When Australia voted in favour of gay marriage just 5 years ago we were reassured that people against the change had nothing to fear.
When the gay marriage bill was in the Senate I moved an amendment, with a supporter of gay marriage Senator George Brandis, to protect those who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. That amendment failed when almost all of the supporters of gay marriage voted against it.
Last week the Premier of Victoria, Dan Andrews declared that it is a heresy to continue to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. He did so to justify his support for the effective dismissal of the Essendon Football club’s CEO, Andrew Thorburn. Mr Thorburn's "crime" was to be Chair of a Church that subscribed to traditional Christian beliefs.
Mr Thorburn himself did not state any heretical beliefs, for him it was guilt by association. A pastor at his Church had given a sermon stating that according to Christian beliefs sexual acts outside of marriage were sinful, and that abortion would one day be looked upon as barbaric as the Holocaust. The fact that the offending sermon was in 2013, before Mr Thorburn was even Chair of the church, offered him no protection.
I am surprised to learn that my future employment prospects could be determined by sermons given by my local priest. Even more so given that there are many times I disagree when the Catholic Church strays into politics on refugees and climate change.
But I will admit to being guilty as charged. I am a Catholic. I believe life begins at birth and that abortion is therefore the termination of a life - although I think it unwise to compare anything to the Holocaust. I believe that the central objective of marriage is to bring children into the world in a nurturing environment, hence marriage should be based on the only union that can create children.
I state these beliefs with no intent to harm anyone who has a different view to mine. I respect anyone else's views and make no special claim that my views are automatically the correct ones. But we now navigate a world in which respect for different views is rarely a two way street.
The magic of our successful and prosperous society is that we found a way to elevate every individual as sovereign in their own sphere. This unique and individual based system of ordering society developed in Christian countries. It was almost certainly because the Judeo-Christian principle maintained that all individuals are made in the image of God.
The Golden Rule was a kind of magic formula, treat others like you would like to be treated. Australia, and countries like Australia, are by far the most free and prosperous human societies ever made on the basis of this principle.
However, the new world of woke upends the Golden Rule. The woke instead insist that everyone else should treat me like I want to be treated.
We are moving from a society based on thinking of others to one based on everything should revolve around me. You don’t need to think too long about this to see how the new rules won’t be better than the old.
If we let such a principle hold we will soon lose our democracy and instead establish a theocracy, or a wokeocracy if you like. Although in our woketopia a strange phenomena appears to hold that it is only Christians that are cast out as heretics. For example, Muslims that believe in similar things are rarely condemned.
Before it is too late we should seek to protect the freedom of religion that we once took for granted. An amendment to the Marriage Act will not be enough but we should legislate a proper Religious Freedom Bill as both Labor and the Liberal National Party promised to do at the last election.