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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

onward Christian soldiers « Previous | |Next »
August 6, 2010

It's taken a while but the Christian fundamentalists have entered the election with their message about moral decline, threats to the Christian way of life, concerns about a godless atheism, that are coupled to attacks on human rights and The Greens. This doesn't dissuade the ALP from courting the evangelical vote in the Sunshine State.

Although the Australian Christian Lobby gives the appearance of having moved from the political right to a centre right position Australia for them, it would seem, is a Christian society founded on Christian values. Human rights liberalism is the enemy. It represents unlicensed freedom. Presumably, licensed freedom stands for regulation and censorship designed to protect Christian values and beliefs. That means teaching scripture not ethics in schools.

There is no separation between Church and State here, given the support for the presence of religious institutions within government. The tacit assumption is that the country was founded by Christians as a Christian Nation, hence their opposition to the secular culture of liberal democracy. Hence the opposition to the liberal concept of the separation between Church and State.

The argument appears to be that any expression or use of values that does not start from a literal interpretation (an oxymoron since all texts require interpretation) of scripture (Holy Scripture is "the Word of God" and it is an absolute and unchanging truth) is a denial of that scripture and hence represents a threat to, and denial of, religions rights. The Fundamentalists turned inwards to the centre of the religion – the Scripture, doctrines and traditions - and seek to protect these from the intrusions of the modern, secular world. For the fundamentalist, the secular world must adapt to and come under the control of the religious world.

This leads to a hostility to pluralism of religion and other lifestyles in civil society in modernity, whilst the submission to authority puts it at odds with a democratic republic and liberalism's assumption of the autonomous individual with his or her rights. Individual rights now stands for an excessive individualism, where people are free from all constraints and may believe anything they want and do anything they want so long as it does not hurt anyone else. For many traditional believers "secular humanism" or just "liberal" are used as pejorative catch-all words for this worldview.

The resulting belief is that, therefore, separation of church and state is for liberals only. So the separation of church and state needs to be undermined.

Fundamentalist Christianity concerns itself with the moral conduct of Australian citizens—morality as defined by Biblical precepts and taboos. In so far as it takes any interest in science, fundamentalist Christianity is defensive, attempting either to reconcile the Bible with, or to subvert, science.

Its main preoccupations appear to be the control of female sexuality and reproduction (no birth control, no possibility of abortion), the criminalization of homosexuality, access to government funds and support for their religion, the injection of a primitive Christianity into all aspects of the public sphere, from government ceremonies to public school classrooms and extending censorship over the internet

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:33 AM | | Comments (7)


The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is not just defending a Christian culture in a secular world. Their stand against a secular liberal culture is also a re-Christianizing of Australian culture. The initial defensiveness of these beleaguered religious groups has developed into a political offensive which sought to alter the prevailing social and political realities of state-society relations.That means ending the separation of church and state.

Australian culture is too pluralistic for this to happen. You can see the increasing isolation of Christian conservatives with the mandatory internet filter.

The following are the standard features of religious fundamentalism as a movement:

(1) a desire to return to the fundamentals of a religious tradition and strip away unnecessary accretions;

(2) an aggressive rejection of western secular modernity;

(3 )an oppositional minority group-identity maintained in an exclusivist and militant manner;

(4) attempts to reclaim the public sphere as a space of religious and moral purity;

(5) a patriarchial and hierarchical ordering of relations between the sexes.

Religious fundamentalism as a movement is a set of strategies, by which beleaguered believers attempt to preserve their distinctive identity and their religiously-orientated way of life is under threat as a people or group in the face of the threats posed by secular modernisation, excessive liberalisation and relaxation of social and moral mores.

The retreating from the world was a self-defeating strategy because they were unable to alter what they saw as catastrophically unwelcome developments linked to the progress of modernisation. The moral decline began in the 1960s.

Jim Wallis would of course been very much on the side of the techno-barbarian invaders (who had already "created" a dying planet) and their "culture" of death as depicted in the recent Avatar film.

The ACL is opposed to a Bill of Rights in Australia on the grounds that this is aiming to legislate selfishness by failing to balance individual rights with community rights.

However, the ACL says that though it is in favour of human rights:

The language of human rights has been heavily politicised in recent years. An unhelpful modern rights discourse has emerged where the language of rights is invoked far too often to push for social change in areas never envisaged to be considered fundamental human rights.This exposes a fundamental problem with human rights legislation, which is that unrepresentative activists have had it read as meaning rights are absolute, and there is no hierarchy of rights.

They go on to claim that:
inviolable human right must be grounded in a deeper philosophical principle, such as the inherent dignity of the human being. The source of that dignity, according to the Judeo- Christian worldview, which is the source of the West’s concern for human rights, is that all people are made in the image of God. A claim to a human right is, therefore, an appeal to a principle much more fundamental than those debateable claims to political ‘rights’ so evident in today’s individualistic society.

They make a distinction between between perceived ‘rights’ and fundamental human rights, and resist attempts to establish an absolute view of rights as if they were all fundamental human rights, especially those of a contestable nature. An individual’s human dignity is derived from God and them being in the image of God:
Human rights language is fraught with fallibility as it is beset by the moral relativism of the age, handing rights over to be interpreted and re-interpreted according to the whim of the beholder. As a secular device, the failure to acknowledge God as the source of our dignity as humans has stripped human rights of any solid foundation. Human rights cannot exist in a moral vacuum. We cannot expect that rights will be universal when such rights, existing only on somebody’s word, can just as easily be withdrawn. Contemporary human rights theory does not stand on a solid and universally enduring foundation.

The ACL is not happy with the block on the ALP's legislation for a mandatory internet filter by the Liberals and The Greens. They find the block incomprehensible.

They want to regulate all media re refused classification-material --a comprehensive system goes across all media types---in opposition to extreme liberalism (libertarians) and ideology of GetUp! and Electronic Frontiers Australia.

Yet another tirade from Miranda Devine in the SMH on the nasty progressive inner city left:

Progressives keep trying to redefine the centre in their own image, instead of adjusting their expectations and accepting the reality of a public far more entrenched in conservatism and commonsense than they can imagine.Their attitude, based as it is on a fundamental dishonesty, leads them to all sorts of self-delusion, fakery and spin that works - because it's done well - but only temporarily.

The country will be ruined, and Australian democracy weakened, if the Greens hold the balance of power in the Senate.

The ACL is an American institution that has been helicoptered into Australian society.
They have contributed to the increased sectarianism of the public debate and raised the spectre of the return to the Catholic - Protestant divide of the 1880s to 1950s.

At a time when there are more single adult households in Australia than dad, mum and the kids the ACL is out of touch with current society. Single adult households are the growing trend so it makes sense to develop policies that promote their well being rather than deny their existence.

For those of us educated in church schools the narrow ignorant focus of the ACL is untenable. Ignore bog Irish and christian fundies and ferals.