“Prisoner 5993, you have been denounced as having attempted to communicate with a mythical transcendent being for the sake of petitioning a selfish and criminal outcome.”

At First Things read this carefully: “Prohibiting Prayer in Australia” by Carl R. Trueman

The core with my emphases and comments:


The state of Victoria in Australia … just passed a bill that will considerably intensify the conflict between religious freedom, individual choice, and identity politics. And it might well become a model for laws elsewhere in the democratic world.

The legislation that just passed is the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020. Its basic intention is “to ensure that all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, feel welcome and valued in Victoria and are able to live authentically and with pride.” It is hard to argue with that, both because the aim seems laudable enough (who wants to live in a place where she does not feel valued?) and because it embodies the nebulous jello-speak of our current therapeutic age. Feeling valued and living authentically are useful, empty phrases that sound wonderfully reassuring but can be given whatever content the month dictates. [This could also describe the state of belief in the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist in many places, where not the Catholic Faith reigns but rather a moralistic (or not!) therapeutic deism.] I assume, or at least hope, that those whose “sexual orientation” leads them to abuse underage minors are unlikely to feel welcome and valued in Victoria despite this new legislation.

The law defines a change or suppression practice as follows:

a practice or conduct directed towards a person, whether with or without the person’s consent on the basis of the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity; and for the purpose of changing or suppressing the sexual orientation or gender identity of the person; or inducing the person to change or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity.Note that the consent of the person is immaterial to the legal point: The change or suppression practice is illegal regardless of the attitude of the person involved.

But the really important part of the bill from a religious perspective is its list of “change or suppression practices.” This includes: “carrying out a religious practice, including but not limited to, a prayer-based practice, a deliverance practice or an exorcism.

[NB…] In short, if someone asks a pastor, a priest, or a Christian friend to pray for him that his sexual desires or gender dysphoria might be changed, that pastor, priest, or friend runs the risk of committing a criminal offense. Presumably this also applies to parents praying for their children—or perhaps even parents teaching their children that untrammeled expressions of sexual desire (at least within the canons of contemporary bourgeois taste) are inappropriate.

This provision is clearly not based on any coherent metaphysical objection to the practice of prayer. If the legislators believe God exists, they presumably believe that he is wise enough to ignore such prayers if they are indeed truly harmful. And if they do not think he exists, then it seems reasonable to assume they would regard such prayer as a rather pointless, even nonsensical, exercise.


Again, the concept of coherence enters in, as it did in Weigel’s piece the other day about abortion promoting Catholic politicians, Communion, and the bishops who won’t act like bishops.

But that’s the inevitable liberal outcome, isn’t it: truth isn’t rooted in anything objective, it is rooted in how much power I have over you, in my will.  It is the lie of the serpent in the garden: You shall be as gods, determining your truths.  No matter matter if other people have their own truths that differ from yours: you are more powerful than they are, so they are screwed and your truth prevails.  Black is white, up is down, in is out, 2+2=5, women can be ordained, adulterers can receive Communion, masks are a sacrament… whatever the hell they want you to accept.

Scene: an interrogation room with a one-way glass window by a heavy metal door.  Guards with truncheons flank a uniformed interrogator of indeterminate sex.  From above the window, bright lights are focused on a man shackled to the opposing wall.

“Prisoner 5993, you have been denounced as having attempted to communicate with a mythical transcendent being for the sake of petitioning a selfish and criminal outcome.  In outdated terms, you “prayed”.  Your accuser, an autonomous individual with whom you share DNA from the same biological pairing, filed a charge of praying against you.  Your DNA corelative stated that, in the time before the Great Reset, xe had fallen into the error of questioning xis desire to alter xis gender identity and asked you to pray for xem, because you were, at the time, still involved in the illegal activity of a so-called ‘priest’.”

The interrogator swipes through some views on a hand-held screen.

“While you offered those infamous petitions before the change to the laws of this now free and borderless domain, Article 2 of the Democrat Reset Reformation Act makes that which is now criminal also retroactively criminal and subject to the Pelosi guidelines of the Build Back Better Proclamation.”

More screens are consulted.

“It appears, Prisoner 5993, that you have also been observed moving your lips when alone while – and we can hardly bring ourselves to say this – you have been present with us as a recipient of the State’s benevolent rehabilitation efforts.  That constitutes a crime under Ordinance 32 of the Harris Act, which specifically outlaws attempts to communicate with mythical beings deemed by the ignorant to be transcendent.”

The guards being to tap their truncheons into their free hands.

The interrogator turns to address those who are unseen behind the glass.

“Prisoner 5593’s lack of gratitude and attitude of defiance even while receiving such munificent remedial treatment has been noted.  As a result of xis unacceptable defiance, it has been deemed both necessary and generous to make certain adjustments to xis program of self-recognition and renewal.  This decision for continued forbearance is for the moment taken in place of the usual proscription and termination. Please make the official log entry after witnessing the State’s leniency.  Please begin the video recording for for educational broadcasts.  Ministers of grace, please apply the Prisoner’s care.”

The guards take a step forward.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Pò sì jiù, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. JonathanTX says:

    “But that’s the inevitable liberal outcome, isn’t it: truth isn’t rooted in anything objective, it is rooted in how much power I have over you, in my will.”

    Yale Professor of Classics Donald Kagan also makes this very point in the first class of his online course on ancient Greek history from the Fall of 2007. It’s well worth reading the full transcript.

    “Nietzsche announced the death of God and Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor asserted that when God is dead all things are permitted. Nihilism rejects any objective basis for society and its morality. It rejects the very concept of objectivity. It even rejects the possibility of communication itself, and a vulgar form of Nihilism, I claim, has a remarkable influence in our educational system today, a system rotting from the head down, so chiefly in universities, but all the way down to elementary schools. The consequences of the victory of such ideas, I believe, would be enormous. If both religion and reason are removed, all that remains is will and power, where the only law is the law of tooth and claw.”


    [Donald Kagan. I read his books years ago, when I was in Classics at the U of M. I remember The Fall of the Athenian Empire. I wonder if it might not be current reading for our situation.]

  2. chantgirl says:

    The world in 2021-

    Sexual torture is a criminal act. BDSM is allowed if the lifeforms are consenting.

    Some people that were born women are actually men, and some people who were born men are actually women, and sexuality is fluid, but homosexuality is not a choice and homosexuals cannot change.

    Pedophilia is bad if priests engage in it, but may be tolerated in film, art, and California.

    It is bad if people die from Covid, but it is ok if they die from lockdown consequences such as overdose, suicide, lack of access to medical treatment.

    Violence is allowed and encouraged during leftwing peaceful protests. Conservative gatherings, rallies, and thoughts are violent even if they peaceful.

    Democrats are allowed to question vote tallies, and they are heroes for doing so. Republicans are not allowed to even have thoughts that doubt vote tallies, and they are terrorists before they even commit a crime.

    A woman has the power of life and death over her unborn child, but if the child is born she has no right to educate the child, choose what medical treatments the child will have, or even know if the child has an abortion or an experimental vaccine.

    The pope is infallible in matters of faith and morals, especially if he disagrees with 2000 years of previous infallible popes and wants to bring the church into the modern era. Some popes are more infallible than others.

    All people who die with covid, die from covid. No people who die after the covid vaccine die from the vaccine.

    Forcing people to submit to experimental medicine is against the Geneva Convention. Unless you submit to experimental covid vaccines, you will be excluded from work, travel, education, shopping, and worship.

    Black lives matter, unless they are unborn, republicans, cops, or military.

    Propaganda is bad if the Russians do it. It’s fine for the Chinese and the progressives.

    We follow the science, unless the science does not tell us what we want to hear.

    Money doesn’t grow on trees, except in the garden of the Federal Reserve.

    Fascist dictators are evil. Communist dictators are saviors.

    Religion is evil, unless you are worshipping the State.

    The soul is not real, but feelings are.

    Jesus tells us to be ready to give reasons for our hope, but it seems that we are living in an era when reasons will not suffice to change the minds of our adversaries. It may only be suffering and witness that can change hearts now.

  3. Gab says:

    This is an horrendous Bill. We now await our fate should we dare pray for someone who asks us to for strength against the gay lifestyle.

    This luciferian Bill was endorsed, pushed forward, supported by the Premier of our state, a ”Catholic”.

  4. Kathleen10 says:

    The mayor of Tampa, Florida, Jane Castor, held a press conference after the Super Bowl to announce that people who were observed not wearing masks will be “identified” by the police and dealt with.
    These people are serious, as in Australia and Florida, about their intention to be in full control of the rabble. One wonders how long the proletariat will take it.

  5. Ellen says:

    I am currently re-reading Monsignor R.H. Benson’s Lord of the World. This is the third time I’ve read it and it scares me more each time.

  6. RosaryRose says:

    We believe the one true faith. Pray the rosary every day. True believers have faced political opposition in the past: Remember Daniel in the lion’s den, Mesach, Shadrach and Abendigo were thrown into an oven. Maybe we won’t survive, but we will be true to God. Our Blessed Mother hears our pleas. She told us what She will do, and she told us what we need to do.

    Penance, Penance, Penance! Not only was that a message of Fatima, but Christ said some demons can only be expelled with prayer and sacrifice. We are experiencing a very bad case of demons and people who don’t have a clue that they even exist.

    Courage! God’s timing is perfect. He knows what is going on. We have a job to do. Be in a state of Grace.

    When you start to fear or doubt, say the names of Jesus and Mary. Get to know your Guardian Angel who sees the face of God!

    Please support Fr Z and pray for him and all of our faithful leaders.

  7. WVC says:

    Update on the Growing Wokeness – LifeSite’s entire YouTube channel was deleted by the Powers That Be.

    The only good thing about the idiotic, unscientific, de-humanizing face masks (which will never go away as we celebrate the 1 year anniversary of “2 weeks to flatten the curve”), at least they can’t see your lips moving as you whisper the Rosary.

  8. TonyO says:

    One more link in a long chain – starting from the Protestant Revolution and continuing with the EnDarkenment – of re-imagining political and social life built on a sandy soil without God at its foundation. Those who have labored to so build it have struggled mightily, but it their effort will come crashing down, like the tower of Babel. Probably soon, from appearances, though we cannot be sure. The only real question is whether they will bring down all of western civilization with it, or whether some large piece of the storehouse of Christendom will emerge relatively intact from the wreckage.

    The Church herself will survive, of course: she was not built on sand. But we may not.

  9. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Your vision is not nearly as dark as mine, Father. i expect the punishments will involve drugs and sexual torture like that advocated by Samuel Delany.

    when the stalinists invented the term “homophobia” to purport that those who oppose the public practice of sociopathic sexual deviance are themselves sociopathic sexual deviants who will only be happy if they embrace that deviance, they had to know it was a Kafkaesque “big lie”. now roughly 40 years on, there are many (including some who call themselves “conservatives”) who have internalized that malevolent fraud. as such, they will convince themselves that sexually torturing “homophobes” is the pinnacle of virtue.

  10. Gregg the Obscure says: Your vision is not nearly as dark as mine

    What flashed through my mind is the Graham Greene’s novel The Power and the Glory, about the “Whiskey Priest” struggling to survive in spite of his flaws. He has an encounter with one of his former brethren who – to avoid being shot – had caved into the atheistic regime and accepted a forced marriage to a woman of their choosing.

    True ideologues are despotic. The Left is now blossoming in all of its putrid potency, like the Asian “corpse flower”. We will indeed see manifestations, soon, of the totalitarian principle (pace you physicists out there) that whatever is not forbidden is obligatory.

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