07 October 2022

Welcome to 2022: “Christians need not apply”

In 2005 before the conclave that would see him elected as Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger delivered these words in his homily: “We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.” How does relativism, which claims to be universally tolerant and accepting of every view and value end up becoming a dictatorship? Benedict had long reflected on this looming problem and saw with prophetic insight where the demands of secular relativism would lead society.

In an essay published in 2006 Without Roots, Ratzinger wrote: “In recent years I find myself noting, how the more relativism becomes the generally accepted way of thinking, the more it tends toward intolerance. Political correctness … seeks to establish the domain of a single way of thinking and speaking. Its relativism creates the illusion that it has reached greater heights than the loftiest philosophical achievements of the past. It presents itself as the only way to think and speak — if, that is, one wishes to stay in fashion. … I think it is vital that we oppose this imposition of a new pseudo-enlightenment, which threatens freedom of thought as well as freedom of religion.”

When the Pope wrote these words the expression ‘cancel culture’ did not even exist, yet fast-forward to 2022 and we see the ripe fruits of this ‘Dictatorship of Relativism’, with all the characteristic tyrannical malevolence to be found in every dictatorship. This week Andrew Thorburn, former CEO of two major banks, a man with a distinguished professional career, was compelled to resign within 24 hours of being made the Chief Executive of Essendon Football Club under the weight of public pressure. His crime? Solely this: because of his association with a Christian Church that teaches basic Christian morality regarding the sanctity of human life and the purpose of human sexuality. To be clear, the forced resignation was not based upon anything that Andrew Thorburn himself had said – it was rather on account of his tenuous association with a sermon from a pastor back in 2013 (namely, at a time, lest we forget, when the Victorian Government did not permit same sex marriage). What is so telling about this furore is the Woke mob’s refusal to acknowledge any injustice regarding Mr Thorburn’s situation.

With Thorburn’s head now prominently on display on the pike of media-induced hysteria, the lesson for all to learn is very clear: If you are a Christian who actually dares to publicly adhere to fundamental Christian beliefs then, be warned: you know your fate! It is quite clear that those who do not conform to the new morality should be driven from the public and excluded from positions of leadership in the community. Corporations and government institutions might as well advertise in advance: “Christians need not apply.” Unless of course your one of the enlightened, progressive ‘Christians’ who vociferously denounce every tenant of Christian morality that is opposed to the new secular orthodoxy.

As both sides of this debate correctly recognise, the implications of this issue extend far beyond one man. This is a battle regarding an irreconcilable set of values: two competing systems of morality, and in effect, two competing religions. The claims of Christianity hold that God is the foundation and end of human fulfillment. The claims of secularism hold that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is the foundation and end of human fulfillment. This is a cultural war being played out on a global scale, a battle for the very soul of our culture.

With Wokeism enshrined as the new State Religion, an idol before whom all shall bow in deference, the Left’s claims on liberalism are definitively dead. As Greg Sheridan observes “This sordid, ugly episode points to a profound social transformation” one that “represents a dark new phase in cultural intolerance”. It’s a strange and not-so-subtle irony that those who most emphatically promote ‘diversity’ and ‘pluralism’ insist on excluding, silencing and ostracising anyone who fails to publicly profess to their secular Creed. Archbishop Peter Comensoli posted these comments: “If the Essendon situation is a litmus test of the value and place of people in faith in Victorian society, then we are in big trouble. It is outrageous that a person of good character has felt that he must choose between a public leadership role and being an active member of a Christian community…Sadly this situation sends a chilling message to ordinary faith believers in Victoria, that they can’t be trusted to exercise leadership and service in the community.”

The fate of Andrew Thorburn should ring alarm bells not just for people of faith, but even for true libertarians who still value freedom of speech and belief. Now is the time for people of faith to rise up and resist against this Woke tyranny, and defend the rights of Christians to simply exist in the public square.