Mark Latham: an unlikely ally for religious freedom

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.

More than once, Latham has been described by the media as an ‘avowed atheist’. He once boldly pronounced that “there’s no place for religion in politics”.

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.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below, and be sure to share this article on your social channels.

By |2019-10-09T23:06:20+11:00October 7th, 2019|Australia, Authors, Fairness & Justice, Faith, Freedom, Leadership|15 Comments

About the Author:

Kurt Mahlburg is a qualified primary school teacher and a freelance writer. He blogs at Culture, Worldviews and Life with Jesus, besides writing for the Canberra Declaration and occasionally The Spectator Australia. He has a particular interest in speaking the truths of Jesus into the public square in a way that makes sense to a secular culture and that gives Christians courage to do the same. Kurt has also studied architecture, has lived for two years on a remote island in Indonesia, is fluent in several Indonesian languages, and among his other interests are philosophy, history, surf, the outdoors, and travel.

15 Comments

  1. Raymond Perkins October 7, 2019 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    So very true Mark. Society is being controlled by people determined to restrict freedom, and create a nanny state where only those who agree with them can speak. This country was built on Christian values, and these must be retained at all costs. Keep up the good work.

  2. Graham Cartwright October 7, 2019 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    Thank you Mark Latham for speaking clearly what the greater number of Australian’s believe and think.
    .
    Much appreciated.
    .
    Graham

  3. Rojee October 7, 2019 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Well done Mark Latham

  4. Judith tiley October 8, 2019 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Yes mark the voice of reason. We are a western Christian country that has opened our arms to many but it does not mean we need to put on a burqa and bow to Islam or any other laws but our own. We are the host we are not to be absorbed, fight the fight for us please, this is a very important fight for freedom. Thank you

  5. Damien Rogers October 8, 2019 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    Thank you Mark Latham.

  6. John Schwerdt October 8, 2019 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    At last a Politician who speaks up for Christian belief. We need more like him.

  7. Jenny Bell October 8, 2019 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Well said Mark Latham & agree with you 100%

  8. Jenny Bell October 8, 2019 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Could not have said it better Mark Latham , thank you

  9. Gorica Ristevska October 8, 2019 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Thank you Mark well done 👍

  10. Jan Davies October 8, 2019 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    Our lives are built on Christian values weather you are religious or not. well done Mark Latham.

  11. Terry October 8, 2019 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    I am proud of you taking such a strong stand for Life & Liberty for All. Thank you Mark, Thank you very much.

  12. Frederick Brohier October 8, 2019 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    well done mark

  13. Dawn October 9, 2019 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Thanks Mark, you have the guts to stand up to the bullies and I applaud you for doing so.
    Our beautiful country is being changed terribly. There will be no freedom if we don’t stand against this push.
    I am a Christian and I want my freedom protected as does anyone else, but as an Australian, I pray our law makers wake up to the lunacy being forced on us.
    Thank you.

  14. Jill Dickson October 29, 2019 at 7:43 am - Reply

    Thank you Mark Latham for standing for what is good and true. Freedom to be a Christian is under threat. Our society is instead allowing voices that promote murder and confusion to flourish. We need more Mark Lathams to speak out against this harm.

  15. Shirley Mead October 29, 2019 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Thank you Mark for speaking so clearly to the narrowing and conforming mindset that is so prevalent through the media. Please continue to stand for real freedom of speech and thinking.

Leave A Comment

one + eight =