Yesterday morning in a Brisbane church the pastor got up to preach his sermon. Before commencing, he felt it important to prepare the gathered flock for the federal election this Saturday. He shared from the book of Joshua in the 5th chapter, where Joshua asks the Lord, appearing before him as a man with a drawn sword, whose side He was on: if He was on the side of the Israelites or those who were against them.

The Man answered, “No.”

The pastor explained from this Scripture we can see that God takes no sides, and just as Joshua worshiped Him and asked what His will was, so should the congregation. The pastor taught that blind loyalty to one party or another couldn’t be supported by Scripture, but that from Scripture we can see God is deeply interested in justice, and expects His people to intervene wherever they see oppression.

The pastor sensitively identified that in this election, two such issues being debated and campaigned on are access to abortion and freedom of religion, and that people should consider their votes by choosing candidates who support God’s view of such things. Wisely, at no stage did he advocate for any named party or politician.

However there was one lady in the congregation of more than 200 present that morning who was upset by these remarks. We will call her Jane (all names used are not real names). She arose and left the sanctuary to compose herself. Liz, a senior lady in church leadership also left to make sure she was alright.

Jane was joined by her daughter, and Fran, a social worker who was employed under NDIS funding to drive Jane to and from church due to an anxiety condition so severe that she can’t drive herself. Fran only needed to drop Jane off and pick her up, but Fran elected to stay.

Jane is a new believer, and later confirmed to the pastor that what he’d shared was not merely his opinion, but the Word of God. The person who was not prepared to be reasonable or rational was the government-funded social worker, Fran.

Fran was furious that the pastor had dared to mention abortion from the pulpit. She claimed he had no right to say what he had said, “How dare he!” She liberally vented her anger at poor Liz in the post-service socialising – in front of the client suffering from an acute anxiety condition she was being paid to support.

My question is, how dare she? Who does Fran think she is to enter a private place of worship, hear a pastor teach from Scripture, and then grant herself licence to publicly lecture him on the audacity to literally do his job? This is the spirit of the State Religion, secular humanism. Individuals believe it is heretical and immoral to teach the Word of God, and are themselves authorised to punish & condemn any contradiction of the status quo.

The public persecution, trial by media and condemnation of Israel Folau is clearly not an isolated example. It is now considered perfectly normal for disciples of relativism to demand penalties for not just unwavering public faith, but even in a church on Sunday. Make no mistake; this will only get more common & serious unless the brazen attack on religious freedom is staunched.

It’s inadequate to describe Fran as a snowflake, and hardly does justice to the gross unprofessionalism she displayed as a social worker. To be so engorged with rage that she lost all regard for her client’s welfare but worse, exacerbated Jane’s anxiety condition by indulging in an obscene tirade against a minister in his own church deserves professional consequences.

Would she have been so bold if she had been employed to drive a Muslim lady to a mosque and the local Imam had offended her precious sensibilities? Would she have dared shirtfront him after the service while 200 people enjoyed a quiet cuppa around her?

Fran and radical secularists like her have no real moral authority. Referencing social acceptance or popular opinion has been wrong in many times and places where slavery, segregation & worse was accepted & practiced – it is no reliable standard. Appealing to personal truth – an oxymoron – is likewise fraught with too many examples of dictators & tyrants who lost no sleep oppressing & even murdering entire societies.

One might reject Scriptural authority, and that is everyone’s God-given right, but none can accuse a believer referencing those objective standards of self-righteousness. These values are intrinsically & inseparably woven into the foundations of Western democracy and to erode them is to recklessly risk the entire civilisation.

The reality is that this pastor is doing exactly the right thing, and the only scandal is that his message wasn’t repeated in every congregation yesterday. As Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached with the same divine authority, “The Church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the Church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

This election is not only about the taxpayer-funded violation of others’ fundamental human rights, which we should all be concerned about. The other great threat present in this election is the right & freedom to even exercise the responsibility of speaking out against injustice and expressing a personal conviction contrary to the status quo.

The health of a democracy doesn’t only depend on the checks & balances of free elections & free media, but also free dissent. If government is further authorised by naive people to outlaw unapproved opinions, then not only will Christian schools be forced to employ people who believe the Bible is irrelevant and athletes banned from posting Scripture to their personal social media channels, but even pastors will be persecuted in their own churches for preaching the uncompromised Word of God.

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