Published in The Australian, Friday 9 September 2022

In February 1957 the National Council of Churches in the US distributed a blistering attack against racial segregation in a pamphlet written by Baptist minister Martin Luther King Jr for the 35th annual observance of Race Relations Sunday.

“All men, created alike in the image of God, are inseparably bound together,” King wrote.

As the apostle Paul reminded us in his declaration on Mars Hill, it was “God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth”. He “made from one man all the nations that they should inhabit the earth”.

King was building the theological foundation for the great civil rights campaigns of the 1960s, for the fight against a society and a system of laws that divided a nation against itself along racial lines.

Dividing a country by race, he argued, was “a tragic evil that is utterly un-Christian”. Yet a nation divided by race is exactly the desired outcome of those seeking to enshrine an Indigenous voice to parliament in the Australian Constitution.

We are told by proponents of the voice that democratic institutions are not good enough for Indigenous Australians but they need their own, Indigenous-only, race-based body within the structures of government. Not only do they claim this will correct the injustices of the past, they also claim this is the only way to guarantee Indigenous Australians can have a say over the laws and policies that affect them.

If this were true, it would mean our democratic institutions are so broken they are unable to incorporate the ambitions and aspirations of Indigenous Australians.

Apart from anything else, this is a blatant denial of the reality that there are currently 11 Indigenous parliamentarians and an Indigenous Australians minister overseeing a multibillion-dollar government department.

But the idea of the voice is presupposed on the false notion that Australians are so divided by skin colour – black v white – that an institution of general function, like a democratic government, cannot act in the best interests of both.

Why? Because according to the world view that underpins the voice, white Australians are so irredeemably trapped by the privilege afforded to them by the colour of their skin and the racist structure of our colonising democracy that we couldn’t hear Indigenous Australians even if we wanted to.

That is exactly what is preached to us by the advocates of identity politics and critical race theory.

They say that conflict and oppression between races is inevitable and, worse, that we cannot escape these destructive forces because we are marked by our skin colour and the structure of our society.

We cannot presume to speak for each other and we cannot presume to act in each other’s best interests.

A white politician can never fairly represent a person of colour, nor can a person of colour be fairly treated by a white-majority institution such as parliament.

Of course, this is a lie. Anyone can tell the truth and anyone can act in the best interests of anyone else – because we are all humans first. These false ideas lead to the inevitability that the voice will become the woke voice. It won’t be the Indigenous voice, it will be the critical race theory voice, the identity politics voice.

The result of the voice will be a Constitution claiming that I, as a white man, am inescapably an oppressor to people of colour. It is a permanent statement that our nation is irredeemably segregated by a barrier to our shared humanity that cannot be scaled – our race.

Under this postmodern world view, racism is a human condition. It’s not about individual acts of racial prejudice, it’s about the racist structure – the systemic racism – that is baked into us and all that we do.

Clearly, none of this is true and the reality is very different. Anyone can reach out a hand to help anyone.

It comes down to something Christianity reveals to us because we believe that one God made one man from whom all races are descended. There is one race, ultimately: the human race.

Our democracy as expressed in our Constitution rightly presupposes the equality of every Australian. As the apostle Paul reminds us, the kingdom of God is colourblind, for “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus”.

Our temporal, earthly “kingdoms” do well to model the greatest kingdom of all. Our Constitution should remain colourblind.

And Australians would be wise to be wary of the voice and the sinister ideas behind it.

For, as King reminded us, a nation segregated by race is a blatant denial of the unity that we are all offered in Christ.

Martyn Iles
Managing Director
Australian Christian Lobby

Article featured in The Australian - September 09, 2022