Treasurer Scott Morrison will speak at a conference run by the lobby group behind the attacks on the Safe Schools Coalition, alongside News Corp columnist Miranda Devine and Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson. The event, to be held in Sydney in April, is the annual conference of the Australian Christian Lobby and is advertised with the theme “Cultivating Courage”. The program so far does not list the topic of Morrison’s speech, but his religious views are well known. The big draw for the conference is American Eric Metaxas, who is advertised as having “an urgent yet winsome message for Christians today”. The ticket page for the event says:

“There’s no doubt it is becoming harder to be a Christian in Australia.

Elite opinion mocks faith.

Some activists seek to silence Christian voices.

Media often scoffs at any trace of timeless, Christian faith.

But our nation has been blessed and shaped by the transforming power of the gospel.

Christianity has shaped our morals, our institutions and our laws. Everyone has benefited.

As we live as people of faith in modern Australia, courage is needed now more than ever.”

Metaxas is a best-selling author and broadcaster and was raised in the Greek Orthodox faith. Recently, he took Donald Trump’s side in his beef with Pope Francis, and encouraged his followers to stop shopping at a department store that featured an interview with feminist and pro-choice activist Gloria Steinem in its catalogue. He has a daily radio show, syndicated by Christian radio network the Salem Radio Network (yes, that is really its name). He also has a beef with the mainstream media — for not covering his chat with Ted Cruz at the National Religious Broadcasters Conference, where he asked what it was like to be up close with Donald Trump’s hair.

Another speaker, Jeffery J Ventrella, is senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, at whose conference former prime minister Tony Abbott spoke last month. Ventrella has spoken against same-sex marriage and has also written about the “health issues” associated with being gay:

“There is a price to be paid for ignoring the fixed natural order of things.  And all the money, along with every program the LCCHR is seeking, cannot change the fact that those who practice homosexual behavior face the consequences of living a life that runs counter to that order.  Sticking one’s head in the sand for the sake of not assessing the dangers of one’s sexual or political preferences won’t actually change how the natural order works.

Those choosing these behaviors should turn from them to regain for their own sakes the healthfulness and longevity that comes with living life in the real world.”

Along with that ray of sunshine, the conference also features the ACL’s regulars: Lyle Shelton, Jim Wallace and Wendy Francis.

Peter Fray

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