The Chronicle of Shame – understanding the times and knowing what to do.

Filed on 21 March 2011 in Food For Thought category. Print This Page

The Chronicle of Shame.

Understanding the Times and knowing what to do.

Ellenbrook Baptist Church WA, March 2011.

The Bible is wonderful. I’m sure you can read it forever and still get surprises. Here are two almost throw away lines in two separate stories…

1 Kings 18:21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”  But the people said nothing.

Now let’s look at the background. The nation had fallen into sin with a wicked king and queen and Elijah was being blamed for the drought and famine that devastated the land and finally it came to a point of confrontation between Elijah and the priests of Baal. Elijah challenged the people… The situation demanded a decision, but the people were silent.

Roll back several hundred years to the time when King Saul was pursuing David to kill him. 1 Chronicles 12:23,32.

These are the numbers of the men armed for battle who came to David at Hebron to turn Saul’s kingdom over to him, as the LORD had said: men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do

The men of Issachar recognised evil in the land and opposed the King.  They followed David in defiance of the king.  They understood the times and knew what Israel should do. Did they break the law?  Would you break the law to support that which is right?

So here we have two examples of evil in the land at the highest levels and two ways of responding: inaction with silence on the one hand – and on the other hand action underscored by understanding the times and knowing what to do. Well things can’t be that bad here – or can they? Let’s have a look…

The first decade of the 21st century has brought almost unimaginable threats from both within and without our society.  And it may be that what we do with the threats within that will finally determine the result of the threats from without.

In 2002 I challenged Baptist Union Assembly here in Perth to see who would come with me on a march into the city holding our Shame placards if the Senate passed the legislation to allow stem cell research on embryos.  I guess I was relieved when only 1 or 2 put up their hands.  But I left them with the challenge: how and when will we know that is what we have to do?  What will it finally be that drives us to that conclusion?  And will it be too late?

What will it be?

  • 100,000 abortions per year as a means of contraception?  Too late.
  • Partial Birth Abortion?  Too late.
  • Experimentation on embryos?
  • Euthanasia?  Far too late in other places. We are winning here but for how long?
  • Euthanasia without consent?  Far too late in Holland.
  • Cloning?  For embryo research. For infertile couples reproductive purposes? It’s only a matter of time – the argument will be that it would be discriminatory not to. For special purposes? It’s only a matter of time.
  • Harvesting of organs from clones (as per the movie The Island)?  Highly recommended by prominent ethicists and continuing to be recommended. It’s only a matter of time. Actually now we’re hearing the recommendation to harvest organs from people being euthanased.
  • Termination of life according to certain criteria – states of self-awareness, personhood, quality of life, ability to be productive for society, or just age?  Only a matter of time unless God intervenes.

What will it finally be that drives us to walk into Perth carrying our placards?

And will we still be able to?

Four years later in 2006 I was back at Assembly once again with my Shame placard with an updated challenge.

Continuing with the shame theme I have borrowed the title – a Chronicle of Shame – from Nazi Germany

As we go through this chronicle I want us to ask ourselves

  • Does it matter that governments legislate for evil?
  • Does it matter if governments compel evil?
  • Are these matters “defining issues” as to how I should vote for politicians or parties that have supported these matters? (And, if not, then what is a defining issue?)
  • Is there a role for this church and for the body of Christ as a whole?
  • Will these matters make a difference in my ordinary way of life? Will they make any difference as to how I spend my spare time?
  • Will they make a difference as to my future directions, even occupation?

Keep in mind the following:

  • If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Martin Luther
  • When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin.  You must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy with all the fire of your faith. Abraham Kuyper

The Chronicle of Shame

1996: euthanasia laws introduced NT

1997: vetoed by federal parliament – the Andrew’s bill exercising the federal right to overrule territories. Now with the unholy alliance between Bob Brown and Julia Gillard this is back on the agenda with a move to rescind the power of veto thus allowing euthanasia in the NT and same-sex marriage in the ACT – very clearly part of the agenda. It is not about state’s rights and the origin of the ACT at least was never to be a state.

1998: abortion through to 20 weeks in WA; after 20 weeks to a committee. We are now in the 40 days of prayer for abortion campaign which is worldwide and which the APN has also called for prayer for our nation. 10,000 abortions in WA since that time.

2002: destructive embryo research on so-called spare embryos mainly for stem-cell research. Now when confronted with the fact that such research had crossed a bridge too far and that this would lead to the deliberate creation of embryos for destructive research Senator Kay Patterson said in 2002

“it is disingenuous (insincere/wrong) to suggest that approving this research will open the door to further killing of living human beings… it is wrong to create human embryos solely for research. It is not morally permissible…”

And then three years later this same senator moves the cloning for research bill. A perfect example of the slippery slope and that there are certain absolutes that must not be ignored. The fact is that that which is unthinkable to one generation becomes acceptable to another.  In England they have approved the mixing of human genes with animal eggs citing the fact that the public are now more at ease with the concept. Note the justification – the public are now more at ease with this.  This is frightening – we are becoming desensitized to things we would never have contemplated.  The slippery slope is real. Some will call it “progress”.

2004: ACT bill of rights (passed 2 Mar 2004) excludes the unborn.

9 Right to life

(1) Everyone has the right to life. In particular, no-one may be arbitrarily deprived of life.

(2) This section applies to a person from the time of birth.

2006: Bill of rights in Victoria (passed 25 July 2006) excludes child destruction and abortion$FILE/06-043a.pdf

48. Savings provision: Nothing in this Charter affects any law applicable to abortion or child destruction,

As with many bills of rights these charters are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which was formulated in 1948 after WWII to ensure that the atrocities and beliefs that came out of Nazism would never be repeated. Implicit in the UDHR and spelt out clearly in the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child is that those rights apply both before and after birth, yet both these Charters deliberately exclude the unborn. It is said that we forget the lessons of history but in this we have blatantly rejected the lessons of history.

2007: Christian Youth Camps Adventure Resort (CYC) at Phillip Island refused to take a booking from WayOut, a support group for homosexual youth who were doing a workshop on ‘homophobia’. WayOut took this case to the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission which said that the CYC had to allow access to the campsite and CYC was fined $5,000.

2007: In Victoria according to official government figures 52 aborted babies were “accidentally” born alive, then left to die. We don’t have later figures but they’re not likely to be less given the change in abortion law. Giving evidence at a Senate select committee I heard another doctor when asked the question “why are these babies left to die” respond with “they weren’t meant to be born alive”.

2008: abortion in Victoria,

  • through to term
  • by any method
  • without anaesthesia for the baby
  • up to 24 weeks for no reason
  • after 24 weeks as long as 1 doctor other than the abortionist agrees
  • free eugenic selection including the recent case of aborting twin boys because the parents wanted a girl. Eugenic selection includes readily correctable abnormalities such as cleft lip. 90%+ babies with Down Syndrome are aborted.
  • compulsion of doctors to refer.

Not only has Victoria passed the most liberal abortion laws in Australia but in that legislation is the Section 8 provision to force doctors – even when such is against their deeply held convictions and conscience – to refer for abortion when asked by a patient. No Western government since Nazi Germany has compelled doctors to participate in what they believe to be evil.

How serious is this?

The overriding of conscience violates a non-derogable right – one that cannot be overridden even in national emergency – in the UDHR (remember: to ensure that the atrocities and beliefs that came out of Nazism would never be repeated) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Section 8 even violates Victoria’s own Charter of Rights

Now it is one thing to pass a law that permits evil but it is something more to pass a law that compels evil.

Do you see that there are two levels of evil here?  One is to permit killing of the unborn child for no other reason than that the mother-to-be chooses not to be pregnant and for uncontrolled eugenic selection in our society but the other, more sinister and greater, evil is to compel participation in this process.  Medicine, justly, has the highest level of ethics in the world.  It must.  And yet, here we have a government that has – quite unnecessarily in fact because there is no restriction on a pregnant mother going straight to abortion providers that advertise widely – punitively forcing doctors to act against their conscience and participate in this process.  The compelling of evil is a defining issue when it comes to politics and policies – it leaves all other considerations in second place.

After permission comes compulsion. Hear this and remember: after permission comes compulsion. We have seen this with abortion in Victoria, with euthanasia overseas and with same-sex-marriage overseas.

Incremental same-sex changes that we are already seeing here – inclusion of books in school libraries, education in schools, forcing of adoption agencies, allowing and forcing IVF, changing of birth certificates to Party A and Party B, access to church camp sites – will be legitimised by re-defining marriage in federal law. Changes that have occurred elsewhere – the forcing of foster parents (and indeed natural parents) to comply with approved education, performing of marriages by marriage celebrants and then by ministers of religion, wedding photographers, halls, caterers, private B&Bs and other accommodation facilities – will gain increased impetus here also. To speak of our belief that marriage is between male and female is regarded as “hurtful to others”, as vilification and intolerance and we can be hauled before tribunals at great cost to ourselves.

2008: Judgment delivered in favour of a homosexual couple who appeared as plaintiffs against Wesley Mission in NSW in a matter concerning the fostering of children. Wesley Mission argued that the fostering of children by homosexual couples was contrary to its religious beliefs; however the magistrate presiding at the hearing rejected the defence plea. However, the appeal was eventually upheld by the NSW Anti-Discrimination Tribunal (ADT) in Dec 2010 in a win for Wesley Mission but noting that the existing exemption ‘may be a matter which calls for the attention of Parliament.’

And as part of this Chronicle we have to add the influence of the Greens’ social engineering agenda primarily with respect to gay rights overriding everyone else’s and also the “pro-autonomy at any cost” Emily’s List. The Victorian legislation was introduced by MLC Candy Broad, a founder of Emily’s List and all amendments were defeated. The webpage also boasts of having helped elect 139 Labor women in parliament. At this point in time 29 of 41 federal Labor women are members of Emily’s List and 63 of 118 state Labor. Total 92 of 159, just under 60% of Labor women in parliament.

And Julia Gillard is an Emily’s List founder as well and wrote its constitution. The new Premier of Tasmania Lara Giddings is also a founder and Anna Bligh the Premier of Queensland is also an Emily’s List member.

Maybe all this sounds a little like conspiracy theory. But the only accusation you can make of me is that I have overplayed its significance, not that I have distorted fact. We need to keep a watch on Emily’s List and pray it into oblivion.

This is how bad it is. This is our Chronicle of Shame.

What is the Biblical justification for any action we might take?

  • We are created in the Image of God.  All humans have intrinsic value because of this.
  • We are to be salt and light in the community.
  • We are to be the watchmen Ezekiel 33:6,7. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them… I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.
  • We are to go down to the palace and proclaim this message to the officials and the people who come through these gates.  “Do what is just and right.  Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed.  Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood.” Jeremiah 22:1-3.
  • We are to be girded with the belt of truth and this is an age when truth is denied and we need to proclaim it.
  • In loving God we are to seek for Him to be glorified in our land and for our laws to honour Him.
  • In loving our neighbour created in the Image of God we want to protect him from harm, to seek the best for now and the future, to see meaning in both life and death, and if we see evil being perpetrated against him to stop it, loving justice and hating evil (Micah 6:8; Amos 5:15).

So, as men and women of God – indeed as Mighty Men and Women of God – in addition to our mandate of preaching the gospel what do we need to do in the face of evil in our land?

Our first task is to understand the times.

We need to be appalled.  As Leon Kass has said we have forgotten how to shudder. We need to recover the ability to shudder, to recover our sense of horror and then shame and grief. And we need to help others to understand the times.

We need to be alert. Constantly watching. Constantly understanding. Constantly informing.

We need to be a VOICE.

In our communities and for the community. We need men and women at the highest points in society who are willing to be a voice and seek to change the ethics of the field that they are active in. I don’t know that we should seek those positions – power corrupts and it may be far more important for you to teach Sunday School instead of striving for the top in your industry or profession, but if you are already there now – and it is amazing how many Christians we have in high positions – you have an opportunity to be a voice for righteousness.

We need to be a confessing church in the sense that it was in Nazi Germany. The main part of the church failed dismally – and so did a significant part of the church that became separate – to condemn the state for its treatment of the Jews. We need to expose bad government and evil policies. We need teaching from our pulpits on what it means to be created in the Image of God and to have His law implanted within us and to be stewards of His Creation – and to know when it is necessary to condemn.

I’ve been encouraged recently reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. Bonhoeffer – one of God’s Mighty Men – listed three ways in which the church can act towards the state

  • firstly for the church to question the state regarding its actions
  • secondly to aid the victims of state action – in the case of Nazi Germany this meant to be in solidarity with the Jews; for us it at the very least means in solidarity with the victims of abortion
  • and thirdly to “not just bandage the victims under the wheel, but to put a spoke in the wheel itself” to stop the vehicle.

Wow! Let’s leave the full implications of the third one on one side for the moment. But it may mean protest; it may mean marching into Perth with our shame placards – and while we’re on the subject of marches please join in the Fusion Resurrection Sunday march in Northbridge this Easter. We need to be a visible Christian voice.

At the very least we need to be a “confessing” people and stand up for and sign the Canberra Declaration (almost 30,000 people now) and for people in the medical, nursing and allied professions sign the Conscience in Medicine Declaration.

And we need to defend our right to be a voice because that too is under threat with anti-vilification laws as the two Danny’s found out. We need to support Life Ministries here in WA and Australian Christian Lobby and we also need a political voice.

We need to be political.

We need to educate MPs but I have commented before on the apparent resistance to reason that so many MPs have.  As with Emily’s List members many are of fixed view and it seems that many prefer to remain ignorant of the consequences to society of their social engineering agendas. So, a hopeless task?  Well maybe, but even if we can only change the minds of 1 or 2 that might be enough.  Foster a relationship with a MP.  Adopt a Senator.

But if indeed it is hopeless to change the minds of existing MPs then we must throw them out – like we did in WA in the last state election.  The preferences of the CDP in WA were instrumental in the election of 5 new MPs favourable to a culture of life.  (But that means we will have to teach people how to vote…)

Here in WA we have been effective in other ways too. We are the only state that did not legalise cloning for research and our rejection of the euthanasia bill was the strongest of any state – special thanks to the tireless efforts of the Hon Nick Goiran. But in SA upper house it was only rejected by 1 vote. Now every MP was acquainted with the established fact that there is no way a euthanasia bill can be introduced without voluntary euthanasia becoming involuntary, hence every MP voting for euthanasia is voting for involuntary euthanasia and therefore evil. If we cannot change their thinking through logical argument then we must throw them out.

Enter politics. Archbishop Barry Hickey says it is critical for Christians, especially young people, to enter politics and public life.

And we need to know how to vote. You don’t have a legal choice to do this – it is compulsory. Which avenue of Christian ministry you find yourself in or take up is a choice whether this is ministry to the poor, working in your church support group, ministry to prisoners, gifting to mission etc – these are all choices, we cannot be involved in all of them. But you do not have a choice as to voting – at least not in Australia unless you are going to abstain on grounds of conscience but that would be like the priest with his nose in the air passing by the person beaten up by robbers on the Jericho road.

How you vote then becomes a matter of great responsibility from which you cannot escape and it is progressively becoming a clear choice between good and evil. I hope that you have seen as we have gone through what issues are defining issues – ones that override all the varied views that Christians have on a wide range of policies – ranging from the permission of evil to the compulsion of evil.

In the Victorian election candidates were given the opportunity to say whether they would support a move to rescind Section 8 of the Abortion legislation that compels doctors to refer so the choice for voters was very clear between good and evil.

We also had a clear choice in the last federal election but it was muffed because we couldn’t get the message out clearly through our churches – they failed to become “confessing” churches.

A very helpful resource is the Australian Christian Values Checklist to help the Christian community and those who are sympathetic to Christian values make an informed choice.

And you need to understand the preferential voting system and put your minor party or person [1] knowing you will not lose your vote. It will carry on at full value if your first choice is not elected.

How else do you make a decision?  What did the men of Issachar do?  They followed and trusted David to lead them.  So if all of this is frightening and confusing for you then maybe now is the time to just trust and vote for Christian candidates and parties, knowing that we are constantly seeking what God would have us do and we understand the battle.

What will we do? Will we, like the Israelites before Elijah, remain silent? Or will we, like the Men of Issachar, join together as people of God, to be a Voice and accept responsibility for change? These are heavy times. But we are on the winning side and our Lord Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us.

Lachlan Dunjey.

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3 Responses to “The Chronicle of Shame – understanding the times and knowing what to do.”

  1. Claire 30 March 2011 at 9:17 am Permalink

    Thank you Lachlan – your words are informative and empowering.
    So easy to get overwhelmed and disheartened by the topic rather than taking action in our own contexts.

  2. Imelda 22 August 2011 at 9:47 am Permalink

    I admire you, Lachlan for being so courageous and delivering strong message,you have given me a wake-up call not to be intimidated and less passive, because God help us all with our politicians may try to do anything just to stay in power, especially our PM Julia

  3. Richard Wilson 31 July 2015 at 9:07 am Permalink

    Thank you for this outstanding statement of truth about the disgusting history of evil that is coming in like a flood and being perpetrated at every level of our society by an elitist Nazi -like community that are highly organised and totally trashing the very foundations of our society and nation. These foundations are essentially biblical foundations that have been bequeathed to us from the deep and rich history of biblical Christianity, not only in our own national history but in the entire history of Christendom itself where the Holy Spirit has given the kingdom of God, bearing across all areas of society throughout all ages at great cost to the body of Christ the very church of God.

    I suspect the church will be defined and refined in the awful days to come but out of the merciful judgement of God, ‘the wrath of God will be revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness’. This wrath of God is the dark side of God’s grace and out of the dust of destruction and shame shall the true church of Jesus Christ yield life and liberty. In the meantime you rightly state that we must live by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ testify with what little we have and standing firm to ‘the faith once delivered under the saints’. I am inspired to put myself into harms way and testify to Christ even using radical means so that the claims of our ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’ are delivered without compromise.

    Thank you for everything that you are doing.

    Yours in His all sufficient grace

    Richard Wilson