Herald Sun

IT’S not the haters who will kill Christianity. It’s the ignorant, who have no clue how we non-Christians will suffer.

But, wow, that hatred sure is feral. The latest examples?

One: the Greens this week say they want to strip churches of their “right to discriminate” — actually their freedom to insist their employees live the faith.

Two: Sydney University’s Student Union threatened to deregister the university’s Evangelical Union unless it stopped insisting members declare their faith in Jesus Christ.

Three: Christian lobby group Family Voice Australia this week accused Facebook of deleting one of its pages arguing against same-sex marriage.

Four: Facebook administrators had earlier deleted a page by the Centre for Public Christianity calling on same-sex marriage activists to be less abusive (It was restored after protests by Tim Wilson, the former freedom commissioner and now Liberal candidate in Goldstein).

Five: Yet another church in Melbourne was burned to the ground last month and four in Geelong have been torched in six months — arson attacks that got a fraction of the media attention given to the burning of a Geelong mosque (Police say the mosque may have been mistaken for the church this bluestone building originally was).

These attacks are part of a disturbing pattern. Everywhere Christians are being harassed out of the public space. In Victoria, for instance, state schools have new rules against the singing of not just hymns but, it seems, the more religious Christmas carols.

In Tasmania, a former transgender Greens candidate complained to the state’s Anti-Discrimination Commission about a Catholic Church pamphlet opposing same-sex marriage (She has since dropped her action).

Even worse, the commission ordered the local archbishop, with all Australia’s Catholic bishops, to explain whether they should be allowed to keep offending people by preaching church doctrine. SBS has already decided Christians shouldn’t.

It banned an ad made by Christians defending traditional marriage, yet ran one by Ashley Madison for a dating service for adulterers.

The media is particularly hostile to Christians, using the sex scandals of churches last century as an excuse to smash the churches today. Radio and television outlets recently played at high rotation a song by comedian Tim Minchin vilifying Catholic Cardinal George Pell as a “coward” and “scum” and falsely suggesting he’d covered up for paedophile priests.

Last year, actor Rachel Griffiths told ABC radio she was “quite elated” that arsonists had burned down the beautiful St James Church in Brighton because it had decades ago had a priest who’d abused children.

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Just check how The Age this year marked Easter, Christianity’s holiest festival. On Maundy Thursday, it complained that St James was being rebuilt for $20 million and called for churches to be stripped of their tax exemption. On Good Friday, it praised a retired teacher who’d once confronted a paedophile priest and later claimed, exaggeratedly, the Catholic Church was keeping files “secret” from victims.

True, attacks on the church are nothing new. What is new, though, is the ignorance of so many about what’s at stake and their indifference to the fight. How many young Australians, even young journalists, understand just what Christianity teaches and inspires?

Last month The Australian reported on an Islamic State sympathiser in Kempsey prison who allegedly attacked a former Australian soldier, carving “e4e” into his head.

The reporter explained: “The phrase is thought to refer to ‘an eye for an eye’, which appears in both Christian and Islamic texts.”

But the Christian New Testament actually records Jesus denouncing such justice: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth’.

But I tell you, … if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” The Koran, though, says “a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution”.

This difference explains why no Christian country has an eye-for-an-eye justice system, but a Muslim theocracy such as Iran does. Last year, for instance, a man in Karaj who blinded someone in an acid attack had his own eye put out.

But making Islam seem no worse than Christianity is now fashionable — not least because it excuses surrender to a creed that threatens the freedoms Christianity defends.

The most bizarre example of this double standard occurred earlier this month when a caller rang up ABC presenter Jon Faine, a vehement critic of Christianity but an equally passionate defender of Islam.

Caller: I’ve got a Sunni Muslim friend … He loves his AFL, you know, a real, typical kind of Aussie bloke. But … he’s adamant that stoning is the best punishment for adultery …

Faine: Why is that any different to people in the Orthodox Jewish community for instance who have some bizarre beliefs or people in the Hillsong or any other happy-clappy Christian community who have all sorts of bizarre beliefs? You know, they just live their lives. It’s not as if they put them into practice.

Caller: That may be true, Jon, but I’m specifically wondering what you would do in that situation?

Faine: Oh, I’d say, well, that’s pretty wacky and who’s going to win on Saturday?

Our gay activists are no better. Like the Greens, they rage at the church’s stand on same-sex marriage but are completely silent about the most violent expression of gay hatred — the hanging of gays in Iran and the throwing of gays off tall buildings by the Islamic State in Syria.

These new Christ-haters and hypocrites are dangerously ignorant of an important truth: the gods actually differ and inspire different behaviour.

Christianity, for instance, tells us to treat even strangers as we would our own kin and insists the life of even the most lowly is sacred.

Christ is recorded in the New Testament as preventing the stoning of an adulterous woman, famously saying: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

The Muslim prophet Muhammed, however, is recorded in the famous biography by Ibn Ishaq of having ordered the murder of “two singing-girls, Fartana and her friend, who used to sing satirical songs about the apostle”.

The founders of the faiths led very different lives — one a preacher of nonviolence, the other a warrior king. Their respective religions express their culture and culture counts in influencing behaviour today.

Consider: which societies are safest for nonbelievers? Which the most likely to be democracies? Which the least likely to treat terrorists as heroes?

Which are least likely to allow humans to be destroyed for an allegedly higher cause?

Each time, the answer is Christian. Christianity profoundly inspires the values of those societies, even if many of their citizens despise it.

I am no Christian, but I do have a faith in Christianity. Will we be this safe once it’s gone?


2 Responses to “War on Christianity is fuelled by ignorance”

  1. 1 Rosemary

    Dear Jason

    Thank you for bringing both these articles to our attention. Although I live in NSW I am able to pray specifically about these issues as an individual person.

    God bless you all,
    Rosemary

  2. 2 Naomi

    Fabulous article!
    Blessings,
    Naomi

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