Psalm 10, 14, 36, 49

The secularist tribe are out again censoring free speech, discrimination against minority cultures, denying religious freedom, oppressing women, employing hate speech, excluding the inclusive. It is hard to discern whether they see their hypocrisy or not.

The latest example of this mindless tribalism has been in their reaction to the appointment of an actively believing Roman Catholic, Dominic Perrottet, to be Premier of New South Wales.

There are many grounds upon which the appointment of a new Premier can justly be criticised, such as the candidate’s suitability of character, commitment to the common good, experience and qualifications for the task, proven track record in other political appointments, and professed policies by which to govern. No doubt Mr Perrottet’s party colleagues in parliament considered these issues, together with his ability to unite their party and to persuade the populace to vote for them in the next election. Their decision will be seen to be wise or foolish in the future and will be supported or rejected by the ballot box.

However, these issues haven’t been the focus of media criticism. Rather, the whole question of the suitability of a conservative Roman Catholic to be the Premier has been seriously canvassed.

There is nothing new in this. The same attack has been levelled at several public appointments over recent years. It happened with the appointments of

  • a Bible believing Baptist as Police Commissioner (Andrew Scipione)
  • an ordained Anglican minister as Sydney University Vice-Chancellor (Michael Spence)
  • a conservative Roman Catholic as Prime Minister (Tony Abbott)
  • a Pentecostal believer as Prime Minister (Scott Morrison)
  • a Bible believing Anglican as Premier (Mike Baird)

When the appointment is made the criticism is blazoned in headlines. While in power there are snide comments from time to time. But when they leave office, very little is made of their religious commitments. In the analysis afterward nobody points to how their religious commitments have distorted their use of office.

Some of these office holders tried to turn aside the criticism by assuring that their religious views would not interfere with their obligations to the whole community. Though it is generally met with scepticism it is most likely the only defence the secularist media is willing to understand. But it is a little weak for they should say their commitment to serve all the people in the community is not despite their Christian commitment but just the reverse – it is because of their Christian commitment.

But it is the secularists who are not acting in line with their commitments. They speak of free speech, but they do not want religious people to have a platform to speak in the public arena. They speak of multiculturalism, but they do not want people of Christian culture to have any place in the democratically elected parliament. (Nb. that representatives of other religions are welcomed without comment – lest the media be accused of racism or intolerance.) They accept religious freedom, only if it is their freedom from religion. They promote women’s causes provided it is the right women and the right women’s causes. They speak not of religious beliefs but of irrational fundamentalist extremism in order to evoke hostility and hatred by traducing all believers. They insist that certain people are excluded for positions of power, influence, or authority because of their religious commitment even though these people’s commitment and actions have included all members of society.

The reason for this apparent double think, is that the arguments of liberalism have been used, but not believed. The deconstruction of words and arguments needs to be applied to the very people who deconstruct words and arguments. The censorious, coercive, irrational bigotry of the secularist seems not to be noticed or understood by those who claim to have their eyes open in a woke world. Their definition of religion is always an irrational commitment to dogmas imposed coercively on gullible people. It never seems to occur to them that some religious people may be committed to their views because of reasons and arguments, or that it is the fool who says there is no God, for the deceitfulness of sin blinds the mind and heart (Psalms 10, 14, 36, 49). Or that those who turn their back on God find it the hardest to see him, for there are none so blind as those who will not see.  

There are many reasons why the media reports negatively about a politician. Sadly, the public media is staffed by people with their own party loyalties and use their position to attack opponents. Such tribalism has brought not only politicians but also journalism into disrepute.

However, there are particular issues where the constituency could be interested in the religious views of their elected representatives. These are the issues over which there is generally granted a ‘conscience’ vote in parliament (e.g. abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia). These are rightly argued in parliament, but without any agreed basis for moral decision making, the outcome is left to the majority. For Democracy to work, the minority must accept majority decision and for the majority to tolerate the minority’s right to disagree. Our nation is deeply divided over these issues, but our democracy has held us together. Decisions have been made and people moved on. Excluding people because they voted for the minority decision will be the death of democracy as surely as raising a rebellion against the majority decision. The local electorate can always vote a person out if they do not like the way their representative has handled an issue of conscience.

As a Protestant Christian living 500 years after the Reformation, I still protest against the Roman Catholic church and so disagree with much of what Premier Perrottet believes. But gone is the day of denominational tribalism. The old tribal conflict between Irish Catholics and British Masons, was a blot on our history that has mercifully passed. It’s time the secularist tribe learns that our constitutional democracy does not give to them the power of discrimination, censorship or ostracism.

Australia is not a secular country, and our governments are not constituted as secularist. We do not have a state church like Britain nor a complete separation of religion and state like America.
The High Court ruling on the Defence of Government Schools has set out the unique Australian settlement. Without an understanding and appreciation of our history, culture and constitution the secularist tribe are inadvertently promoting the defence of religious rights legislation that they oppose and previous generations found unnecessary. After all, despite the secularists’ anti-Christian bias, a firmly believing conservative Roman Catholic has every right to his opinion and his place in a multicultural society and democratically elected parliament.

For a recent sermon Phillip gave on Secularism, Culture and the Church, please see Secularism

For Phillip’s previous article, see Getting Vaccinated is Our Christian Duty

For other recent articles by Phillip, please see Articles.

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3 responses to “The Secularist Tribe

  1. Mr Perrottet as a Roman Catholic Christian should not be criticised for his beliefs. He is obviously a devoted family man who believes in God. He should be judged only by the manner in which he acts as a politician & the premier of NSW.
    This world is a sad place is this day & age because there aren’t enough leaders who do have ethical beliefs.
    Our country, like many others has had its share of unscrupulous politicians who were out & out scoundrels. Mr Perrottet’s belief in God & Catholic religion don’t disqualify him from becoming a good Premier.

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