Crucify Them!

Does history repeat itself? With a few drops of irony and a bucket full of ignorance, it appears that some Australians are trying their best.

Two Melbourne Churches were yesterday vandalised by a person(s). 

Waverley Baptist’s building was graffitied with the words,

“Crucify ‘no voters”

“Vote yes”

Glen Waverley Anglican Church was painted with,

“Bash Bigots”, and with a picture equating Christianity with Nazism.

 

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This is not the first occasion when the threat of crucifixion has been used by campaigners on the ‘yes’ side of the marriage debate. It has been painted and proclaimed even in public meetings. No doubt, this is meant to be the worst kind of insult. Perhaps it’s an attempt scare people into silence. One is clear, they are venting anger toward Aussies who won’t fall into line and vote ‘yes’.

In light of the graffiti on these Melbourne Churches, it’s hard not to think of the most famous crucifixion of all.

On the night before his trial and crucifixion, Jesus and his disciples were praying in the Garden of Gethsemane when armed officials approached and arrested him. Peter responded by attacking a man with his sword. Jesus was quick to stop Peter, rebuked him for his wrongful action, and healed the injured man.

In contrast, throughout the trial before Pilate, the crowd repeatedly shouted out,

“Crucify him!” they shouted.

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

They were responding not against the wishes of the political and religious leadership, but in accord with their purpose.

To be sure, there will be many ‘yes’ voters who are appalled by this latest vandalism on Australian Church buildings. But are we surprised? Of course not. When national political leaders and social commentators insist that voting ‘no’ equates to the worst kind of hate and phobia, it is no wonder that we are seeing this kind of behaviour being played out.

It is important to recognise that there have been some awful things said about gay and lesbian Australians; these are rightly reported and are widely condemned across the board. Any comment or insult that aims to dehumanise any Australian is reprehensible.

I can imagine people feeling unnerved when they arrived for Church yesterday morning; it’s not a pleasant welcome. Let’s not downplay the vileness of this threat: the practice of crucifixion was the most creative and cruelest form of execution, and it is still horrifically practiced in parts of the world today, including Iraq, Syria and Sudan, where Christians have been crucified. At the same time, the vandals are paradoxically offering the greatest complement anyone can give, for they are suggesting that these Churches be treated in the same manner as Jesus Christ.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2)

Of course, Christians can be insulted because we’ve done and said stupid things, and even sinful things. In the midst of the current national debate on marriage, I’ve heard some pretty nasty things spoken by Christians, rarely, but it has happened. However holding to the Bible’s understanding of marriage is not repugnant; it’s unpopular right now but it’s not hateful or wrong. Believing in heterosexual only marriage is not only in sync with the Bible, it’s stating the current legal view of marriage and it is also most logical understanding of marriage. 

When Christians are smeared with the kind of hate and threats that were publicised on those Church walls, we should not respond with fear but with joy, for we are being insulted because of Christ.

Jesus said,

 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)

In the off chance that those responsible for Sunday’s vandalism read this blog post, understand that your words are a massive misfire. At the end of the day, you haven’t condemned these churches, you’ve commended them for following Jesus.

I also want you to know this, the very idea that you see as reprehensible may well be something good, and more wonderful than you realise. Just as we know that while humanity’s intent in crucifying Jesus was hateful, God used the cross for love. Jesus willingly went to his crucifixion out of love for the very people who despised him and called for his death. On the cross Jesus cried out,

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”


This is how Drew Mellor, Senior Minister of Glen Waverley Anglican Church, responded, and that’s how we Christians need to keep responding. We can’t hold onto grudges or respond vindictively because we know how much we have been loved and forgiven by God. My own church has been graffitied over the years; it’s annoying, and I understand that it can also be hurtful. But then we remember how we once stood on the other side of the cross and tried to define reality without God.

It is because of Divine grace and love that Christians speak, and we want to persuade our fellow Australians about Jesus Christ, and yes, even about the goodness of marriage, and why it makes sense for marriage to remain between a man and a woman. Should the population and politicians decide otherwise, they can. Should the law change, it will redefine how we view society and how we treat those who cannot support those changes. While the graffiti is probably (un)intentional hyperbole, Australian Christians need to wake up to the fact that the culture has moved. The Bible has always taught that there is a cost for those who follow Christ. Through a combination of grace and complacency, most of us have we’ve avoided paying. We are just beginning to sense that things are changing, and that the historical bubble in which we’ve been living is about to burst, and we will find ourselves where Christians for most of history have lived, on the outside of society.

Therefore, in light of this probability,

 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12)

 

 

In accordance with s 6(5) of the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017, this communication was authorised by Murray Campbell , of Melbourne, Victoria.

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The ongoing offence of the Gospel and of Sydney Anglican Diocese

My brothers and sisters in the Sydney Anglican diocese have donated $1 million to aid the ‘no’ vote on the marriage campaign. The almost instantaneous public backlash following the announcement was as surprising as hay fever in Spring. Critics jumped on board to advise the Diocese as to how they should be using their money.

A balanced media report would have explained how the Diocese uses all its funds, including the near million dollars raised to help Syrian refugees, the huge sums invested into Anglicare, and the even larger sums that are raised annually within churches for many different projects. Naturally, there is more to the story than social media is sharing, but examining the fuller picture isn’t what critics do best. Fairfax once again performed valiantly as they lifted a facebook comment by one Sydney Minister, cutting and pasting his opinion with the surgical skill of my 3 year old pet dog.

I am not saying that I finally agree with their decision (Baptist blood runs thick!), it was not my decision to make and I am not privy to conversations inside the Standing Committee. I am grateful though that the Sydney Diocese is treating this issue with the seriousness it deserves, and they are prepared to back up their words with action and money. Archbishop Glenn Davies is correct in his analysis of the current debate and of the consequences that will inevitably follow should marriage be redefined.

“I believe that a change in the definition of marriage is unwarranted, not just because it is in opposition to the teaching of Scripture and our Lord himself in Matthew 19, but because I believe marriage, traditionally understood as a union of one man and one woman, is a positive good for our society, where marriage and the procreation of children are bound together as the foundational fabric of our society, notwithstanding the sad reality that not all married couples are able to conceive. Moreover, I consider the consequences of removing gender from the marriage construct will have irreparable consequences for our society, for our freedom of speech, our freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. It is disingenuous to think otherwise, given the evidence to the contrary in Canada, the US and the UK.”

Same-sex marriage is about redefining society. It is about degendering  the family unit, and removing the rights of  children to be raised by their biological mother and father.  Numerous social activists are telling us how marriage is only the next stage of the much larger agenda to remove gender altogether and remove religion from public society.

Mauvre Marsden wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald (Oct 4),

“Yes, marriage is not the final frontier. Yes, we want safe schools. Yes, gay conversion therapy is child abuse. Yes, we want transgender kids’ agency to be respected and supported – regardless of what their parents want. Yes.”

Auberry Perry argued in The Age (Sept 3),

“This survey offers us a conscious opportunity to make a firm stand in support of a secular government and to reject discrimination or favouritism based on religion. It’s our opportunity to say that religion has no part in the shaping of our laws. A vote against same-sex marriage is a vote for religious bias and discrimination in our legislation, our public schools, our healthcare, and ultimately, in the foundation of our social structure.”

If the same-sex marriage activists are telling us the truth about their aims, surely we are loving our neighbours by trying to speak up about the good of marriage.

 

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Sydney Anglican Media

There is one particular criticism over the Diocesan donation that I wish to comment on, and it is coming from a few Christians who are suggesting that this will make evangelism more difficult. I understand the point, but I don’t buy it.

People will always be offended by the Gospel and by Christians expressing God’s righteousness.

Society has its own grid for defining moral rights and wrongs, and this isn’t always in tune with God’s righteousness. Sometimes when the culture says I’m a hypocrite, I am acting like a hypocrite. Other times, society just doesn’t like the fact that I’m not agreeing with them. Believing something different to the culture doesn’t make me hypocritical.

As Christians we want to be wise and not glibly explain away offences people may take at us, for it may well be that we ourselves have been blinded by our own sins and it takes an unbeliever to point it out to us. The reality is, the Sydney Diocese has a positive track record of acknowledging wrongdoing and seeking restitution. Last night’s domestic violence policy is the latest testimony to this. I even suspect that Sydney Anglicans are doing a better job than most in serving society’s vulnerable and needy. This may be partly due to the means available to them, but it’s partly because they’re living out what they preach and believe. It is however foolish to suggest that any current social milieu holds truth captive and is the arbiter of moral axioms, and that’s precisely the problem here – the Diocese isn’t conforming to the controlling pattern of our culture.

Same sex marriage was only one of several important social issues being addressed at Synod, including their important policy dealing with domestic abuse. This news story has received some media attention, but pales in comparison to the $1 million donation. Why? Because Sydney Anglicans gave the money to the “wrong” side. Alan Joyce’s $1 million donation and the free advertising given by the NRL are lauded because they conform to the set narrative. I guarantee that if a Christian denomination had donated money to the ‘yes’ campaign, the media would be praising them for their love and boldness.

I don’t believe Sydney’s donation will make evangelism harder, it simply affirms how hard it already is. Who knows, instead of fearing that critics and heretics will take another swing at the Church, perhaps in God’s kindness, this may create new  Gospel opportunities as people in our community see that someone has the guts to stand and be counted.

My caution to Christians is this, be very careful about defining our decisions by public opinion. I’m not saying that the beliefs and ideas of people around us don’t matter to us, but it’s the wrong starting question. We ought to first ask, how we can faithfully and wisely apply what we believe to be true and good in God’s word. We won’t always get this right, but I am thankful for those Churches and denominations who are trying.

 

 

In accordance with s 6(5) of the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017, this communication was authorised by Murray Campbell , of Melbourne, Victoria.

The age of post-reality

After only one season, the AFLW dream has come to end. The AFL has taken the drastic step to remove the women’s football competition, following the publication of a report on gender by Associate Prof. Damien Riggs and Dr. Clare Bartholomaeus of Flinders University. Apparently, it wouldn’t be fair on women footballers to be segregated from the AFL on account of their sex. From 2018, women will be allowed to enter the draft, and word is, there’s no differences between men and women, and so they’ll do just fine. It is believed that one of the club doctors expressed concerns about the move, but he’s since been sacked, and so shouldn’t pose any further threat to the progress of society.

Not wanting to be left behind, soccer Australia has announced that the Matildas and the Socceroos will be merging: the neutered wombats. Given the recent form by our women’s team, experts anticipate that the new national team to jump through the world rankings, sitting just above Brazil.

It is expected that this year’s cohort of medical students will be the worse since 1968. Ever since words like vagina and penis were banned in class, students are unable to identify human anatomy in their exams

Expectant parents are also among the throng who are dodging the bullet of common sense. When a newborn … passes through the …. canal, obstetricians can no longer tell if it is a boy or a girl. The parents, not wanting to force biology onto their children, leave it sexless and nameless, until such time that XYZ decides what it wants to be. One now former doctor made the unforgivable blunder, calling the life form, a human. It is possible however, that after a public letter of apology and taking reprogramming course in one of the nation’s tertiary uneducated institutions, she may be reissued with a licence to practice.

All this stems from a study conducted by Associate Prof. Damien Riggs and Dr. Clare Bartholomaeus, After spending many hours watching youtube videos, they wrote a series of recommendations for schools, urging them to avoid language that might suggest a person’s gender. The reason being, it may cause some children distress.

They have proposed that school staff refrain from calling boys and girls, boys and girls, and cease sporting activities where children are divided by their gender

According to the story in today’s The Australian,

“Gender could be stripped from classroom talks about sex and anatomy, with body parts described according to their function rather than being considered “male” or “female”, in a proposal by two academics to make school sex education more inclusive of transgender youth.

The terms “penis” and “vagina” could be replaced with gender-neutral terms, while reproduction and safe sex could be taught without referring to “sperm and eggs”.

Channel 7 reported,

“The authors said the aim of the report was to offer Australian policymakers and educators alternative ways to consider sexual health education.”

I have a growing empathy for the science community. Prof Richard Dawkins and his apocalyptic horse buddies have been decrying anti-science and pseudo-science for years, but they’ve been targeting the wrong group of people. It’s not Christians and theists who are the danger to rational thinking, it’s the new wave of university teachers and social commentators who insist that boys and girls must be anything other than boys and girls. Identifying the person standing in front of me has become more perplexing than figuring out a Jackson Pollock painting.

 

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There is such a thing known as ‘gender dysphoria’, where a child or adult feels as though their gender does not match their biological body. It is rare, with about 0.52% of people experiencing some form of transgenderism. It is also known that most children who experience some kind of dysphoria will grow out of it by adulthood. We must love and support these people, for they are made the image of God and have inherent worth. It is vital that our schools and society and churches be safe places for them. However, we are surely entering dangerous territory when  we must desist in applying and even mentioning basic human biology and sociology.

Finally, Riggs and Bartholomaeus have today rigorously denied any link between their de-gendering agenda with the current debate about genderless marriage.

Among their recommendations for schools are:

Philosophy and ethos

• Mission-and-values statement of school includes celebration of diversity, specifically naming gender

• Signs and posters in school celebrate gender diversity, including in the front office

• Written statements about philosophy and ethos that are followed through in practice

Policies, procedures, and guidelines

Bullying, harassment, physical safety, and discrimination:

○ Policies naming gender, gender diversity, and transphobia (including mention of transphobic bullying and language, deliberate ongoing use of incorrect names and pronouns, etc.)

○ Policies outlining consequences for such transphobic actions for students and staff

○ Procedures for dealing with complaints relating to discrimination and harassment

○ Procedure for recording incidents

Dress codes

○ All options for school uniforms and dress codes (including in relating to jewelry and make-up) available to all students, including for sport, formals/proms, and other activities

○ All options for dress codes available to all staff

Toilets/bathrooms and change rooms

○ Student facilities accessible to students according to affirmed gender (or individual transgender students’ preferences)

○ “All gender” toilets/bathrooms available for all students to have access to, if they choose

○ Staff toilets/bathrooms accessible by staff according to their affirmed gender (or individual transgender staff members’ preferences)

○ “All gender” toilets/bathrooms available for all staff to have access to, if they choose

○ Building of new facilities to consider individual facilities (e.g., individual toilet stalls)

  School camps

○ Transgender students consulted about their preferred options for sleeping arrangements when attending school camps; students placed with other students of their affirmed gender, unless they have concerns and then a suitable arrangement should be agreed upon (e.g., placing with friends)

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15532739.2017.1355648

 

In accordance with s 6(5) of the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017, this communication was authorised by Murray Campbell , of Melbourne, Victoria.

Footnote: the opening paragraphs are satirical