Religious Discrimination Bill needed to ‘draw a line in the sand’, says Christensen

Si Gladman / 09 March 2021

Conservative government MP George Christensen is hopeful that new religious discrimination laws can “draw a line in the sand” for Christians as they face an “existential fight” for their freedoms in Australia.

Speaking to a webinar hosted by the conservative Christian group Family Voice Australia on Monday, Christensen said the proposed legislation was needed to push back on what he called “soft totalitarianism” by corporations and the media in limiting the freedom of expression on issues such as LGBTIQ affirmation.

“We really do need to draw a line in the sand. And I think that the Religious Discrimination Bill – which I hope gets a name change to be the ‘religious liberty bill’ – is something that can push back against this,” he said.

“It’s very very important that we have organisations like Family Voice to be pushing back against that because this is an existential fight. If we actually lose the fight for freedom of faith, you’ve just about lost everything. If you can’t speak freely about your beliefs in the public square, what can you do? You’re relegated to just speaking about it in hushed tones within your own congregations.”

The Liberal-National Party member from Queensland revealed in the webinar that his efforts to introduce to the federal parliament new abortion legislation was being driven by a desire to push back.

Christensen has written to the Prime Minister and other government leaders seeking their support for the government to sponsor his Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Bill 2021. Failing that, he said would introduce it as a private member’s bill in the House of Representatives as soon as March 22. 

“I am, for one, sick of being on the receiving end of fights. It seems that in every stoush that happens in politics, as it concerns people of faith or concerns issues that we are passionate about, we’re always forever reacting and trying to stop some new law,” he said.

“There have been only two instances that I can think of where the push has come the other way – one is in the Religious Discrimination Bill and the other one is in the bill that I have put forward.”

The #DontDivideUs campaign opposing the Religious Discrimination Bill is warning that, in its current form, the legislation will provide people of faith with a ‘sword’ instead of a ‘shield’, opening the way to widespread discrimination against Australians of no religion and many other sections of society.

Asked how Christians could start to win the ‘culture war’, Christensen said they need to gain power of key institutions.

In late February, he was among many Christian Right leaders who attended the controversial Church & State summit in Brisbane. The event has been linked to Dominionist theology, which seeks to install Christianity as the controlling power in seven major spheres of influence in society – education, religion, family, business, government/military, arts/entertainment and the media.

“What we can say is that the Left, clearly, over a long, long period of time, captured the institutions of the culture that you’re talking about. So that’s been what they call ‘the long march’. All I can think of is that we must undertake the same thing,” he told the webinar.

“The problem is…there is now this push to silence people and cancel them from public life. So what’s happening there is that the Left are ring-fencing the institutions to ensure that they don’t get infected by traditional orthodox Bible-believing Christians. That’s a very big problem.”

#DontDivideUs is backed by the Rationalist Society of Australia and other pro-secular community groups. You can support the campaign here.

Si Gladman is Campaigns & Communications Coordinator at the Rationalist Society of Australia. You can contact him at sigladman@rationalist.com.au.

Photo credit: Aditya Joshi on Unsplash 

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