Dealing With the Real Challenges for First Australians

Today, most of the traditional jobs have been destroyed and the most likely opportunities in communities these days are government or government-funded jobs.

The fact is, in 2022, almost all these jobs require a Blue Card.

This card was developed to protect children. However, the over-reach and inadvertent consequences of a well-intended policy have had dire consequences for First Australians.

Today, most people applying for jobs in these Indigenous communities have offences of varying nature, such as home-brew consumption (in communities with alcohol bans), drink-driving, assault or minor drug offences.

The sad reality is that, for whatever reasons, these types of offences are common in these parts and, therefore, allowing them to pose a barrier to employment ensures there is no hope of ever ending the cycle of intergenerational dysfunction.

Beyond assuring employment, the next logical stage of community development is to empower further the person who has kept his job. This would typically mean buying a car or even a house, which are very real desires of many Indigenous people.

Sadly, becoming a homeowner is yet another natural aspiration that the faraway academics ignore. The result is that in all First Australian communities in Queensland you can’t just “buy a house”.

Entire Indigenous townships currently exist under a Deed of Grant in Trust and individual land parcels need to go through an exhaustive process, one that most non-Indigenous would baulk at, before one can even get to the starting line of buying land to build a house.

Now, let’s put that in context. The persons that do get a job in these communities or do start a business have no collateral to offer to a bank to advance themselves. To buy a grader to tender for the local council roadworks or cattle for your home block would typically require some security. This privilege – largely considered a “right” across the rest of the country – is not available to the First Australians.

In place of a pathway to accessible Blue Cards, meaningful work and property ownership, we have offered our Indigenous brothers and sisters a “Pathway to Treaty” and a vote on the establishment of a non-binding parliamentary “Voice”.

Practically recognising these natural aspirations and helping fulfil them would have observable and positive impacts on the futures of First Australians and their communities, yet these all too obvious solutions remain ignored in place of platitudes and virtue-signalling.

___

Robbie Katter is Leader of Katter’s Australian Party and Queensland Member for Traeger.
Originally published in News Weekly.

Thank the Source

Britain needs more honesty about unemployment

Britain needs more honesty about unemployment

Is low unemployment causing us more problems than we realise? The suggestion might seem absurd, offensive even. It’s reminiscent of the days of Mrs Thatcher’s supposedly ‘cruel’ monetarism, when we had three million unemployed. Some on the fringes liked to argue that unemployment was good for the economy because it made people work harder, being fearful for their jobs.

Mass redundancies would not, of course, help the economy now or at any other time. If a million people were to lose their jobs, as happened in the early 1980s, that would be a million households suffering a collapse in the spending power. As well as a human tragedy, it would be an economic one, too.

But then who mentioned anyone losing their jobs? We could have a far higher – not to mention healthier and more honest – unemployment figure without anyone losing a single job. How come? The working age population is divided not into two pots – employed and unemployed – but into three: employed, unemployed and the economically inactive. While the government likes to celebrate that the size of the unemployed pot is at a 50-year low of just 3.5 per cent, the economically inactive pot tends to get ignored. But as Michael Simmons recently explained here, it has been growing alarmingly. There are now nine million people of working age who are not in employment and who are not looking for work, either because they are recorded as long-term sick – 2.5 million – or because they consider themselves retired, are in education or because they are taking an extended career break.

The number of economically inactive has grown by 630,000 since the beginning of the pandemic. For whatever reason, this is a huge body of potential labour that is being lost to the economy. This matters because it is depriving the economy of the workers that it needs to grow. No matter what the levels of personal and business taxation – cuts which were Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s chief tool for trying to promote growth – the economy is going to struggle to grow if large numbers of people are not seeking employment. There are 1.25 million vacancies in the jobs market – a number that has remained stubbornly high in recent months, even as the economy appears to be sliding into recession.

What we really need is to shift a large number of people from the ‘economically inactive’ column into the ‘unemployed’ one, where they are looking for work. But how? To a certain extent the current market turmoil is self-correcting. Sliding values of pension funds and other investments may convince some people that they have retired too early: that they ought to be heading back into the workforce for a few more years. On the other hand, rising interest rates are hiking annuity rates sharply – making it more appealing for the over-55s to convert their pension funds into an annuity and take early retirement. How many of the 2.5 million recorded as long-term sick are really too unwell to work? One of the whole points of Universal Credit was to prevent people being parked ‘on the sick’ for year after year. There has long been a tendency for people to put on sickness benefits and then left there, even if their health condition improves. This might be something that has to be revisited.

The other issue is people in education. As has become increasingly clear, the massive expansion in higher education has not been accompanied by an increase in quality of courses, or an improvement in the job prospects of those with degrees. Many graduates are not doing graduate-level jobs.

Whatever the answers, if we want growth, the employment market and out-of-work benefits is one of the main places we are going to have to look.

Source

Andrew Thorburn: Press Release from the Presbyterian Church of Tasmania

Andrew Thorburn: Press Release from the Presbyterian Church of Tasmania

The Presbyterian Church of Tasmania expresses its deep concern at recent events surrounding the resignation of Andrew Thorburn as chief executive of the AFL’s Essendon Football Club. We believe that this marks a watershed moment in Australian history — the day we’ve departed from some well-established common law principles, social tolerance of different views and freedom of religion, to being a society where only certain views are permitted in public life.

While Israel Folau was discriminated against for his own beliefs, we note that Mr Thorburn was forced to resign from his post merely because of the particular church he belongs to. While we commend him for his faithful Christian stance, we lament that there is apparently now a religious test for significant employment posts in Australia.

We note that the ethical position Mr Thorburn’s church — City on a Hill — takes on the subjects of abortion and sexuality, are the same as that of the mainline Roman Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths.

Will the Essendon Football Club now no longer welcome people who have sincere religious convictions from being involved with the club, at either an administrative, coaching or playing level? For example, GWS player Haneen Zreika has announced she will be opting out of the upcoming AFLW pride round. Will Zreika also be discriminated against and thus persecuted for her faith?

We also note the inconsistency of the Essendon Football Club stating that they support “wholeheartedly the work of the AFL in continuing to stamp out any discrimination based on race, sex, ‘religion’, gender, sexual identity or orientation, or physical or mental disability”, whilst at the same time forcing Mr Thorburn to resign because of his religion.

While Mr Andrews, the Premier of Victoria, is entitled to his own view, we are in a dangerous place as a nation when the leader of a political party or corporate board members seek to impose — through name-calling and implied threats — their own personal ideologies on everyone else. It could be easily argued that such behaviour is itself “appalling, hateful, bigoted, unkind and exclusive”.

The Presbyterian Church of Tasmania will continue to uphold the Bible’s teaching, that marriage should only ever be between a man and a woman, and that the lives of unborn babies must always be protected. This is for both the flourishing of families and all of human life. What’s more, in a democratic society, we believe everyone should be free to believe and practice their own faith, without the fear or threat of losing their jobs.

We continue to pray for our political leaders (especially Mr Andrews) and would like to remind them that they, like us all, will one day have to give account before Almighty God.

We also urge our people to pray, stand firm for the faith, and not give in to the opposition from those who reject our Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.

Finally, we ask those whom God has placed in authority over us in this world, for the freedom to live out our faith, without intolerance or discrimination.

On Behalf of the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Tasmania
Mark Powell (spokesperson)
Social Justice Commission
Presbyterian Church of Tasmania

Thank the Source

Dads Are Caregivers Too

If mothers and children are to be properly supported, educators and employers must recognise the vital role of fathers as caregivers too.

“Schools and companies need to understand that dads can be parents too.”

An article recently published by Employee Benefit News rightly argued that ‘companies need to support working dads as caregivers.’

Despite its war-on-the-patriarchy, gender-neutral, wonky woke tone, EBN’s argument, put forward by associate editor Deanna Cuadra, hit the right notes.

Companies that want to retain employees and keep morale high benefit from focusing on the family.

While the important, irreplaceable role mothers play in the nurturing of children is widely embraced, historically, dads have been pushed aside.

Sidelined

Instead of stepping up to coach the team, dads have been relegated to the bleachers — banished to the furthest end of the field; demoted to long-distance spectators, or worse, viewed as nothing more than an ATM.

The same system that humanises the role of motherhood, dehumanises the role of fatherhood by distancing dads from their own important, irreplaceable part in the holistic care of a child.

Hence, Cuadra’s point:

Working dads often find themselves excluded from the caregiver conversation.’

Cuadra, citing Fathering Together co-founder Brian Anderson, explained that men ‘want a deep connection with their children rather than just be the assumed ‘breadwinner.’

Anderson argues,

“My wife had all these different communities, but when I looked around, I couldn’t find any dad communities…”

So, he told EBN, he “built his own.”

Equal Rights

His politics aside, Anderson’s goal for the most part is a good one.

He aims to use Fathering Together to change perceptions that push fathers to the fringe of family life.

Anderson stated,

“I can’t tell you how many dads I’ve spoken to tell me that they are the emergency contact at their kid’s school, and their wife still gets the call before they do […] Schools and companies need to understand that dads can be parents too.”

Talking with EBN, Blessing Adesiyan, founder of working women’s group Mother Honestly, fully agreed.

“Men are often excluded from the conversation around support for working mothers,” Adesiyan explained.

“This has a huge effect on working mothers because it essentially signals that care is a women’s issue.”

Thus, Cuadra concludes, ‘ultimately employers will have to decide if they can afford to ignore gaps in their policies at risk of high turnover and excessive hiring costs… if the caregiving conversation does not include dads, they have already failed mums and children.’

Uphill Battle

Remove the “progressive” bias from the entirety of Anderson and Adesiyan’s overall goals, and there’s a lot of meat to chew on.

Their points hit home for me, especially when reflecting on the birth of our first child.

My wife and I attended a lunch meeting with executives in the early 2000s. We were brazenly told I would not be allowed time off when our daughter was due.

Since there were no real solid reasons to bar any paternity leave, that moment caught us off guard.

Consequently, I had to fight for time off. Even after volunteering to take that time without pay, the company still only agreed to give me three days off.

There was little grace for becoming a dad for the first time.

I was relegated to the bleachers.

Although policy and procedure have changed in the Australian workplace, and fathers can get paternal leave, or opt for a two-week “dad and partner pay” (paid at the minimum standard), there’s always room for improvement.

A brief article from the Australian Institute of Family Studies reported in 2019 that ‘just one in 20 Australian fathers take primary parental leave.’

The AIFS continued, stating,

‘Despite the low uptake of parental leave among fathers, men do want to be involved in the lives of their children. Three in four dads told the HRC that they would have liked to take additional leave.’

According to the findings of the AIFS, shared parental leave is the most ideal for families, and also happens to be the best for business.

AIFS concludes,

‘Parental leave for fathers should be actively encouraged and incentivised. Companies need to actively develop an organisational culture that encourages men to take leave… Facilitating and supporting fathers to take parental leave and share caring responsibilities is imperative.’

The unrelated AIFS report backs some of the key points raised by EBN.

Their pro-dads-for-kids arguments apply to first-time parents, as much as they do to working mums, and dads doing life together with their kids.

Parenting left solely to mothers, blunts the joy and shuns the value men have alongside women, as the primary caregivers of their children.

___

First published at Dads4Kids. Photo by Karolina Grabowska.

Thank the Source

Enabling Our Enemies and Empowering Our Persecutors

Enabling Our Enemies and Empowering Our Persecutors

Just how should believers respond to persecution?

Some things are worth writing about — and often. The rise and rise of anti-Christian bigotry, hatred and discrimination in the West in general is one such topic. So too is the ruthless hounding out of a job by bedevilled Christophobes in particular.

As such, this is now my fourth piece in two days on the terrible case of injustice and woke McCarthyism that Andrew Thorburn has just been through. The new CEO of the Essendon footy club was only there for a matter of hours before the misotheists and secular left bigots drove him from his job. Just in case you still do not know what I am referring to, have a look at my three previous pieces: (1) (2) (3)

Choices

What I want to discuss here are the various responses Christians have had to his so quickly stepping down. Some have been quite critical of him, arguing that he should have stood up to the bullies and not caved in so easily and so quickly. Others have said he did the right thing, and was brave to put his church ahead of his job.

For what it is worth, out of my three articles, I only wrote one line on my views on this matter. As I said in my second piece:

“While I think he should have stayed and fought this blatant anti-Christian bigotry and hatred, it is up to him to decide which way to proceed.”

That discussion will undoubtedly continue. And it raises bigger issues for the believer. For example, when persecution comes, how should we respond? Should we stay and fight or should we just give up and flee? I have discussed this before, as in this piece.

As I state in that and other articles, the Bible gives us cases of believers going with various options. Sometimes they would just leave when persecution came around. Sometimes they would stay and take what was happening to them. And sometimes — where possible — they would even seek to stand up for their rights, and make some sort of legal appeal. So all three can be viable biblical options.

Consequences

Returning to the path that Thorburn took, I guess I tend to side with those who think he should have stuck it out a bit more and put up more of a fight. While I realise it may be easy for me to make someone else into a martyr for the cause, and he hopefully did what he felt was best, there are at least two bad outcomes of his decision.

One, this will certainly embolden the Christophobes. When they see how easy it is to get some big Christian leader to step down, they will just be further energised to keep up the witch-hunts. ‘Great, we got rid of him so easily — now let’s go after all those other pesky Christians.’ So he may have just provided some real encouragement to his — and our — foes.

And two, many other believers may waver in their commitment to stand strong. Had Thorburn perhaps hung in there, that may well have stiffened the spines of other Christians. But by seemingly caving in so quickly and not even putting up a fight, this may deter other believers from standing strong. They may end up raising the white flag of surrender as well.

I have long said that believers need to grow a backbone and learn how to stand for their beliefs, even if costly. We have too many spineless wonders among us, and we capitulate far too easily. I am not saying this is what Thorburn may have done, but I see it far too often in our churches.

And I have also said plenty of times that the approach of some Christians to just try to be nice, to smile a lot, and be winsome does not really cut it either. Sure, we remain polite and so on, but just hoping that if we are really nice and friendly the other side will leave us alone is a pipe dream. The more easily we are intimidated, bullied and pushed around, the more they will do this to us.

Safety vs Sacrifice

So we need real wisdom and discernment here as to how we should proceed in these dark days. And some bits of counsel from our leaders can be better — or worse — than others. Consider what one such leader just said on social media:

“I’d be taking sermons offline into the future if I were a pastor committed to biblical preaching. Just for the sake of those in your congregation who might lose their jobs through guilt by association.”

While the fellow who said this is normally a solid and conservative Christian, I find this bit of advice to be far from helpful. It really does seem to be a counsel of surrender. Indeed, will folks like this next suggest that sermons first get checked out by the state, to keep us safe and secure? Self-censorship is NOT the way to proceed here.

And if the main concern is to keep folks from losing their jobs, then they should probably just ditch their Christianity altogether! Being an outspoken Christian has always been costly. Many have not just lost their jobs, but their very lives. Seeking to tone things down and play it safe so we can hang on to our careers is not exactly the advice the prophets, Jesus or the disciples would have given.

They said the exact opposite. They said we should be willing to lose everything for the sake of the Gospel. And millions have over the centuries. Now is not the time for words of surrender or compliance. Now is the time to hear about the great need for brave, bold and fearless followers of Christ.

As my friend Ben Davis just wrote about this matter:

Dear pastors, do not follow the advice of cowards urging you to hide Jesus from the world. Do not treat us as though we haven’t counted the cost of following Christ. Our brothers have taken the Gospel into harder places, and they were willing to suffer more than the “top job.”

The enemy wants you to retreat, not God. The enemy wants you to fear, not God. The enemy wants you to value your career more than the truth, not God. Surrendering at this point not only empowers the enemy, it demoralises the church. Double down on the truth and we’ll have your backs!

“We are able to overcome it!” (Numbers 13:30)

Amen to that. As to Thorburn, let’s keep him and his family in our prayers. And we all need to think and pray real hard as to what WE will do as the days get darker, as the persecution ramps up, and as the Christophobia reaches new, demonic levels in the West.

___

Originally published at CultureWatch. Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash.

Thank the Source

Essendon CEO Andrew Thorburn – A Reflection

What does the Essendon Football Club debacle demonstrate about how the “virtue” of “tolerance” has changed in modern Western society?

There has been a great deal written in the past day or two by a number of Christian commentators on the “resignation” of the new Essendon Football Club CEO, Andrew Thorburn. Added to those now are my fellow contributors, Bill Muehlenberg and Cody Mitchell. And I have to say that together their various views have been, at least for me, a “multitude of counsellors” (Proverbs 15:22).

And I want to draw on some of that wisdom, but also look at the wider issue of “tolerance”.
First, to give credit to those commentators who have torn away the thin tissue of lies and excuses given by the parties involved, such as those in charge at Essendon, the media and their coverage, and the State Premier, Daniel Andrews, whose insidious influence as a supporter of Essendon cannot go without mention.

I think Karl Faase got it right when he wrote that it was “an appalling turn of events in Australian public life”. I agree. We need to see this event from that perspective. Thorburn is a public figure of note, and even more so in football-mad Melbourne. So if this can happen to such a high-profile public figure, simply because of his faith, and due to nothing he said or did himself, with hardly a flicker of protest beyond the Christian community, then who among us is safe? If this doesn’t signify a distinct turn of the tide, what does?

Avoid Capitulation

Two other articles which impressed me were by Stephen McAlpine and Murray Campbell.

McAlpine particularly targets those Christians who believe our primary method of appealing to the culture is by being “winsome”. I agree with his criticism: the time for assuming that you can by means of sweet reason explain your position to those who aren’t Christians is past, if it were ever the case at all.

Surely we first need to discern the attitude of those we encounter. If we’re being winsome with those who are expressing opposition or hostility to our views, then all we’re really doing is “casting pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6).

Or as McAlpine wrote:

“Winsomeness is a failed strategy if you think that you will stave off the attack dogs by being so. Does that mean don’t be winsome? No, not at all. Winsomeness is not a failed stance. As Christians, we should always be winsome. But don’t expect it to be a strategy that will get you by in the increasingly hostile Sexular Age. Because it won’t.”

The Premier’s Troubling Remarks

Murray Campbell, on the other hand, lasered in on the utterly disgraceful comment by Premier Daniel Andrews:

“Those views are absolutely appalling. I don’t support those views; that kind of intolerance, that kind of hatred, bigotry is just wrong. All of you know my views on these things. Those sort of attitudes are simply wrong, and to dress that up as anything other than bigotry is just obviously false.”

Campbell takes Andrews’ statement to its logical and deeply disturbing dystopian conclusion:

“Let’s assume the Premier is serious about his stance against those most evil and terrible and dangerous Christians. He has just told the world that he thinks that AFL clubs shouldn’t appoint Christians. It raises the question, in what areas is the Premier okay with Christians finding employment?

Does the Premier believe Christians can stand for Parliament? What about working for the Government? Is he comfortable with corporations appointing Christians to senior management positions? What about Christians working in state schools, hospitals and the police force? Does he believe local councils should employ Christians as gardeners or garbage collectors?

Does Mr Andrews believe that there should be some kind of religious test before you can get a job? It’s only been a few months since his Government shredded religious freedom by no longer allowing religious schools and organisations to employ people who share their values. And yet, he can speak imperviously of there being no place for Bible-believing Christians in high-profile positions in the AFL…”

But as I said, I want to dive a bit deeper into the whole issue of what is being passed off as “tolerance” these days, because early this morning I dived back into possibly the most valuable book on what we’re now increasingly witnessing in the West, The Intolerance of Tolerance by D. A. Carson, published a decade ago, yet grasping in such a compelling way the situations we’re now facing.

In the Introduction, Carson points out the fact that the “notion of tolerance is changing”, and that “the sad reality is that this new, contemporary tolerance is intrinsically intolerant. It is blind to its own shortcomings because it erroneously thinks it holds the moral high ground.”

Hence Premier Andrews’ outburst claiming Thorburn’s orthodox Biblical views are “appalling… hatred, bigotry”, and therefore that it should be obvious to all that they are “wrong” and “false”.

Absolute Relativism

In relation to the change in how tolerance is defined, throughout the book he writes about the “old tolerance” and the “new tolerance”:

“The old tolerance is the willingness to put up with, allow, or endure people and ideas with whom we disagree; in its purest form, the new tolerance is the social commitment to treat all ideas and people as equally right, save for those people who disagree with this view of tolerance…

So those who uphold and practice the older tolerance, enmeshed as they inevitably are in some value system, are written off as intolerant. Thus banished, they no longer deserve a place at the table.”

The logical contradiction should be clear, but Carson explains how it comes from the relativism where “all ideas and people are equally right”, which he describes as “structures of thought”, which becomes the monolithic prevailing view either blindly adopted by the community or imposed from above. This is what serves to entrench the contradiction as the new orthodoxy:

“The problem is worse than mere inconsistency, for the new tolerance regularly smuggles into the culture massive structures of thought and imposes them on others who disagree, while insisting that the others are the intolerant people.”

Does the situation during the same-sex marriage debate come to mind here? The parallels I think should be obvious. And Carson also notes what we have witnessed once that issue was resolved in spite of the public claims that such an outcome as they achieved was their sole aim, and that those making “slippery slope” predictions were being overly pessimistic:

“One might have thought that the broad cultural triumph of (the new) tolerance would be limited in reach: it would dictate what is acceptable in the culture at large, but would not presume to reshape every private enclave within the culture.

After all, if this new tolerance can be enforced in the culture at large, there is little need to seek similar control within private institutions or within churches or denominations. These private groupings can proceed on their benighted way without threat to the broader culture.

Increasingly, however, that is precisely what is not happening. Especially when churches take a moral stance that runs counter to the dominant stance adopted by the media, the media feels no qualms about attacking the churches for their intolerance.”

Hence, in the case of Andrew Thorburn, his church, City on a Hill, is described as “controversial” for holding traditional, biblically orthodox views on sex and abortion held by millions, and I might add, plenty of non-Christians as well.

Carson concludes:

“Are not the media proving intolerant of the churches that they judge to be intolerant?…Only the most amazingly narrow reading of history warrants the view that citizens with moral values grounded in religious beliefs are forbidden to articulate those beliefs.”

Grasping for Control

Finally, it is the prevailing relativism in morality which, because truth itself is relative, becomes a grab for power, and those with power will dictate to everyone else what is to be regarded as truth.
In this respect Carson quotes a famous essay published in Time magazine in 1978 by David Aikman, writing on the horrors of the Cambodian “killing fields” orchestrated by Pol Pot:

“In the West today, there is a pervasive consent to the notion of moral relativism, a reluctance to admit that absolute evil can and does exist. This makes it especially difficult for some to accept the fact that the Cambodian experience is something far worse than a revolutionary aberration.

Rather, it is the deadly logical consequence of an atheistic, man-centred system of values, enforced by fallible human beings with total power, who believe, with Marx, that morality is whatever the powerful define it to be…”

And doesn’t that sum up those in power, Premier Andrews and the media, in this episode: “fallible human beings with total power” defining orthodox Christian beliefs as “views [which] are absolutely appalling… hatred, bigotry… wrong”?

But Aikman didn’t stop at Marx’s ideological musing. He took the ideology of power to its logical conclusion: “… and, with Mao, that power grows from gun barrels.”

But can we in Australia really believe that such an extreme situation could play out here? The words of Benjamin Disraeli come to mind here: “Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.” Of course, we all hope and pray for a divine breakthrough in our circumstances, that revival would break out and transform the culture. And that is precisely the focus of this month of prayer and fasting, that “millions… find Christ”.

At the same time, though, we know that Scripture tells us all to expect the kind of treatment dished out to Andrew Thorburn. But we should also realise that both are possible outcomes. We need to accept the fact that there are times when God chooses to use the persecution of His children to bring about millions finding Christ.

In fact, He has been impressing on me for many months now that we should be looking to the persecuted church to learn how they respond to their persecution, because in there are the “hidden seeds” of the harvest.

Finally, and even in that context of persecution, we should be inspired by the grace under fire shown by Andrew Thorburn himself in his media release, and so to Andrew Thorburn belongs the last word in all of this, because I firmly believe that, if and when persecution comes to the rest of us, it is this grace, this inner strength and conviction under pressure, that will cause others to take notice of those qualities and inquire about the source of that grace and inner strength.

___

Photo: Essendon FC

Thank the Source

Essendon CEO Andrew Thorburn – A Reflection

Essendon CEO Andrew Thorburn – A Reflection

What does the Essendon Football Club debacle demonstrate about how the “virtue” of “tolerance” has changed in modern Western society?

There has been a great deal written in the past day or two by a number of Christian commentators on the “resignation” of the new Essendon Football Club CEO, Andrew Thorburn. Added to those now are my fellow contributors, Bill Muehlenberg and Cody Mitchell. And I have to say that together their various views have been, at least for me, a “multitude of counsellors” (Proverbs 15:22).

And I want to draw on some of that wisdom, but also look at the wider issue of “tolerance”.
First, to give credit to those commentators who have torn away the thin tissue of lies and excuses given by the parties involved, such as those in charge at Essendon, the media and their coverage, and the State Premier, Daniel Andrews, whose insidious influence as a supporter of Essendon cannot go without mention.

I think Karl Faase got it right when he wrote that it was “an appalling turn of events in Australian public life”. I agree. We need to see this event from that perspective. Thorburn is a public figure of note, and even more so in football-mad Melbourne. So if this can happen to such a high-profile public figure, simply because of his faith, and due to nothing he said or did himself, with hardly a flicker of protest beyond the Christian community, then who among us is safe? If this doesn’t signify a distinct turn of the tide, what does?

Avoid Capitulation

Two other articles which impressed me were by Stephen McAlpine and Murray Campbell.

McAlpine particularly targets those Christians who believe our primary method of appealing to the culture is by being “winsome”. I agree with his criticism: the time for assuming that you can by means of sweet reason explain your position to those who aren’t Christians is past, if it were ever the case at all.

Surely we first need to discern the attitude of those we encounter. If we’re being winsome with those who are expressing opposition or hostility to our views, then all we’re really doing is “casting pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6).

Or as McAlpine wrote:

“Winsomeness is a failed strategy if you think that you will stave off the attack dogs by being so. Does that mean don’t be winsome? No, not at all. Winsomeness is not a failed stance. As Christians, we should always be winsome. But don’t expect it to be a strategy that will get you by in the increasingly hostile Sexular Age. Because it won’t.”

The Premier’s Troubling Remarks

Murray Campbell, on the other hand, lasered in on the utterly disgraceful comment by Premier Daniel Andrews:

“Those views are absolutely appalling. I don’t support those views; that kind of intolerance, that kind of hatred, bigotry is just wrong. All of you know my views on these things. Those sort of attitudes are simply wrong, and to dress that up as anything other than bigotry is just obviously false.”

Campbell takes Andrews’ statement to its logical and deeply disturbing dystopian conclusion:

“Let’s assume the Premier is serious about his stance against those most evil and terrible and dangerous Christians. He has just told the world that he thinks that AFL clubs shouldn’t appoint Christians. It raises the question, in what areas is the Premier okay with Christians finding employment?

Does the Premier believe Christians can stand for Parliament? What about working for the Government? Is he comfortable with corporations appointing Christians to senior management positions? What about Christians working in state schools, hospitals and the police force? Does he believe local councils should employ Christians as gardeners or garbage collectors?

Does Mr Andrews believe that there should be some kind of religious test before you can get a job? It’s only been a few months since his Government shredded religious freedom by no longer allowing religious schools and organisations to employ people who share their values. And yet, he can speak imperviously of there being no place for Bible-believing Christians in high-profile positions in the AFL…”

But as I said, I want to dive a bit deeper into the whole issue of what is being passed off as “tolerance” these days, because early this morning I dived back into possibly the most valuable book on what we’re now increasingly witnessing in the West, The Intolerance of Tolerance by D. A. Carson, published a decade ago, yet grasping in such a compelling way the situations we’re now facing.

In the Introduction, Carson points out the fact that the “notion of tolerance is changing”, and that “the sad reality is that this new, contemporary tolerance is intrinsically intolerant. It is blind to its own shortcomings because it erroneously thinks it holds the moral high ground.”

Hence Premier Andrews’ outburst claiming Thorburn’s orthodox Biblical views are “appalling… hatred, bigotry”, and therefore that it should be obvious to all that they are “wrong” and “false”.

Absolute Relativism

In relation to the change in how tolerance is defined, throughout the book he writes about the “old tolerance” and the “new tolerance”:

“The old tolerance is the willingness to put up with, allow, or endure people and ideas with whom we disagree; in its purest form, the new tolerance is the social commitment to treat all ideas and people as equally right, save for those people who disagree with this view of tolerance…

So those who uphold and practice the older tolerance, enmeshed as they inevitably are in some value system, are written off as intolerant. Thus banished, they no longer deserve a place at the table.”

The logical contradiction should be clear, but Carson explains how it comes from the relativism where “all ideas and people are equally right”, which he describes as “structures of thought”, which becomes the monolithic prevailing view either blindly adopted by the community or imposed from above. This is what serves to entrench the contradiction as the new orthodoxy:

“The problem is worse than mere inconsistency, for the new tolerance regularly smuggles into the culture massive structures of thought and imposes them on others who disagree, while insisting that the others are the intolerant people.”

Does the situation during the same-sex marriage debate come to mind here? The parallels I think should be obvious. And Carson also notes what we have witnessed once that issue was resolved in spite of the public claims that such an outcome as they achieved was their sole aim, and that those making “slippery slope” predictions were being overly pessimistic:

“One might have thought that the broad cultural triumph of (the new) tolerance would be limited in reach: it would dictate what is acceptable in the culture at large, but would not presume to reshape every private enclave within the culture.

After all, if this new tolerance can be enforced in the culture at large, there is little need to seek similar control within private institutions or within churches or denominations. These private groupings can proceed on their benighted way without threat to the broader culture.

Increasingly, however, that is precisely what is not happening. Especially when churches take a moral stance that runs counter to the dominant stance adopted by the media, the media feels no qualms about attacking the churches for their intolerance.”

Hence, in the case of Andrew Thorburn, his church, City on a Hill, is described as “controversial” for holding traditional, biblically orthodox views on sex and abortion held by millions, and I might add, plenty of non-Christians as well.

Carson concludes:

“Are not the media proving intolerant of the churches that they judge to be intolerant?…Only the most amazingly narrow reading of history warrants the view that citizens with moral values grounded in religious beliefs are forbidden to articulate those beliefs.”

Grasping for Control

Finally, it is the prevailing relativism in morality which, because truth itself is relative, becomes a grab for power, and those with power will dictate to everyone else what is to be regarded as truth.
In this respect Carson quotes a famous essay published in Time magazine in 1978 by David Aikman, writing on the horrors of the Cambodian “killing fields” orchestrated by Pol Pot:

“In the West today, there is a pervasive consent to the notion of moral relativism, a reluctance to admit that absolute evil can and does exist. This makes it especially difficult for some to accept the fact that the Cambodian experience is something far worse than a revolutionary aberration.

Rather, it is the deadly logical consequence of an atheistic, man-centred system of values, enforced by fallible human beings with total power, who believe, with Marx, that morality is whatever the powerful define it to be…”

And doesn’t that sum up those in power, Premier Andrews and the media, in this episode: “fallible human beings with total power” defining orthodox Christian beliefs as “views [which] are absolutely appalling… hatred, bigotry… wrong”?

But Aikman didn’t stop at Marx’s ideological musing. He took the ideology of power to its logical conclusion: “… and, with Mao, that power grows from gun barrels.”

But can we in Australia really believe that such an extreme situation could play out here? The words of Benjamin Disraeli come to mind here: “Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.” Of course, we all hope and pray for a divine breakthrough in our circumstances, that revival would break out and transform the culture. And that is precisely the focus of this month of prayer and fasting, that “millions… find Christ”.

At the same time, though, we know that Scripture tells us all to expect the kind of treatment dished out to Andrew Thorburn. But we should also realise that both are possible outcomes. We need to accept the fact that there are times when God chooses to use the persecution of His children to bring about millions finding Christ.

In fact, He has been impressing on me for many months now that we should be looking to the persecuted church to learn how they respond to their persecution, because in there are the “hidden seeds” of the harvest.

Finally, and even in that context of persecution, we should be inspired by the grace under fire shown by Andrew Thorburn himself in his media release, and so to Andrew Thorburn belongs the last word in all of this, because I firmly believe that, if and when persecution comes to the rest of us, it is this grace, this inner strength and conviction under pressure, that will cause others to take notice of those qualities and inquire about the source of that grace and inner strength.

___

Photo: Essendon FC

Thank the Source

NYC: The Purge of Teachers

NYC: The Purge of Teachers

Why would NYC push experienced teachers out of the classroom in the middle of a teacher shortage?

In the middle of a teacher shortage, New York City has axed almost 2000 teachers and classroom aides for not being vaccinated.

It’s madness. And you have to ask yourself why.

The vaccine mandate for teachers took effect from October 29, 2021. Unvaccinated staff were given until September 5, 2022 to be vaccinated or else be “deemed to have voluntarily resigned”.

Voluntarily resigned is, of course, a euphemism for “sacked”.

Booted

As a result, a couple of thousand experienced teachers and aides, all of them perfectly healthy, have been forced out of the education system, with schools unable to replace them.

It makes no sense.

We know that children are at virtually no risk from the virus.

We know that the Covid vaccines do not prevent infection or transmission of the virus.

We also know the shot can cause serious, even deadly, side effects.

So why this intransigent insistence of no jab, no job?

One only conclude that vaccine mandates are now not about science or health. They are about ideological purity.

To put it bluntly, it’s an ideological purge.

We went from “two weeks to flatten the curve” to “show me your papers” in less than 12 months. As one wag noted, “I did Nazi that coming.”

Against Public Health Advice

And Democrat-run states are determined to continue this way, despite advice from the CDC that there is now no reason to treat the vaccinated and unvaccinated differently.

How else to understand the education department’s stance other than that those teachers who refuse the vaccine represent a challenge to authority?

At this point, the vaccine mandate on teachers has nothing to do with the vaccine and everything to do with ensuring that classroom teachers are willing to fall into line and to do what they are told, how they are told.

After all, if they’ll challenge the vaccine, they’ll challenge the curriculum. Therefore they must go.

If I’m wrong, and I may well be, how else do you explain sacking 2,000 experienced teachers in the middle of a teacher shortage for refusing to get a vaccine that stops infection or transmission of what is, for the overwhelming percentage of the population and for almost 100 per cent of young people, a mild flu?

___

Originally published at The James Macpherson Report.

Subscribe to his Substack here for daily witty commentary.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.

Thank the Source

error

Please help truthPeep spread the word :)