Christians alert to politics will look back on 2015 as the year when basic freedoms of speech and religion – taken for granted for centuries - came under increasing pressure.
The reporting of the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, to the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission for distributing a pastoral letter outlining Christian teaching on marriage is chilling.
That the government’s commissioner Robin Banks says that he and the entire Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference has a case to answer is testament of the growing intolerance to long-held Christian beliefs being expressed in the public square.
These days to say out loud, as the Bishops did, that children should wherever possible have their mother and father can trigger legal processes which can lead to court.
Senior church leaders I have spoken to, who are adamant they will not compromise teaching the truth about marriage, are canvassing the possibility of jail time if the marriage law is changed.
They know that anti-discrimination laws, which are already crafted to be anti-free speech, will be turbo-charged if the legal definition of marriage is changed.
For Christian schools to teach a definition of marriage contrary to the law of the land will trigger these laws and alert church leaders know this.
That is why the Catholic bishops are standing firm. They have a big education sector and have no intention of compromising what they teach their flocks. This is modern day courage.
As an act of solidarity with them, all of us should download their pastoral letter, Don’t Mess with Marriage (Google will find it), and share it with our friends on social media.
This is the booklet activists want banned because they don’t want ordinary Australians to hear that children, wherever possible, should be allowed to be loved and known by their biological parents.
The Turnbull Government has promised a people’s vote on marriage after the 2016 election.
Social justice for children and free speech will hinge on whether or not Christians remain silent in this campaign.
Thank God the Catholics are showing the rest of the church the way.