Updated and reposted 4/17/13
The following is from Kairos Journal. Two of the examples are from Australia and England but don’t let that fool you. These issues are on the doorstep of our own politically correct culture. Just heard today that New Zealand became the thirteenth country to legalize same-sex marriage. My friend Justin Kuek had a good comment on facebook:
Justin is right. It is a sad day and also the rising wave of a tsunami rolling over the earth, but our God will not be mocked. He will have a answer. Meanwhile, let’s spend our time loving people and proclaiming the gospel. There is one hope. But first the people of God need to turn back to God themselves.
In 1945, George Orwell published Animal Farm, one of the best aimed and most cutting satires of modern times. In it he parodies the Russian revolution of 1917 and launches a devastating attack on totalitarianism. Those outside could see the accuracy of Orwell’s critique of Soviet Communism. History would suggest that those living behind the “Iron Curtain” found it considerably harder to do so. Perhaps not least because their thinking was subject to state control, and books like Animal Farm were banned.1
One of the most striking features of the novel is that the would-be redeemers from oppression (the pigs) introduce a far worse system of oppression, under the guise of “freedom” and “equality.” Orwell drives the irony home by contrasting the pigs’ propaganda, believed by the animals, with the reality seen by the reader. The pigs maintained power even as conditions worsened by controlling the thoughts of the animals. They set about altering the “Seven Commandments” which originally culminated in the assertion that “all animals are created equal,” eventually replacing all 7 with the single slogan, “All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Orwell provides a revealing analysis of how virtues, even “equality,” can serve tyranny. Disturbingly, there are developments that suggest that Western democracies could be in danger of heading towards a similar tyranny. One such is the move towards legislation for moral and religious tolerance and equality.2 Of a number of examples that could be given, the following illustrate the trend:
First, in Australia, a self proclaimed “witch” has mounted a legal action to have the popular evangelism course, Alpha, banned. Robin Fletcher, convicted of “drugging, enslaving, sexually assaulting and prostituting two 15-year-old girls,”3 who claims that he was imprisoned for “following the legal rites, of a legal religion,”4 is also using Australia’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act as the basis for an action against the Salvation Army who run an Alpha course in his prison. His objection is that the Alpha course contains negative references to witchcraft. Given that he himself states that his sex crimes against children were motivated by his “religion,” witchcraft seems a deserving target of criticism.
Secondly, in 2002, police were called to a disturbance in Brighton, England, in which an elderly man had been assaulted, knocked to the ground, and pelted with soil and water. The police arrested the man, and he was eventually convicted of harassment. His crime? Displaying a placard that read, “Stop Immorality, Stop Homosexuality, Stop Lesbianism.” No action was taken against his assailants. His right to protection from physical assault was regarded by the authorities as less important than the right of homosexuals to protection from criticism.5
These events and others like them, reveal the tyranny of equality.6 In neither case were the complainants’ legal freedoms denied. Instead, they objected that the validity of their belief and practice, their perceived right to equality of respect, was called into question. Increasingly legislators seem to agree. All beliefs are equal and must be treated as such. Given the nature of Christianity’s truth claims, this is problematic, as the Bible defines certain beliefs and practices as wrong. Thus conflict is inevitable. Faithful Christians must pronounce certain lifestyles and behaviors invalid.
Inevitably in such conflicts, some views are more tolerable and more equal than others. Increasingly, Christians are suffering as a result. It doesn’t take an intellect like that of George Orwell, to spot the irony: liberal democracies, in an apparent attempt to uphold freedom, have begun to introduce Soviet-style “thought crime” legislation. What looks like a drift into totalitarianism has begun. However, the Church does still enjoy considerable freedoms in the West. If she is willing to use those freedoms boldly and oppose this tyrannical approach to equality, she may even retain them.
1 For instance, Beacon for Freedom of Expression lists Animal Farm as having been an illegal publication in Poland from the date of its publication in Polish until 1989, see Beacon of Freedom Website,http://www.beaconforfreedom.org/search/censored_publications/publication.html?id=9706254 (accessed May 18, 2005). For information on attempted censorship in his native Britain see Orwell’s planned preface to Animal Farm, “Freedom of the Press,” George Orwell Website,http://orwell.ru/library/novels/Animal_Farm/english/efp_go, (accessed May 18, 2005).
2 See Kairos Journal article, “A Crawling Tyranny Looms.”
3 Liam Houlihan and Kate Uebergang, “Jailed Witch to Sue,” Herald Sun, April 27, 2005, http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,15095269%255E2862,00.html (accessed July 25, 2005).
4 Patrick Goodenough, “Witches Complaint Renews Focus on Religious Hatred Law,” CNSNews.com, April 24, 2005, http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewForeignBureaus.asp?Page=%5CForeignBureaus%5Carchive%5C200504%5CFOR20050425a.html (accessed July 25, 2004).
5 Simon DeBruxelles, “Preacher Fined for Anti-Gay Sermon,” The Times, April 25, 2002, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-278222,00.html.
6 See Kairos Journal article, “How Sex Can Still Make You Unsuitable for Public Life.”