Rainbow political activists are coming for your Christian school.
During the same-sex marriage plebiscite, Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster was a spokesperson for Australian Marriage Equality.
In a debate with me on Sky News, Forster, a lesbian, said Christian schools’ freedoms would not be affected by the change to the marriage law.
“Religious institutions and schools are free and are protected by our existing legislation and our constitution to teach their beliefs. That will not change because same-sex couples can get married,” she said (the footage is now off-line).
Forster was either misinformed or was lying for votes.
Fast-forward four years and the demonisation of Christian schools for promoting Christian sexual ethics is ramping up.
Not content with confecting outrage at Citipointe Christian College for its Christian enrolment policies, rainbow political activists have turned their guns on Penrith Christian School west of Sydney.
Its statement of faith came under fire in the Daily Telegraph yesterday.
“A Sydney school has told parents that being gay or transgender is in the same category as being in an abusive relationship, as part of its enrolment application,” the Telegraph breathlessly reported.
According to the Telegraph, Penrith Christian College’s statement of faith says:
Sexual relationships should be exercised exclusively in a marital relationship between a male and female.
Adultery, same sex attraction, transgender identity, premarital sex, sexual acts between members of the same sex and abusive relationships, are all examples of relationships and behaviours which are not acceptable to God.
So what? Water is wet. It may not suit cultural elites, but Christian teaching sees all of the above and more as sinful.
This is not controversial – Christianity has always preached that all of us (me included) are sinners and that all of us need a saviour, Jesus Christ.
No one is forced to believe but society has always tolerated Christianity and for most of our history has publicly nurtured and promoted Christian ethics as good for all.
The sexual revolution changed this because it rejects the idea of sin and sees the public proclamation of certain behaviours as sinful as “oppressive”.
Tolerance is gone and the pathologising of faithful Christians has begun.
The rainbow political movement is now on a Jihad to strip parents of the right, which is supported in international law, to educate their children in the values and beliefs of their religion.
Hence the vitriol towards Christian schools as the Morrison Government feebly attempts to undo the damage to freedom of religion and speech caused by the de-gendering of marriage in law back in 2017.
Many, including former Prime Minister John Howard, warned that protections for religious freedom would be needed before, not after, same-sex marriage was legislated.
Sadly the Morrison Government has had protecting freedom of religion on the go-slow and Morrison himself has thrown Christians under the bus.
Meanwhile a biased and ignorant mainstream media continues its attacks on Christians who are left with no political cover.
The Telegraph’s go to in persecuting Penrith Christian College is a “trans advocate” Katherine Wolfgramme who claims to have been given a rough time at an unnamed school (we don’t know whether it was a Christian school) somewhere, sometime.
“I went through hell at school, bullied and discriminated against by many fellow students and some teachers,” she said. “So much harm towards individuals has been committed in the name of Christianity but not once did Jesus Christ discriminate against children, in fact it was the opposite.
“I call on church leaders to put aside their personal beliefs and remember the word of Jesus who said ‘suffer the little children to come unto me for they are innocent’ — not once did he say ‘except this one and that one’.”
While Christians hold the scientific view of biological gender, no serious Christian would ever support bullying or unjustified discrimination against any individual at school (discrimination to protect the rights of others is necessary, particularly girls’ right to private spaces and fairness in sporting competitions).
Wolfgramme of course is not questioned by “journalist” Christopher Harris about the well documented harms to children of puberty blockers, cross sex hormones and irreversible surgery.
He simply assumes that leading gender-confused children by the hand to a clinic for experimental treatment that many are now coming to regret is a self-evident good that must be promoted by Christian schools.
Beating up on Christian schools would not be complete without comment from an academic who says that Christians are harmful to society.
Deakin University’s Associate Professor in Sociology of Religion Dr Anna Halafoff said the discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender students was out of line with mainstream values.
She noted in the United States a lot of young people had left Pentecostal churches because their views on sexuality and gender identity were not in line with their own.
“This is the real problem here, how can we live in a society that allows certain views which then harm others. That’s highly problematic and our awareness is increasingly of the importance of human rights when it comes to gender, sexuality, race and religion,” she said.
“There are other more extreme religious practices which are banned by the law (in Australia) and should stay banned by the law.
“One of the great strengths of our multicultural, multifaith society is that diversity is respected as long as it is within the bounds of a common law.
“To me it seems absurd the Morrison Government said before the draft of the current bill they would not allow practices which would discriminate against students but why then allow practices that would discriminate against teachers.”
The war against Christian schools has only just begun. Scott Morrison’s capitulation in the face of the attack on Citipointe is the reason Christians don’t put their hope in politicians.
Lyle Shelton is Director of Campaigns and Communication for the Christian Democratic Party. A former managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Lyle was a spokesperson for and director of the Coalition for Marriage during the same-sex marriage plebiscite. He graduated from a Christian school and his four children attended Christian schools. To keep in touch with Lyle's political commentary, sign up here.