining the literal truth of one’s misleading claim that nobody has ever even begun to refute one’s assertion, for much the same reason that Lord Admiral Nelson once reported that he saw no ships.

  5. Hi David
    Please don’t give up. You have been a massive encouragement to me over the many years I have been reading your blog. Your words of warning have been proved true many times and though you may feel like a lone voice I’m sure you have given hope and encouragement to many Christians who also feel hopeless and discouraged in this sin sick world. You are doing a vital work in speaking up for the many thousands of Christians who have no voice or platform. So be encouraged and continue the good work.
    John 16:33
    In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

  6. David, I listened carefully to the Guy Mason interview above and while I agree with you he remained calm and had a pleasant manner, I think he avoided giving clear answers as to what his position was on abortion and especially homosexuality.
    He rowed back from what he said 9 years ago and failed to challenge some of the assumptions of the interviewer.
    From this interview I would not know what his views are on homosexuality.
    Thanks for continuing to bring to our attention issues which allow us to think and be challenged as Christians in today’s society

  7. David, another big thank you for all that you do in Jesus’ name. You always speak up without fear and are always gracious with it. Those who vehemently speak with hardened hearts will only change when the scales are removed from their eyes, when they see the light. As Jesus said, Christians who speak up for the truth of the Bible will be persecuted. Those so called Christians who go along with the culture will not be persecuted!
    We pray for you and that you will preserve and endure under your challenging circumstances. You brighten up our day with your blogs.

  8. David, like you say, abuse is no substitute for informed debate – the fact that you are getting so much of it just now shows you are touching ‘nerves’ the abusers have no answers for. So, take heart, the truth hurts – ‘hurting people, hurt people’!

  9. Sadly, I think Roderick Shaw is probably correct, though I did not listen to the Sunrise interview. The good thing in the Thorburn saga was Thorburn choosing for his church. In a way, that said everything, yet also true that neither City on a Hill or Thorburn reiterated what was said earlier about homosexuality, rather Thorburn didn’t agree with everything he heard in sermons, leaving doubt as to what he actually believed. David Ould has written on the Sunrise interview.
    As far as the excellent Presbyterian Church response went in affirming marriage as heterosexual, yet it failed to declare, with the Word of God, that homosexuality is a perversion of God’s creational purpose. It has now become extremely hard for Christian leaders to say such a thing in public. Many, as David’s experience shows, will buckle.
    David, you were brave. Mike Carleton is a known piece of bad work, a very abusive man.

  10. Don’t give up getting hate mail and abuse of any kind is horrid. Come back To Scotland and be abused by your own and make sure they keep the Archbishop. At least here you can escape into the beautiful Highlands to unwind. The day of judgment will sort them out.

  11. ‘Abortion-Open Your Mouth for the Dumb’ by an Australian-Peter Barnes-is a superb short study laying out the biblical case against abortion.

  12. When Guy Mason or another person points out biblical teaching about *sin* in same-sex relationships, or abortion, it is very often heard as “if you do this you are going to hell”.
    The problem of sin is real, and hell is real, but the remedy is found in the Christian message of redemption and reconciliation – salvation which is offered to all without distinction on the grounds of Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice … sufficient for all, and adapted to all, and offered to all in the Gospel.

  13. One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
    keep up the good work david – the Lord is with you – im always encouraged by your brave witness
    Philippians 1:12-18 reads as follows: “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: the former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.”

  14. From the USA I don’t understand all that you said but the Azzies sound a little crazy. But seeing how they put up with the covid restrictions over the last few years…
    In the USA we just turn off cnn and ignore them along with the political left. I would just say don’t bother with them… once things get really bad like we see in Chicago, people will start looking for answers….

  15. Psalm 27 and I’m reminded of when Elijah was in a cave and depressed but God said He had reserved 7000 who had not bowed the knee to baal. Keep speaking David, there are more for you than against.

  16. On a different note but spiritually heavily connected; Australia is also reversing its stance on Jerusalem being the capital of Israel. This decision puts Australia on a collision course with the God of Israel who is restoring Israel at this time and looking to the nations to accept His restoration. Psalm 2, Zecheriah 14 and Acts 1 tells us that Jesus is coming back to the Mount of Olives and that God the Father is about to install His Son in Zion(Jerusalem) and that the nations should kiss the Son lest He be angry. The fact that this spiritual truth is either not understood or indeed opposed by much of the Church is a tragedy and explains why much of our prayers and intercessions accomplish little. Also explains why so many nations are descending into greater darkness as they are raging and plotting against the Lord and His anointed-Psalm 2 The reality is we are in the Last days and many in the church will need to change their doctrines regarding these last days, as what is happening is following the literal unfolding of Biblical prophecy. Jesus first coming came with literal prophetic fulfillment; He was literally born of a Virgin, etc and His second coming will also come through literal fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. If so, that would mean we are in the great falling away of the Church before the man of lawlessness is revealed, just as prophesied in Scripture? About time the prophets of the Church began to proclaim the coming of the Lord. The morning star is rising in our hearts, do you not know it!

  17. That was a contemptible way for Mike Carlton to treat you, and completely undeserved. It’s cowardly too. I admire your courage in speaking out when there is so much opposition. I hope you will keep going.

  18. Stay on the narrow way brother. It’s tough going but in the end it will be wonderfully worth it

    “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Jesus – Matthew 7: 13,14

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