This article was first published on the Australian Presbyterian
The World Turned Upside Down
“Beliefs about the normativity of human sexuality and gender identity were dominant in Western society, science and medicine until the latter part of the 20th Century” (2.2.4).
So, far in our analysis of the TLRI report on sexual and trans identity and conversion therapy we have seen that it expresses concern about pseudo-science whilst being based upon pseudo-science; we asked whether there is any need for the proposed legislation; and looked at how the report exaggerates some harms, whilst ignoring others. In part two we examined how language is being distorted for the sake of ideology and in particular how consent and conversion have been affected.
This report is important because it is the canary in the coal mine – showing just how far down the dystopian rabbit hole progressive doctrines lead us. Also, it demonstrates that the whole ideology is a case of the emperor’s new clothes. Once your eyes are opened you can see that there is nothing there.
US financial regulator, Gary Gensler, made a statement this week about one of the biggest fraudsters in history – a man with impeccably progressive credentials.
‘We allege that Sam Bankman-Fried built a house of cards on a foundation of deception while telling investors that it was one of the safest buildings in crypto.’
Whilst the TLRI report is not about crypto currencies, the principle remains the same. It is built on a house of cards on a foundation of deception, yet telling politicians that this really is what the ‘science’ says.
Whilst some people think that this is just a minor issue, the quotation cited at the beginning shows the real agenda, which is nothing less than the complete overthrow of the values, cultures and foundation of Western liberal societies.
It is clear from the report, that whether the authors meant it or not, the aim is set primarily at the Christian churches who continue to uphold traditional Christian teaching. All the anecdotal examples given of alleged conversion therapy were religious ones.
Before going further let me deal with one particular ‘conspiracy theory’ which some people use to dismiss comments of anti-Christian bias. “This is just paranoia, anyway the Church is irrelevant so why would anyone bother”? This is an important accusation to deal with and to understand why the anti-Christian elements of the State will particularly pick on Christianity. It is because in a post-Christian culture, Christianity is seen as the main threat to the all-knowing, all powerful State. Chris Watkin summarises it brilliantly in his magisterial work, Biblical Critical Theory: “Modernity, not Christianity, seeks to return to a pre-Christian conflation of theological and political power. Its emblematic beginning is in Hobbes’s Leviathan, where the sovereign wields total and uncontested power, with no counterauthorities to challenge it. This gathering of all power into one sovereign is a means of “de-anarchizing Christianity” in a way that renders “harmless the effect of Christ in the social and political sphere,” and in the same move divinizes political authority.”
In other words, the reason the State is using this to neuter the Church is precisely because it wants the freedom to be able to impose its doctrines on all of us, without fear of opposition. We noted before that the anti-Conversion therapy laws seemed to be using a hammer to crack a nut – but when we see the wider picture we can understand what is going on. The politicians, bureaucrats and academics are not primarily concerned about the few cases of people who may have been harmed by conversion therapy. They want to ensure that there is no questioning, no criticism and no opposition to their Brave New World. Having got rid of centuries of Christianity teaching they want to ensure that the Church knows and keeps its place – as the equivalent of a knitting group or as the servant of the State.
The report seeks to assure us that its proposals do not “affect expressions of faith” but as we have seen what the right hand gives, the left hand takes away. It goes on to add “unless they directly or indirectly lead to conversion therapies”. The previous criticism applies – this is so broad as to be meaningless. It is in effect a charter for anti-Christian ideologues to seek to bully Christian churches into silence. Almost anything we do in this area, other than outright affirmation and acceptance of the ideology, could be construed as ‘indirect conversion therapies”.
“Parental and religious rights infringement is a serious concern. Any law on SOGI conversion practices must ensure that religious freedom is not unduly burdened. However, as has been discussed throughout this report [see 2.2.15 and 2.6.19], the potential for a law to burden such rights does not act as a barrier to its introduction, but rather is a matter of its calibration and balancing” (5.12.13).
Combine this with the Anti-Discrimination Act cited in the report and you have a deadly combination against religious liberty. The following is particularly important.
“Section 17(1) of the Anti-Discrimination Act provides that a person ‘must not engage in anyconduct which offends, humiliates, intimidates or ridicules another person’ on the basis of, among other things, sexual orientation, lawful sexual activity or gender identity. The standard is objective. The conduct is prohibited if a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated that the person subjected to the conduct would be offended, humiliated, intimidated, insulted or ridiculed. Section 17 focuses on feelings experienced as a result of exposure to discriminatory language or behaviour directed at a person’s sexuality or gender identity. (7.1.16)” 7.1.17. Direct or indirect conversion practices that involve depicting or speaking about LGBTQA+ status in a way that is offensive, humiliating, intimidating, or insulting to LGBTQA+ people or ridicules LGBTQA+ status would contravene s 17.”
This in effect means that any LGBTQA+ person who ‘felt’ offended or insulted would have the right to prosecute a claim against the person perceived as the aggressor. Let us take the not unlikely scenario of a pastor reading out part of the Bible which someone found offensive – could they then be charged? No Christian wants to upset, offend, hurt or humiliate people. But why should our actions be legally determined by other people’s feelings? Again, we note that this report has the effect of introducing a new blasphemy law wherein it is considered blasphemy to dare to question or indeed affect anyone’s feelings on the issues of sexuality and gender identity.
The fact that the report claims that this is an ‘objective’ standard only indicates just how far down the rabbit hole of irrationality our culture has gone. Something that is dependent on subjective feelings, by definition cannot be objective! Although as we saw in part two – definitions are becoming meaningless in this Brave New World – because our legislators are now the in Alice Through the Looking Glass position of saying that ‘words mean whatever we want them to mean”. Given that, we are hardly filled with confidence that the definition of ‘reasonable person’ or ‘having regard to all the circumstances’ has any substantive meaning at all.
Only this week the Cambridge dictionary has redefined woman to being anyone who identifies or lives as a woman. As well as ‘adult human female’ it now says that a woman can be the opposite – “an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth”. Note again the unscientific, non-medical and irrational definition. As a man I was not ‘said to have had a different sex at birth’. Male was my sex. Male still is my sex. Not all the reports from ‘experts’ or dictionary distorters in the world can ever change that most basic of facts.
The TLIR report, which seems to be based on a series of unproven ideological presuppositions, has such weak definitions and is so wide open to interpretation that if passed in its current form will almost certainly result in abuse by those who have the power to accuse, intimidate and prosecute.
Although the report states that: “In the case of conversion practices, reform is necessary to protect the basic rights to life, health and well-being of vulnerable members of the community.”The irony is that this proposed law reform could end up facilitating more harm. The danger from ‘conversion therapy’ is minimal compared to the ‘irreversible damage’ that will be caused by an uncritical promotion of the trans ideological doctrine.
Although the report speaks of ‘appropriate rights balancing’, there is little evidence of that within the report itself. The effect of this proposed legislation, whether intended or not, will be to promote one ideology at the expense of others. As we have seen the report rightly states, “Beliefs about the normativity of human sexuality and gender identity were dominant in Western society, science and medicine until the latter part of the 20th Century”(2.2.4). That indeed is true. So why do they want to turn that upside down? Do they know where that will lead? For those of us who accept the Christian foundations of Western society we will continue to proclaim those beliefs which the report ridicules and dismisses in one sentence. The question is whether we will be permitted to do so in our increasingly intolerant and monocultural society.
“Such arguments were both discriminatory and culturally biased, insofar as they began from the assumption about the normative character of human sexuality and ‘procreative objective’” (4.4.24). The irony is that this report itself is filled with arguments that are discriminatory and culturally biased insofar as they begin with current cultural assumptions about human sexuality.
Do you wonder where this leads? Consider that this week a Scottish judge ruled that any man who wants to self-identify as a woman, can do so and, in regard to all purposes of law, is a woman.That is the end of women’s spaces, women’s rights, women’s sports, women’s quotas on boards and in politics. It is the greatest blow to women’s rights since before women first got the vote. If the Tasmanian parliament accepts this report, it is taking a step along that route.
An astonishing development in this regard is that the author J.K Rowling has felt compelled to set up a women’s rape crisis centre in Edinburgh, with her own money, because the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre includes men, and is run by a man who identifies as a woman.She has been bitterly criticised as transphobic for doing so. Stop and consider. We live in a world where a woman can be criticised for setting up a rape crisis centre because she is not prepared to let men into that centre!
Meanwhile a health board in Scotland has issued guidelines suggesting that if a woman in a hospital bed does not want a man who identifies as a woman in the bed next to her, she must be dealt with as a racist. This is doubtless being done on the ‘best medical advice’!
Remaining opposed to any kind of coercive or harmful conversion therapy, we do not accept that this is a significant problem in Tasmanian society. This legislation is being driven by ideological reasons, and will be used for ideological purposes. This is about politics and ideology not science and humanity. Western Australia is also going down the same route – The proposed Tasmanian Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conversion Practices legislation will end up becoming a new blasphemy law.
Perhaps the authors of the report do not know what they are doing or what the consequences will inevitably be. Either they do know as the quote at the beginning would suggest, or they are just what Lenin called ‘useful idiots’. Whilst they may be academically and intellectually smart, they are unaware that their desire to do good, and to be seen to do good, and be on the ‘right side of history, is being used to further an agenda which can only cause untold harm. By the time they realise this, it will be too late!
But what about the rest of us? Firstly, a word to the legislators – the politicians. Some will be ideologically committed to this change, and will know exactly what is happening. Most I suspect either won’t know or will regard it as relatively trivial. After all, given that this is really not a problem in Tasmania, how many people will it affect and who cares? Plus everyone knows that the wrath of the transgender ideologues can be destructive to one’s career. So just shut up, let it pass, it doesn’t matter.
I don’t care whether people are on the Left or Right. Sometimes anyone who is opposed to transgender ideology is immediately labelled far right! Actually, anyone opposed to any progressive doctrine is automatically labelled far right. In a world where billionaires can be socialists, Labor MPs who oppose trans ideology are fascists! But the fact is that those who are in the Liberal party need to realise that being silent on this issue won’t save them. This will not stop at the relatively small and insignificant step promoting trans ideology through conversion therapy. And those who are really left wing, and care for the poor, need to speak up as well. Because it is the poor who will suffer most from this ideology hatched in the elitist halls of Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Oxford, Sydney and Melbourne.
As for the Church. Although we are the target of this legislation, we are the ones who have least to fear. Because we don’t fear men (or women!). We don’t fear politicians (although we respect them as the servants of God).
We know that the nations are as a drop in the bucket. We know that
23 He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.24 No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff” (Isaiah 40:23-24).
We also know that “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. he gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:11)
Our priority is not ourselves. Our priority is the poor and the marginalized. Our priority is for all those who will be most harmed by this rejection of the Christian values of the West. We are to be their voice. May we not be silent!