Former Australian tennis champion, Reverend Margaret Court is under attack again for her religious moral views. Her application for funding to assist in the purchase of a new freezer truck to distribute food to the poor was recently turned down because of her Bible-based views on marriage and gender.
Victory Life Centre is a church in Perth, Western Australia that was founded by Rev. Margaret Court in 1995. Its large charity arm, Victory Life Community Services, provides food and assistance to the needy in the Perth area. Their application to Lotterywest, a funding organisation with the responsibility of distributing grant money to worthy causes, was turned down by a unanimous decision of that organisation’s Board, who cited Lotterywest’s “commitment to equality and inclusion” as the reason for their decision. Apparently their “commitment to equality and inclusion” doesn’t include tolerance of Christian beliefs.
Reverend Court, in a subsequent interview with “The West Australian” stated that despite meeting all the formal criteria for grant approval, her organisation was discriminated against because of their religious views which have NOTHING to do with their charity work or with the funding criteria.
“We don’t discriminate at all,” Reverend Court is quoted as saying. “We help and support people of all faiths, all races, all beliefs and all sexual orientations. We reached out to Lotterywest to assist with the purchase of a new freezer van to help keep up with the heavy demand. Victory Life Community Services has been advised by Lotterywest that it would not help us because of our biblical views on same-sex marriage.”
A number of high-profile people have begun to speak out against this blatant case of discrimination. For instance, former Western Australian Liberal leader, Dr Mike Nahan, recently posted on Twitter:
“This is disturbing. The Victory Life Church does great work supporting those in need.”
He also called for Lotterywest CEO, Susan Hunt, to be fired.
Mark Latham, leader of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party in New South Wales, commented in the Sky News Program, The Bolt Report:
“If they’re putting views about same sex marriage and LGBT ahead of poverty-stricken needy people needing these food parcels in Perth, well that’s a case of religious discrimination and ethically quite a disgrace. It’s quite disturbing that a government agency would put political and religious views ahead of the actual needs of people.”
Media commentator, Andrew Bolt reflected:
“I would guarantee that 99.99% of her [Margaret Court’s] critics, who are so upset about what she might think [about gay marriage], do not actually do the kind of help [charity work] that she does every single week. I find this bigotry, that her views trump helping her feed poor people – that stinks!”
While it is true that Rev. Court upholds a Biblical view that marriage is only valid between a man and a woman, as well as the view that God only created two biologically determined genders, she has also spoken in the past about how gay people are embraced by her church and that many of them have gone on to have heterosexual marriages and children.
Here’s my concern. While I am disturbed by this specific instance of religious discrimination shown towards a Christian charity organisation, I am even more concerned by the societal trend of which it is indicative. We appear to be rapidly descending into a facile, uniformitarian dictatorship where those who don’t conform to the current regime’s dogma are denied fair and equitable access to the benefits and services of our society. We see this kind of repression and insistence on uniformity operating blatantly in communist regimes such as China and North Korea, and we rightly deplore it. Yet here in the Democratic West, the same kind of heavy-handed censorship and repression of alternate viewpoints is insidiously creeping its tendrils into almost every facet of our society.
Our Universities – institutions which should be fostering breadth of thought and encouraging diversity of opinion – are shutting down debate on moral issues and cancelling lecturers and guest speakers who dare to propose a traditional moral viewpoint. Similarly, in industry and business, we are commonly seeing victimisation of employees whose traditional moral viewpoints have NOTHING to do with the work they are employed to do or with the focus of their employer’s business.
And now, it seems, funding is being withheld from charities whose religious moral views have nothing to do with the charity work in which they are engaged.
This is on top of previous calls for the Margaret Court Tennis Arena to be renamed because of Margaret Court’s more recently professed biblical views of marriage and gender.
Alarm bells should be ringing! This is not the society of free speech and free thought that our forebears fought so hard to establish. And it is certainly not the tolerant society that it so loudly and proudly proclaims itself to be. In fact, society’s current insistence upon total, unquestioning conformity to the new, permissive dogma and its increasingly aggressive persecution of those who dare to disagree, is the exact OPPOSITE of tolerance.
As a Christian, I don’t insist that everyone else agree with me; but I should be able to live safely and freely in a society where I am not victimised because of my beliefs. A mature society is one in which alternate viewpoints are allowed and respectful debate is encouraged. As Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote, in her biography of Voltaire:
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”