“People do not like Christians who teach Christianity.” – Cardinal George Pell
There remains one more point to make from the miscarriage of justice surrounding Cardinal George Pell.
He was targeted by his enemies at the ABC and elsewhere because of his role in what are known as the “culture wars”.
But first, I want to be clear. I don’t doubt that the overarching motive of many if not most of Pell’s accusers in the media was a genuine hatred of child sexual abuse.
Both left and right, in good faith, agree that this is a despicable crime and that it is despicable that it was ever found in the Catholic church. Those of us who are Christians are forever shamed that survivors and their families were in too many cases treated poorly and that there were cover-ups.
Sadly, what is overlooked in much of the media narrative is that Pell was one of the first senior Catholics to take the problem seriously and deal with it through his Melbourne Response in the mid 1990s.
As Pell pointed out in his interview on Sky this week with Andrew Bolt, virtually all of the offending in the Catholic Church had ceased by the mid-1990s.
That is not to in any way diminish the pain or the right to justice for victims no matter how long ago they were wronged.
But as has been said repeatedly, corrupting the justice system so an innocent man is jailed for the crimes of others does not deliver justice to victims.
That simply satisfies the lynch mob, something that should be eschewed by civil society.
After listing scores of the failed charges against Pell and describing their impossibility in great detail, Bolt presses Pell for reasons as to why he was targeted.
At one point, Pell responds:
“Certainly people do not like Christians who teach Christianity, especially on life, family and issues like that. They get very, very cross.”
Those of us who, like Pell, have publicly campaigned for human rights for the unborn, defended the natural family and stood against the abuse of the vulnerable through euthanasia, found these words of Pell’s resonating.
We have felt the anger of the cultural left and the libertarian right when we have dared to swim against the tide.
Not only do people in the media, politics and the cultural elites get “very, very cross”, they often get down right angry.
“The culture wars are real,” Pell said.
“There is a systematic attempt to remove the Judeo-Christian legal foundation. The examples are marriage, life, gender, sex – and those who oppose that.”
The same-sex marriage campaign coupled with our campaign against teaching children that their gender is fluid stirred up more vitriol than any other campaign during my 10 years serving at the Australian Christian Lobby.
Our office was bombed by a known gay political activist only for this fact to be denied and covered up by the Australian Federal Police.
My home address was placed on the internet by a prominent gay activist as a way of intimidating me, our office received death threats and our events were subject to vile protest and disruption by uncivil activists.
When Pell made his point about the role of the culture wars to Andrew Bolt, he had my attention and I’m sure that of anyone else who has dared cross our cultural gatekeepers.
“Unfortunately there is less rational discussion and more playing the man and more abuse and intimidation. And that’s not good for a democracy,” Pell said.
BOLT: “So you think you are a victim of the culture war here?”
PELL: “I think that contributed.”
I’ll leave the libertarian right to one side for the moment – most of them are useful idiots in the left’s campaign to tear down the good, the true and the beautiful.
The left know their tactics of intimidation work. Most church and conservative leaders have been silent in all of the important debates listed above.
They are frightened by the vitriol, with very real justification.
But Pell was always different. He was well-informed, articulate and he was courageous. Pell gave so much hope to those of us who knew that the culture wars were real and that they needed to be fought on behalf of the vulnerable.
The left knew that if it could catch Pell out in the most egregious hypocrisy it would effectively demolish a good part of the opposition to its agenda.
Their hatred of him for not capitulating on abortion, the natural family and other conservative issues blinded them to the possibility that he deserved a fair go.
Now if Pell was guilty, I would be the first to denounce him and wear the setback to our political battles.
That it seemed like elements of the left, Dan Andrew’s socialist government in Victoria and the taxpayer-funded ABC were intent on nailing him no matter what, was frightening.
If they could get Pell on trumped up charges through a corruption of the judicial system and the public discourse, none of us would have been safe.