Flat White

Liberals lead charge against parental choice

19 October 2018

9:05 AM

19 October 2018

9:05 AM

Warnings that freedoms would be lost if same-sex marriage was passed were ridiculed every day during last year’s debate.

Ten months down the track, parental choice in education is on the chopping block.

Parents who send their children to religious schools because they expect them to be communities where their faith and morals are upheld now face losing that freedom.

Emotive media stories about bigoted Christian schools searching out and sacking teachers because they are gay obscure the right of parents to be free to choose to educate their children in the moral framework of their choice.

Whether this actually happens is beside the point. It is open season on Christianity because faithful Christians accept the Bible’s vision for human sexuality.

Such is the hostility towards Christianity for daring to continue to dissent to the rainbow political world order, one wonders whether burning the Bible is next.

There have even been calls this week for funding to be withdrawn from schools which do not conform.

Few people thought the Liberal Party would become a spear carrier for the attacks on parental choice.

No less than Deputy Liberal Leader Josh Frydenberg joined Labor and the Greens in calling for schools to lose the right to positively discriminate in favour of staff who actually share a religious school’s ethos.

Liberal Senator Dean Smith, who was the architect of the bill to redefine marriage, and the Liberals candidate in Wentworth, Dave Sharma, are also in the Green-Left corner when it comes to trashing parents’ freedoms.

Apparently, any parent who wants their child educated in a community where heterosexual marriage and family is promoted as good, true and beautiful is a vile bigot who has no right to place their child in such a community. That’s because in the minds of rainbow political activists, communities like this have no right to exist in a post same-sex marriage world.

The good name of Christian schools, of which I am a product, and to which my children go, has been dragged through the mud as if these institutions are public enemy number one.

Same-sex marriage activists won a decisive victory in last year’s marriage plebiscite.

They did so on the basis of their promise to the Australian people that there would be “no consequences” to anyone else’s freedom to hold a contrary view of marriage.

During numerous media interviews, I provided proof points from here and overseas that this would not be the case.

Examples included: vexatious litigation against Ashers Bakery in Northern Ireland (a case they won last week after years of trauma and expense), graduates of a Christian law school in Canada being refused admission to the bar, Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous dragged before the anti-discrimination tribunal, a young Canberra woman sacked for posting on Facebook her views of traditional marriage, a Price Waterhouse Coopers and IBM executive pressured at work because of his association with organisations like Australian Christian Lobby and many others.

Each time Yes campaign spokespeople like Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster, Irish import Tiernan Brady, NSW MP Alex Greenwich and activist Rodney Croome (who ironically publicly urged the persecution of Porteous) accused me of throwing up “furphies and red herrings”.

If only I was.

On face value, who would not support the rights of gays to get married if the proposition was “live and let live”?

And that is what Australians did. But it is not what Australians are getting.

As John Howard told graduating students at Campion College in 2011: “Changing the definition of marriage, which has lasted from time immemorial, is not an exercise in human rights and equality; it is an exercise in de-authorising the Judeo-Christian influence in our society.”

People of faith and no faith who do not believe that marriage is anything other than a heterosexual project have long been concerned that the political agenda of activists is to quash dissent using the law.

The activists and their fellow travellers in the media, the Greens, Labor and the left of the Coalition are intolerant of those of us who disagree with their new definition of marriage.

They want any public expression of our dissent to be classified as bigotry and worse – dangerous to the mental and physical health of gay kids.

This puts Christians, Muslims and dissenting Australians of no faith in an impossible position.

We are bigots because we dissent and we are enemies of the state if we wish to uphold our views about marriage and human flourishing in our religious or non-religious communities.

Suddenly, the rainbow flag is a banner of hostility to precious and hard-won democratic freedoms such as freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of conscience.

For a movement that is supposed to be about tolerance and diversity, it is going all out to enforce conformity on the 4.7 million Australians of faith and no faith who voted No in the plebiscite.

And like Vladimir Lenin’s “useful idiots”, even conservative politicians are doing the modern day totalitarians’ work for them.

Given that the Yes campaign was waged on the promise of “no consequences”, this ranks as one of the greatest political deceptions of all time.

Same-sex couples won equality under the law back in 2009. Most Christians, including Australian Christian Lobby for which I worked at the time, supported this.

But the de-gendering of marriage is now a weapon of powerful identity politics to create enemies of those who hold a different vision of marriage. They must be demonised and destroyed.

A dissenting school movement to which hundreds of thousands of Australians have flocked seeking the freedom to have their children educated in Christian faith and morals is now perniciously demonised.

Whatever comes out of the Ruddock review, Australians who disagree with the de-gendering of marriage and with gender fluid theory being taught at school should be free to speak their disagreement in public and to live out their disagreement in community.

Parents should be free to send their kids to schools which uphold their values and those schools should be free to act to on behalf of parents to protect that freedom.

Surely this is the true meaning of diversity and tolerance?

Live and let live is what the Yes campaign promised.

That is what the Morrison Government should deliver. But that will take courage and courage is in short supply in Australian politics.

Lyle Shelton was spokesperson for the Coalition for Marriage during last year’s plebiscite. He is a former managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby and is now a Queensland Senate Candidate for the Conservatives.

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