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Moderator's Comments - Posted 28 January 2016

The citation said that General Morrison was selected for his commitment to “gender equality, diversity and inclusion”.

During the preamble to the presentation of his award, it was noted that Mr Morrison is now chair of the Diversity Council of Australia.

During the speeches, the word “diversity” was repeated again and again, and so I googled some of Australia’s largest companies including the banks, and found they each have Diversity Officers.  The role of a Diversity Officer is to ensure that difference is respected and that no one is hindered from progress in the organisation because of their gender, race, religion or sexual preference.   That all sounds beneficial but then I wondered, if I worked in the bank and began to faithfully, sensitively evangelise my workmates, would I be reported to the Diversity Officer and called in for reorientation?   Would I be able to express moral convictions or would that call for some re-education by the Diversity Office? And, what if the re-education doesn’t work, does that mean that I don’t work?

2016 is going to be the year for the promotion of diversity, is there a more sinister side to this concept, for those who hold moral and faith convictions?

David Morrison seems to be a fine man, his work in the Australian Army over 36 years is commendable, however, in his zeal for diversity, will he be equally concerned to protect individual freedoms, something which ought to be close to the heart of all military personnel?

How far will Australia slide along the broad way of an increasingly valueless society, in which all moral conviction will be expunged and replaced by a respect for diversity?  

On my way to work on Tuesdays, I pass a sign on the NSW Teachers’ Federation building, “LGBTI safe zone”.  I am not LGBT or I, I am H (heterosexual).  Is there a safe zone for me?   

Will those who teach our children make sure that all of us, along the spectrum of diversity, are included in their concern for safety?

Evangelism must be a top priority for the church, the church being salt and light in a rotting and dark world, is our calling.  Will the focus on diversity spell trouble for the Christian witness, for those who move out of the salt shaker and turn on the light?

I am not seeking to justify the arrogant or the superior, our manner must be respectful and gracious, accompanied by good deeds (Matthew 5:16), but it is the matter which we stand for, a concern for righteousness, which Jesus says will attract persecution, slander and  insult (Matthew 5:10 – 12).   And he also says, we are blessed by our solidarity with him.  We rejoice and are glad of our partnership with the prophets and the reality of reward in heaven (Matthew 5:12).  Such is the reality of the new living in the old!

As I write, news of real diversity, former PM Tony Abbott is on his way to the USA to speak to an “Alliance Defending Freedom” dinner on the value of the traditional dad and mum family.  

Now that’s a diverse viewpoint.  I wonder if Federal Parliamentarians have a Diversity Officer.  I’d like to hear what they would have to say to Tony. 

Rt Rev David Cook