16 May 2019
Bruce Logan says that should the Australian Rugby Union and Israel Folau find themselves in court, it will be a watershed case on the nature of freedom in this part of the world. He argues that the legalisation of same-sex marriage reconstructed civil order by giving the state the kind of power it could only misuse, and that in redefining marriage the state reinforced its own power and intensified the reach of identity politics. The outcome of that over-reach is the struggle between freedom of religious belief and expression and the freedom to express the new faux religion of one’s chosen sexual identity and behaviour.
The Australian Rugby Union, Qantas, ASICS and many New Zealand commentators’ promotion of diversity, inclusion and tolerance to condemn Israel Folau is the smoke and mirrors of identity politics.
They would have everyone submit to their selective ethical restraints. The irony is explicit. Their ideology is a heresy reconstructed from the faith they find so unpalatable.
Without Christianity the illusory trinity could not have seen the light of day. It is a parasite transforming the Biblical imperative to love one another into an ideology that would switch the meaning of tolerance, from graciously enduring the intolerable to embracing it. To love the sinner is to love the sin.
The meta-narrative of Western nations for nearly 2000 years, has declared everyone to be a sinner who must repent to be saved. The dramatic tension has always been between the believer and the unbeliever. One can state it boldly or try to sugar-coat it; the message remains the same.
George Orwell was right when he said,” in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Conditioned, as we now are, by the universal deceit of cultural-Marxism called progressivism, quoting Scripture is a revolutionary act.
The struggle is no longer between the worker and the “capitalist”. Rather it is about being liberated from the victimisation of our Christian past. Male and female can’t possibly be made in God’s image, marriage cannot possibly be between only a man and a woman and my dignity and identity are not given to me by God. I am the sole judge and shaper of my dignity and identity.
Hence the overriding power and authority of identity politics. Moral guilt is no longer about one’s character. It is about how one reacts to the changing social imperatives of racism, sexism, homophobia and so on. We have a new political age without principles other than the cultic dictates of identity politics.
“Cultic practices“ too severe? Well, no. Salvation depends on their observance. Failure to observe them incurs the punishment inflicted by its deity, Hypocritus, the goddess of phobias, recently discovered mystical daughter of Dolos and the Roman equivalent, Mendacius.
We are participating in a breakdown in the logic of civilisation. The Israel Folau affair is just one dramatic illustration of the malignant hypocrisy that is finding its way from academia to commerce and industry and even the sports field. Any claim to religious truth or national identity is swamped by an endless discovery of the most recent phobia and tests of identity purity. Mindless invective from “marginalised” people is embraced by many media commentators who appear blissfully unaware that the language of “marginalisation” is designed to intimidate.
The sentimentalised new Gospel declares that men and women are victims rather than sinners. They don’t need to be liberated from their sin but from their victimhood. They are not creatures responsible to their creator, but autonomous and diverse individuals to be tolerated and embraced. Failure to believe means one must be silenced, re-educated or punished.
The pseudo-theology of autonomy would elevate the new ideology of sexual belief and expression to a human right competing with the old negative right to religious belief and expression. This struggle has been going on, with increasing intensity, since the legalisation of same-sex marriage. The Israel Folau affair has simply brought the seriousness of the consequences into sharper relief. Should the Australian Rugby Union and Israel Folau find themselves in court it will be a watershed case on the nature of freedom in this part of the world.
The legalisation of same-sex marriage reconstructed civil order by giving the state the kind of power it could only misuse. Prior to the legalisation of same-sex marriage, marriage was not an invention of the state or the church. Marriage and its natural consequence, the intergenerational family, was the original and sovereign institution of civil society which protected individuals by acting as a counterweight to overriding state power. In redefining marriage the state reinforced its own power and intensified the reach of identity politics.
The outcome of that over-reach is the struggle between freedom of religious belief and expression and the freedom to express the new faux religion of one’s chosen sexual identity and behaviour. So we must review history and social order through the labyrinth of sanctioned victimhood. Failure to assent is to be labelled “homophobe”, or more recently “transphobe”.
It must be apparent to many New Zealanders that democracy is imperilled. We have forgotten that freedom of religious belief and expression is democracy’s foundation; that it is the basic freedom that encourages citizens to cooperate and the rationale for freedom of speech. Only when citizens share this freedom can the nation-state retain confidence to preserve its identity and protect its citizens.
The virtues of loyalty, truthfulness, trust and responsibility are learned by example and habit in the continuing context of the intergenerational family. It is this institution that is foundational to a practical and disciplined understanding of freedom. Without an ordered family life democracy cannot stand. And an ordered family life is a consequence of transference from generation to generation of a belief in transcendent truth. The promulgation of identity politics relativism is an attack on family order and the God-given dignity of each individual.
Should the freedom to express one’s chosen sexual identity and behaviour become a human right contesting the right to religious freedom of belief and expression, even the right to the ambiguous freedom of conscience will fade because the only authority will be personal opinion.
All the conflicting chatter about freedom, dignity and identity, rights, inclusion and tolerance will be controlled by state decree. The kind of freedom so eagerly grasped for by the identity cultists will turn out to be nothing other than chasing after wind. But that will not be the worst outcome.
They will also have destroyed the foundation on which real freedom rests.
Bruce Logan is a Board Member of Family First New Zealand