What does civilizational decay look like? On Wednesday afternoon, Americans received a major warning sign that their Republic is teetering on the brink. It came in the unlikely form of a Senate cloture vote — a rather obscure parliamentary procedure that sets up the final passage of a bill in the Senate. But it wasn’t just any cloture vote, and it’s not just any bill under consideration.
I’m talking about the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, it is anything but that if you accept marriage as defined by God, and it just moved one step closer to President Biden’s desk, where it will certainly be signed into law. It passed cloture by a vote of 62-37, as 12 Republican senators joined Senate Democrats to throw “people of faith under the bus” — and possibly into prison.
Whether you realize it or not, marriage is one the best indicators of the health and stability of a nation. Just like buildings societies demand a stable foundation. Without one, they will crumble and crash, leaving a wreckage of human suffering and misery in the ruins.
No matter how hard progressives try to deny it, marriage is the irreplaceable foundation for stable societies. Not just any “marriage” but one man joining with one woman in a permanent, monogamous, committed union and dedicated to caring for any offspring such a union may produce.
“But the institution of marriage itself — in law, custom, and tradition — is intimately bound up with the act of creating and raising children. Marriage, at its core, is the social institution most fundamentally oriented towards procreation. It is God’s way, (he said societies way) of harnessing, binding, and supporting the relationship that creates a new life, and it gives the child produced from that union (and his or her parents) the best chance at a stable life.”
Why is marriage the bedrock of society? Because it is how humanity endures throughout the ages, just as God intended for it to be. Jesus, Himself reminds us of the inescapable gravity of marriage.
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:4-6
Now, Jesus is addressing divorce here, but the principle, which is that God-defined marriage is between one man and one woman for life, applies to the proposed redefinition of marriage that is now sailing through the United States Congress with the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act.” They are trying to separate “what God has joined together.”
If we start unraveling this thread, there is no telling where the stopping point may be. Well, we actually do have a stark and dark preview: “sex change” operations on teenagers at top hospitals around the country, “kid-friendly” drag shows in your small town, and the rise of the acceptance of pedophilia. When you cut the brakes on God’s design for human sexuality and flourishing you can soon expect to fly off the cliff and crash into hell.
Lest I conclude on such a dark note, join me in remembering that just as human history began with a marriage so too it ends with a marriage. The arc of redemption stretches fromGenesis 2:21-25, the marriage of Adam and Eve, toRevelation 19:6-9, the “marriage supper of the Lamb,”that is, of Christ and the Church. The Senate, the Democrats, and worthless Republicans may prevail against the definition of marriage and our religious liberty here in America, but God has guaranteed that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18)
However, the Bible reveals it will take Jesus’ return to this earth to restore sanity to the world. First, Jesus comes in the clouds to take His Saints to heaven, and then He pours out His wrath upon an unrepentant world with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements. The severity of God’s judgement is fierce. Below, I reveal what the Bible tells us about the first two trumpet judgements. The judgements escalate in intensity.
We need to warn our unbelieving family members and friends of what they are facing if they do not repent of their rebellion against God and His commandments. Show them how to ask God for His saving grace provided by Jesus. It is only by dying to self and becoming a new creature in Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit indwelling their spirit can they avoid God’s coming judgement.
The Seven Trumpets “Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.“ Revelation 8:6-9
The author William Wolfe served as a senior official in the Trump administration, both as a deputy assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon and a director of legislative affairs at the State Department. Prior to his service in the administration, Wolfe worked for Heritage Action for America, and as a congressional staffer for three different members of Congress, including the former Rep. Dave Brat. He has a B.A. in history from Covenant College and is finishing his Master of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Dr. Päivi Räsänen, a medical doctor and member of parliament, and Rev. Dr. Juhana Pohjola, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland who were put on trial for teaching what the Bible says about homosexuality were cleared of all charges. I have posted previously about this case and am delighted to be able to report a positive outcome. This is a big win for religious freedom.
The district court in Helsinki has announced its verdict in the trial. All charges were dismissed. The unanimous, 28-page decision, stated that “it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts.” Furthermore, the defendants had sought to “defend the concept of family and marriage between a man and a woman.” Though some people might find that offensive, “there must be an overriding social reason for interfering with and restricting freedom of expression.”
“I am so grateful the court recognized the threat to free speech and ruled in our favour. I feel a weight has been lifted off my shoulders after being acquitted. Although I am grateful for having had this chance to stand up for freedom of speech, I hope that this ruling will help prevent others from having to go through the same ordeal,” said Päivi Räsänen after her victory.
The Ninth Amendment to the Fundamental Law of Hungary, the country’s equivalent of a constitution, was passed in Parliament last week by a margin of 134-45. The amendment, which was backed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, will amend Section L paragraph (1) of the Fundamental Law to read:
“Hungary protects the institution of marriage as the association between a man and a woman and the family as the basis for the survival of a nation. The foundation of the family is marriage and the parent-child relationship. The mother is a woman, the father is a man.”
“The main rule is that only married couples can adopt a child, that is, a man and woman who are married,” said Justice Minister Judit Varga, Reuters reported.
Varga, who sent the amendment to Parliament last month, said it will also work to provide “all children with an education based on the values of the Christian culture of Hungary and guarantees the undisturbed development of the child according to their gender at birth,” Hungary Today noted.
“The Fundamental Law of Hungary is a living framework that expresses the will of the nation, the form in which we want to live,” Varga wrote in the justification section of the bill. “However, the ‘modern’ set of ideas that make all traditional values, including the two sexes, relative is a growing concern.”
“The constant threat to the natural laws of the forms and content of human communities, to the concepts arising from the order of Creation that harmonize with them and ensure the survival of communities, and, in some cases, the attempt to formulate them with a content contrary to the original raises doubts as to whether the interests, rights and well-being of future generations can be protected along the lines of the values of the Fundamental Law,” Varga added.
The passage of the Ninth Amendment comes less than a year after Parliament voted in favor of a measure that defines gender as “biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes.” Like the measure-preserving the traditional definition of sex, the Ninth Amendment faced strong pushback from LGBT advocacy groups.
Note the response from Amnesty Hungary
“This is a dark day for Hungary’s LGBTQ community and a dark day for human rights,” said David Vig, director of Amnesty Hungary. “These discriminatory, homophobic and transphobic new laws — rushed through under the cover of the coronavirus pandemic — are just the latest attack on LGBTQ people by Hungarian authorities.”
In the USA they, as a society (Supreme Court), have now said as a matter of law that to hold beliefs about marriage and gender and human sexuality that are consistent with the Bible is discrimination, that it’s hateful and bigoted.
Now, society might give some of those hateful religious people an exception because their Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act tell them that they have to do that. But, when you think about the political and cultural trajectory of the USA, how long do you suppose that the religious liberty exception is going to last when everybody thinks that this is a bigoted and evil view?
We should not be surprised, Jesus told us beforehand.
Jesus told His disciples “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” Matthew 10:22a but also “But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 10:22b
Thankfully, there are many prophecies warning us of escalating tribulation in the seven years preceding His Second Coming. World events indicate we are approaching that last seven years but IMO we are not there yet.
On May 2, Dr Michael Brown Ministries launched the first video in a new animated series called “Consider This.” The video was titled “Can You Be Gay and Christian?”. It was promoted through all of the normal US social media and internet channels. First time ever, they paid for advertising on Facebook and YouTube. (Dr Brown currently has roughly 1,300 videos on YouTube).
The intended audience was primarily the conservative Christian community, because of which the ad words used were Faith, Beliefs, Bible, Christian, Christianity, Family, Gay, God, Homosexual, Marriage.
The last thing planned was to advertise on LGBT-related channels on YouTube. But based on the subject matter and the words “gay” and “homosexual,” an ad for the video began appearing on some LGBT channels.
This became apparent when disgruntled viewers began posting comments like, “Horrible Human Being. You’re a moron. I just saw this [expletive] advertisement telling me I’m not gay!” And, “You make me sincerely sick, keep your dumb ads Off my page, go make your money somewhere else hypocrite.” And, “Um can you please get this disgusting advertisement off my youtube videos.”
The video was reaching a whole new audience. Perhaps, God had other plans.
A June 1 headline on LGBTQ nation asked, “Why is YouTube running anti-LGBTQ ads before videos?”
One of the ads in question featured a video from the Alliance Defending Freedom. But the video featured in the article was “Can You Be Gay and Christian?”
The article noted that, “YouTube has come under fire for putting anti-LGBTQ ads on LGBTQ videos.
“Twitter user Jace Aarons tweeted an example. He found an ad from Michael Brown, a conservative radio host, playing before a video from Chase Ross, a transgender YouTuber.” How in the world did the ad end up there?
This prompted Chase (who has 145,000 subscribers) to express his frustration in his own YouTube video. In it, he took YouTube to task for allowing “an anti-LGBT ad, a very homophobic and transphobic company [to] advertise their message, their conversion therapy, their horrible, like, mean messages on my LGBT videos.”
He also mocked YouTube for being “diverse” something like “once a month.” (Obviously, Chase missed the irony of excoriating YouTube for allowing diverse viewpoints, since “diversity” in his book means pro-LGBT only.)
Chase was also mortified that anyone in 2018 could possibly argue that marriage was the union of a man and a woman. “Like we’re still here? Like literally, what year are we in? 1810? 1940? Where are we?”
Dr Brown said, “I’m glad our video is getting the added attention. (May it get far more in the days ahead!). And I’m glad lots of folks are watching it who would not have seen it otherwise. (One woman commented on Hank’s video that watching the two-minute ad has started to convince her that homosexual practice is wrong. I hope she watches the whole video and then studies the Scriptures for herself.)”
Bear in mind it was not Dr Brown’s intent these ads for his video appear on LGBTQ videos, so he fully understands the frustration expressed by these LGBT viewers, since the ads appearing on their channels felt to them like an invasion of their safe space (or worse). That was never his intent, and in future, he commits to do his best to avoid offending anyone unnecessarily.
However, Dr Brown also said, “if the content of the video offends, so be it. We spoke the truth in love, and it is God’s truth that sets us free.”
Once again, science has finally caught up with God’s Word: It turns out that sexual intimacy and childbearing result in a unique enmeshing of a man’s DNA into a woman’s body!
This phenomenon is known as ‘microchimerism’ and is a clear affirmation of Genesis 2:24, which says,
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
As science is finally affirming, ‘one flesh’ is a physical reality, not just a metaphor. It makes sense, then, that God’s good design for marriage and sexuality be for one man to unite with one woman—exclusively, for life.
Both Jesus and Paul quoted the above verse when they were teaching on marriage, with Jesus concluding: So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. (Matthew 19:6)
So it should come as no surprise that science also affirms the dangers of not following the Creator’s design. For example, women are known to be at risk from sexual involvement with multiple partners as it can impact their health and increase pregnancy risks such as miscarriage, low birth weight and dangerous (potentially fatal) diseases.
Having the DNA of a separate individual integrated into one’s body for life, conveyed via the process of procreation, emphasises the depth of the intimacy achievable for a male and female union. Following God’s instructions contained in His Word regarding sexual behaviours results in better health outcomes for women. This is as expected since God is the author of life and He said:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Article by Dr Kathy Wallace, BA, BHSc Hons, BM BS, FRACGP. Dr Wallace is a medical doctor who works as a GP in Adelaide, South Australia. She did her undergraduate studies at University of Adelaide, with Honours in Neuropathology, and her graduate-entry medicine at Flinders University.
Creation Ministries have Dr Wallace speaking at their October 2-5, 2018 Gold Coast, SuperConference. Check it out on http://www.creation.com
Dr Michael Brown does a credible job of addressing this critical issue in this 6 1/2 minute video
It’s the question that’s dividing churches and separating family members. It’s the question that must be answered: Can you be gay and Christian?
Well, if you claim to be a Christian, that means Jesus is your Lord and the Bible is your authority, so the real question is: What does Jesus have to say about this? And what does the Bible—God’s Word—have to say? That’s what we need to find out.
Of course, we understand that every Christian struggles in some area, whether it be pride or anger or lust or jealousy or greed. But we also recognize that these desires and attitudes are sinful, and so we say no to them and yes to the Lord.
In the same way, some Christians struggle with same-sex attractions, saying no to those attractions and yes to the Lord. That’s their area of temptation and battle.
But what about those who say, “God made me gay, and if I’m in a committed relationship, the Lord is pleased. After all, God is love, and love wins. What the Bible opposes is abusive relationships like homosexual pederasty and prostitution and promiscuity. That’s what the Scriptures condemn. But the Lord blesses committed same-sex relationships.”
Is this true?
There’s only one way to answer this question. With humility, we must come to God and His Word and say, “Father, whatever You say, we will obey. We only want Your will.”
So, what does God’s Word have to say? Can you practice homosexuality and follow Jesus at the same time?
We’ve put together a six-minute video that answers this head-on, clarifying misunderstandings, dispelling myths and offering hope.
Can you be gay and Christian? You’ll find your answers in this video.
LAST DAYS GENERATION WILL CALL EVIL GOOD AND GOOD EVIL
A former intelligence professional (‘programming’ expert), who is a historian of the Soviet Union, is warning that schools in America are starting to embrace a propaganda operation designed to squash thought and demand allegiance to political correctness and gender ideology.
Speaking before attendees gathered at the Family Research Council office in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Stella Morabito, senior contributor to The Federalist, unpacked both the content and processes of a group called CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (SEL).
“Social and emotional learning,” she explained, is becoming all the rage in the public education policy realm and if left unchecked it will result in a monolithic, nationalised mandate demanding conformity to the politically correct dogma of the day. In other words, it is a massive state-sponsored propaganda operation intended to isolate and control people, including kids, about how to feel and relate to people.
During her presentation, Morabito showed video footage of CASEL advocates and experts opining about why this kind of education is needed. They say it is because it is the only way children will acquire “life skills” and children, who are bound to become “self-directed,” are “crying out” for this, noting that data show that approximately 40 percent are “chronically disengaged” in school. CASEL’s curriculum is being implemented in certain places in the U.S, especially in urban areas.
“Both the content and process of CASEL are statist in nature … think of it as Groupthink 10.0: We’re the government and we’re here to help. The net effect is to build a collective mindset,” Morabito explained.
The CASEL video also explains how educators “need the whole child,” and the academic content in any subject is now a “commodity” and is less important than SEL instruction since kids can access the internet for such knowledge. CASEL aims to “mobilise” this curriculum — where the dominant emphasis is kids being taught to be self-aware, how to regulate their emotions, build relationship skills, and demonstrate responsible decision-making in their schools and communities — to get it into every school in the nation.
One of the board members of CASEL is Linda Darling-Hammond, who was domestic terrorist Bill Ayers’ choice to be President Obama’s Secretary of Education. Morabito mentioned that CASEL has several partners whose pet agendas include everything from social and economic globalism to transgenderism. Much of this radicalism comes out of Chicago, she noted.
She went on to say that she believes there are some decent people who have fallen into the trap of utopian thinking, which by nature is always collectivist. Utopian thinking disregards the individual to build a predictable, mechanical world that demands mass control over everyone’s lives and relationships, essentially programming them down to what they can and cannot say.
Morabito took a brief detour to explain that the takeover of relationships begins with undermining the family, specifically marriage, and the groundwork for this has been laid for some time. She referenced the work of gender legal theorist Martha Fineman who argued that state recognition of the institution of marriage should be abolished. Fineman observed that once that happened “a lot more regulation (protection)” would occur once interactions between individuals within families were removed from behind the veil of privacy that now shields them. Those behaviours would then be “judged by standards established to regulate interactions among all members of society.”
But this collectivising of relationships where conformity to the regulations of the smallest minutiae is insisted upon actually diminishes relationships, Morabito argued. And a prime example of this is the growing presence of gender ideology and pronoun protocols.
Forcing people to use words and pronouns that do not correspond to their biological sex but of their choosing “destabilizes thought because it totally undermines the entire structure of our language,” her accompanying powerpoint presentation read. One language is overhauled, thoughtfulness and conversation is replaced with “conditioned emotional reflexes that creates a mob mentality not allowing for differences of thought.”
Most partners of CASEL reportedly promote regulating speech in such a way.
Power elites have always utilized propaganda through psychological manipulation to coerce the masses to bend to an agenda, and over time false premises, like the notion that “sex is assigned at birth,” slowly make their way into law, Morabito explained.
During Q&A, someone in the audience asked, half-jokingly: “Isn’t using the proper pronoun [of someone’s choice] just good manners?”
Morabito, getting the joke, smiled and replied, positing: “Well, my preferred pronouns are ‘I’ and ‘me.’ So I want you to refer to me every time you talk about me, Stella … use ‘I’ and ‘me.'”
“It’s not a matter of manners when you’re talking about the destabilisation of the entire structure of our means of communicating with each other, which are basic rules of grammar and syntax that aren’t supposed to be an infinite list — which is really what it is growing to be.”
Love this article by Andrew Burrell about the Liberal member for Canning W.A., Andrew Hastie from The Weekend Australian Magazine, September 23rd, 2017. It is about a 15 min read.
“He’s been pilloried for his ‘natural law’ argument against gay marriage. But Andrew Hastie isn’t a man to be messed with.” says, Andrew Burrell.
“One of the things that is happening at the moment is that we are transitioning from a society that’s always had a Judaeo-Christian world view anchoring the social and moral consensus … to a society which has a progressive world view defined by little more than individual freedom,” he says.
Testimonies are powerful. It is interesting that Andrew’s father a Presbyterian Minister was a Creationist, believing in the Bible’s six day creation account. I agree, it is impossible to believe in evolution with death and suffering before Adam, and the Bible’s account of creation with a perfect creation prior to Adam and Eve’s SIN of disobeying God. However, Hastie has had to adopt a “cunning as serpents, innocent as doves” approach to the subject of Creation v Evolution.
“Andrew Hastie’s whole body was wracked with pain and his brain was addled. For three weeks, the young army officer had endured extreme physical agony and mental torture, with little food and no more than four hours of restless sleep a night. When he called his wife at the end of the ordeal, he couldn’t hold back the tears. “I was broken, I remember calling Ruth and just crying,” he recalls. “I had no emotional resources left.”
Andrew Hastie in Afghanistan. Pic: Conan Daley
Hastie — now a rising star of the Liberal Party and a conservative pin-up boy at the centre of an ideological firestorm over same-sex marriage — is recalling the brutal selection course he endured to gain entry into the Special Air Service Regiment, the Australian Army’s toughest fighting force. The SAS course, held in the remote West Australian bush in the middle of winter, is regarded as the most physically and psychologically challenging of its kind in the world. If you survive it, you can survive just about anything.
Of the 130 superbly fit men who began that course in July 2010, only 30 made it through. Another 15 dropped out during the subsequent 18-month reinforcement cycle — a boys’ own adventure-style program that included parachuting, climbing, diving, boating, combat shooting, high-speed driving and jungle training.
Hastie went on to become an SAS ground force commander, fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and conducting anti-terrorism operations in the Middle East. The seeds of his ambition to serve were planted as a boy when his grandfather, Flight Lieutenant Norman Hastie, showed him the bullet wounds he received while rescuing two downed Australian airmen in the Pacific during World War II. Yet by 2015, at the age of 32, Hastie had had enough of the military. “I realised the limitations of nation-building at gunpoint,” he says of his experiences in Afghanistan, where he survived several roadside bombings. “I remember thinking, ‘This is crazy.’ I had real doubts about how much we could actually achieve there.”
During those long deployments, something else had taken hold in the soldier’s mind: a greater appreciation of the conditions that led to the flourishing of Australian society and a desire to help preserve his own country’s institutions and cultural heritage. Hastie, who joined the Liberal Party in 2013, had long harboured ambitions for a political career and held little fear of the vicissitudes. “I’ve often said that warrior politics are much fiercer than federal politics,” he says. When Don Randall, the long-serving Liberal MP for the federal seat of Canning, died suddenly in July 2015, Hastie grasped his opportunity. He resigned from the Perth-based SAS, giving up his protected identity status, and won preselection — with the backing of West Australian Liberal powerbroker Mathias Cormann — for the poll in Canning, a largely working-class electorate south of Perth. Yet this was no ordinary by-election. In Canberra, it was seen as the contest that would decide the fate of Tony Abbott, who was under mounting threat of a leadership spill from Malcolm Turnbull.
Sniffing blood, the national media swarmed into Canning to get a glimpse of the hitherto unknown Hastie. And it became obvious that the Liberals had unearthed a unique candidate. Here was the conservative politician from central casting: a churchgoing, squeaky-clean ex-soldier who spoke about protecting Australian values and Western liberal democratic traditions. He also had a fearlessness uncommon in a political newbie.
Hastie didn’t impress everyone, of course. Where some saw a man of conviction, others typecast him as a Bible-bashing young fogey with antiquated views on topics such as homosexuality. He was ripe for ridicule on social media, where he was also depicted as a warmonger or a brainless beefcake. “The first tweet I ever looked at about myself said, ‘Gee, Hastie looks as dumb as batshit’,” he smiles. He did, however, prove he had substance, quoting chunks of Edmund Burke and William Shakespeare to journalists, some of whom were taken aback at the thought that a military man might also be a deep thinker. He looked good on television, too, quickly earning the sobriquet “Tasty Hastie” and being nominated for the Crikey website’s 2015 sexiest politician of the year. “It’s like a committee of gay men were asked to design a parody of a straight man — muscled, wavy hair, nice eyes, dimpled smile, family man, army uniform, son of a preacher man,” wrote one reader in endorsing Hastie for the title. “Is it wrong that the Christian fundie thing just makes him even hotter to me?”
This curiosity about Hastie only intensified after Fairfax newspapers ran front-page stories during the by-election campaign about a soldier under his tactical command in Afghanistan who’d cut the hands off dead Taliban soldiers in the heat of battle in order that they might later be identified through biometric screening. The headline in The Sydney Morning Herald read: “Star Abbott recruit probed for chopping off hands of dead Taliban”. Hastie, who remains vexed that he was accused of being a “war criminal”, had been cleared of any wrongdoing and was elsewhere on the battlefield when the incident took place in 2013. The soldier who cut off the hands was cleared this month after a two-year investigation by the Australian Federal Police.
The Fairfax story wasn’t the end of what Hastie regarded as unfair media treatment during the campaign. At a press conference a few days later he was grilled over revelations that his father, a Presbyterian pastor, was a Creationist who had dismissed evolutionary theory in his writings. When one reporter asked Hastie if he believed God made the world in six days, he could no longer contain himself: “You’re not hearing me, mate,” he responded, his eyes flashing. “People are sick of this crap. People are sick of trying to drag petty issues into public policy discussions.”
Two years later, Hastie remains touchy on the subject. He claims he has been depicted in the media as a “religious nut job” and he’d rather not discuss theology at length. “I don’t want to shy away from it, but in an era of identity politics and cultural Marxism people are looking for every reason to delegitimise someone. So every view I hold henceforth will be seen through the prism of, ‘Oh, he’s just whacking us with a Bible’.”
All he’ll say on Creationism is this: “There’s a range of different views about the origins of the Earth and my view is that God is the first mover. I believe God exists, and if He does exist, then why would it be beyond Him to be the creator?”
Andrew William Hastie was born in Wangaratta in 1982, the second of four children. His mother Sue was a schoolteacher in the northeast Victorian city and father Peter was the local pastor. When he was five the family moved to Sydney and his dad became the minister at Ashfield Presbyterian Church. Hastie attended Scots College where he recalls happy years dominated by sport and strong results in English and history. After school he enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts course at the University of NSW, where he nurtured his interest in the world’s great thinkers. “The philosophy department at UNSW was very rigorous, and taught me how to think,” he says.
He made ends meet by working as a barista at Gloria Jean’s and selling treadmills at Rebel Sports. He recalls heavy drinking sessions with his mates on a Saturday night that were inevitably followed by a hangover in church the next morning — an anecdote he tells in response to questions about his wholesome reputation. He adds for effect: “Once, when I was 17, I was at Blueberries in North Sydney with a fake ID. I came out of the bar as an under-age and there were people from my father’s flock lining up to get in. That’s about as bad as I get. But I’m certainly not a teetotaller — it’s part of the Australian culture to have a beer.”
Hastie didn’t fit in at UNSW’s Kensington campus, where as a Liberal voter and a John Howard fan he encountered the political left for the first time. A crossroads came on the day after 9/11, when a horrified Hastie listened as students in his politics tutorial tried to pin the blame for the atrocity on the US. Almost immediately, he knew he had to serve his country. He transferred to the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, earning an honours degree in history, and later completed officer training at Duntroon before being posted to Darwin to serve in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment.
Steve Barton, a friend who served alongside Hastie on his first deployment to Afghanistan, recalls a man who seemed destined for bigger things. “He struck me as thoughtful and intelligent, curious in the world around him,” says Barton, who went on to be a Liberal Party staffer. “I think of myself as reasonably well-read but he sometimes puts me to shame with the breadth and the diligence with which he reads.”
Hastie’s questioning of the mission in Afghanistan was thrown into sharp relief one cloudless day in Oruzgan province in February 2013. It’s etched in his memory: the snow on the nearby mountains, the smell of firewood in the crisp air. The then 30-year-old SAS commander had called in US Apache helicopters to take out two Taliban fighters who, according to intercepts, were planning to fire rockets at the Australians. But the Apaches fired at the wrong target, killing two local Afghan boys — Toor Jan, seven, and his brother Odood, six — who were gathering firewood across the valley. Hastie and his men were cleared of any blame but he can’t forget the sight of those two small, broken bodies. “I still think about them,” he says. “I had a nightmare last night about it, so it stays with me personally. But I’m at peace with it. I had an opportunity to apologise to their brother and their uncle, and that was part of the healing process for me. War is a degrading process. There is always moral injury; the taking of human life takes its toll on people.”
Hastie has spoken to psychologists about the incident, and says the nightmares — which in the early days left him “shrouded in a black cloud” for several hours after waking — have become less frequent. At the hint of a tear, though, he changes tack and moves the conversation on. “Our society, in a way, we are too open with things. I don’t want to be another sob story in the media.”
Hastie is much happier talking about his life with Ruth, who he met on a study trip to the US in 2007. A whirlwind romance ensued between the churchgoers and Hastie knew “within a week” of meeting her that he wanted to get married. Two months later, he proposed on the steps of Sydney Opera House. “We have very similar world views,” says Ruth, who packed up her life in the US and moved to Australia to become a soldier’s wife. By 2010, the couple had moved to Perth for Hastie to begin the physical training for the SAS selection course. Keen to start a family, they had trouble conceiving and began considering adoption. It took them a year to be formally approved, only for Ruth to fall pregnant a month later with baby Jonathan. Hastie found out while serving overseas in 2014 — via a text message from Ruth containing a photo she’d snapped of her positive pregnancy test. It had taken them six and a half years to conceive. “It was difficult, but as Christians we trusted God’s timing,” says Ruth, who also gave birth to a daughter, Beatrice, in August this year.
The big question being asked of Andrew Hastie is: How far can he go? Canberra insiders rate him as ministerial material. Friends reckon he could go to the very top. “I absolutely think he can be PM,” says Craig Clark, a Perth plumber who became firm friends with Hastie after meeting him at church. “Most of the people who know him would agree. He wants to raise the discourse; he’s as far away from being a politician as you can be.” Others with a close eye on federal politics say the backbencher will have to play smarter in the corridors of power. “He’s not a creature of the party so he doesn’t really get all the machinations,” says a senior Liberal source.
In February, Hastie was thrilled to get a phone call from Malcolm Turnbull inviting him to become chairman of the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security. It was the first tangible sign he is progressing up the food chain in Canberra. Yet while nobody doubts Hastie’s loyalty to the Turnbull Government, the fact is he also remains openly loyal to Tony Abbott, whom he first met on the Canning by-election campaign trail in 2015. The ideological warriors became friends. They are both monarchists and share similar views on big political issues such as climate change and asylum seekers — Hastie says he hates to see refugees in detention but it’s “necessary” to stop people smugglers and describes himself as a climate “realist” rather than a sceptic. He says he wants to protect the environment but believes people must always come first. “I approach the politics of climate change with this primary question: how do we secure reliable and affordable energy for all Australians?” he says. “Everything else is secondary to this duty of government.”
Many in the Turnbull camp still view Hastie with suspicion. “If Abbott was PM Hastie would be progressing up the ladder a lot faster,” says a senior Liberal. Hastie admits he was disappointed that Abbott was removed as prime minister a week before he won Canning in 2015 and he believes the electorate remains unhappy that a first-term prime minister was dumped by his own party. But he reveals that he has privately counselled Abbott to desist from making the sorts of public comments that are widely viewed as destabilising to Turnbull’s leadership. “It’s a sacred office, so creating mischief in the background to cause havoc for the elected leader of our country is against what I stand for. I’ve had conversations with [Abbott] and I’ve given fairly frank advice. We’ve had discussions where I’ve said, ‘You’ve overstepped the mark here.’ But I say that as a friend. He’s been a good friend of mine and that’s what you do.”
When asked about his own ambitions, Hastie is circumspect: “The best way to make a difference is as a minister. But the worst thing you can do is jump ahead of yourself. I always put myself in a position where I can be called upon to do a job. But I don’t wake up every morning, putting on my tie, thinking, ‘How am I going to be prime minister of this country?’”
In recent months, it’s been difficult to miss the backbencher in the media as he emerged as one of the most strident opponents of same-sex marriage. Hastie is regularly pilloried over his views on the subject. When he appeared on national television recently to argue that traditional marriage “is a meeting of body and mind, it begins with consent and is sealed by sexual intercourse”, he was met with a barrage of anger — some of it vulgar and intensely personal. “F..king hell, Andrew Hastie is legit the dumbest c..t I have ever come across,” wrote one Twitter user.
Hastie’s opponents say he’s seeking to impose his Christian moral code on society. But he insists he has never used religion to argue against same-sex marriage; his reasoning is based on “natural law” and his belief that marriage is linked to the welfare of children. “I ask the question: what is the character of marriage over time and across cultures?” he says. “It’s a union between a man and a woman — that’s the normative practice throughout history and culture. I make no mention of sexuality and no appeal to religious authority in making my arguments. Marriage has always been an institution that’s inherently ordered towards family life. Ruth and I struggled for six years with infertility before we had Jonathan, but just because a marriage doesn’t bear children doesn’t mean it’s any less of a marriage.” But surely same-sex couples can also be good parents? “I don’t for a second suggest they’d be bad parents,” Hastie says, adding that he and Labor frontbencher Penny Wong, who is gay, have shared photos of their children. “What I’m saying is that we all have a natural right to know our biological mother and father. And once we legislate marriage to make it genderless, we institutionalise motherlessness and fatherlessness.”’
At the centre of Hastie’s world view is the theological concept of Imago dei, which asserts that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. His belief in this doctrine led him to publicly attack cartoonist Larry Pickering over homophobic comments he made earlier this year. Hastie says gay people must be treated with respect, and he sees no inconsistency between this view and his stance on same-sex marriage.
As the voting process ramps up, Hastie finds himself at the cutting edge of the culture wars. He aims to tread carefully, hoping not to offend anyone — an impossible task in such a fraught debate. As the postal ballots were being sent out in mid-September he became involved in a war of words with gay rights advocate and writer Benjamin Law, who had tweeted: “Sometimes find myself wondering if I’d hate-f..k all the anti-gay MPs in parliament if it meant they got the homophobia out of their system.” One of Law’s followers responded: “Start with Hastie.” In retort, Hastie was quoted in The Australian: “Noting my skills acquired in my previous career, I’d like to see him try.”
Despite this, Hastie implores both sides of the debate to be respectful. “Everyone could benefit from working to understand where the other person is coming from,” he says. “A lot of people who are advocating for Yes, especially those who are gay themselves, feel like the No case is almost an attack on their identity, or a denial of their human rights — and I get that. I understand why there’s so much emotion involved.”
Hastie sees the marriage debate as tied up in the broader clash of “fundamental visions of the social order”. And he knows he may well be on the losing side of this particular battle.
A broad coalition of Christian leaders, including J. I. Packer and Francis Chan, have released a statement articulating God’s design for human identity as male and female.
Dr. Richard Land (shown here), president of Southern Evangelical Seminary and Christian Post executive editor is one of the Nashville Statement’s initial signatories. He said, “The answer to the question ‘What and who is a human being?’ is the mega-ethical issue of our time. It impacts everything,” He noted that if the meaning of the human person cannot be defined in Scripture, the very Gospel is at stake.
“This statement is an attempt to equip the Church to address this issue from a biblical, Christian perspective,” Land said, “to provide a catechism for churches, for Bible study groups, for Sunday schools, families, college students, to equip themselves to understand what the Bible says about these issues and to do so in a positive way.”
“And if we truly love people, we are going to tell them the truth,” he emphasised, “and telling the truth to people is often hard. Telling the truth to segregationists about race was not easy. But they were trapped in racism. It stultified their souls and they were accountable to God for it and it was our responsibility as Christians to tell them the truth: God is no respecter of persons.”
When one engages sexuality issues, Land said, one must deal with the doctrine of creation, and specifically God’s creation of human beings. Although marred and twisted by the Fall, human beings are the only part of His created order that are imprinted with the divine image, he added, and that divine image cannot be separated from His plan for marriage and human sexuality.
Such a statement is needed, they say, in order to resist the spirit of the age and for the church to maintain its counter-cultural witness in a world that seems “bent on ruin.”
The document contains a preamble and 14 articles responding to the current realities in the Western world regarding the many messages swirling in society and even in some churches about sexuality, particularly homosexuality and transgenderism, which have come to the fore in both politics and church life in recent years.
“Evangelical Christians at the dawn of the twenty-first century find themselves living in a period of historic transition. As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked upon a massive revision of what it means to be a human being. By and large the spirit of our age no longer discerns or delights in the beauty of God’s design for human life,” the statement’s preamble reads.
Important articles in the Nashville Statement say:
WE AFFIRM that divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God’s original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing.
WE AFFIRM that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture.
WE DENY that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.
The authors of the Nashville Statement assert in Article 10 that matters pertaining to sexuality, including homosexual practice and transgenderism is an not an area where faithful Christians can “agree to disagree,” but that this is central to the Gospel message.
Katie McCoy, assistant professor of theology in women’s studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Forth Worth, Texas, commented to CP, “The gender issues facing women today hit at the core of our being. McCoy, who is also the editor of BiblicalWoman.com, is among the Nashville Statement’s initial signatories.
When asked what she wants the Nashville Statement to accomplish in the Kingdom of God and how it marks this present moment in church history, McCoy said she hopes it brings boldness to everyone to proclaim the timeless truths of Scripture.
“[Theological] orthodoxy will be increasingly unaccepted and unacceptable but with a statement like this comes the reminder that we are not as alone [as we think], that the truth is never quite on the fringes,” McCoy said.
“And God’s people will remain faithful to God’s Word no matter how unpopular it is, no matter how culturally unacceptable it is.”
The statement’s initial signatories include a multi-generational and racially diverse array of men and women leaders in the body of Christ from a variety of denominations. Over 100 prominent theologians, Bible scholars, church pastors and ministry leaders, seminary presidents, college professors, Christian public policy thinkers, and writers have all already signed on. Baptists, Anglicans, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, nondenominational evangelicals, and almost every other historic Orthodox Protestant tradition are represented among those signatures and additional signers continue to be added.