Being on the Wrong Side of a Parallel History
Imagine an alternative Victoria in a parallel universe.
In this reality, a hard-line fundamentalist Christian political party has just won the state election by a landslide and takes power, having the numbers to ban, endorse and enforce what it deems to be true and right and healthy for the state.
They roll out an “abstinence only” sex ed program called “Sacred Schools” and say it must be used in every public school whether the teachers, students or parents want it or not.
They are advised by the federal government that the program should be amended so it is an “opt in” program to allow parents the right to choose whether their kids attend, but the state government says NO because some kids have bigoted atheist parents who can’t be trusted and every child deserves the right to hear their abstinence message.
They also won’t make any of the recommended edits to the program or remove its links to fundamentalist Christian websites.
Then, it comes out that the co-founder of the program has a scary political agenda, publicly stating they want to replace the Australian flag with a giant cross signifying that the rule of Jesus has been enforced by law across the land.
If all that was happening, I can image that the parallel universe Simon, if he was still a Christian, may be more blind to the dangers of such a system of government because they were playing to his demographic and proclaiming a message that he might find some sympathy for.
I mean, parallel Simon believes in Jesus and he agrees with abstinence. He doesn’t want it to be enforced as the only perspective kids get taught about, but he reasons, if only one idea is going to be taught he is glad it’s an idea that he agrees with.
Christians in this parallel universe would easily be blind to the way this government got bigger and bigger and slowly forced itself and its beliefs on everyone else.
Non-Christians would try to speak up but would be shouted down as anti-religious bigots by the government , and their blind Christian fellow citizens would just laugh at them as over-exaggerating the problem.
In this parallel universe:
- non-Christian charities would lose their tax exemption status,
- there would be “safe zones” set up to prevent people from protesting anywhere near churches,
- school chaplaincy – which in this universe was mostly run by an agnostic organisation – would be completely defunded,
- and specifically atheist organisations would be told that they now had to allow Christians to work as part of their staff if they wanted to avoid being sued for discrimination.
Even the tiny opt-in “evolutionary biology class” called SRE (Scientific Reasoning & Evolution) that only ran weekly for half an hour for kids who wanted it, would be banned from all public schools. The Christian state government claimed that for those 30 minutes, it disadvantaged the creationist kids who chose not to attend.
If all this was going down, I wonder if parallel Simon would speak up?
Would he defend the rights of views being systematically silenced?
Or would he just be silent himself, blindly happy with the way his views were now seemingly on the right side of history?