Herald Sun – 19 May 2016
IT’S not the haters who will kill Christianity. It’s the ignorant, who have no clue how we non-Christians will suffer.
But, wow, that hatred sure is feral. The latest examples?
One: the Greens this week say they want to strip churches of their “right to discriminate” — actually their freedom to insist their employees live the faith.
Two: Sydney University’s Student Union threatened to deregister the university’s Evangelical Union unless it stopped insisting members declare their faith in Jesus Christ.
Three: Christian lobby group Family Voice Australia this week accused Facebook of deleting one of its pages arguing against same-sex marriage.
Four: Facebook administrators had earlier deleted a page by the Centre for Public Christianity calling on same-sex marriage activists to be less abusive (It was restored after protests by Tim Wilson, the former freedom commissioner and now Liberal candidate in Goldstein).
Five: Yet another church in Melbourne was burned to the ground last month and four in Geelong have been torched in six months — arson attacks that got a fraction of the media attention given to the burning of a Geelong mosque (Police say the mosque may have been mistaken for the church this bluestone building originally was).
These attacks are part of a disturbing pattern. Everywhere Christians are being harassed out of the public space. In Victoria, for instance, state schools have new rules against the singing of not just hymns but, it seems, the more religious Christmas carols.
In Tasmania, a former transgender Greens candidate complained to the state’s Anti-Discrimination Commission about a Catholic Church pamphlet opposing same-sex marriage (She has since dropped her action).
Even worse, the commission ordered the local archbishop, with all Australia’s Catholic bishops, to explain whether they should be allowed to keep offending people by preaching church doctrine. SBS has already decided Christians shouldn’t.
It banned an ad made by Christians defending traditional marriage, yet ran one by Ashley Madison for a dating service for adulterers.
The media is particularly hostile to Christians, using the sex scandals of churches last century as an excuse to smash the churches today. Radio and television outlets recently played at high rotation a song by comedian Tim Minchin vilifying Catholic Cardinal George Pell as a “coward” and “scum” and falsely suggesting he’d covered up for paedophile priests.
Last year, actor Rachel Griffiths told ABC radio she was “quite elated” that arsonists had burned down the beautiful St James Church in Brighton because it had decades ago had a priest who’d abused children.
Just check how The Age this year marked Easter, Christianity’s holiest festival. On Maundy Thursday, it complained that St James was being rebuilt for $20 million and called for churches to be stripped of their tax exemption. On Good Friday, it praised a retired teacher who’d once confronted a paedophile priest and later claimed, exaggeratedly, the Catholic Church was keeping files “secret” from victims.
True, attacks on the church are nothing new. What is new, though, is the ignorance of so many about what’s at stake and their indifference to the fight. How many young Australians, even young journalists, understand just what Christianity teaches and inspires?
Last month The Australian reported on an Islamic State sympathiser in Kempsey prison who allegedly attacked a former Australian soldier, carving “e4e” into his head.
The reporter explained: “The phrase is thought to refer to ‘an eye for an eye’, which appears in both Christian and Islamic texts.”
But the Christian New Testament actually records Jesus denouncing such justice: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth’.
But I tell you, … if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” The Koran, though, says “a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution”.
This difference explains why no Christian country has an eye-for-an-eye justice system, but a Muslim theocracy such as Iran does. Last year, for instance, a man in Karaj who blinded someone in an acid attack had his own eye put out.
But making Islam seem no worse than Christianity is now fashionable — not least because it excuses surrender to a creed that threatens the freedoms Christianity defends.
The most bizarre example of this double standard occurred earlier this month when a caller rang up ABC presenter Jon Faine, a vehement critic of Christianity but an equally passionate defender of Islam.
Caller: I’ve got a Sunni Muslim friend … He loves his AFL, you know, a real, typical kind of Aussie bloke. But … he’s adamant that stoning is the best punishment for adultery …
Faine: Why is that any different to people in the Orthodox Jewish community for instance who have some bizarre beliefs or people in the Hillsong or any other happy-clappy Christian community who have all sorts of bizarre beliefs? You know, they just live their lives. It’s not as if they put them into practice.
Caller: That may be true, Jon, but I’m specifically wondering what you would do in that situation?
Faine: Oh, I’d say, well, that’s pretty wacky and who’s going to win on Saturday?
Our gay activists are no better. Like the Greens, they rage at the church’s stand on same-sex marriage but are completely silent about the most violent expression of gay hatred — the hanging of gays in Iran and the throwing of gays off tall buildings by the Islamic State in Syria.
These new Christ-haters and hypocrites are dangerously ignorant of an important truth: the gods actually differ and inspire different behaviour.
Christianity, for instance, tells us to treat even strangers as we would our own kin and insists the life of even the most lowly is sacred.
Christ is recorded in the New Testament as preventing the stoning of an adulterous woman, famously saying: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
The Muslim prophet Muhammed, however, is recorded in the famous biography by Ibn Ishaq of having ordered the murder of “two singing-girls, Fartana and her friend, who used to sing satirical songs about the apostle”.
The founders of the faiths led very different lives — one a preacher of nonviolence, the other a warrior king. Their respective religions express their culture and culture counts in influencing behaviour today.
Consider: which societies are safest for nonbelievers? Which the most likely to be democracies? Which the least likely to treat terrorists as heroes?
Which are least likely to allow humans to be destroyed for an allegedly higher cause?
Each time, the answer is Christian. Christianity profoundly inspires the values of those societies, even if many of their citizens despise it.
I am no Christian, but I do have a faith in Christianity. Will we be this safe once it’s gone?
ANDREW BOLT COMMENTARY: BARBARIAN SAVAGES CHRISTIANS
Melbourne’s atheist convention actually strengthens the case for a civilising religion such as Christianity:
MARY MacKillop’s canonisation by ‘’Pope Nazi’’ was ‘’pure Monty Python’’, the world’s most famous atheist told the world’s first global atheist conference in Melbourne yesterday.
And Family First Senator Steve Fielding was less intelligent that an earthworm, according to biologist Richard Dawkins…
‘’When I’m accused, ‘Why are you going after easy targets, the fundamentalist nutbags, why don’t you take on the real theologians?’, well, the real theologians like Pope Nazi believe in miracles.’’
Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Joseph Ratzinger, was conscripted into Hitler Youth, as were all German boys, when he turned 14.
I’m no Christian, but I do know that the Pope and Fielding are so influenced by their faith that they would never be as personally vicious as a Dawkins. If only Dawkins could assure us that a life free of religion would not leave us at the mercy of humankind’s nastier impulses.
Not a very brave man when it comes to criticising those religions which preach less civility:
When asked when he would be willing to criticise Islam as he did Christianity, the response was pragmatic. “I personally believe we shouldn’t go out of our way to do things that will get our heads cut off.” To the Islamist he would make it clear that this reticence is “because I fear you. Don’t think for one moment it’s because I respect you.”
Shouldn’t Dawkins give Christianity more credit for its civilising influence, when he counts on that very thing for keeping him safe to abuse?
(Thanks to reader Tasman.)
ABC presenter Robyn Williams was just as troublingly abusive:
“I can give you a devastating argument against religion in two words,” Williams said in his introduction.
“Senator Fielding. Richard Dawkins said his IQ is lower than an earthworm, but I think earthworms are useful.”
A public apology for such a nasty crack would be the least we could expect. A public reflection on the civilising virtues of Christianity, after all, would be what we could hope for.
In another speech, delivered last week, Williams complains of extreme language of condemnation:
So, is that fair, enough, what you should expect in big time, 21st century politics. Say what you will, draw blood, condemn with the most extreme language? Is it what we deserve?
From the same speech, Williams abuses with extreme language of condemnation:
…so called deniers like Jan Plimer, or the incongruous toff Lord Monkton…
…right-wing fanatic radio hosts and moronic ex-governors (does he perchance mean Sarah Palin?)…
…By all means debate the widest range of credible views, but recognise the cowboys, the misfits and the sons and daughters of Dr Goebbels for what they are.
Williams condemns what he himself tragically is. And his utter lack of self-awareness is evident again and again.
Williams last week complains about a lying media:
IT”S NOT TRUE. As far as I know! I haven’t checked – no point these days. Just make it up!
ANDREW BOLT COMMENTARY: SHOULD WE NOTICE THIS WAR ON CHRISTIANITY?
So it’s wrong to wonder whether Islam preaches intolerance of Christians?
A video purporting to show the killing of Ethiopian Christians by Islamic State-affiliated militants in Libya has been released online.
The 29-minute video appears to show militants holding two groups of captives, one by an affiliate in eastern Libya known as Barka Province and the other by the Fazzan Province, an affiliate in the south.
A masked fighter wielding a pistol says Christians must convert to Islam or pay a special tax prescribed by the Quran, before the captives in the south are shown being shot dead and the captives in the east are beheaded on a beach.
And last week:
When a rubber dinghy carrying around 100 African refugees across the Mediterranean began to sink, a Nigerian Christian prayed for his life in an innocent act that would end in the deaths of 12 fellow migrants.
One of the Muslims on board the rickety craft ordered him to stop, saying: ‘Here, we only pray to Allah.’
When he refused, a violent fight ensued and 12 Christians drowned when they were thrown overboard by the Muslim refugees.
I suspect the mounting attacks on Christians will actually inspire many to renew their faith, or at least stop taking the blessings of the Christian tradition for granted. Kevin Donnelly:
In his Easter message, David Cameron stated that Britain was a Christian country and that “the church is not just a collection of beautiful old buildings. It is a living, active force across our country.”
The British Prime Minister went on to argue that all schools must teach what it means to be British, which is not surprising given last year’s “Trojan Horse” affair, where some Muslim schools in Birmingham were considered in danger of advocating extreme Islamic values…
The argument that Christianity is central to British culture, especially its political and legal systems, is also argued by 22 Christian leaders in a document titled Values: The Characteristics of Our British National Identity.
Like Cameron, the Values document highlights the importance of liberal democratic values such as the rule of law, the sanctity of human life, a commitment to the common good and “freedom of speech, debate, conscience and religion”. The argument is also put that such values are “derived from our Judaeo-Christian foundations” and are “fundamental to the health of our national life”….
Neither should it surprise anyone that in Australia — a former British colony, with the same political and legal systems — liberal, democratic values and Christianity are central to our way of life, too…
As in Britain, Christian organisations in Australia such as the Salvation Army, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, the St Vincent de Paul Society and Caritas Australia work tirelessly to alleviate poverty and suffering, here and overseas. Catholic schools enrol 20 per cent of students around Australia, saving taxpayers and governments millions of dollars, and if Christian hospitals and aged-care facilities did not exist, Australia’s health and welfare systems would collapse.