What happens to our society when Christianity's influence is actively diminished from the public discourse? This poignant question and others were at the heart of a recent thought-provoking interview between John Steenhof, Managing Director of the Human Rights Law Alliance, and ADH TV host, Fred Pawle.
John and Fred addressed key issues impacting upon religious freedom in Australia today, including the Australian Law Reform Commission's current inquiry into anti-discrimination laws and religious institutions and the ACT government’s recent compulsory takeover of the Catholic Calvary Hospital.
John emphasised the critical role of Christianity in shaping our society, a truth often overlooked amid blatant efforts to secularise society. He argued that many of the foundational values that underpin Western society—values that have been both embraced and distorted by those eager to dismantle traditional structures—are indeed rooted in Christianity.
Notions of equality, fairness, consent, and the emphasis on education are largely products of Christian influence that have been imparted to Western society. John illustrated this by suggesting that if we were to engage the Roman Emperor Nero in a discussion about some of our ‘modern’ values, they would sound utterly alien to him.
“The idea that you should treat people with dignity and respect is one that comes from the religious influence of Christianity. And if you start to cut off the root of your society, you’re going to see it in the fruit.”
John voiced his concern about the escalating exclusion of Christianity in public discourse, stating that this trend would have significant repercussions for society at large. Instead, a flourishing pluralistic society needs room for contrasting and competing worldviews to sit alongside each other and to nurture their own faith communities.
The Human Rights Law Alliance continues to work to help protect the rights of these communities and advocate for individuals facing public exclusion.
To view the interview in full, click here.
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