Let’s not deny our Christian roots

Let’s not deny our Christian roots
Kevin Donnelly writes, Civil Liberties Australia, in its submission to the Senate inquiry on freedom of religion, argues Australia is not a Christian country on the basis that “it is not correct in law and in fact is directly contradicted by the Constitution”.

Civil Liberties Australia, in its submission to the Senate inquiry on freedom of religion, argues Australia is not a Christian country on the basis that “it is not correct in law and in fact is directly contradicted by the Constitution”.

The reality proves otherwise: although Australia is a secular society, where there is a division between church and state, to deny the significance of Christianity is to deny the nation’s heritage and culture and to ignore what underpins our political and legal systems.

Rather than ignoring Christianity, the Constitution’s preamble includes the words: “Humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God” and parliaments around Australia begin with the Lord’s Prayer.

Perth lawyer Augusto Zimmermann says Australia’s political and legal systems owe much to Christianity.

He says: “It is evident the foundations of the Australian nation, and its laws, have discernible Christian-philosophical roots.”

Concepts such as free will, the sanctity of life and a commitment to the common good are very much influenced by the New Testament. The admonition “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”, while not always adhered to, underpins civility, tolerance and respect for others.

While a commitment to natural justice and liberty owes much to the Enlightenment, as argued by Larry Siedentop in Inventing the Individual, equally influential is the Bible’s statement, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Christian charity and God’s commandment to serve others also helps explain why Christian-inspired or Christian-managed health, education, welfare and charitable groups and organisations are an essential part of Australia’s social fabric.

As TS Eliot contends in Notes Towards a Definition of Culture, to deny Christianity is also to deny much of the art, literature and music that Australia has inherited from Western civilisation.

Whether Bach’s Mass in B minor, Faure’s Requiem, or Handel’s Messiah, the reality is that music’s debt to Christianity is beyond doubt. Add Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling and Botticelli’s Virgin and Child with Two Angels, and it’s clear our culture owes a great deal to Christianity.

If it is true that most country and rural towns in Australia have a war memorial then it is also true that each will also have a church or place of worship.

And it is also true that Christmas and Easter, while increasingly secular in nature, are still predominantly religious celebrations that are central to our way of life.

Even though the percentage of Australians identifying as Christian has declined through the years, there is no doubt that Christianity is still the major religion. Based on the 2011 census figures, about 61 per cent of Australians identified as Christians, with Muslims at 2.2 per cent, Buddhists 2.5 per cent and Hindus 1.3 per cent.

Given the threat of Islamic terrorism in 2015, David Cameron as prime minister described Britain as a Christian nation, saying: “Yes, we are a nation that embraces, welcomes and accepts all faiths and none, but we are still a Christian country.” The same can be said for Australia.

At the same time cultural-left groups such as Civil Liberties Australia seek to deny the nation’s Christian heritage, they argue we must acknowledge indigenous cultural beliefs and history — but if the latter must be respected and recognised, so must the former.

Author:> Kevin Donnelly a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of The Culture of Freedom.

Source: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/lets-not-deny-our-christian-roots/news-story/878614f0355a7dec05751932c55aa814

Why Australia’s Christian heritage matters
Charles Francis, News Weekly, March 1, 2008
https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/10/23/charles-francis/

also
https://vision.org.au/radio/2018/05/10/the-christian-foundations-of-common-law/

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The Fountain of Public Prosperity Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1740-1914
By Stuart Piggin and Robert D.Linder

This well researched, academic book of 670+ pages says:

“The official religion brought to Australia with the First Fleet was Evangelical Christianity, the ‘vital religion’ then shaping public policy through William Wilberforce and his fellow evangelicals. That it has shaped Australian history ever since, making a substantial contribution to the public prosperity of the nation, is an untold story.

Christian values and identity were the main components of Australian values and identity. Evangelical ‘moralising’ may be understood as a concern to address the ‘hard’ cultures associated with convicts, the liquor industry, and male misogyny. The movement provided opportunities for women to work in reform, charitable, evangelistic and missionary organisations, thus laying strong foundations for feminism. In their concern for ‘Christlike citizenship’, evangelicals cared for the nation’s children in Sunday schools and its youth in societies for young people such as the YMCA, YWCA, and Christian Endeavour.

The major component of the humanitarian movement, evangelicals ensured that the convict settlement of Australia was more humane than is generally recognised. They did most of the all-too-little that was done to protect the Indigenous population and to educate settlers, keeping alive in the latter a conscience over maltreatment of the former. In a profusion of charities, evangelicals in the nineteenth century, as today, provided most of the welfare for the population’s disadvantaged.

The Fountain of Public Prosperity presents propositions which require a radical revision of received understandings, an appreciation of unmined riches in the Australian experience, and reconnection with an often buried past. Drawing on these untapped resources is the safest route to reimagining a future for Australia.”

The major component of the humanitarian movement, evangelicals ensured that the convict settlement of Australia was more humane than is generally recognised. They did most of the all-too-little that was done to protect the Indigenous population and to educate settlers, keeping alive in the latter a conscience over maltreatment of the former. In a profusion of charities, evangelicals in the nineteenth century, as today, provided most of the welfare for the population’s disadvantaged.

The Fountain of Public Prosperity presents propositions which require a radical revision of received understandings, an appreciation of unmined riches in the Australian experience, and reconnection with an often buried past. Drawing on these untapped resources is the safest route to reimagining a future for Australia.”

publishing.monash.edu/books/fpp-9781925523461.html

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Also – John Anderson interviews Stuart Piggin
johnanderson.net.au/conversations-featuring-associate-professor-stuart-piggin/

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The story of AMP 1849 – 2018
The AMP was a new form of self-help, and it is not surprising that its founders and early directors were commonly evangelical Christians. Its historian, Geoffrey Blainey, has said that its Australia-wide impact has been ‘matched only by the major religious denominations’, one of those throw away lines which recognises what has not been chronicled elsewhere, the strength of religious influence on Australian social history.
Sadly in 2018
The royal commission into banking misconduct has recommended AMP should face criminal prosecution for misleading the corporate regulator.
https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/the-australian-mutual-provident-society-amp/
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