The last of a previous series of four articles related some of the activities surrounding the 2021 Church and State Summit convened by one David Pellowe. At that summit, Pellowe implored the audience to join political parties, while attendees George Christensen suggested that Christians should be disingenuous when running for office by keeping their real motivations covert, and Martin Iles, the recently dumped head of the Australian Christian Lobby, said that violence was a possibility1. Two years on, Pellowe is at it again, having organised the 6th Annual Church and State Summit on the 3rd and 4th of March2. So, I clearly missed the 5th. Of course, this 6th summit was in Brisbane.
The sessions had an assortment of speakers, 20 in total, with the odd panel discussion thrown in. The first speaker was Kirralie Smith3, part time anti-halal food activist4, defamer5, hard core conservative6 and former member of Cory Bernardi’s now defunct Australian Conservatives7. Her most recent hobby-horse is transgender people and “gender ideology”8, which was the topic of her speech at the summit3.
Another speaker was John Steenhoff, who is managing director and principal lawyer at the Human Rights Law Alliance. His organisation provides legal advocacy and advice to people who are under attack for “living out their faith and convictions in public”9. ‘Living out their faith and convictions in public’ is, for far-right Christian, is being able to discriminate against anyone. Of course, his talk contended that ‘Christian freedoms’ are under attack in Australia and the western world. Again ‘Christian freedoms’ is just code for the ability to discriminate against people. This was what Morrison’s failed religious discrimination was all about; preserving the ability of the religious to discriminate against people they do not like: atheists, homosexuals, those of other religions10, 11. It also intended to allow hate-speech such as that spouted by Israel Folau who condemned homosexuals to hell unless they repent11.
Steenhoff’s talk was followed by one from Rob Norman who opined that Christian values are being assaulted and called evil by a wicked and perverse generation, and the ‘natural right’ of Christians to indoctrinate their children is being undermined3. Norman was a pastor at the Southland Church in Adelaide but left to become “State Political Director for QLD/NSW/ACT at Australian Christian Lobby”8.
Later that same day, Dave Pellowe the organiser of this summit gave a talk entitled “Humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God”, in which he stated that “It is an entirely uncontroversial claim that the quality of our democracy is increased or diminished proportionate with our faith. How can we bring our culture back to the popular affection we once had for Christianity which at least acknowledged God, and not a politician or parliament, is the highest authority in this great land?3 This ludicrous statement that the more faith you have the better is your democracy is belied by a call for a theocracy in the same sentence. They always say that god should be the ‘highest authority’, but it is people like Pellow who will be the ‘interpreter’ of what their god wants. This is the priestly con around which the ethos of the church is based: ‘god is supreme, but it is I who am his conduit to you; therefore, you must obey me’.
Dave Pellowe’s brother Joshua then had a crack at the audience, alluding to the second coming3, which people of his ilk have been saying is imminent for almost two thousand years12. You have to laugh. He is a pastor at a church in Logan (Queensland), has a Bachelor of Ministry from Christian Heritage College and also teaches there8. He also asks how we can “get back to right belief and practice of what Jesus said we should do”. Given that modern Christians seem to have almost completely dispensed with the supposed teachings of Jesus in the quest for political power13, as exemplified by the ethos of this summit and its predecessors, I doubt that returning to the teachings of Jesus will happen any time soon.
As at the last but one Church and State Summit, George Christensen, recently retired federal Coalition politician, often referred to as the Member for Manila, given his proclivity for being entertained in titty-bars in the capital of the Philippines14, was also in attendance. He gave a speech entitled ‘The spiritual battle for western civilisation’3. Aside from the irony of the Member for Manila calling for a spiritual battle, this is simply a call for the religious to be deeply involved in politics, so they can protect western civilisation. Whenever anyone talks about protecting western civilisation, what they mean is the protection of Christian white supremacy15. Given the decline in religion all around the world, this amounts to a call for christofascism16.
Other nutters also spoke. Dunning-Kruger aficionado One Notion Senator Malcolm Roberts spoke about shaping culture3, presumably to that espoused by One Notion; i.e. Christian white supremacy. His promo on the Church and State pages states that he asks “piercing questions that hold bureaucrats and governments to account”. You have to laugh at the way people can delude themselves as to their abilities.
Topher Field’s main claim to fame is that he was part of the cooker demonstrations against lockdowns in Victoria8. He gave a presentation which gets things arse-about in stating that you can either serve the government of “entities deserving devotion normally reserved for God Almighty”. The government is at least nominally there to serve Australians, whereas while Jesus reputedly ‘served people’ the church has turned that around such that people now serve the church.
Former coalition Deputy Prime Minister of Australia John Anderson also spoke and his ‘abstract’ could be construed as an allusion to coal, gas and oil. He also maintained that branch stacking by the religious should be perfectly acceptable when he said: “It’s an incredibly important right in a free society. In a free society people need to be able to organise. They should have the right to belong to a sporting club. They should have the right to belong to a political party”17. So, does he mean that members of the Labor Party should be free to join the Liberal Party to subvert it, or like most of the religious, does he mean that it is perfectly acceptable to stack branches as long as it is by the people he finds acceptable? Have a guess.
Andrew McColl whined about the lack of Christian indoctrination in public schools, which he maintains is “outsourcing education to government-funded strangers”3. Of course, outsourcing education to women in habits or dangerous (for children) blokes in frocks, all strangers, is of course perfectly acceptable. The alternative is home-schooling which allows the religious to indoctrinate their children, which also seems perfectly acceptable.
As if to polish the metaphoric turd of the foregoing talks at the summit with some utter madness we have the talk from Stephen Chavura who, of course, writes for the Murdoch budgie cage liner, The Australian and the Rowan Dean edited far right Spectator8. His talk is entitled ‘The Babylonian Revolution: The Great Reset and the Future of Chistianity’. The great reset was actually a plan by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to recover from the Covid-19 crisis, and its political, economic and social disruptions. The WEF maintained that the inconsistencies, inadequacies and contradictions of health, financial, energy and education systems have been more exposed than ever amidst a global context of concern for lives, livelihoods and the planet. They looked upon this as an opportunity to shape the recovery, and to inform all those determining the future state of global relations, the direction of national economies, the priorities of societies, the nature of business models and the management of a global commons, and to build a new social contract that honours the dignity of every human being18.
While it is sensible to suspect the WEF’s motives given their previously great concern for the well-being of the wealthy alone, in the hands of the conspiracy theorists the ‘great reset’ has turned into the mother of all conspiracy theories. It suggests: that a cabal of global leaders is using the pandemic to introduce a range of damaging socialist and environmental policies; that Covid-19 was designed to bring the US economy to its knees, despite it being a hoax (logic is not conspiracy theorists’ long suit); that the shock created by the coronavirus will be used to turn the world into a high-tech dictatorship that will take away your freedom forever; that it is all part of a green, socialist, Soros-funded forced vaccine dictatorship19. You have to laugh.
Chavura is a cooker who misuses statistics for his own ends and has spoken at antivax/anti-lockdown rallies. In one, his story (at 8:08 minutes) echoes that of his summit talk and is that “we are caught up in something very big, not just in Australia, but in the west. We are caught up in a replacement of democracy by a technocracy; that is a government by unelected experts. It is something that has arisen with the rise of science; with the rise of technology. As scientists get more and more clever, they start to think that they’re the ones who have the rightful say in how we should live; not us uneducated, easily swayed masses. Yes, they think they are god; they are building new towers of babel*. Go to Genesis Chapter 11; it’s all there; it’s all there. In fact, god stops the Babylonians from doing what they are doing, not because he thinks they are going to fail, but he thinks they are going to succeed. And why is he interested in stopping the Babylonians from building their tower because he thinks they are going to succeed? Well probably because he knows what humans will get up to; he knows the terrible things we will do when we try to build towers when we try to do things, quite apart from god”20.
This says it all. The religious want to continue to run things as they have in the past. They want to be in control; they do not want to listen to those with expertise. They feel that they know what is best for everyone. Nobody ever gives up power and privilege easily. Mostly it has to be taken away. Christian churches and their flocks have been so privileged for so long that they are terrified that their power and privilege might fade away as religion declines. As a consequence, they are becoming more strident and despite the supposed teachings of the Jesus who they say they follow, they will become violent in the protection of that power and privilege. In Australia, the Wieambilla shootings21 may be just the first in a series of murderous terrorist atrocities perpetrated in the name of Christianity.
*Tower of Babel: Etiologies are narratives that explain the origin of a custom, ritual, geographical feature, name, or other phenomenon. The narrative of the tower of Babel is an etiology or explanation of a phenomenon of the multiplicity of languages. After the Noachian flood, the Babylonians decided to build a tower to avoid a second flood. However, god was concerned that humans had blasphemed by building the tower, so, to prevent it, god brought into existence multiple languages so the builders could no longer understand each other, so the building of the tower could no longer proceed. Thus, humans were divided into linguistic groups, unable to understand one another22.
Suffice to say that the Church of Profound Hypocrisy has myriad members, and many extreme and hardened proponents of various religions are honorary life members. Their attempts to undermine democracy and secularism will (should) lead to further diminution of their power in this country, just as extreme neoconservatism is promising to do in federal politics.
Religions have long hidden behind the shield of “God’s word” and used that as an excuse to perpetrate all manner of civil and human rights violations, including legal discriminations (eg Catholics being banned from holding certain jobs in the British Isles), harassment, vilification/persecution, imprisonment, torture, execution, and even attempted genocide of opponents.
As I’ve said many times – if God exists then there must be a special place reserved for these hypocrites in Hell.
I have mostly thought about these people as simply railing against their declining relevance. However, with the increasingly strident language, their hooking up with cookers, and assorted bigots and science deniers, and with the Wieambilla shootings being attributed to the perpetrators’ christian pre-millenialism, I am more concerned that I was previously.
In recognition of the principle that a cornered rat becomes, in its desperation, more dangerous, I propose “Boulanger’s Law”:
“As a group becomes increasingly aware of the undeniable diminution of its numbers and its accustomed power, it will in desperation resort to more and more extreme measures in its attempts to reverse its decline into irrelevance and to avoid its eventual demise.”
The closer they get to their ultimate downfall, year by year, decade by decade, census by census, the more we will see the “nothing’s off the table” principle enacted. Be very afraid.
i’d never heard of Boulanger’s Law, but I gather it was to raise the standing army of the French Republic to 500,000 while other nations comprised fewer bodies. Like you, I suspect that before they slide into ultimate irrelevance, they will get more violent. It concerns me deeply.
Georges Boulanger only caused his country to legislate a measure likely to increase the probability of further bloodshed. Any fool can do that – and many fools do. My law, on the other hand, is an eponymous law, one which documents and predicts the way the universe works. It alerts others to the danger of further bloodshed in a praiseworthy attempt to prevent it.
Besides, the picture on his Wikipedia page shows him sporting a silly hat and a handlebar moustache, neither of which I would ever wear.
These religious nitwits are nuts. They are obsessed with other people’s lives They are obsessed with things that do them no harm, that do not in any way hurt society, except in their own nasty, fevered imaginations. They are clearly deranged.
A display of the king of extreme “Christian warriorhood” which has been alluded to by the ACL previously. The vast majority of Christians would be appalled. https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/time-to-rise-christian-activist-charged-after-protest-violence-20230322-p5cufb.html
Don’t know why CARR would give the erratic attention seeking No Nation nutter Latham even more publicity. Best to ignore him where possible. Seems to have was worked with former “Liberal” sometime Sky presenter???, what’s his name – Bernardi (I actually had to look it up) – whose marginal influence has now completely evaporated in the wider Australian community, much as the contemptible Morrison’s will.
The question is this: will traditional church leaders (Catholic, C of E etc) publicly condemn the behaviour of these thugs in both the pulpit and the media?
I suspect some will, and some won’t. Those that won’t will just be driving another nail into the coffin of religion.
Coincidence that his surname is the same as branch-stacker Sukkar from the Liberal Party?
The more rabid of these aholes are apparently worried about their kids. And rightly, so with parents/examples like them. iirc stats on home violence suggest that many kids will grow up with similar warped and extreme habits, and propensities towards violence, as their parents. You will note that they have nothing to say about Putin’s kidnappings, nor will they likely lift a finger to help the of millions of kids across the globe affected by war, ethnic mistreatment, drought etc.
Of course they won’t. These people are simply religious RWNJs. For them it is all about their group; everyone else is scum and they, being naturally bullies, look for someone to bully. Usually, it will be someone they perceive as relatively powerless.