That claim seems to be the latest tactic to be adopted by the Secularist Army in the fight over the fundamental human right to religious freedom, if yesterday’s Sunday Age was anything to go by.
First there was the opinion piece posing as a news item by Melissa Fyfe, “Religious groups to regain bias rights”. I can hardly recall having ever read such a biased piece of news reporting – even for The Sunday Age, this piece set a new low point in journalistic standards.
Then came the full one and half page (and The Sunday Age has BIG pages) diatribe by David Marr “Faiths rule on sex from bathroom to bedroom”. If the first piece was one of the most biased pieces of journalism I have ever seen, this must be the most self-indulgent. For his own personal reasons, David Marr thinks that his right to express his own sexual preferences in public are greater than the right of religious persons to live out their fundamental spiritual convictions in public.
The only reason a piece like Marr’s could even be taken serious today is because we live in an age in which many people really do think – or have been told to think – that the right to freedom of sexual expression is more fundamental than the right to freedom of religious belief. The irony of the whole thing is that the Secularists are accusing Christians of being the ones who are obsessed with sex, when the boot is clearly on the other foot.
[Nb. In the poll at the bottom of the David Marr article on the internet, the question asked is:
Should religious-based organisations who receive taxpayer funding be allowed to sack people, or refuse to hire them, because of their sexuality?
Thus far the results are Yes 25% No 75% Total votes: 1685.
You still have time to vote, if you don’t mind being forced to express yourself as a bigot just so as to protect your fundamental human right to religious freedom!]
From one point of view though, the Secularists have already conceded an important point. They have conceded – for the time being and however much it galls them – that religious groups have the right to demand a certain sexual mores of at least one category within their employment, namely official religious leaders such as priests and rabbis. What they are attempting to do, however, is to tell us when and in what circumstances our religious beliefs are important or not. That is the real issue here. These oh-so-tolerant determinators of public opinion want to seize the power to be our religious teachers, and to tell us when our demand for morality is reasonable or not.
Just to pick a Scriptural injunction to Christian morality out of the hat, lets take a look at 1 Timothy 1:9-11:
9 This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, 10 fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching 11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
One suspects that David Marr would have no problem with a Christian organisation sacking someone who was a murderer, guilty of patricide or matricide, or a slave trader. Even non-religious companies will sack someone for being a liar or a perjurer. It is clear too why St Paul said that those who do these things are “godless and sinful” – because they are “contrary to the sound teaching that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed of God”.
But of all these things, David Marr and Co. want to tell us we should exchange this “sound teaching” for a new one, one that no longer sees the practice of “fornication” or “sodomy” as “contrary to the sound teaching” we have received.
I submit that it isn’t the Church that’s obsessed with sex.
David Marr and Melissa Fyfe and their ilk could learn a bit from the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18:
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.