Tuesday, 12 May 2020

A Letter to the Premier


To Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk,
                                                              I am writing this letter to you to address the issue of standing NRL players down for not getting the flu shot. This is a response to the Covid-19 situation, that many Australians feel is going too far.

We understand that you are under a lot of pressure, and based on various different medical experts, have had to make decisions regarding our borders. It has been reported in various media outlets, that in tandem with advice from the Queensland government certain NRL players have been stood down, pending their acceptance of a flu shot, and other NRL players will not be allowed into the state. We understand that Queensland’s chief medical officer, a government official is directing these guidelines.

I am not opposed to vaccines. We have vaccinated our children, gotten the flu shot regularly ourselves, and have asked family to get whooping cough injections before visiting our children when they were born. We have adhered to medical advice and chosen to get these vaccinations over time.
We understand that for the vast majority of people getting a flu shot is safe, and won’t have any serious medical effects. But every medical intervention comes with risk, and some people don’t know that they cannot have it, until after they have had it and had ill effects. We understand you are making provisions in your directions for people who can’t get it for medical reasons. But people should have, and have had in this country for some time now, the right to choose, and not have their job under threat for declining. People should be allowed to make their own choices.

Is there any evidence that NRL teams are nexuses of transferring viruses?

Is there any evidence that the fittest, healthiest people in the world, professional athletes are in the same risk categories as the ordinary Aussie, or risks of spreading the virus if kept away from contact with the public?

If there is, we would be interested to hear this communicated and expressed, so we can see the reasoning for your decision.

As it stands, we stand with NRL players, and AFL, and any other sport for that matter, or indeed Australian, to make this choice on their own. We do not support them being compelled to comply and ask that you grant them a right they have long had: to make the decision for themselves whether or not they will receive a vaccination.

We ask you to reconsider this action. We understand you are under pressure, and know that this time is hard for our leaders, just as it is for many others.

Please consider this point: we just want people to have the right to choose, what is put in their own bodies.

Blessings.

Signed

Monday, 4 May 2020

Sermon 33: (Genesis 34). Feminism Harms Women


Introduction:

Let’s read the passage first this morning, because it’s a real doozey. (It's best to read Genesis 34 before reading these sermon notes). 

So how do you preach this passage? At first glance it’s not an easy one. But when you sit and think about it, this passage is really very simple. But it’s hard for a modern Christian to see straight away. Why?

Because we Christians today are too much like the goldfish in the coy pond, and we just accept the pond, because we are born in it, moulded by it, shaped by it. We live and breath the culture around us, and we imbibe it. It is only natural, it is unavoidable to a certain degree and just like those fish in the pond we just accept our environment without questioning it.

In fact just like the fish in the pond have an enemy, the neighbour’s cat, who is seeking to harm them, we too have an enemy and he is seeking to harm us constantly. His best way of doing that is by getting us to not question the worldview of the pond. He wants us to not just accept the worldview, but to try to sanctify it, to make it Christian, to invert God’s worldview with the worldview of the world.

And man is our enemy good at it. We are saturated in the worldview of the world, it comes to us through TV, through movies, through social circles. You cannot watch a football game now without hearing about some rubbish Social Justice nonsense. Including now feminism. The working men’s game, NRL, is now pushing feminism. Wow! Because of our soaking in our culture we struggle with understanding certain passages in the Bible, but when you work hard to soak yourself in God’s worldview things become a bit clearer, we still see through a mirror as though darkly, but the mirror is a bit more clear than it was yesterday.

This passage has a very simple message: our world is harmful to women, men and women are not the same, so we need treat men and women different and protect the women in our lives. So, my sermon this morning is titled: feminism harms women. Why is it called that? Well follow through to the end of today’s message with me, and you will see. I just need to cover an important point and then we will look at how this passage applies to us today.

1.     Men and women are not the same – Before we get into this sermon, I need to make a very obvious, but important point. Men and women are not the same. There is a lot of wisdom in the Bible directed at how men should avoid the adulterous, seductive woman. Indeed, if you take a broad picture view of the Bible, it seems to direct more of its advice is to men, than it does to women, though a lot of the principles do apply both ways.
1.1  However, there are passages which are clearly intended to teach wisdom on this topic for women. I think today’s passage is one of those.
1.2  But like those other passages, it doesn’t just speak to women, but to all of us about how we should think about structuring our society. At the core of how we should structure our society is this: men and women are not the same, and therefore should not be treated the same.
1.3  I recently read a book titled: The Privileged Sex, by Martin Van Creveld[1], where he argues, that throughout history women have had certain privileges, and men have had certain privileges, but that women’s privileges clearly outweigh men’s.
1.3.1       From being kept out of war, to most charities in history being started to support women, to higher prison sentences for men than women, to the most dangerous jobs in society consistently being done by men, in so many ways, our society has privileged women.
1.3.1.2  But here is the important point from the book: women should be privileged in ways men aren’t because that’s how society survives. You start to treat women like men, you destroy women, and harm society in general.
1.3.2       Men’s rights groups want to see our system completely balanced out, but 1) that is never going to fully happen, 2) we don’t want it to happen, because the only society which ever pushed men and women to almost full equality was Communist Russia, and it nearly destroyed their whole society. Indeed, it devastated their population base for several decades and harmed their society, 3) most men will never feel right about treating women like men, it’s just not right.
1.3.3       Sure there are things that could be more balanced, like the family law courts, and other things, but at the end of the day women and men are not the same. I want you to treat my wife more gently than me, and that’s right and good.
1.3.4       But we have to stop this stupid idea that men are privileged and women are oppressed in society. Remember when Hillary Clinton said this: “Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat.”[2] Feminist logic is like a Craig Lowndes race car in 1999…upside down.
1.4          So, if we keep this vital truth in our minds, that men and women are not the same, then this passage becomes a lot easier to apply today. 

2.     Foolish Girl, Wicked Man (Genesis 34:1-4) - So what happens in this passage, let’s see: “34 Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the women of the land. 2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her. 3 And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. 4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this girl for my wife.”
2.1  So, Dinah, the daughter of Leah, goes out into the world, and she gets seized and raped. I need to note here, that the word used for humiliated or defiled is most often used in the context of forced sex in the Bible, but not always. It is possible to interpret this as she went along willingly. But I don’t think the context supports that argument.
2.2  Now these verses are a powerful commentary on our modern culture. Why do I say that? Because that is our culture. We read: oh, Dinah went out on the town with the girls, and think nothing of it. But our perspective is a rare perspective historically, and a dangerous one in any era.
2.3  Listen to what John Calvin says here, “…Let us examine everything in order. Dinah is ravished, because, having left her father’s house, she wandered about more freely than was proper. She ought to have remained quietly at home, as both the Apostle teaches and nature itself dictates…”[3]
2.3.1       How dare he say that I hear some people thinking: that’s victim blaming, that’s wrong, that’s sexist, that’s such out of date thinking Matthew. I am offended. You should be telling the bad men to stop being bad Matthew, not commenting on Dinah’s behaviour.
2.3.2       Let me just say quite clearly here, that’s not victim blaming and I don’t blame the victim for what happens to them. Let me say this very clearly: bad men are responsible for their bad deeds, and they should be punished.
2.3.2.1  But now let me say this: do you think that bad men care what we say to them? That’s not how the world works.
2.4  Let’s think about what Calvin said, because it is a biblically based statement: “Dinah, wandered about more freely than is proper”. What does he mean by this? It’s simple: the world is dangerous, particularly for young women. There are bad men in this world, and no amount of wishing it away is going to change that.
2.4.1       I agree women should be able to walk as freely as men. I agree women should be safe to live alone and be free from assault as a man. I agree that women should not have to take precautions, because every man should treat them as a sister as Paul says (1 Tim 5:2). But we don’t live in la la land, we live in a world cast into sin and lust and violence by Adam and Eve.
2.4.2       This world is dangerous, pretending men and women are just as safe when dating is foolish and wrong. Pretending women are just as safe to invite a man in their home is foolish and wrong. Pretending men and women are able to equally fight for themselves is foolish and wrong. Pretending a woman is just as safe on her own as a man, is foolish and wrong.
2.4.3       But this is what feminism does to women it places them in danger, by denying reality. How dangerous is our world? This dangerous:

3.     Even women doing the right thing get hurt (1 Samuel 13:1-16) – The chances are that if you do the right thing in this area, if you make the right decisions, you will avoid having to experience bad men. But, like I said, we live in a fallen world, take Tamar as an example: “13 Now Absalom, David's son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David's son, loved her. 2 And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her…6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. And when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.” 7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Go to your brother Amnon's house and prepare food for him.” 8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house, where he was lying down. And she took dough and kneaded it and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes. 9 And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, “Send out everyone from me.” So everyone went out from him. 10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. 11 But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” 12 She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing. 13 As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” 14 But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.”
3.1  Here is a loving and caring, and obedient sister, just doing the right thing, and her evil half-brother violates her and rapes her, and then, even more wickedly he discards her and treats her with contempt afterwards.
3.2  So, you may be wondering: Matt if women who try to do the right thing can get hurt, and women who take unnecessary risks get hurt, then why did you take the angle you have taken this morning with your sermon?
3.2.1       It’s very simple: this world is dangerous, so we should live in a wise way, and not follow the dangerous teaching of the world. God’s advice works better than the world’s advice. What do I mean?

4.     Feminism Was Designed to Harm Women – I have to say, I am sympathetic to one of the claims of feministic thinking – that men are bad. I am not going to argue with that for two reasons: 1) I have known some really, really bad men in my short days on this earth, 2) God says, “There is no man who is good, no not one”, God also said that “the heart is deceitful and wicked above all things”. So, feminism agrees with the Bible that men are corrupt. But the problem is not patriarchy, the problem is sin, and sin effects women just as badly as it does men. The feministic worldview is not a good solution to the struggles of this world, because it harms women even worse. How do I know, here are the reasons I know this is true:     
4.1  First, Dinah’s actions are the model for feminism. Feminism teaches women that they should live just like men, be promiscuous just like men, take risks just like men, just go out all into the world, just like men…the result, a lot of women get hurt in bad ways. Men should not be promiscuous, but women get hurt in worse ways.
4.1.1       A feminist might say to Dinah – “When you are ready, you get back out there girl, you go out in the world again, you don’t let no man tell you where you can and cannot go.”
4.1.2       The result? #metoo, #timesup, women getting sexually assaulted in record numbers. Pretending women and men are the same makes no sense, especially when it comes to sex.
4.1.3       Let me read some feminist research for you: “Working in an isolated context. Many workers—such as female janitors, domestic care workers, hotel workers, and agricultural workers, who often work in isolated spaces—report higher than average rates of sexual harassment and assault (Fern├índez Campbell 2018; Yeung and Rubenstein 2013; Yeung 2015). Isolation leaves women vulnerable to abusers who may feel emboldened by a lack of witnesses (Feldblum and Lipnic 2016).”[4] In other-words women on their own, are easier prey for bad men.
4.1.4       One study of employed women found that 38% had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.[5]
4.1.5       Yet feminism celebrates the independent woman. Just stupid.     
4.2  Second, the ideal feminist woman is a short haired woman, who fights, shoots, drinks, and swears like a man, who has sex with everyone in town…aka feminisms idea of a good woman is a bad man…if you don’t believe me, just look at movie posters.
4.2.1       More and more movies are presenting women, exactly as they used to present men, as badass individualists, who can fight just like men.  
4.2.2       This is getting people hurt all over the place. Have you ever seen a professional male fighter, fight a woman?[6] This is going to kill someone eventually.  
4.3  Third, it is creating a loneliness epidemic – the biggest irony in the world is that women are making more money than ever before, yet they still prefer (in general) to marry men who make more than them.
4.3.1       For every 100 women with a college degree, there are 85 men (Picchi). Because statistically women want to marry men who can support them (aka who earn more), they are finding it harder to find marriage partners.[7]  
4.4  It decreases women’s marriage value in the eyes of men: There is a scene in Rocky where he is walking a young women home, who has been hanging out with rough boys and imitating them. He explains to her how men see women who act like she does, lose, foul mouthed, and masculine. She gives him the finger.
4.4.1       Now people might get seriously offended at me for saying this. But it’s simply true: most men want to marry the virtuous woman.
4.5  Feminism has forced women to literally compete with men. Not just against men in the workplace, but on the sporting field to. Now this was always going to be a result of feminism, why?
4.5.1       Because as Per Faxneld points out in his book, Satanic Feminism, 19th century feminists were inspired by Luciferians ideas, and Lucifer throughout history has been portrayed as a gender bending spirit[8]. This question of the gender roles, and even the complete rejection of them, was there from the start.
4.5.2       Indeed according to Faxneld the gender transgressive woman, was the ideal feminist role model.[9] Why? Because she broke all gendered norms. Destabilizing gender was one of the goals of the earliest feminists, and this was always going to lead to the transgender mess we see today. Indeed, this leads directly to my last point about why feminism harm’s women.    
4.6  Lastly, feminism harms women, because it is fruit of the poisoned tree. The title of Faxneld’s book Satanic Feminism can seem quite dramatic. No, it’s not written by a fundamentalist Baptist preacher, though that would be cool to read. Faxneld is a secular Historian of Religion, this book was his PhD thesis, and he wrote it because he wanted Satanism to get the credit for our modern feminist society it rightly deserves. His history is so detailed and well documented it was “awarded the Donner Institute Prize for Eminent Research on Religion”.[10]
4.6.1       His basic argument is simple: the early feminists saw Lucifer as the liberator of womankind, and Eve as the first feminist, whom Satan liberated from God’s evil patriarchy.
4.6.2       From the feminist perspective, Satan offered Eve absolute equality with Adam. To make her just like her husband in power and authority.
4.6.3       Faxneld says this, “Aside from receiving some impetus from the violent events on the other side of the channel, the counter readings of biblical tradition and Milton performed by the Romantics were, naturally, made possible by the gradual breaking down of Christianity’s hegemony. This slow collapse gained increased momentum from the 1750’s onwards, precisely the period when Romanticism began to bud as a movement. The disrespectful handling of Christian mythology on that part of many Romantics helped further hasten this process of dethroning Christianity as ultimate truth. Authors like Shelley and, especially, Byron were, after all, among the most widely read of their day. Hence, literature, and literary Satanism, helped change the European religious landscape” (emphasis mine).[11]
4.6.4       We live in a deliberately inverted culture, and most people don’t even realize it. And they will look at someone like me, who points it out, like I am a madman, but I don’t care, Paul was happy to be a fool for Christ. Sign me up. 
 
5.     The Question is: God’s Way or the Cultures Way? The question we need to ask today is this: Is God’s way of structuring society, where men provide and care for their women better? Or is the modern way, aka the Dinah way, of sending women out into the world, as though they are men, better for women?
5.1   Paul says this: Titus 2:1-6 – “2 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.” And this: 1 Timothy 5:8 - “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
5.2  I am becoming more and more convinced that the advice in the Bible about men providing for their families, and a woman caring for the home, is not just cultural, not just one way to do it, but the best way. Because it is God’s way of protecting woman, as much as possible from the evils of our world.
5.3  You may say, come on Matt, get with the times, why be so old fashioned? You mean the times where girls have to race against boys, women die in combat, women are put in situations where they are alone and vulnerable? Those times? Because this is what our culture does.
5.3.1       I don’t want to conform to that. I want to do what God wants us all to do: be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and be conformed to his image, as presented in his word.

6.     Conclusion - You may disagree with my message this morning, even strongly, but let me say this: just read God’s word, then look at our world, then reads God’s word, then look at the world…do this over and over again and ask this simple question: is the world’s way better than God’s? I think the answer is becoming clearer every day. Let’s pray.

References:


[1] Martin Van Creveld, 2013, The Privileged Sex, DLVC Enterprises, Israel.
[2] Hillary Clinton, 1998, “Hillary Clinton and the Victims of War”, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/hillary-clinton-victims-of-war/, accessed 30/04/2020. 
[3] John Calvin, 1979, Calvin’s Commentary Volume 1: Genesis, Baker Book House, Michigan, p218.
[4] Elyse Shaw, Ariane Hegewisch, Cynthia Hess, 2018, “Sexual Harassment and Assault at Work: Understanding the Costs”, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, https://iwpr.org/publications/sexual-harassment-work-cost/, accessed 30/04/2020. 
[5] National Sexual Violence Resource Centre, 2013, Sexual Violence and the Workplace, https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_overview_sexual-violence-workplace.pdf, accessed 30/04/2020. 
[6] Laura Meyers, 2015, “Transgender MMA Fighter Destroys Female Opponent”, The Libertarian Republic,  https://thelibertarianrepublic.com/transgender-mma-fighter-destroys-female-opponent/, accessed 30/04/2020.
[7] Aimee Picchi, 2015, “These women can’t find enough marriageable men”, CBS News,  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/these-women-cant-find-enough-marriageable-men/, accessed 30/04/2020. 
[8] Per Faxneld, 2017, Satanic Feminism: Lucifer as Liberator of Woman in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Oxford University Press, pp45-58.
[9] Ibid, p389.
[10] Source, Goodreads website:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5839279.Per_Faxneld, accessed, 29/04/2020.   
[11] Per Faxneld, 2017, Satanic Feminism: Lucifer as Liberator of Woman in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Oxford University Press, p91.