The Prime Minister’s recent abandonment of Christian schools reveals the importance of Christian political parties. We can’t keep rewarding the Coalition’s bad track record on the issues that matter.

Scott Morrison appears to have backed away from a central commitment of the Religious Discrimination Bill just weeks before the Federal parliament is set to vote on the legislation.

In the fallout of the Citipointe Christian College controversy, the Prime Minister has announced plans to water down the right of schools to uphold a Christian ethic on sexuality and gender.

Citipointe Christian College had asked parents to sign an enrolment contract affirming the reality of biological sex and biblical sexual morality. “I don’t support that,” the Prime Minister told Brisbane radio B105.3 in reference to the contract. “My kids go to a Catholic school in Sydney and I wouldn’t want my school doing that either,” he added.

“One of the bills that we are going to be taking through to Parliament, we’ll be having an amendment which will deal with that,” Morrison told the radio host. “The law, as it currently sits, would allow for that, but that’s what I’m trying to change.”

This is in contrast to many of Morrison’s previous statements, including when he tweeted in 2018, “We do not need gender whisperers in our schools. Let kids be kids.”

While Australian Christians recognise Scott Morrison’s Christian faith and pray for him regularly, we are deeply disappointed in his leadership on religious freedom. We urge Australian believers to stop expecting Christian outcomes from secular parties — this further highlights the importance of supporting and voting 1 for a party like Australian Christians to send the Coalition a strong message.

What did Citipointe Christian College do that Mr Morrison would see outlawed?

The school’s now-withdrawn document stated that they “will only enrol the student on the basis of the gender that corresponds to their biological sex”. They also affirmed “the biological sex of a person as recognised at birth and requires practices consistent with that sex”.

A copy of the Citipointe’s Declaration of Faith was also supplied to parents. It states that “any form of sexual immorality (including but not limited to; adultery, fornication, homosexual acts, bisexual acts, bestiality, incest, paedophilia, and pornography) is sinful and offensive to God and is destructive to human relationships and society”.

Citipointe went further than most Christian schools dare to go in our current age of rainbow sexuality. But it is well within their right to do so.

Though most Christian schools provide eduction to Australians of all backgrounds, it remains their prerogative to require adherence in religious belief and practice among the students. After all, instilling Christian values and a Christian worldview is why they were originally set up, even if some have since abandoned this mission.

As noted by Family Voice Australia:

What Morrison fails to understand is that Australia has an obligation under Article 18(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which undergirds those religious exemptions. It states: “The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.”

Dr Alex Deagon, senior law lecturer at QUT, affirms that Article 18(4) “logically entails the ability of religious schools to select members of their community in accordance with their religion and the convictions of the parents who form that community.” According to Dr Deagon, “this obligation is not limited by any other rights under international law.”

Lyle Shelton, former managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby, warns that the Prime Minister’s capitulation last week “marks the beginning of the end of Christian education in Australia”. In The Spectator Australia, Shelton writes:

A Christian school valiantly tries to uphold the Christian (and scientific) view of gender. It attempts to defend the Christian ethos for human sexuality which was the consensus in the West until five minutes ago in history.

It fails.

In less than a week, Christian parents are thrown under the bus by a Christian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and his Christian education minister, Stuart Robert.

FamilyVoice Australia’s Greg Bondar likewise mourned that “the recent public announcement by the Prime Minister denouncing the employment choices of the suburban Brisbane school Citipointe Christian College highlights the hypocrisy of this government on its Religious Discrimination Bill (RDB)”. He added:

Christians are now experiencing ‘buyers remorse’ having been promised an RDB that would give some protection for faith-based schools. Voters put their faith in the Prime Minister based on his promise to deliver on religious freedom.

Indeed, what is the point of a Religious Discrimination Bill if it fails to achieve some of the most basic protections for Christians and Christian organisations?

The Coalition government was voted in at least in part due to the ALP’s abandonment of people of faith. But the Liberal-National Party is increasingly moving in the same direction.

Australian Christians call on all followers of Jesus to send the government a message. We value religious freedom and will preference other parties if those we have elected fail to defend it.

Image via Neos Kosmos (AAP).

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