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Christian Woke in Politics – Injustice, Persecution, and Freedom

By Brian Morris

We should prepare for the mantra of ‘Religious Freedom’ to arise once again – with a freshly engineered version of the Religious Discrimination (privileges) Bill. That is, of course, if our Pentecostal prime minister is returned at this election.

In that event it will simply be more PR and spin from the Christian Churches and politicians, despite Philip Ruddock’s 2018 Religious Freedom Review showing there was “no impediment” to religious freedom in Australia.

But the Review made concessions to religion which – with the help of Christian Porter and the Morrison government – morphed into several troubled versions of the Religious Discrimination Bill (RDB). In February 2022 the Bill was “shelved”, but it was not defeated.

Its failure to pass into law, however, did create even greater angst for the religious right. There was already a form of ‘Christian Woke’ – or claims of religious racism – which arose from the sense of injustice and persecution when Same Sex Marriage was legalised.

The RDB remains a means to re-establish Christian authority for religious fundamentalists – especially on the LGBTI issue. They still wish to impose their religious “ethos” within education, together with the ability to hire and fire teachers and reject students purely on the basis of their sexuality.

While mainstream print and electronic media have reported widely on Religious Freedom – since the Ruddock Review – it has been almost exclusively based on the religious and political aspects of the proposed legislation.

Missing in this entire four-year debate has been the secular and ‘A-theist’ (footnote) argument. It’s not just in the political and social justice context (of banning LGBTI teachers and students) – but also a need to question the vagaries of fundamentalist Christian doctrine that has dominated media commentary.

And that includes the broad swathe of secular policy – well beyond RDB and religious education with its ultra-Christian sensibilities. There is an upsurge of evangelical self-righteousness which seeks to further entrench its influence in the media and in state and federal politics.

We have at least one federal candidate who says, “I want God’s kingdom to penetrate the political mountain.” This sounds very much like the very far right religious philosophy of “7 Mountains Mandate” that seeks to dominate the whole of society. And Kimberly Horn is not alone in her quest. It’s well worth watching the Lance Wallnau video.

So too the hundreds of Pentecostals who have joined the Liberal Party – and there’s a strong argument why undeclared evangelicals in parliaments further weaken our badly compromised “Separation of Church and State” which has gradually been whittled away.

And, of course, we have a Prime Minister who says he was “called to do God’s work.”

It’s not sufficient that print and electronic media merely report these facts – the problem here is that there’s scant secular or A-theist commentary on WHY a growing religious influence in politics and the media is socially regressive.

What ever happened to the media code of, “without fear or favour”? Is it just easier to ignore every aspect of the A-theist argument for fear of a Christian backlash – a reprimand from the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, or simply a flood of cranky Christians flooding the switchboard?

The devoutly religious have two well-practiced clichés that they roll out to combat a rare challenge that gets run by the media. Invariably it’s to dismiss comments that come from ‘communistic atheists’ or ‘militant secularists’. No debate is needed!

It’s the secular and A-theist majority that need to be calling for more ‘freedom’ in mainstream media. When was the last time we heard or read any substantial challenge to the flawed foundations of fundamentalist Christian doctrine that constantly undermines the progressive secular agenda?

And surely it’s high time that all federal candidates – including current parliamentarians – were made accountable to the electorate. We really do need to know how their religion, or lack of faith, will influence their party’s position on a raft of social legislation.

An IPSOS poll showed 78 per cent of the public want religion separated from the business of government, yet we continue to see a sharp upsurge of politicised Christianity. Australia is already regarded as a ‘soft theocracy’ with far too much religious influence in government.

So it really is time to dispel this myth of ‘Christian Woke’ – they are not a persecuted cohort by any stretch of the imagination – on the contrary, their political and media influence is extensive.

Aided by Scott Morrison, politicians, and a raft of Christian lobbies religion has been placed on a pedestal by most of mainstream media. They appear captivated by the pomp and ceremony, and by the authority a very remote and out-of-touch Christian hierarchy.

And it has become a media taboo to question that authority. And not least the apparent veto to challenge the flawed foundations of Christian history that underpin the doctrines and dogma which for centuries have thwarted progressive social policy.

So it would be politically relevant for the public to regularly hear the secular and A-theist voice – those who speak for the 78 per cent of citizens who oppose politics being driven by religion.

And there is no shortage of topics that challenge the illusion a ‘Christian Woke’. Their claims of injustice and persecution are merely elements of shrewd marketing to maintain a consistent religious PR and media relations profile.

Footnote: A-theism is not, per se, “anti-religious” – nor does it malign people of religion. Rather, it is free to question the religious doctrines that underpin fundamentalist views on all contemporary social and secular issues.

 

Brian Morris is a former Journalist and Public Relations professional and the author of Sacred to Secular, a critically acclaimed analysis of Christianity, its origins and the harm that it does. You can read more about him here.

 

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20 comments

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  1. John Hanna

    Brilliant, first time I have read an article that resonated with unbelievers.

  2. Phil Pryor

    If the Hillsong Huns care to contact similarly restricted and subjected types in Mecca, Moscow, Delhi, Beijing, Tel Aviv, even perhaps in Wall St. and the Pentagon, they’ll be told clearly that they are wrong. totally wrong. All are wrong of course, but each “knows” what is “correct” and is sure that everyone else, the whole effing lot, are wrong. In fact (look through any modern telescope or microscope) the whole superstitious load of aggressive righteous bullshit is wrong. No god or gods, no fingerprints, photos, DNA samples, witnesses, footprints, admissions, affidavits, personal appearances, NOTHING.

  3. Harry Lime

    And if anyone doubts the damage being wrought by these blinkered wankers,have a long, hard look at their political ‘hero’…the gobsmacking,outrageous lying hypocrite,shithead from failed marketing.There’s more integrity in a parasitic amoeba.

  4. TuffGuy

    I just happened to watch the 3 part expose on Hellscum this morning and they appear to be basically just like all the other churches. They are all about money, living lives of luxury, slave labour, world domination, sexual abuse, etc. You know, just all those good christian things that all churches aspire to, with the exception that these pentecostals also want world domination and the ability to discriminate against those who aren’t them. Then to top it all off they have their rapture thingy and the 7 mountains mandate for good measure.
    Since Houston was dumped as CEO for his own sexual misadventures, albeit not as bad as his pedo father, Scummo has greatly distanced himself from Hellscum. They don’t even rate a mention lately except for Scummo telling porkies (again) by claiming he had not been to Hellscum church in 15 years. Despite this Scummo continues to stack both his Cabinet and his Party with fellow Hellscum ratbags. Should he lose this election, and even should he also lose Party Leader, you can guarantee he will continue to work in the background to infest the Party with even more Hellscum ratbags, and that is the part that scares me.

  5. john f kennedy

    The fundamentalist Christians are not much different from the radically religious in other faiths such as radical Muslim’s. The difference is they have money, power and influence and don’t need to use violence to further their agenda.

    Despite the lack of violence, the damage they are doing is still incredibly high.

    Like the moderate Muslims, who say that they don’t believe what the fundamentalists are preaching and nobody believes them, there will come a time when this is the reality for moderate Christians too.

  6. Mike

    The language used in some of the above replies does not endear me to the writers and is so typical of much of social media. I’m sure Brian is similarly unimpressed.

  7. Canguro

    Mike, I’d argue that Brian Morris – if that’s who you’re referring to, or is it the other Brian, the disgraced Hillsong one? – has better things to do than form reactive opinions on the comments that flow as a response to his essay. If religion gets a bad rap, and if people criticise the general tenor of modern religious practice, it’s only because they’re witness to evidence of the malfeasance of its practitioners; materialistic, hypocritical, abusive, domineering, bigoted, lunatic even, good god, who’d want to endorse such maniacal beliefs, so contrary to the intentions of the early teachings? The criticism seems mild when contrasted with the damages inflicted by these institutions.

    Like many social phenomena, there may have been a golden age for Christianity, but it’s certainly not these times, as declining congregations attest.

    And yes, not all Christians are bad. But the ones who have co-opted the teachings for their own selfish purposes taint the whole edifice, and people are right to harbour suspicion.

  8. Phil Pryor

    Who or what is Mike? What is social media? Who needs to be impressed or unimpressed? And, please use my efforts as mental nutrition or as a suppository. Not one person alive, then or now, knows of Jesus or what he actually said or thought. This is not to deny free speech, theoretically, to Mohammed or Moses, or Gautama, or Confucius, or Ahura Mazda, or Thor, or Zeus, or the sun itself, or any other well known image of appealing ancient superstition. May superstition be killed off, die out, like poxes and plagues, the Bakker and Swaggart, Rev Jim Jones and fundamentalist types. Vatican controlled wealth alone might save the world.

  9. wam

    A brilliant post, Mr Morris but is scummo that desperate?
    if my dad hadn’t come back from the war, I would probably be fronting up for a weekly wafer and a sip with a repeat at funerals.
    All my relatives and friends are believers, making god talk difficult. But I have a slash at opus dei and the handclapper’s sexist beliefs.
    The danger of christians is that they can accept the pragmatic love of a god who wreaks such havoc over the world.
    Making sacred any means employed to achieve god’s objective. The rabbott could not lie because he was a work of god. So his lies were not lies because he has a licence from god.
    To this little atheist it is unfair that the scummos can use their god to make political decisions without being questioned about his beliefs.

  10. Arnd

    Canguro,

    it does not strike me as particularly persuasive for someone like Brian Morris to insist that:

    So it would be politically relevant for the public to regularly hear the secular and A-theist voice – those who speak for the 78 per cent of citizens who oppose politics being driven by religion.

    and then promptly absent himself from any subsequent discussion of the article in which he makes that insistence.

  11. Canguro

    Arnd,

    Possibly. I note the obvious; essay posted on the 2nd May, now the 5th, no response from the author; clicking the link to his bio offers suggestions that he’s a busy man with varied interests apart from authoring Plain Reason. He may well have checked in to see what the peeps wrote in response, but it’s impossible to know without access to the metadata behind this website (as in IP address registers).

    It’s not unusual for well-argued essays to be offered up publicly and left to stand; if their authors are well-versed in the foundational integrity of their topic then there’s no need to engage in the theatre of opinion.

    My comment was spurred by the fragility of Mike’s ‘I’m sure Brian is similarly unimpressed’ assertion; not that I know Brian and fairly confident I never will, nevertheless, I remain unconvinced that he would feel the need to put hands to keyboard to respond.

  12. Arnd

    Canguro,

    Of course, Brian has every right to go MIA – but the inescapable fact remains that he thereby foregoes opportunities to build support for his agenda.

    As for Mike’s complaint about some of the language on this thread, I tend to agree. Generally speaking, there seems to be a bit of a competition going on on the AIMN over who can heap the most invective on the incumbent prime minister and his side of politics – and whilst can understand why – the man, and his tatty coterie of hapless chancers are insufferable – it does get tiring.

    More importantly, it distracts from the main issue, which is not that Morrison is intellectually, ethically and personally completely unsuitable for the high office he occupies.

    The main issue rather is: how did our systems and processes allow, and indeed encourage, such a profoundly inept individual and his entourage to rise to legislative and executive dominance. The answers, I am afraid, are not universally flattering: I have met the enemy, and he is us! (Including Brian, Arnd, and I guess at this stage, Canguro).

    It’s not what people want to hear. Easier to simply keep heaping invective on those who offend our sensibilities.

  13. Brian Morris

    Arnd/Canguro,

    MIA? Guys, what am I supposed to be responding to? Is there anything in the article that’s causing someone a lot of grief? Give me some points that need further explanation and I’m happy to clarify. Or I’m happy to send you a free copy of my book Sacred to Secular.

  14. Canguro

    Brian… slight misunderstanding here… I wasn’t meaning to highlight your absence or failure to respond to comments, rather, a response to the poster Mike who suggested that you, the author, would take a negative view on some of the comments being posted. I demurred, suggesting you’d better things to do than wade in to the play of opinions.

    Arnd then chimed in and essentially seemed to be arguing along similar lines to Mike, viz., that you ‘should’ be responding to others’ comments.

    I’ll leave it up to Arnd (and Mike, should he make a reappearance) to comment as to why they believe you ‘should’ join in the discussion… which, by the way, in the rapid fashion the pattern of activity on this website suggests, has now died, with the focus elsewhere.

    To paraphrase Omar Khayyam, ‘“The moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on… and rarely does it seem to return’.

  15. Arnd

    Brian,

    thanks for responding, and fair question: as far as the need to remove the reactionary Christian agenda from politics is concerned, you have made your point, and there seems little to add.

    I did try to dig a little deeper with my reference to “our systems and processes”, in the hope of maybe starting a more systematic review of politics, faith, and the intersection of the two – rather in the manner which outlined at greater length in my post on your Easter is rooted in A-theism article – but neither seem to have resonated.

  16. Brian Morris

    Canguro

    Thank you for your comment and clarification — I guess my main interest is in discussing the core issues of ‘secular politics’. I’m not really very good at general commentary. And thanks for getting in touch, and I trust you get something from the book. Happy do discuss at any time. Cheers B.

  17. Brian Morris

    Arnd

    Thank you for your point re ‘systems and processes’. The rise of religion in politics should be of great concern to the 78% of the public who support the separation of Church and State.

    As mentioned in the article we have a growing problem of radical evangelism — the importation from America of the 7 Mountains Mandate. It’s worth clicking on the video link in the article. Kimberly Horn is just one flake of snow, on the tip of the iceberg! Think of the abolition of Roe vs Wade in the US — our burgeoning army of Pentecostals here are just aching for the supreme court to strike it down, so they can start their anti-abortion drive in Australia.

    The voting public are asleep at the wheel — electing more right wing evangelicals like Morrison into federal and state parliaments.

  18. Arnd

    Brian,

    The rise of religion in politics should be of great concern to the 78% of the public who support the separation of Church and State.

    I’d take this one step further: the rise of religion in politics should be of greatest concern to everybody. No good can come if it! I also know that many Christians agree, myself included. Christianity is something that you practice, and preach if and when there is a receptive audience. Christianity is not something that lends itself to imposition from above through the exercise of institutional state power.

    My preference by far would be that, instead of relentlessly fact-checking the foundational assertions, myths and allegories of Christianity, a-theists (and other dissenters) held “Christian” power politicians to the basic tenets of their own faith. You know, “meekness” and “long-suffering patience”, and “forgiveness”. Just get them to re-read the Lord’s Prayer. And maybe reflect a bit. And be welcoming to refugees, and don’t have your photo taken praying in church, and suchlike.

    Returning to (materialistic, in the Marxist sense) matters of political philosophy, concerning “systems and processes”, I do not think that the rise of illiberalism, whether of Christian or any other stripe, is a mere unfortunate accident. But this is a big subject, and Canguro might have a point with his observation that the focus has long since moved on to different subjects.

  19. Kaye Lee

    I am astonished at the influence the Australian Christian Lobby, who represents no-one, has in Canberra. Apparently, Gillard made a pre-2010 election pledge to them not to change the definition of marriage.

    This is an older article. Martyn Iles has since taken over from Lyle Shelton. A lot of Christian groups are not happy with this lobby group, who has no affiliation, purporting to represent the Christian voice in Canberra, yet our political leaders seem in thrall.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/who-are-the-australian-christian-lobby-20160219-gmy67y.html

  20. Arnd

    Thanks, Kaye

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