Blog: Religious Freedom Protection – From Whom?

It is just so easy to pull out a pen and fire off juicy articles that are designed specifically to draw attention to their authors in support of some ideology that they feel empowered to extol: And into this quagmire religion has to be “up there” with the best of them.  Around the world there are a variety of restraints on religious criticism including even comedic comments and satire where it can be a matter of life or death, and I cite the 2015 headline case with Charlie Hebdo in France as well we know that there are many other countries that hold a disdain toward journalists from the free world who cross a certain line particularly where national laws are inextricably woven around forms of religious law.

Here in Australia we often forget just how better off we are in day-to-day life than others in most places in the world; a comment that I do not think is an exaggeration, but even here as good as we have it the Federal Government has still seen fit to toy with religious issues.  I refer to the alterations to the Marriage Act that Christians saw as an assault on the very basis of the law of righteousness toward the God of our fathers. 

To say Australia has been a secular nation since Federation is incorrect as is the popular notion by non-Christians that the Constitution is a secular document.  Nothing could be further from the truth on both accounts except if the Preamble of the Constitution is ignored and written off as some unrelated doodling by the early legislators.  But the reality of that Preamble is that the Australian Constitution was framed by our forefathers at Federation who wrote into the document a specific reliance on God for the good conduct of government and its performance. It is a Statement of Faith within the Constitution that all future governments will govern the Federation in a way that will attract the blessings from God.  This is a very powerful requisite and should have weighed heavily upon the shoulders of every Federal Government since the Constitution was enacted. All laws passed by Government need to be consistent with God’s abiding-will, the details of which are clearly outlined in the Tanakh (the Old Testament) and the Gospels (the New Testament), wherein God’s Word through Jesus Christ has made this very, VERY, clear.  This is regardless of what individual parliamentary members may personally think or want. 

But before anyone jumps to the incorrect conclusion that this suggests Australia must have a religious law let me refer them back to the Constitution that lays down wholesome laws to govern for all people within this nation. The pithy issue comes down to how unwholesome conduct and practices are to be restrained.  The Australian forebears were reliant on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when they indelibly watermarked the Australian Constitution to be beholden to the Christian God and as much as many (apparently) do not like this, it is a fact that it has consequences if ignored.  I refer to any future Government that might scrap all pretense of being beholden to the God of our forefathers and thereby will bring down upon this country a dearth of God’s abiding blessings.  Other consequences for such an erosion of government over-sight would see this nation become a Godless land of the very type that is constantly in the public’s eye for all of the wrong reasons.

There is a great misconception in the general society’s view that the Bible of the Christian faith is all fable and fiction.  Not true and quite the opposite!  When read in context with God’s abiding-will for how humans should not behave in the manner of anti-social behaviour, immorality or offenses (called trespasses) against another person then we can understand why the forefathers committed our governments through the Preamble to keep our laws of the land in line with God’s precepts for humanity in general and also to under gird these laws to prevent them being watered down and being discarded over time.

There is another great misconception in the general societal view that the Bible, or shall we refer it as the Word of God, targets particular people because they do not wish to be constrained by God’s wholesome guidelines; and hence society’s view personalises the Bible message into what they see as restraints and deterrents from all things that are “fun”.  They miss completely the whole singular purpose of the Word of God to his human creation.  The tenets of Christendom speak to human behaviours whereas society re-interprets this to point to particular individuals.  So if we were to discuss a person described as a kleptomaniac, God’s point of view is speaking to the act of stealing whereas society looks at the thief.  God’s view is that the stealing is contrary to his wholesome guidelines however if the perpetrator ceases the acts of stealing that person can be restored to wholesome living.  This is the simple pithy issue! 

It is on this vein that the changes to the Federal Constitution’s Marriage Act changes fell foul.  Our politicians and some of the general society desired to eliminate the distinction between God’s definition of unwholesome behaviours and on the other hand the God-given ordinances of what practising Christians profess in marriage.  To say the decision to change the Marriage Act trashed the underlying premise of the Constitution is a very interesting discussion point, and when we re-look at the events that occurred within the Federal Government and opposition parties following the Marriage Act changes there have been some significant outcomes in relation to the principal proponents of that desire to change the Constitution’s Marriage Act.

Section 116 of the Constitution provides that the Federal Government shall not make any law prohibiting the free exercise of any religion’—that is, prohibiting the practice of religion or the doing of acts which are done in the practise of religion.  This should be straight forward however there will be conflicts if Australia walks down the Bill of Rights road where clearly behaviours and persons are confused to be the same.  Bills of Right are written for individuals, the Bills of Wrongs address behaviours.  A simple example:  A Bill of Rights would guarantee a person’s right to walk unhindered in public places. A Bill of Wrongs would dictate that it is an offence to interfere with a person walking in public places; or to summarise, A Bill of Rights is given to People whereas a Bill of Wrongs is legislating against behaviours. This became the issue when forcing unwanted and inappropriate rights to non-Christians guaranteeing their inclusion into the Christian congregation.    

Australia’s Christian underpinning of the Constitution by the Preamble should be the Commonwealth’s initial go-to point of reference before any new legislation is put to Parliament. There is some off-side thinking that it is the Christians in the world that are the problem, and whilst this in itself is an interesting discussion point, the fact of the matter is that we forget that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the God of all Creation – including humanity. The believers are just that – believing and doing what God is saying is wholesome to human kind for their eternal longevity. Therefore if governments (collectively) or individuals have issues with the Preamble and for that matter the Christian Bible’s Words from God, why are they focussing on Christian believers who are trying as best they can to walk in wholesomeness toward God, toward their country and toward their fellow countrymen. Go argue with God about his righteousness if you don’t agree. (Mazel tov on that!)

So let me ask this question. When the Australian Government is looking to strengthen its citizen’s rights to freedom of religion, is it going to reverse the recent amendments to the Constitution’s Marriage Act to remove the blight that said Government will force the Christian religion to deny one of its principal tenets and hence perpetrate a great threat to Christendom’s right and freedom to practice as a congregation worshipping their Lord God, Jesus Christ, as God intended that they should do?  Yes it’s a mouth full but it is absolutely a black spot on the Commonwealth, and I refer to all sides of the parliament that interfered with the rights of Christians in Australia and therefore they, the Government, are perpetrators that also need to be restrained despite the restraints that were placed upon them by the Constitution’s founding fathers in the Preamble.

Well we can discuss how in reality that might work out. Certainly Christians have voting powers and a once powerful lobby, but I again draw your attention to the Constitution’s Preamble by which oppressive legislation against the abiding blessings of God will continue to draw God’s ire until the fault is rectified. 

This should be the starting point for this Government of today to show that it is serious about the issue of freedoms for Christians and also to demonstrate that the parliament adopts the Constitution’s Preamble against which they are all measured. 

Geoff