In response to Daniel Andrews’ Change or Suppression Practices Bill, the Presbyterian Church of Australia stands poised to defy the recent legislation. As has previously been reported, there are a plethora of problems with the bill — which has significant legal repercussions also for people outside of the state — and it was recently passed by the Victorian Upper House without amendment, with a cross-party group of politicians also vowing to push a similar proposal in the New South Wales Parliament. According to the Star Observer:
The group is made up of NSW parliamentarians from across the party spectrum. Members include Liberal MLC Shayne Mallard, Labor MLC Penny Sharpe, Greens MP Jenny Leong and Independent MP Alex Greenwich.
Significantly, the former deputy Prime Minister of Australia, John Anderson, has said about the Victorian legislation:
A law before the Victorian parliament seeking to outlaw parental, therapeutic or religious discussions on issues of sexuality and gender is the biggest threat to our democratic freedoms in Australia’s entire legislative history.
In response, the Moderator General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, Rev. Dr. Peter Barnes, has requested that all Presbyterian ministers “preach the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27) and preach not only that all sex outside of marriage — between a man and a woman — is sinful, but that all Christians should actively seek to pray for LGBTIQ people to turn away from both their behaviour and desires. As Dr Barnes argues:
The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill has now passed through both houses of the Victorian parliament. It forbids any attempt to change or suppress, or induce any person to change or suppress, his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. Prayer or counselling designed to change a person, even at that person’s request, is prohibited. In short, this means that sexual preference is protected by law, as is any person’s gender preference. Homosexual sex is not permitted to be called ‘sin’, and a male today can claim to be a female tomorrow.
Significantly, the Victorian legislation makes it illegal for a parent to pray for their own child, even if they had requested them to do so. As such, Dr. Barnes believes that it is right for Christians to defy the governing authority such as,
“When King Darius exceeded his God-given authority, Daniel did ‘as he had done previously’.”
~ Daniel 6:10
What has now become clear is that with the redefinition of marriage, Australian society has crossed the proverbial Rubicon. For this was never about marriage, but power. And as such, it’s only a matter of time before the debate in Victoria comes to public prominence in New South Wales. The only question is, will the Christian leaders in positions within both the church and state have the moral backbone to stand against the tide?