March 28, 2024

The Sexular Age Never Sleeps: Here Are Its Four Stages So Far

Like rust, The Sexular Age, never sleeps.

Inching forward with cancerous intent, it has only one intention: To so completely hollow out the vision of humanity that is drawn from the biblical framework, that no one would believe such a framework possible.

The Sexular Age creeps forward, inch by inch, sometimes faster, sometimes slower. But always moving forward. Stages come and are cemented in place. And then the next stage begins.

Let’s map out those stages in four parts, and – not surprisingly – all four have been publicly demonstrated in that one arena of life that for many Westerners is their true religion: Sport.

Sport is the place that the Sexular Age has found fertile ground to push forward into the lives and consciences of as many people as possible. Time was, during WWII say, that in order to get a message across about the state of the war we all piled into the cinema to watch the news reels and the commentary.

Now? It’s the arenas, replete with colour and noise and singing and smoke and fire, and all sorts of religious motifs. And the aim is to let those opinions in the big arenas filter down to the grassroots playing fields of our own children.

So to the stages. There are four so far. So far:

Stage One: What You Cannot Say

First it was what you were not allowed to say. Hello Izzy Folau – Rugby Union star – , clunky though you were. At that time there were all sorts of chin-stroking sensible types in Christianity saying that Izzy was being a bit of a fool. Maybe he was. Izzy wasn’t really a true Christian. Maybe he wasn’t. What he certainly was, was a lightning rod in the culture wars that were embedding themselves in our increasingly fractured society.

But what Izzy demonstrated, was that the Sexular Age has an inexorability about it. Not that he picked that. But as we watch what has happened in the ensuing couple of years since his careless/careful social media comment about sexuality and hell, has been interesting.

Izzy was proof that there are certain things you cannot say. Not without being swarmed. Or cancelled. Or vilified yourself. Or your wife being put out to pasture in her own sport because of her association with you (More on association in a minute).

But it was telling. And many of us pointed out that we are going to have to be able to have deep difference and say things about and to each other that we don’t like or we don’t agree with. The Sexular Age vehemently opposed that. Unless of course it was vilifying the likes of Izzy and his reprehensible views.

Stage Two: What You Must Say

Hello “The Manly Seven”. Seven Rugby League players from the Manly Sea Eagles who were, along with the rest of their team, blindsided by a decision to wear a Pride jersey for one round of the competition. The seven players, mostly Pacific Islander men who were either traditional or Christian or both in their views on sexuality, refused to wear it.

And when told they had to, refused to play in that round. It’s fair to say that one event triggered the collapse of the Manly season. Or else it’s not fair to say that, and all that’s being done is that seven young men who were brave enough to stare down the Sexular leviathan and not blink, were scapegoated.

As with Izzy, cue the online trolling, abuse, hatred etc, egged on by a gleeful mainstream media that is struggling around for relevance these days. Cue also, the casual racism, and the casual patronising of young men who “clearly can’t think for themselves because of the white man’s religious takeover of their previously wonderful pagan spirituality back in the day, blah, blah, blah.”

But what is interesting is how the issue had moved beyond what you cannot say to what you must say. You must affirm. You must celebrate. To not do so might risk the mental health or suicide of some young person who is confused about their sexuality. Hence in order to avoid what would be a tragic outcome (although it’s far from clear about how deep that tenuous link is), you should do the right thing. Do the right thing or move on.

The great irony of one of the arguments back then was that the insistence that the jersey was about diversity, not sexuality per se. Those insisting that do not, as we can see in the current debate around the Religious Discrimination Act and it’s effect on religious education systems, view diversity as extending to deeply held religious practice.There’s a clear sense, as Paul Kelly writes in The Australian newspaper recently, that some diversity animals are more equal than others. There has to be a winner (sexuality) and there has to be a loser (religion). It was always thus. This has always been a zero sum game from the Sexular Age’s proponents.

Stage Three: Who You Must Not Associate With

And of course it didn’t stop there. And it kept going with sports as well. This time we got the Andrew Thorburn saga at Essendon Football Club, in which the previous CEO of the National Australia Bank held onto the role of CEO for just one day before being painted into a corner and resigning.

His terrible crime? Being the board chair of a well known evangelical church in Melbourne, City on a Hill, which seeks to reach its part of the city for Jesus. But – naughty, naughty-, the press found sermons from a decade previously that had said things about homosexuality and abortion that are no longer permitted in the public square. What sort of things? You know, biblical things. Biblical things about what a human is, when a human is a human, what a human is for, and who a human is for.

You may have seen the mugging of an interview by the rude David Koch of the erudite and irenic Guy Mason, lead pastor of City on a Hill church on national TV. No nuance. No questions that opened up discussion. Just a mugging.

That Thorburn had not even been a member of the church when those sermons were preached was not the issue. The fact that the football club wanted to celebrate diversity, and that his association endangered that was all it took for the, you guessed it, social media swarm and cancellation, rude threats etc.

The fact that Thorburn knew how to walk and spit gum at the same time seemed beyond people. As CEO of a large bank he had personally overseen a diversity program that he would likely not be in full agreement with. Yet he was able to hold the tension of that, and hold to his own opinions as well (remember those good ol’ days when that was possible? It only seems like a decade ago. What? It was only a decade ago?)

Thorburn had to go. And go he did. Later when the dust settled, the club quietly made peace with him. But the club leadership had been scared off by the mob. By the Sexular Age mob and its inexorable push. For many who don’t have the retirement benefits of the likes of Andrew Thorburn this was a chilling reminder to behave.

Stage Four: Who You Must Associate With

Which brings us, inevitably to stage four, although who is to say whether this be the final stage. I don’t have to say all that much about this one, just have a read of the screen shots below.

And in a beautiful piece if symmetry we’ve moved through the four major football codes of Australia, Union, League, AFL and soccer. And we’ve moved from elite to grassroots. What happens when five members of a female soccer team are trans – male to female players? Or men as we once called them. Here’s what happens. You lose. And you lose badly. You lose on the field. You lose your physical safety and you lose your players, your points, your rights.

Have a read.

How did it go from there? Here’s how:

It’s what we’re? What we’re what? What we’re about? We’re not about women enjoying sports together, safe in the knowledge that their leg won’t be broken by the body of someone who has, since puberty, built muscle and bone and tendon to a degree that few women reach without some sort of enhancement, or drugs.

And we’ve moved to a position in which someone cannot move because their leg was actually broken. And 24 players won’t play. We’ve also moved to a position that many a young family who were looking for a safe sport that doesn’t do serious head injuries all of the time, may no longer look at contact sports in general, simply because the Sexular Age is willing to sacrifice their daughters on this particular altar.

And with young women playing the sport at grassroots level, there’s little chance that they have enough clout to speak into this situation for themselves. That’s why club representatives have to do it for them.

Call it what you will. Call it dog-whistling, call it culture wars. I’m not just being angry about it all (although I probably am angry about it!). I’m just pointing out how this is a one way street. Or at least it is a one way street at the moment. To challenge it seems foolhardy for those who wish to maintain their sanity. Or their job. Or their sports team.

At the moment this is only going in one direction. From what you cannot say, to what you must say, to who you must not associate with, to who you must associate with. The Sexular Age is inexorable. Its pointy end is being exhibited in sports. And if we thought that was the only arena it would come hunting for us to break our legs, then you haven’t been reading the furore around the Religious Discrimination Act.

The Sexular Age never sleeps, and it’s eating at our intellect, our moral framework, our right to refuse non-reality. like a rusting cancer. At some stage the whole thing will cave in under the weight of its own implausibility. But perhaps not before it comes to a sport near you.

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There is no guarantee that Jesus will return in our desired timeframe. Yet we have no reason to be anxious, because even if the timeframe is not guaranteed, the outcome is! We don’t have to waste energy being anxious; we can put it to better use.

Stephen McAlpine – futureproof

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