The anti-Catholic criticisms and personal attacks on Dominic Perrottet before and after being appointed the NSW Premier reveal how dangerous and virulent secular critics are in denouncing Christianity and seeking to banish religion from the public square.
Instead of tolerance and embracing the Woke mantra of endorsing ‘diversity and difference’ anyone who dares remain true to their faith and who has the courage to publicly acknowledge their deeply held beliefs is vilified and abused.
In the Sydney Morning Herald, even before the decision had been made, Stephanie Dowrick condemned Perrottet as a “highly conservative Catholic” and accuses him of “an authoritarian perspective that believes a highly conservative, white, male-dominated hierarchy is divinely ordained”.
On the MamaMia website Gemma Bath also highlights Perrottet’s faith as a grievous fault, describing him as key member of the Liberal Party’s “conservative right faction” and writing “As a woman, and a supporter of LGBTIQA+ communities, I am particularly nervous”.
In an example of what George Orwell describes as doublethink, while agreeing religion and politics “can co-exist” Bath also provides an extensive list of issues where she believes Perrottet will unjustly impose his religious views. Issues ranging from abortion and transgenderism to gender-neutral pronouns and domestic violence.
Other examples of using religion to undermine Perrottet’s legitimacy as premier include clothing him in cardinal red robes on the Crikey website and in a critique published on the Jacobin website arguing Perrottet is connected to Opus Dei and guilty of holding “reactionary opinions”.
At the same time secular critics argue against Catholics like Premier Perrottet publicly expressing religious beliefs, the contradiction is they adhere to a quasi-religious ideology they believe has every right to be heard and acted upon.
Extreme secular ideology stems from neo-Marxist critical theory where the holy books are Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto. In addition to Marx and Engels its prophets include the Italian Antonio Gramsci and French theorists including Michael Foucault, Louis Althusser and Pierre Bourdieu.
It’s disciples include Lenin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara and like many religions this secular ideology promises the end to discord and suffering and redemption for all once its promise of utopia is fulfilled.
You will conform to what we say …
Any who fail to conform are sinners and all other beliefs systems condemned as heretical. Initiates hold their extreme secular beliefs are all encompassing and must inform personal lives and behaviour as well as determining public policy and government legislation.
As well as an example of what George Orwell describes as double-think those committed to eradicating religion from the public square ignore the inherent right to religious freedom and freedom of expression guaranteed by international agreements.
Australia is a signatory to The International Covenant on Political and Legal Rights that states each citizen must be free “to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching”.
Banning faith from Australian life
Those seeking to ban religion from the public square and government policy often argue as Australia is a secular society religion must be a private affair. Ignored is that as Jesus said “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”.
In addition, unlike Islamic nations like Iran and Saudi Arabia, Australia is not a theocracy where religious rulers control government. While religious freedom is not protected as is the case with the American Constitution Section 116 our constitution does state the commonwealth government:
“…shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.”
A culture underpinned by Christianity
At the same time, and while acknowledging Section 116, it is wrong to argue Christianity has no role to play in how we are governed. As argued by the Perth based legal academic Augusto Zimmermann in Christian Foundations of the Common Law:
“When considered alongside the development of colonial laws, the adoption of the English common-law tradition and American system of federation, it is evident that the foundations of the Australian nation, and its laws, have discernible Christian-philosophical roots.”
While governments cannot mandate a particular religion or impose religious observance the reality is our political and legal systems as well our culture more broadly are underpinned and informed by Christianity.
It’s also true that every decision a person makes is informed by a particular belief system that guides their thoughts and actions no matter how explicit and whether they recognise it or not. In these troubling and deeply disturbing times the fact Premier Perrottet draws on Christianity, instead of criticised and feared, should be applauded.