|Australian Discusses Religious Liberty|
On Tuesday, September 25th, Mr. Rocky Mimmo, Founder and Chairman of the Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty, an Australian organization, visited OLSWA campus to describe the work of the Centre and to discuss the issue of religious liberty. He addressed a good-sized crowd of students and community members, focusing first and foremost on the manner in which one should exercise one’s religious liberty when engaging in discussion about matters pertaining to Christian truth and morals.
Beginning with some statistics regarding the percentage of Australians who profess to be Christian, he noted that “We are confronted with a declining interest in Christianity.” He went on to state that, if that is the case, we cannot hope to convince people of religious truths by invoking the Gospels or other religious authority. Rather, he declared, it is the opinion of members of the Ambrose Centre that the best course of action is “to go armed with reason and logic.”
An example Mimmo gave was the case of laws concerning same-sex marriage in Australia. When the Australian government recently considered whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage, members of the Ambrose Centre met one-on-one with government officials, not to try to convince them of the good of marriage – which many in government positions did not believe in – but simply to impress upon them the consequences that would logically flow from an alteration of the legal definition of marriage. Mimmo described some of those consequences in his talk: “If you change the law which says that marriage is between a man and a woman, then the law says that what is unnatural, is natural – that a man is the same thing as a woman, and that two men – or two women – is the same thing as a man and a woman. Do I want my kids taught that?” By means of these sorts of arguments, Mimmo says, the Ambrose Centre achieved its goal, and when the vote was held, the overwhelming majority of government officials voted against legalizing same-sex marriage in Australia. Mimmo reiterated the basis of the Ambrose Centre’s success: “Never once did we invoke the authority of the Gospel,” he says. “Never once did we invoke religious authority. Never once did we apply anything but reason, underpinned by faith.”
Mimmo went on to talk a little bit about religious liberty in general, stressing the importance of protecting everyone’s legitimate right to religious expression. He said that people will try to “drive you out of the public arena and tell you that you can in no way influence or convince [others].” He encouraged listeners not to be deterred by such efforts. “This,” he explained, “is objectionable, because you can no longer fulfill yourself as a person.... It is essential that you should be able to express yourself for who you are and what you are.”
Mimmo ended his talk by stating that, in exercising our freedom to proclaim the truths we hold by faith, we should not get too caught up in looking for success. On the contrary, we should simply give our best effort, be objective in our arguments, and most importantly, he concluded, “look to the cross on the wall.”