Closing the Door on the Light: Abolishing Protections in Anti-Discrimination Laws
First I want to address the issue of the protection of religious bodies. Once legislators started to add to discrimination law protected attributes such as for sexual activity, which we have in Victoria and one other jurisdiction, sexual orientation, and gender identity, we were no longer dealing with attributes like age, sex, or race, where there would be a 99.9 per cent consensus that it was wrong to treat anyone differentially on the basis of those attributes in most circumstances.
Once we moved into law for sexual activity, sexual orientation and gender identity, we entered into an area of controversy because “lawful sexual activity” would include sex outside marriage and adultery. Some people think adultery is fine, but other people do not.
So, when these attributes were introduced into legislation, the pressure came on to think about the groups – mainly but not exclusively religious groups – that will not be happy with a law that says they cannot differentiate or treat people differently on the basis of lawful sexual activity, gender identity or sexual orientation.
Now, instead of taking a nuanced view of this, the architects of anti-discrimination law back in the 1980s just said, let’s describe what it is to discriminate as broadly as possible. We’ll put in a really broad definition of discrimination. So, any adverse conduct in employment in relation to a person or any adverse conduct in relation to a student limiting any benefit that a student might get; really broad.
And then they thought, oh, there is going to be a problem at religious schools, because religious schools might not treat everyone the same, if a person’s sexual conduct is contrary to the religion. So, we’d better have an exemption – I prefer to call it a “balancing provision” – for religious bodies and educational institutions.
The classic form of exemption is like the one in the Northern Territory Anti-discrimination Act, which permits religious educational institutions to discriminate in relation to who they employ as staff in schools. If the discrimination is on the grounds of religious belief or activity, or sexuality, and is in good faith to avoid offending the religious sensitivities of the people of the religion to which the school adheres, it has to be in accordance with the doctrines or tenets or beliefs of that religion.
So, if it is the case of a teacher who engages in serial affairs or serial adultery, for instance, you do not have to employ that person, even though that would be unlawful under an anti-discrimination act that prohibited discrimination on the grounds of sexual activity. When it came to sexual orientation, a similarly broad definition of discrimination was applied, with pretty broad exemptions.
Looking again at the Northern Territory. Late last year, the NT removed that exemption totally. So, now religious schools in the NT do not have the benefit of that exemption in the case of employment and they have to prove a genuine occupational requirement. That is, they have to prove that the staffing position in question, whatever it is, genuinely requires that the person the school is looking to hire personally holds the same religious belief and adheres to the same moral standards as the school.
Now, under this amended legislation, the school has to show why in practice it is applying filters about sexuality, sexual conduct and religion to staff. These rules about not discriminating also apply in relation to students and board members and so on.
In Victoria, last year, a new law came in, through the Victorian Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Amendment Act, that limits the freedom of religious schools to discriminate in employment decisions and regarding students. So, for example, in terms of employment, the Victorian law says religious schools, colleges and universities have to prove the following things:
That it is inherent to the staffing position that the person conform to the doctrines, principles or beliefs of the religion of the religious educational institution.
Before the religious educational institution can take any adverse action on this basis, it has to prove that the person cannot satisfy the inherent requirement because of the person’s religious belief or activity (Note that it is about the person’s belief, not about the person’s sexual conduct, whether the person has a lawful occupation as a sex worker. That is a lawful occupation in Victoria, and the ACT now. You cannot look at those things. You can only look at whether their religious belief or religious activity does not conform to that of the religious educational institution.)
You also have to be able to prove that whatever action the school or college or university took in respect to the staff member or the applicant for a job was reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances.
It is causing religious educational institutions considerable heartburn to work out how to deal with this, in terms of their staff, their hiring process, their ongoing performance review and performance management of staff; and also, in respect to students.
Which brings us to the federal Sex Discrimination Act and the federal Fair Work Act. These have some exemptions for religious bodies when they engage in discrimination or differential treatment for religious reasons.
The federal Sex Discrimination Act currently says that a religious educational institution can discriminate in employment in good faith in order to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherents to the religion or creed.
The Federal Government referred the matter to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), asking for recommendations on how to do two things:
How to remove those freedoms of religious schools to discriminate in employment decisions and regarding student conduct.
And how to allow religious schools to maintain a community of faith by selecting staff who have the same religion as the school.
The ALRC produced its consultation paper in early February. It is amazingly unbalanced, thin on international law, and its analysis is not a good starting point to come up with any sort of balanced solution to the dilemma.
Let me give you a quick flavour of what the ALRC is recommending. It has some pretty bizarre proposals. It proposes that the rights of religious schools to preference people of faith in the selection of staff should be limited only to teaching roles; not the nurse, not the administration staff, not the maintenance person. And only those teaching roles where the observance or practice of the religion is a genuine requirement of the role having regard to the nature and ethos of the institution. For example, the religious studies teacher or a chaplain.
Another proposal that the ALRC has come out with is to say that religious schools must employ teachers who may not share or support the religious beliefs of the school. That employment, though, can be terminated if the teacher actively undermines the religious ethos of the school.
Yet even religious education teachers cannot be required to teach beliefs concerning sexual orientation, gender, identity, marital or relationship status, or pregnancy, in accordance with the religion of the school, unless such teachers are given the freedom to discuss with students alternative views about other lifestyles, other relationships, other sexualities.
It is worth noting that such strictures do not apply to a political body.
The second issue which we might discuss in more detail relates to suppression practices laws. These laws are being passed around the country. They started in Queensland and the ACT and Victoria, Tasmania will have a bill this year. It’s not clear where Western Australia is going; it said it was going to pull back a bit.
These laws are usually badged as “conversion therapy” laws, but they run much more broadly than that. For example, in Victoria, suppression practice is defined as any practice or conduct that includes a conversation directed towards a person, regardless of the person’s consent: that they have asked for the conversation or asked for the counselling is utterly irrelevant.
Conduct has to be in relation to the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and it has to be for the purpose of changing or suppressing that person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or inducing the person to change or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity.
So, in any discussion – with a group of young people or old people doesn’t matter – where you say, this is our understanding of God’s will for your sexual identity or sexual orientation or your gender, you are at risk of being accused of inducing a person to change or to suppress their gender identity or sexual orientation.
The legislation is not fully explicit in saying that that practice can include religious practice, such as praying with someone, or exorcism or referring someone on to a counsellor or a psychiatrist or psychologist.
The legislation is so broad that it causes concerns about what can be said in sermons, in Bible studies, in discussions; when working with youth, youth pastors; and what teachers or a student welfare officer in a school can say.
We have already seen an example of the consequences in Tasmania. Under Section 17 of the state’s Anti-discrimination Act, a person must not engage in conduct that offends humiliates or intimidates, insults or ridicules another person on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual activity in circumstances in which a reasonable person would have anticipated that the other person would be offended, humiliated, intimidated, etc.
A complaint was made under this provision against Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous when he approved the distribution of a publication produced by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Don’t Mess with Marriage. The complaint was withdrawn subsequently.
Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia currently have recommendations to government to introduce laws like this, which are called, in shorthand, harms-based speech laws.
Interactivity of Laws
How might these three types of laws interact? Let’s say you are at a school and you are saying to someone, that this type of expression of sexuality, sexual relations, sexual activity is not in accordance with the beliefs or ethos of the school.
Someone might come by and say, well, you are inducing me to change or suppress my sexual orientation or gender identity. You can say, no, there was no inducing of anyone to suppress or change.
Then might come the accusation, you are discriminating against me on the basis of my lawful sexual activity, sex orientation or gender identity. Then the exemptions or balancing provisions under anti-discrimination law would come into play in your defence.
A third possible scenario is that someone might say, “I just heard in chapel or in religious studies class about the teachings of the religion on sexual orientation or on what is appropriate sexual practice or on gender identity, and that a reasonable person would have thought that that would offend or humiliate or insult me because of my sexual practices or sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Now, none of this is to say that anybody should be insensitive towards young people in particular or anybody in this regard. It is to say that the law is intruding in at least these three ways very substantially into the freedom that religious schools and colleges and religious bodies have to express, both in word and in conduct, appropriate conduct rules for members, for students, for staff, and to express the religious teachings of the organisation as they relate to sexual activity, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Originally published at News Weekly. Photo by Sora Shimazaki.
Happy International Women’s Day
NSW’s Incredible Folding Premier
Team Rainbow’s inexorable march through the institutions has been marked by clear strategic phases. There was the legalisation phase, cheered on by most small-l liberals and just about everyone else. Not many people thought locking up homosexuals was a good idea. Then we had the same-sex marriage debate. Then came the adoption-of-children push and the normalisation-of-lifestyle phase.
After that, the anti-discrimination-in-employment campaign, with Christian and other religious schools professing hetero-normativity (aka homophobia, as the activists paint it) in the cross-hairs. This was and remains part of the broader affirmation phase. We all have to approve and to love, not just tolerate.
Now we arrive at the mopping-up operations. Resistors must be chased from the public square. Those who do not affirm “the other” are the enemy. This now includes those who seek to stand up for the rights of those experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction and who desire professional help. In some cases, members of this cohort of undetermined size want to diminish same-sex attraction, others to reverse it. Still others just wish to make sense of it. Some even want to learn how to be chaste, once considered by many to be a virtue.
And so we arrive at the issue of so-called “gay conversion therapy”.
No Changing Sexual Attraction
In this context, the Sydney Morning Herald, now firmly part of the PGGW (progressive, green, globalist, woke) Channel Nine-ABC industrial complex, has sensed the whiff of an opportunity to again hoist the NSW Premier on a Catholic petard. The issue of church versus state has entered the NSW state election campaign, focusing attention on the Perrottet government and so-called gay conversion therapy. This amounts to a follow-up blow after the recent Four Corners hit job on Pared schools.
Australian states and territories, including Victoria, Queensland and the ACT, have moved to ban practices aimed at changing or suppressing the sexuality or gender identity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual or gender and sexually diverse (LGBTQ) people. Legislation is also under preparation in Western Australia. However, the practice remains legal in NSW.
It is surprising that the Herald is “surprised”. After all, it has been leading the charge in politicising so-called conversion therapy. And it has worked in record time. The NSW Premier has caved, very quickly even for him, as he has on just about every cultural issue with which he has been confronted. His retreat was, sigh, entirely predictable.
Should Perrottet have surrendered on this issue? Is conversion therapy “atrocious”? Is it even conversion therapy?
“Counselling” is a more accurate and less loaded term than “therapy”. Banning it would be “a totalitarian act”, as the Queensland medico and bete noir of the rainbow coalition, David van Gend, has called what the Herald champions and the NSW Opposition proposes. He has told the story well, over and over. Initially in response to the inevitable leader of the pack, Daniel Andrews. The compelling case van Gend has made is that this is an innocent and, in many cases, worthwhile practice. Very rarely is it “harmful”. As David says, ban therapy and you ban liberty.
There is something sick in the body politic when rigidly ideological politicians strive to prevent individuals from seeking their own well-being. This is a plea to keep political agendas out of the path of such individuals, to not ban their liberty by banning safe, effective, professional therapy all for the sake of enforcing this intolerant gay orthodoxy.
It seems that it is now intolerable for anyone to be homosexual (or even think they might be) and to not want to be — to want to bat for the other side, as we used to say. What about their rights? I am not seeing why those seeking help for a problem they identify in themself should be either branded “atrocious” or made illegal.
Van Gend talks about the ignorance and contempt for suffering displayed by those who seek to ban conversion therapy. What the rainbow activist position on this issue amounts to is either (a) an assertion that unwanted same-sex attraction does not exist, or (b) that it is utterly unimportant. Either conclusion is quite damning for its position. In reality, unwanted same-sex attraction is an inconvenient truth always to be denied. Look, over there, at those homophobic religious bigots!
This is cruelty dressed up as a concern for the rights of homosexuals to be protected from what is seen by rainbow activists as oppression by the heterosexual state. Drawing on multiple peer-reviewed studies, van Gend calls the outcomes of counselling “overwhelmingly beneficial”, not ineffective and not harmful. Contrary to the conclusions of the anecdotal, statistically invalid, rent-a-victim approach of the inevitable and much-quoted La Trobe University hit job, the go-to text for activists.
Freedom vs Compulsion
Resources for the same-sex attracted are available internationally, and I assume that any forthcoming NSW legislation would make the provision of such resources illegal in the state. The Catholic one is called Courage, which isn’t even about “conversion”, as the summary makes clear:
A Roman Catholic ministry that helps same-sex attracted men and women live chaste, holy and fulfilled lives, in accordance with the official teaching of the Catholic Church. They do not focus on recovering one’s heterosexual potential, but rather on learning to overcome the temptation to sin by giving over one’s life to Jesus Christ and by building healthy fellowship with others who share in similar struggles (emphasis added).
Here is a question: In the end, just who is converting whom here? Who is doing the grooming? The heterosexuals or the homosexuals?
On the one hand, we have a non-stop barrage of force-fed rainbow culture insinuating every sphere of life across the public square. We have all the funding grants, the community programs (like drag queens in libraries), the inculturation in schools and universities, the attempts by education departments to dress up grooming as “consent education”, the legislative strategies, the endless nudging by the legacy media and the rest.
No wonder there has been a substantial increase in people identifying as homosexual. (Just as there has been with people suddenly identifying in big numbers as Aboriginal). It is trendy and rewarding. One in six Gen Z Americans are homosexual, according to the Washington Post, part of the gay cheer squad. In the old days, it was thought to be about two per cent.
If the LGBT push has been part-recruitment drive, it has been extremely successful. Society has been groomed. The aforementioned La Trobe University has been at the forefront of the battle, a non-stop advocate for the march of gaydom that drove the notorious Safe Schools program, a front for the grooming of young people for the actively homosexual life.
On the other hand, we have religious and non-religious people who experience unwelcome and distressing same-sex attraction — and, as adolescents, many of us have been there — seeking help to overcome what they themselves see as an affliction. No victim status or sympathy for the gay refuseniks. We will make their suffering compulsory!
By the way, the targeting of Dominic Perrottet over the issue of conversion therapy and implied homophobia is a bit ironic, really.
The Perrottet Government is the gayest government since, well, Bob Carr’s. Think Gareth Ward — currently fighting sex abuse charges, alas — and the mercifully retired Don Harwin. Think Gladys rocking the Mardi Gras in her rainbow Liberals T-shirt. Think the Rainbow Coalitionists, aka the brokeback Nats. Most of all, think Sydney WorldPride month (or year, or decade, or whatever it is). Here is the NSW Minister for the Arts and Tourism, one Ben Franklin:
“The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government is a proud delivery partner of Sydney WorldPride and we welcome everyone to the Pride Villages to take the rainbow-coloured party to the streets for WorldPride,” Mr Franklin said.
“Pride Villages will create a vibrant festival atmosphere, giving an expected 78,000 visitors to Sydney free and open spaces to gather, celebrate and enjoy the festival.
“Sydney WorldPride 2023 will showcase NSW to the world and we’re anticipating more than 500,000 people will attend this global event which will inject $112 million into the NSW economy.
“Sydney will be buzzing with excitement and activity which will turbocharge our 24-hour economy, create jobs and support local businesses across our State.”
Buzzing with excitement at the rainbow invasion! Even the Roads Minister is excited:
“Incredible pictures of 50,000 people marching across our iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge will be beamed across the world on 5 March, thanks to extensive planning…
That would be the same bridge that now has an Aboriginal flag and no New South Wales ensign atop it. Perhaps by March 5, there will be a rainbow flag aloft. And here is the Sydney WorldPride website:
The NSW Government is proud to support Sydney WorldPride in 2023.
The NSW public service strives to be a reflection of the community it serves. We actively promote employee networks and campaigns that encourage understanding of inclusion and diversity, and are committed to creating an inclusive and supportive workplace for all.
Across the sector, we lead or participate in a wide range of LGBTQIA+ initiatives, including the Diversity Inclusion Network, and Diversity and Inclusion Council, established by the Department of Premier and Cabinet and NSW Treasury; the Transgender, Gender Diverse and Intersex Working Group established by NSW Police; and membership of the national, not-for-profit Pride in Diversity employer support program.
There you go! A homophobic government if ever there was one.
Team Rainbow has little need for dishonest, sneering leftist media editorials to champion their progress. They have already captured the commanding heights of the debate. They have won. Meantime, the rights of the unwilling same-sex attracted even to pray with a sympathetic pastor are shredded. This is the age in which we live. Gay nirvana. And no sexual liberation for those would actually like to be “converted” the other way.
We have been groomed, and conned. Scammed. Colonised by rainbow grifters. It seems clear who is winning the conversion wars. And no one in New South Wales minded to resist the rainbow tsunami can look to this conservative Catholic Premier for assistance, or so it seems.
All of which raises a broader question: what is the point of even being in politics if you believe in things but simply set them aside as if they do not matter? Paraphrasing St Thomas More’s words to Richard Rich (as attributed to him by Robert Bolt in A Man For All Seasons), one might inquire of Premier Perrottet, “Dominic, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. But for New South Wales!”
By Paul Collits
Originally published at Quadrant Online. Photo by Anete Lusina.
Joe Biden Inflames Racial Tensions, Repeats More Lies at Selma [Video]
Joe Biden Inflames Racial Tensions, Repeats More Lies at Selma
President Joe Biden, who has lied repeatedly about his civil rights legacy, made extensive racially charged comments, and has overseen a marked increase in racial division in the United States since his days in the Obama White House, gave a speech in Selma, Alabama on Sunday, where he repeated debunked talking points that election integrity laws threaten “voting rights.”
There are no laws in the United States that prevent a U.S. citizen from voting on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, or religion.
But on the 58th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” Joe Biden continued to act like the U.S. had made no progress since the 1960s, when Jim Crow laws implemented by Southern Democrats racially discriminated against black Americans with such voter suppression measures as literacy tests and poll taxes.
Non-partisan research on election integrity laws shows that they have no measurable impact on voter registration or turnout. A landmark report by The Heritage Foundation in 2007 found that voter ID laws don’t reduce voter turnout, including among African-Americans and Hispanics. Those voters were just as likely to vote in states requiring photo identification as in those that don’t. Researchers for the National Bureau of Economic Research found that between 2008 and 2016, voter ID laws had “no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any specific group defined by race, gender, age or party affiliation.”
In October 2022, a federal judge ripped Georgia election denier Stacey Abrams for being unable to prove her incendiary voter suppression claims in a court of law. Constitutional attorney Jonathan Turley provided legal commentary on the ruling.
“Remember the law that President Biden called ‘Jim Crow on steroids’? An Obama appointed judge just upheld the law in a challenge brought by a Stacey Abrams affiliated group after finding no constitutional violations,” Turley wrote.
“Judge Jones found that, while ‘the burden on voters is relatively low . . . plaintiffs have not provided direct evidence of a voter who was unable to vote, experienced longer wait times, was confused about voter registration status’,” Turley added.
This is the real assault on America’s elections, as well as the deterioration of voting integrity measures, such as restrictions on mass absentee ballots and litigation against voter ID laws.
Jill Biden Awkwardly Defends Her Husband Against Claims He is Not Fit to Be President
‘Watch Out for the Stairs!’: Biden Once Again Slips and Falls Climbing Stairs to Air Force One
(TLB) published this article from Becker News as compiled and written by Kyle Becker
Header featured image (edited) credit: Biden/orginal BN article
Emphasis and video added by (TLB) editors
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What My Son’s Soccer Taught Me About the Gender Revolution
The question hit me with fresh force as I read it:
‘What gender is your child?’
I had read and answered similar questions before, at least about my gender. But this question from my son’s local soccer club about his gender gave the following options:
‘Male’, ‘female’, ‘prefer not to say’, or ‘gender fluid’.
For a local soccer club (not to mention Football Australia) to ask whether your child is ‘gender-fluid’ made me realise something: the transgender revolution is not something out there amongst inner-city secular progressives who accept gender ideology. It’s now affecting everyone, including my children. Sure, we haven’t, as a family, signed onto the (trans)gender revolution. But our culture has, and in a big way.
Just think about it: Five years ago, for a soccer club to ask if your child is gender fluid would have raised parental eyebrows. And ten years ago, such a question would have been unthinkable (most of us then didn’t even have a category for ‘gender fluid’).
But today, most soccer mums and dads shrug their shoulders and move on.
And across our culture, the number of gender non-conforming children has skyrocketed. Writing about the British Tavistock Centre and its Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), author Hannah Barnes writes:
‘Since 2007 [GIDS] had grown from a small team that saw 50 young people each year to a nationally commissioned service treating thousands.’
And just as disturbingly, the people presenting at the clinic had changed:
‘Whereas most of the literature on gender non-conforming children was about boys who had a life-long sense of gender incongruence, GIDS’s waiting room was overpopulated with teenage girls whose distress around their gender had only started in adolescence.’
It’s the cultural sea we’re swimming in.
While these changes raise urgent questions — such as why the sudden increase in gender non-conforming adolescent girls? and how we care well for gender non-conforming people (especially children)?, my question is more basic:
How did such a moral revolution happen so quickly?
It’s made me think of the various steps of moral revolutions outlined by English writer and thinker Theo Hobson. In his view, for a full moral reversal — a moral revolution — to take place, three conditions much be met:
1) What Was Condemned Must Be Celebrated
Until around 20 years ago, the Biblical (and historical) view of marriage as between one man and one woman was widely celebrated.
Heterosexuality was the norm, and there were only two genders (aligned with our sex). Anything outside that was seen as being outside the norm.
But today, homosexuality and gender fluidity aren’t merely tolerated as equal views: they are actively celebrated and promoted — even to schoolchildren. From Wear It Purple days to the mass marketing of Pride Week, all LGBTIQ identities are honoured and held up as good, true and beautiful.
2) What Was Celebrated Must Now Be Condemned
The Biblical understanding of marriage and gender is now condemned as oppressive and harmful.
Teaching these values to children is increasingly considered suspect, as the recent Australian Law Reform Commission Report argues. If you haven’t heard, the Federal Government tasked the Australian Law Reform Commission Report to report on religious schools and how to handle religious freedom. Its recent report argues for removing religious freedom protection for religious schools.
As Neil Foster, an Associate Professor of Law and expert on religious freedom, points out:
‘[The Report] effectively recommends the removal of protections enjoyed by religious educational institutions which have been designed to safeguard the ability of these organisations to operate in accordance with their religious beliefs. The “fences” protecting these bodies from being forced to conform to majority views on sexual behaviour and identity (and hence losing their distinctiveness as religious bodies) are to be knocked down, the ALRC says.’
If the ALRC had its way, religious schools will no longer be allowed to be… religious. At least not when sexuality and gender are concerned.
What was celebrated must now be condemned — culturally and, increasingly, legally.
3) Those Who Will Not Join in Celebrating the Moral Revolution Must Be Condemned
The transgender moral revolution doesn’t believe in ‘live and let live’ disagreement.
You must be condemned if you have the audacity to raise some basic questions about the moral revolution. Just ask J.K. Rowling.
She was cancelled for raising the concern a few years ago that ‘trans-women’ (i.e. biological males identifying as women) are different from biological women.
But it’s not just celebrities and public figures that face cancellation if they speak up. Any parent who dares raise questions about why their daughter has to play against biological boys in a girls-only soccer competition will not be popular with the likes of The ABC or The Age.
Any religious leader who promotes Biblical sexuality is at risk of attack.
And if you’re an employee who doesn’t wear purple on said days, the questions from colleagues and HR will soon come, if they’re not already coming.
What Might Be Next?
While it’s impossible to know what’s next in the moral revolution, there are signs that it has overreached, at least regarding gender ideology. Like all revolutions that try and overturn God’s good creation order (communism, anyone?), reality has a way of pushing back and making itself known.
Many medical practitioners are raising questions about the ethics of carte blanche gender-affirming care. Regarding gender ideology, ‘de-transitioners’ — those that have transitioned but now regret it, are making their voices known. Some sporting bodies are pushing back against rules that allow biological males to compete against females. And even the secular-left newspapers like The New York Times have run articles questioning gender-affirming therapies of trans kids (earning the ire of LGBTIQ activists, in line with point #3, above).
Those are encouraging signs. But, on the other hand, perhaps this revolution has a long way to go before it burns itself out.
Originally published at AkosBalogh.com. Photo by Dominika Roseclay.
Draconian Attack on Religious Schools Begins
Last November, Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus instructed the ALRC to report on removing these important exemptions from the SDA.
The ALRC’s interim report has just been released. It has recommended the removal of exemptions for faith-based schools altogether and gives examples of what this will mean for religious schools when they are confronted with the full force of the SDA and some state anti-discrimination laws.
Under what it means for students, the ALRC said “a school could no longer refuse to accept as school captain an LGBTQ+ student elected or appointed in accordance with its application process”.
“[A] school could continue to impose reasonable uniform requirements as long as adjustments could be made to accommodate transgender or gender diverse students.”
In other words, religious schools will be required to accommodate transgender students. As with state schools, presumably, this accommodation will also involve access to toilets, showers, change rooms, camps and sports, as well as name changes and preferred pronouns.
Under what it means for staff and teachers, the ALRC said, “a school could no longer refuse to hire a teacher on the grounds that they are LGBTQ+”, meaning that faith-based schools will be denied the freedom to always employ staff in accordance with the school’s religious beliefs.
Further, “a school could require an LGBTQ+ staff member involved in the teaching of religious doctrine or beliefs to teach the school’s position on those religious doctrines or beliefs, as long as they were able to provide objective information about alternative viewpoints if they wished”.
In a similar vein, a teacher must be “permitted to objectively discuss the existence of alternative views about other lifestyles, relationships, or sexuality in a manner appropriate to the context”.
Doesn’t this mean that an activist teacher can teach about gender-identity and sexual-orientation issues that contradict the fundamental moral teachings of the school’s faith?
Masculinity is Only Celebrated When Men Act Like Women: The Church’s Opportunity
In these challenging times that we now live in, it is of vital importance that the church dedicates itself to maintaining a vigilant watch over our children who are our next generation.
I believe that the older generations of Christians — mothers and fathers, teachers, leaders and elders — have failed our children in a number of key areas, none more so than in the area of vigilance. And by this, I mean being alert and watchful as to what ideas and narratives — or as the Bible calls them, strange philosophies — that our children are being exposed to and taught; identifying them as lies and countering them through teaching and training in the Truth, otherwise known simply as discipleship.
One of the most effective strategies of the enemy has been the spiritual assault on our boys and men. Who would have thought just a few years ago, both inside and outside the church, that we would be completely at a loss as to what constitutes a man: what is masculinity? We thought it was self-evident. Had we been more aware of the gradual but insidious chipping away or deconstructing of gender identity and roles by the elites of our society, many strategically placed within our education systems, perhaps we would have been better able to counter the lies.
In my book Lost Boys, I laid out much of this attack in detail, and I continue to keep watch on that front. A recent discussion on American TV show Dr Phil exposed some revealing information in an episode titled “The Demise of Guys”, which explored how masculine manhood has been lost due to the increasing fatherlessness over the generations. Healthy masculinity has not been passed on to our boys.
Host Dr Phil McGraw spoke to a number of people, but of particular interest was guest Rollo Tomassi, a middle-aged man who authored the book series The Rationale Male. Tomassi has been interviewing and observing social trends and relations among young men and women for more than 20 years and commands a lot of respect from young men around the world.
He explained that in our culture we have come to the point where an entire generation of young men are being scorned and rejected simply for being males. Like many other observers of this trend including myself, Tomassi calls this generation of young men lost boys, a fatherless generation who have been ‘acculturated and socialised behind a screen.’
“We have a generation of what we call ‘lost boys’ right now who don’t have a father figure,” said Tomassi. “They don’t have any guidance, whether it’s masculinity or much else for that matter.”
He said the greatest problem with men is that they are purposeless and sedated by ‘pornography, online video games, alcohol or marijuana.’
“If in your life your escapisms are better than your life, then you’re going to dwell more on those escapisms. So, what do men do today? They are addicted to pornography and opioids. Anyone in this room on their phone can go get hardcore pornography anytime they want to. So when you look at marijuana being legalised, if you look at the opioid epidemic right now, if you look at the way we sedate men today, that is the number one.”
Tomassi and Dr Phil reviewed the suicide rates of men in America, which are about three and a half to five times that of women depending on research sources. In Australia, the situation is similar, so this is also relevant to us. Tomassi explains why he believes men are killing themselves at these record rates:
“I interpret that as meaning that those are deaths of despair. We have a term for that right now. Men get zeroed out. They build up lives, they build up personalities. They build a life equity list. Just say they lose a job, they lose their wives, they lose out on something, and no one is there to tell them how to bounce back from that rejection, how to bounce back from that defeat, how to come back from being zeroed out, so they’re faced with two very real decisions: Rebuild yourself or delete yourself. And unfortunately, most men are deleting themselves right now.”
Dr Phil’s discussion panel debated what constitutes toxic masculinity, posing the question: Does this have anything to do with the mental health of men in a way that would cause such a suicide crisis? Could it be that because of toxic masculinity, men don’t have the close networks that women have and therefore do not reach out for help as readily? Tomassi describes this as a simplistic narrative.
“We constantly harp on the fact that men don’t have friends, they don’t have close friends, they don’t have the same networks that women do. And then we put the blame for their mental health back on them by saying it’s toxic masculinity, and if you guys were just more like women than you would reach out for therapy of some sorts.”
Tomassi said that from what he observes, the only time mainstream media celebrate masculinity is when men do something that is conventionally feminine like ‘The Rock wearing a tutu.’ However, when men do things conventionally masculine, this is not celebrated by mainstream media. And this is where I believe Tomassi hits the nail on the head. He believes that as a society we are trying to use “social constructionism as a primary way of socialising human beings.” Or simply, we are attempting to socialise men (and women) against their natural, innate inclinations.
Church, I repeat that we need to be looking very closely at these discussions and what is going on with our boys and men. Of course, we recognise that this attack is spiritual, and our fight is spiritual, but it also involves practical obedience to Scriptural instruction. We have been commanded to make disciples, and making disciples isn’t just a quick decision after an impassioned message. Discipleship is a committed training relationship that begins first in the home with parents teaching and training children. Fathers teaching their sons to be strong men, and mothers teaching their daughters to be strong women.
Since masculinity has been deconstructed (the horse has already bolted), the elites are attempting to reconstruct masculinity to look like a shadow of its former glory. In fact, society is trying to make masculinity into the image of conventional femininity. The world believes, as one of the other experts on Dr Phil’s panel stated, “We don’t have a positive view of masculinity that we are passing on.”
Hello, church! That’s something that we can offer!
As a counter, the church has an incredible opportunity in this state of confusion to present that positive view of masculinity. I’ve heard it said that we become like the god or God that we serve. If Christian men listened and followed God Almighty, our Great Commander who is the King of Righteousness, I believe it would shine such a beacon of hope to the world and it would draw men back, because what the world is offering men is mere kibble.
Yes, masculinity has been outlawed in the culture, but we must make it known that it hasn’t been outlawed in the Church, it is welcomed, nurtured and honoured.
Our challenge is to stop being like the world to win the world. Rediscover God’s design for masculinity; don’t take part in the feminising of our boys and men. Honour masculinity as the gift it is.
The church can provide the world with an incredible light as to what it means to be a man, because masculinity harnessed in virtue and truth is incredibly powerful.
The Lord proclaims:
Stop at the crossroads and look around;
ask for the ancient paths.
Where is the good way?
Then walk in it
and find a resting place for yourselves.
~ Jeremiah 6:16 (CEB)
Photo by Anna Shvets.