It is encouraging to hear that our Prime Minister has resolved to protect the expression of honestly held religious beliefs with legislation; and if that law protects those expressions from human rights laws, perhaps we will be partway towards freedom of speech.
Encouraging? Yes. But, there is always a gap between what we want and what we get – just like Christmas presents.
One small problem is the fact that the Christian doctrine is no longer wholly Bible-based, and some opinions that only fifty years ago were the sine qua non of a faithful Christian are no longer Christian dogma and survive only because of natural law teaching.
Should true believers come before a human rights tribunal, quite a few clergy will jump at the chance to relate the product of modern biblical scholarship.
‘Oh, we used to believe that – although I never did. It’s probably in the Ten Commandments, but I wouldn’t know. They are of doubtful value and historically inaccurate; no slavery, Moses didn’t exist, no Red Sea, you know. And there is not a single mention of climate change or a woman’s right to abortion.’
Mind you, all the clergy love Christmas. It gives them an historical reason to dress up.
I feel a little sorry for Queen Elizabeth, for that is the religious context in which she will deliver her Christmas message. Hers will be a gentle message of hope and goodwill to encourage us through 2022. It will not offend; although some will take offence – either because she is British or because of their unbelief or simply to reject goodwill.
Each year, she has stood alone against the infidels. Perhaps, it is about time she had some help.
The Christian message is a political message that is relevant to every self-governing people. That message is not found in the demonstrators’ shouted slogans, nor in High Court opinions. It is wholly absent from state government laws that entrench the right to kill the elderly and the very young. What next? The bed-ridden: ‘to protect our limited ICU beds from misuse?’
A few weeks before Christmas in 2020, The Spectator Australia published my Letter to the Prime Minister in which I encouraged Mr Morrison to read a Christmas message to the Australian people in advance of the one delivered annually by Her Majesty. Unlike an atheist who believes in nothing, the birth of that child, indeed of every child, is of immense political importance.
If the religious freedom law is passed in time, Mr Morrison might take the opportunity to give a Christmas voice to the Christian message of charity and goodwill.
That message is critical to the cultivation of liberal democratic virtue. The shared belief in a benevolent and just God, who has revealed that He expects us to live our lives in a gentle peace with goodwill to our fellow man, is the foundation of a free society. Without it, we are merely savages controlled by the strongest arm of Black Lives Matters and the loudest voices from Extinction Rebellion – sycophants to the latest intellectual sophistry.
The atheist, like the tyrant, can only say: ‘you must’ in order to achieve anything. He does not persuade because his argument is based on an asserted premise.
In last year’s letter I said:
‘The declining religious observance in this country needs your urgent attention; and what better time than now, the time of peace and goodwill to all men, for your leadership. So, I would like to encourage you to take a small step to counter the atheistic and socialist media who profit greatly from Christmas carols and fairy lights while expressly and implicitly ridiculing the justice of a Gracious God, that underpin the expression of our religious faith and liberal democracy.’
We may have to tolerate the uneducated who demand the separation of Church and State. That separation was designed to prevent the abuse of political power. The separation of government from a particular religious belief should not be interpreted to discourage politicians from informing the community of the unifying theme of our dominant Judeo-Christian teaching, principles which are the foundation of Christmas.
The rest is up to you, Prime Minister; but it will take courage.
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