When we think of Australia and the West, we think of freedom. Freedom is one of the most defining and important characteristics of our successful and prosperous nations. But it never comes about by accident, and there is always a price to pay to achieve real freedom.
So, too, to maintain freedom. Freedoms can easily be lost, so it takes much effort to preserve our freedoms. That is why the Canberra Declaration, since its inception in 2010, has been a strong voice advocating for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
As Ronald Reagan once put it:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”
And freedoms tend to be of a piece – they tend to stand or fall together. If we chip away at freedom of speech, we also chip away at things like freedom of conscience or freedom of religion. So we need to be vigilant about all of our freedoms.
Of course, there will always be the need for some limitations here, and in a democracy, there will always be trade-offs so that both majorities and minorities can enjoy liberty. While there can be no absolutes to freedom (we can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theatre), it is still vitally important and well worth defending.
The Canberra Declaration makes a strong case that the Judeo-Christian worldview really helped to lay the foundation for freedom in the West. History would say the same. And as that foundation erodes, so too does freedom. We see examples of this everywhere. As various activist groups and militant secular organisations push their agendas, the freedoms of ordinary Australians are being peeled away.
And it is worse when the State gets into the act. Plenty of examples of this can be mentioned here, but let’s just highlight some cases of this happening in the state of Victoria. Under Dan Andrews and his Labor government, many assaults on freedom have occurred. Here are just some areas in which he is whittling away at our freedoms:
- Draconian abortion and euthanasia laws that take away the most fundamental of freedoms: the right to life.
- The promotion of the radical “Safe Schools” programs and other education activism, targeting our vulnerable children, and taking away the rights and freedoms of parents to guide their own children in core values and beliefs.
- Seeking to ban Christmas carols and the like, taking away freedom of religious expression, not just for Christians but for others.
- Taking away the rights of homosexuals who are uncomfortable with their sexual attractions and want to get help and counsel from others to do so.
Freedom and choice
Most folks would understand that when we talk about freedom, in large measure we are talking about choice. The ability to choose between varying options is part and parcel of what real freedom is all about. But the ominous thing is, while the secular left is always talking about choice, increasingly they are taking freedoms away from various groups of people.
The examples are legion. We talk about choice when it comes to reproductive health, but all that really means is giving a mother the right to kill her own baby. Where is the right of choice for the unborn baby? That is taken away from the very start.
And those who want to peacefully and gently be present to share options with mothers heading into abortion mills are having their rights of choice taken away as they are banned from being anywhere near an abortion clinic. Where is their choice?
Increasingly the choices of Christians and others in Australia are being taken away from them as more and more “hate crimes” and “anti-discrimination” laws are being passed. Simply having the right to hold a public meeting is being denied many as their choice to have a contrary point of view is being denied them.
There have been numerous speakers and organisations, who happen to hold to non-woke points of view, denied the right to speak at various venues or to hold conferences, etc. Their choices are becoming narrower and fewer as we continue to call contrary points of view “hate speech” and the like.
And in Victoria, the secular left was previously more than happy for people to be able to choose their sexuality, their sexual identity, even what sex they prefer to be. But, recently, they have also taken choice AWAY from those who want help with unwanted sexual attractions.
Those who simply may be uncomfortable or unhappy with where they are at, and just wish to get a bit of counsel and advice have had that right arbitrarily and unfairly stripped away from them. What about their choice? Why are they the only ones who can have no say in their own sexuality?
The move by various governments to strip away real choice and freedom from various groups simply to maintain a radical secular ideology at all costs is getting worse by the month. Our freedoms really are under threat. All the more reason why things like the Canberra Declaration are so vital at this point.
We must work to ensure that our freedoms are not continually being stripped away. As General Douglas Macarthur once said, “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” Or as we find on the outside of Anzac House on a busy street corner in Perth: “They only deserve freedom who are prepared to defend it”.
It is for this reason we encourage you to read and sign the Canberra Declaration. Add you voice to the thousands who have gone before you.
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”