“I firmly believe that politics is broken,” declares Liberal National MP George Christensen, in a promotion clip for the Church and State Summit 2022.
“We have slipped as a nation from a liberal democracy, where freedoms were once cherished things, to a woke mob democracy and that spells a lot of trouble for people of faith.”
The federal Coalition backbencher is prone to making controversial ultraconservative remarks, that, if they get too out of hand, are later dismissed by prime minister Scott Morrison, as Christensen exercising his right to free speech.
“There is one thing that we must fight for now and into the future and that’s religious liberty,” the MP continues, which makes more sense as to why Morrison is ever-defending him, as the PM’s currently shelved Religious Discrimination Bill is all about raising religious freedom above all others.
The RD Bill contains provisions that override all antidiscrimination laws nationwide to give people of faith the liberty to make discriminatory comments about all protected minorities if they can justify it as a part of their religion.
The promo then cuts to the MP warning in parliament that the RD Bill is “weak” and “watered-down”.
Christensen then claims that “the rights of Christians are certainly lesser than others” in this country, and he decries the case where Citipointe Christian College was called out for stating it believes homosexuality is akin to bestiality.
The Australian Church and State Summit is an annual coming together of conservative Christian politicians, lobbyists and academics to discuss strategies as to how their faith doctrine can effectively be reinstated as a dominating force within politics and the public sphere.
At the 2021 summit, Christensen suggested a goal of having more Christians enrolling into the Liberal and National parties, so as to steer policies in favourable directions. And he further set out that those contending parliament should keep their faith hidden, until they’ve secured their seat.
And while this may seem far-fetched, last June saw the SA Liberals expel 150 Pentecostals from their ranks, and ask 450 more members to show cause as to why they shouldn’t be thrown out, as it was considered they’d joined en masse with the aim of swaying party policy towards their values.
The 2021 summit also saw Australian Christian Lobby head Martyn Iles outline that attacking trans people was a way to respond to LGBTIQ rights gains, while the PM parked the RD Bill because most MPs refused to pass it unless a law permitting religious schools to expel trans kids was repealed.
Bring on the woke
“When you believe in a religious system, with your creator, who’s presented certain truths to you and to humanity, you take that in as a whole,” Christensen continues in his promotion clip. He then adds that when people of faith repeat these truths in Australia, “they get in trouble for it”.
In essence, Christensen, Morrison and the RD Bill are calling for Christian liberties to trump all others, so the Christian Right can prejudice LGBTIQ people, women and minorities, despite it being well established in this society that this form of bigotry is harmful and best eradicated.
Luckily for us, Christensen suggested early last year that he won’t be running for parliament again. But, unfortunately, there are more like him out there, and they’re gaining traction.
Indeed, a woke democracy is one we should all aspire to live in. It means a system where no matter what type of person you are, your rights are respected. It’s a political system where all human rights are upheld. And it’s a society where the bigotry of some old creed is not given primacy.