We all know the story of Israel Folau. We’ve seen the backlash against Margaret Court’s views on marriage too. A growing list of Australians are getting in trouble, losing their jobs, and being legally pursued simply for expressing what almost everyone believed about marriage and gender until a few years ago.
You can read of 36 such stories here.
But why does it always seem to be the topic of sexuality that gets us in trouble? In an insightful interview, Australian author and historian Stephen Chavura — who happens to be one of the 36 on the above list — unpacks the reason for this in simple terms.
Christian sexual ethics were regarded as common sense in countries like Australia right up to the 1960s: a man married a woman; sex was reserved for that covenant; children were a natural result; and the family unit was the safe place for children to be raised.
But the Sexual Revolution changed all that. Abortion and the pill turned sex into a childless exchange. This made marriage optional, and it also normalised other childless expressions of sex, like homosexuality.
IVF therapies took this a step further by enabling children to be born in the absence of either a father or a mother, so what the family unit looks like now is limited only to the imagination. And finally, gender itself has come to be seen as unnecessary; indeed there are many today who see gender as an unwelcome ‘social construct’ that should be forgotten.
So in the space of just decades, Christianity has gone from common sense to a social disease. In a dizzying flip, the ‘moral majority’ has become the immoral minority. Christian belief is now a bigotry that must be confronted.
And the Bible itself — the book on which our civilisation was built — is in the process of being redefined as hate speech.
It is clear, then, why sex is at the middle of so many of these legal and cultural disputes — and why Christians are so often those to face the fire first. Though George Orwell wrote before the Sexual Revolution, he understood the direction that secularism was taking us when he cautioned that “the further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”
Another Australian mind to share his sage wisdom on this subject is Australian theologian Michael Bird. In a 2017 ACL lecture, Bird went a step further to suggest that “sexual identity, the sexualisation of culture and its revolutionary politics has filled this God-void and achieved quasi-divine status.” He referred to sex as a kind of state-sanctioned religion in the West.
This is how he put it:
The Sexual Revolution has made sex an idol and reduced personal identity to the summit of sexual desires… [It] has become a belief system with a religious texture. The Sexual Revolution has its own canon of sacred literature — Alfred Kinsey’s “Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male” and Germaine Greer’s “The Female Eunuch.”
It has its own bishops in progressive politicians; its own clergy in journalists and activists. It has its own patron saints — Margaret Sanger… its own theologian and pope in Peter Singer… It has its own sacraments of pornography and abortion. It has its own liturgies of hook-up rituals… the Sexual Revolution has moved out from the hippy communes at Nimbin and the university campus, and is now a state-sanctioned religion which demands obeisance and obedience.
Consequently, our culture is divided between two competing religions: the God of Christian theism who calls us to worship Him and to enjoy Him forever; and we have the eroticised deity of progressives, who want us to worship what it is that turns us on. And in this state religion, it means that every time you hear the Macklemore song Same Love, we’re supposed to bow down before a hundred-foot golden phallus draped in a rainbow flag and utter the creed, “There is no god but Sex and orgasm is his prophet.”
If that is the state religion, then Christians are atheists… we are heretics… [and] Christian views of marriage are not simply incomprehensible, they are reprehensible. You people don’t understand how sick, twisted and weird you look to the world around you.
His lecture, which is worth watching in full, obviously engages in humour and hyperbole. But behind the laughs, Bird is deadly serious.
The lines are becoming more clearly drawn than ever before in Australia’s history. Either we worship the living God, or the state-sanctioned god of sex. If we haven’t made that decision yet, it’s looking like we will have to sooner rather than later.
Have you made up your mind yet who you will worship?