While Christian Porter has delayed the introduction of the Religious Freedom Bill until 2021 due to COVID-19, the Attorney-General Jill Hennessy has sought to make hay while the sun shines. Hennessy has introduced the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 into the Victorian Parliament, and it has already passed the first reading.
There are a plethora of problems associated with this particular Bill, which Murray Campbell has outlined here. But if you think that this affects only those in pox-Victoria, then you’d be wrong. Just consider this section from one of the Bill’s many addendums:
What does this mean? Will the Victorian police seek to extradite someone in NSW—or even an Australian citizen living overseas—who sought to persuade their transgender family member not to cut off their breasts or penis?
Or what about a Christian bookseller who has a national distribution which sells into Victoria. Under this proposed legislation if they sold a commentary on the New Testament letter of 1 Corinthians or Romans that refers to homosexuality as sinful, will they be prosecuted and hauled before the Victorian Courts?
Then there’s the case of a Christian doctor who professionally counsels or refers someone who identifies as LGBTIQ and wants to abandon that particular lifestyle. Under this particular legislation they would also be open to prosecution.
What’s more, will anyone be allowed a conscience vote on any of this? Talk about a massive over-reach. But then again, this is Daniel Andrews ‘Danistan’ that were referring too here. The same government that has channelled their inner Marxist during the latest pandemic in shutting down the entire economy and community.
The issue becomes even more significant when you start to drill down on the specifics. Because the devil really is in the details. From my reading of the Bill there are at least ten major areas of concern:
First, someone can be prosecuted even if the person involved had consented to changing their sexual identity or behaviour.
Second, a forbidden practice includes—but is not limited to—counselling or even offering prayer!
Third, the person making the allegation can remain completely anonymous, thus preventing the accused any right to know who is making the complaint.
Fourth, there is a complete re-definition as to what now qualifies as domestic violence.
Fifth, harassment is now even distributing literature which promotes that a person can change.
Sixth, if a person is found guilty then the Commission can send a person off for re-education.
Seventh, following on from this, persons who have been found guilty will be include measures to enforce that they ‘comply with the Act’.
Eight, those found guilty will be put on a public register to be ‘named-and-shamed’.
Nine, traditional Christian doctrine is now the subject of criminal prosecution. Murray Campbell says that in an Explanatory memo—which doesn’t hold as much legal weight as the Bill itself but that a Court may refer to the explanatory note—The Health Complaints Commissioner’s Report for the Government, adds this information:
Conversion therapy/practices reinforced homosexuality as a form of ‘brokenness’ and Church teachings that homosexuality is sinful.
Ten, following on from this, what would have only a short while ago been considered a virtue, a report from The Human Rights Law Centre has denounced any such ‘conversion practice’ which includes encouraging someone to remain sexual celibate:
Instead, they are beginning to promote activities designed to help same-sex attracted people live chaste and celibate lives, in accordance with the sexual ethics of their religious traditions.
All this is quite frankly, unbelievable. And incredibly, the mainstream media have been deathly quiet regarding it. Such is the power of the LGBTIQ juggernaut. They have become he/she/it who must be obeyed. Otherwise it’s off to the gulags.
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Mark Powell is the pastor at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Strathfield (NSW), a multi-site church with five successful locations. His show, "Cultural Markisms", hosts discussions about culture with various guests. Mark has a comfortable ability to articulate Truth about contentious issues to a wider audience, and he is frequently published in various publications where his articles often appear in the most popular list.