Christians have found an unlikely ally in agnostic NSW parliamentarian Mark Latham.
Many Australians will remember Mark Latham as the bullish Labor opposition leader seeking to topple John Howard at the 2004 federal election.
But after 14 years of political exile, Mark Latham is back, this time representing the conservative party One Nation.
And this time—to the surprise of many—in vocal support of religious freedom. Last week he submitted a draft private members bill for religious freedom, drawing particular attention to Christians. (You can read the draft bill here).
Christians, says Latham, are increasingly fearful of losing their jobs for speaking openly about their faith or quoting the Bible in the workplace. On the back of the Folau saga, he says, they are even afraid to open their mouths out of hours and on social media.
Alarmingly, he even spoke of Christians who fled religious persecution in other lands, only to find it on Australian shores too.
Back in May, in his maiden speech to the NSW parliament, Latham came out swinging in defence of freedom. It was labelled “the most outstanding political speech I’ve ever read” by radio host Alan Jones—who was also a former speechwriter for PM Malcolm Fraser.
Mark Latham said what too many of us today are afraid to say:
Among the Leftist elites, among the social engineers and cultural dieticians, sneering at our civilisation and its achievements has become their new pastime.
They preach diversity but practice a suffocating cultural conformity, wanting everyone to be just like them.
They argue for inclusion but as soon as a Christian, a conservative, a libertarian, a nationalist, a working class larrikin, an outsider from the vast suburbs and regions of our nation disagrees with them, they crank up their PC-outrage machine to exclude them from society.
They are tolerant of everything except dissenting values and opinions—meaning, of course, they are tolerant of nothing that matters, only themselves.
And it gets better still:
I’m not a Christian but I recognise the vital contribution of Christianity to our civilisation: its vast social and charitable work; its teaching of right and wrong in civil society.
Mr President, I stand with Israel Folau.
In his own private time away from his job playing football, he’s a preacher at his community church and naturally, he quotes the Bible.
He believes, as millions of people have believed for thousands of years, that sinners go to Hell. As per his valid religious faith, he loves the sinner but condemns the sin.
Yet for his beliefs, his Christianity, he is not allowed to play rugby, to chase the pigskin around the park. How did our State and our nation ever come to this? …
Mr President, I believe that no Australian should live in fear of the words they utter.
No Australian should be fearful of proclaiming four of the most glorious words of our civilisation: I Am A Christian.
The bill that Latham wants to introduce in NSW, particularly to protect NSW workers, responds to the Ruddock Religious Freedom Review. The review recommended that NSW and SA should better protect religious freedom by making it “unlawful to discriminate on the basis of a person’s religious belief or activity”.
In submitting the bill, Mark Latham drew particular attention to vague diversity jargon in employment contracts:
“The principle is clear: bosses do not own the private lives of employees, their beliefs, faith and expression of such civil society. We are not a feudal society operating with the indentures of serfdom.”
If you’d like to encourage Mark Latham for his bravery and give your feedback to his bill, please make a written submission to Mark at Mark.Latham@parliament.nsw.gov.au by 1 November 2019.
Take this opportunity to stand with Mark and remind our lawmakers that religious freedom is the foundation of all freedoms—not just for believers but for all Australians.
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