Shouting down the opposition – Bill Muehlenberg
The good thing about a democracy is that all sides of hotly debated topics can get a hearing. Or at least that is how it is supposed to work. But increasingly when one side tires to get a hearing, the other side will come around and seek to shut them down, or at least shout them down.
A great example of this occurred in Perth last night. A pro-family and pro-marriage rally was met by a very noisy minority group bent on causing the maximum amount of disruption. And the only reason the event was allowed to go ahead was because of a heavy security presence.
Not only were a number of police on hand to cordon off the very small but very loud crowd from the actual meeting, but security personnel were also there to make sure the meeting could proceed without disruption. So what could have been a very nasty situation indeed was averted by all those helpful security folks.
There have of course been countless other such meetings where the activists waltzed right in and disrupted, if not shut down altogether, similar sorts of events. So we were grateful that with the security, as well as a lot of prayer cover, our meeting was allowed to go ahead.
And this sort of intimidation, bullying and obstruction is certainly not new. The activists have been doing this for decades now. They have become experts at disrupting and interfering with the rights of others to share their point of view in the public arena. Consider just one overseas example.
Back in 1993 San Francisco pastor Chuck McIlhenny and his wife wrote a book called When the Wicked Seize a City. It recounts their horrific experiences of being targeted by the militant homosexual lobby. Their place was targeted constantly by the activists, and they somehow lived to tell about it.
They experienced bullying, intimidation and harassment of all sorts, including lawsuits, firebombings and other violent physical attacks. They experienced all this horror and intimidation simply because the firmly proclaimed biblical truth. For that they were declared to be public enemy number one.
I know something about all this, having been on the receiving end of homosexual demands for “love,” “acceptance” “diversity” and “tolerance”. I have lost count of all the hate mail I have received. The occasional death threats have also been part of this.
And all this comes from the group which screams the loudest about the need for tolerance and acceptance. All this was clearly on offer last night when we dared to hold a book launch of my new book on homosexuality at a Perth church. The greatest tennis player ever, Margaret Court, is now a pastor and is one of the few Christian leaders with enough courage to stand up against the homosexual jackboots.
She wrote a blurb for my book, and she and her church hosted my book launch. So that means the hate brigade were out in force, seeking to close down the meeting, intimidate everyone there, and stifle free speech. But again, thanks to divine aid, and police and security protection, we were able to hold our meeting
The mainstream media was of course intolerant as well, refusing to offer balanced coverage. They did come out to video the protestors. Only a few dozen showed up, but the MSM focused on them and their loud shouting, and refused to have anything to do with what was happening inside the venue.
So if you check out and rely upon only the MSM today (see one example I link to below), you would not even know what occurred inside. All the focus was on the noisy militants. There will be plenty of shots on the television news tonight about the tolerance brigade seeking to drown out the meeting, but no coverage at all about what actually transpired inside.
And this is news coverage? This is professional journalism and news reporting? It is like covering a football match and only reporting on one team, with a complete blanket ban of coverage on the other team. But that is a poor analogy, since it implies two equal teams.
It was nothing of the sort of course last night. While the activists blatantly proclaimed that they would prove to the world that they could bring far more troops than the pro-family and pro-marriage folk, quite the opposite occurred. While they could only muster several dozen rent-a-crowd demonstrators, a solid 500 people crammed into the auditorium to here the three speakers.
In addition to Margaret Court and myself, 94-year-old Rabbi Colman may have been the star of the evening, with his impassioned defense of marriage and family. And Margaret spoke of how her church is helping those wishing to leave the high-risk homosexual lifestyle, as well as being involved in so many other charitable activities in the region.
I focused on the sad truth that all over the Western world our rights and freedoms are being taken away by the activists. Freedom of conscience, freedom of assembly, and freedom of speech are all being curtailed because of the militants and the active support they get from the judiciary, media and others.
Every day Christians and others who stand up for marriage and family are losing their jobs, being jailed, fined and persecuted. In my talk I offered a number of recent examples of this from Australia and overseas. And I reminded my audience that unless we stand up and be counted here, things will only get much worse.
Indeed, if we do not rally the troops on this, I envisage a time when books like mine will be banned and the Jewish and Christian leaders who take a stand will be imprisoned. If that is the case, as I joked last night, then remember to include a hacksaw blade in the cake you bring to us in prison.
So while the demos failed to get anywhere close to their predicted mass protest, the media acted quite predictably. Soon after all the TV cameras were packed up and gone, all the protestors packed up and left as well. I guess their throats were getting sore from all the screaming.
But we did try to help them out a bit. We played some nice Christian music for them with the external speakers at the church. We trust they were comforted by all that great gospel music. Admittedly these nice songs would have made them shout even louder to be heard, but we were happy to share this with them.
The battle continues
While this demo turned out to be another big failure, it will not deter the militants from coming to other events, seeking to shout them down or to shut them down. But consider just how bizarre all this is. What were they screaming about?
They actually think it is a form of hatred to affirm marriage and family. How nutty have we become as a culture, that we now have to hold meetings to state the obvious: that marriage is about a man and a woman, not two men, or three women, or bunch of guys and a dog, or a football team?
To have to defend marriage and family is just so very odd. Never before in human history has this been necessary. One might as well hold a meeting to defend eating or to defend breathing. Why defend what is so utterly normal and natural?
Well, as I said last night, we live in unnatural times. We live in abnormal times. As Rabbi Colman would well know, we live in an age which perfectly reflects what the prophet Isaiah said so long ago: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
Some introductory words from the McIlhennys’ book serve as a fitting conclusion here: “We’re afraid many in the Church have forgotten their Church history. The gospel message not only changes individuals but also changes whole societies, whole nations as well.
“The Christian is not simply to possess the knowledge of God in his heart and keep it to himself. He is also to put his faith into action: feeding the poor, working for prison reform, caring for unwed mothers, and, yes, helping AIDS patients through the dying as well as the living process for Jesus’ sake.
“This book is not simply the story of how the McIlhennys have been persecuted by militant homosexuals. It is not written to elicit pity for us. We’re writing this as a wake up call to a sleeping Church. Either the Church wakes up and gets involved in society at large, or we face incredible persecution at the hands of individuals and governments (city, state, and national) who hate the God of the Bible and want His people and message destroyed from the earth once and for all.
“How often has the world attempted to do that and miserably fail? Either the Church becomes militant in its opposition to sin, and aggressive for righteousness and healing, or we will see the collapse of our entire culture into a hedonistic nightmare – with deadly consequences for millions.”
Quite so. A good example of this battle could be seen last night. Fortunately the good guys won, and the militants failed big time. But there will be plenty more such skirmishes. The question is, will we be in these battles, or will we allow the other side to win by default?