In the new Promised Land of post-religion offered to us by the secular liberal elites, we were promised a vision of the good life without sin, without condemnation; a life in the land in which all were free to be as they are, or who they wish to be, free from ridicule, scorn or stern corrections.

They lied.  Or at least these elites fell victim to truthphobia or some such affliction, a scourge one can be educated out of, but for which, in the absence of anything resembling grace, one can never be forgiven for.

The Promised Land of post-religious, secular Australia, and indeed much of the West, is a mean-spirited, shrivelled land, flowing with skim-milk and organic honey, steeped in dangerous shibboleths and new taboos.

In this new land, in the absence of a Moses coming down the mountain with the Law, we have a new breed of mini-me tablet-bearers, pontificating from the heights of our media, our universities, and now, sadly, from the podiums of our national awards ceremonies.

Once it was scandalous when a cricketer was named Australian of the Year. How that looks like a sanguine, gentle age compared to the self-righteous, dare I say it, religious, posturing we have seen in the chase to become the 2016 Australian of the Year.

Chase?  Yes, chase.  On the starting line this year for the title we had David Morrison, former Australian Army leader who became a Youtube cause de celebre, when belatedly in his career he clamped down, as he should have done earlier, on misogny and sexual brutality in the Armed Forces.   Right behind him, and looking at a strong finish that threatened to pip Morrison at the post, was Cate McGregor, formerly a male soldier who is now transgender, and a vocal, vociferous advocate for LGBTI rights.  McGregor is also an excellent cricket writer for The Australian newspaper.

Well, Morrison dipped his head at the line, resulting in a sullen outburst by McGregor, who accused the Australian of the Year selection committee of a making a “weak, conventional” choice.  McGregor may well write about Australian cricketers, but being a sullen, lippy poor loser puts her up there with the Aussie players themselves.

Here’s how The Australian reported it today:

[McGregor] said she felt “really sad that they (at the National Australia Day Council) did not have the courage to go with an LGBTI person. I thought it was time … it was a weak and conventional choice”.

McGregor also accused Morrison of “dead-naming” her by calling her by her old name of Malcolm, and using male personal pronouns to describe her.

I dunno, but when your side’s three down for not many on the board, the last thing they need is you to go out swinging at wide-pitched deliveries outside the off-stump. It’s a sure fire way to be sent back to the domestic comp to work on your technique (which, if the Twitter response is any indication, is exactly what is going to happen to McGregor).

But of course, it doesn’t end there, because secular sin must be atoned for, and Morrison has drunk enough of the Kool Aid to know what to do next.  In this age of secular sin, there is no private confessional booth and a few Hail Mary’s, no not at all.  Oprah Winfrey’s couch has set the tone for the new mea culpa. Morrison atoned for his sins publicly on ABC ‘s hipster “yoof” network “Triple J”, as The Australian reported today:

Mr Morrison said he hadn’t spoken to Group Captain McGregor about her comments but told ABC Triple J’s Hack: “I’m sorry she’s sorry. And I absolutely accept that I do (need to learn). I’m a middle-aged Anglo-Saxon heterosexual male. I do have much to learn — I’m not closed off to that at all.

There it is folks, the biggest crime of all – being a middle-aged Anglo-Saxon heterosexual male, a crime of which I have become increasingly guilty over the past ten years. And the fact that I revel in the evidence of my sins probably makes it all the worse. It’s a pity in this post-religious secular world that there is no hell, because, true to form, middle-aged Anglo-Saxon heterosexual males (MASH’es?) would be first cab off the rank.

Of course, if you did a postmodern Literature degree in the 1980s then you knew this affliction was, even at that early stage, a crime on campus (although being 19 I didn’t tick all of its boxes), but as with all elite agendas these things take on a life – or a death – of their own.  They spread like viralious pus, oozing their way down the food chain from elite education to public media, to pop culture, to, well, to anywhere really that they can find a level. It’s a parasitic movement that is defined by what it is against, which is why the language of “victim” so invades its vocabulary.

The most religiously strict cultures on the planet (Iran for example), have their moral police teams, always ready to mete out a public whipping for public sins when necessary. So too secular religious cultures.  Public sins need a public whipping, and at the very least, an expression of contrition from the sinner.  Morrison simply did what he knew he had to do if he were not to be stoned to media-death as an apostate.  He will now be compelled to give speech after increasingly turgid speech throughout 2016 to a variety of congregations around the nation, all the time flinching over the words he pens, making sure he voices what others think, not what he actually thinks himself.

As I mentioned before, but which I remind us of again as I close, this is an age lacking in grace. In need of it in bucketloads of course, but without the opposing categories available to us that give grace its recognisable unction and power.

With technically negative word such as “sin” off the agenda, technically positive ones such as “grace” will fall by the wayside. We are heading towards a sinless, graceless culture, in which everyone has “much to learn” but no one to learn it from who has any moral authority. Much to be forgiven for, but no categories or places to go to for forgiveness.

Worst of all, we have nothing to look forward to in this sphere, except an ever-tightening series of shibboleths, the mishandling of which will leave us, like those original stammering Ephraimites in Judges 12, slaughtered at the fjord for our own inability or refusal to speak in the dialect of our new cultural overlords.

This new Promised Land is turning out exactly how the book of Judges described it: “In Israel in those days there was no king. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  It’s a fractured, tribal land of Sinless Wonders, and we’re much the poorer for it.