This weekend across New South Wales—in both city and regional areas—all churches are prohibited from livestreaming any singing during their services. This includes a solo performer, singing in an empty building, into a camera.
Or they were, anyway, until Health Minister Brad Hazzard intervened yesterday afternoon.
An email from NSW Health to ‘religious communities’ justified the prohibition out of concern for those offering technical assistance. That would be understandable if it weren’t for the fact that so many people were still allowed to freely interact outside, as Anglican theologian Michael Jensen pointed out on his Twitter feed:
Not only was this a massive over-reach by the Berejiklian government, but it also directly contradicted clause 14 of the current Public Health Order:
14 Direction of Minister about singing on non-residential properties
1. The Minister directs that the occupier of non-residential premises must ensure that persons in an indoor area of the premises do not sing.
2. Subclause (1) does not apply if—(a) the persons singing are the performers engaged in a performance or rehearsing for a performance.
The move was bizarrely discriminatory. Why would only churches be subject to this kind of draconian restriction? What about every teenage girl making TikTok videos with her sister in their bedroom?
Up until yesterday, I would have said that most churches in Sydney have been suffering from what Chris Kenny rightly refers to in The Weekend Australian today as a form of Stockholm Syndrome. They’ve enthusiastically embraced the removal of their basic freedoms under the somewhat naive belief that the state has our best interests in mind.
Finally, we’ve seen them assert themselves.
But let’s not forget — the bureaucrats thought they could get away with removing the rights of religious communities in NSW in a flagrant breach of their own regulations.
They’ve been caught out this time, what else do the bureaucrats think they can get away with?
And perhaps even more to the point, what other rights are they restricting improperly that we don’t even know about?
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