After Fr. David Muscat, they came for the Evangelicals…
By Connor Attard
Allow me to preface this article by stating that I am not, nor have ever been, a member of the River of Love Evangelical community. I am a devout Roman Catholic. Yet, the escalation of hostilities towards traditional Christian morals by the present Labour government – seemingly hell-bent on scoring every single gold medal in the Woke Olympics – should impel all Christians of goodwill to reach across the theological divide and take a stand against creeping totalitarianism.
Matthew Grech, an outspoken member of this community, is once again in the government’s crosshairs after allegedly contravening the ban on so-called conversion therapy whilst sharing his past struggles and subsequent departure from the gay lifestyle on a programme hosted by PMNews. The presenters have also been summoned to court, incidentally turning this into an attack on alternative media as well.
Why is the government going after River of Love, and why should non-members care? The Żebbuġ-based community represents a visible, growing, and consummate rejection of neo-liberal politics and social engineering, particularly among working-class voters who make up the bulk of Gordon Manchè’s congregation. Unlike certain organs of the Catholic Church, River of Love is not financially beholden to the State. They have no incentive to water down the contents of their sermons or tolerate open dissent on the part of their politically active members. To the Maltese liberal commissar, they’re a veritable spanner in the works; intransigent and far beyond their control. Catholics who publicly embody the same orthodox and counter-cultural spirit are similarly harried under the force of the law, as in the case of Fr David Muscat.
Naturally, Matthew Grech bears the brunt of their animosity because he is living proof that a person with same-sex attractions can live a chaste and happy life. Why this irritates homosexual activists and their allies so intensely merits an article of its own, but suffice it to say that their ideology rests on a false dichotomy between fully embracing one’s inclinations – to the extent of making it the focal point of your being – and consigning yourself to a miserable life of sexual repression and self-denial. To affirm a healthy third option would be to admit that the increasingly encumbered LGBTQ+ brand only represents a subset of non-heterosexual people with specific views on marriage, sexuality, and faith among the innumerable facets of the human experience. It’s a movement that prides itself on its diversity, yet forces homosexual and bisexual individuals into a narrow, left-wing monoculture. They can successfully employ accusations of “homophobia” and “bigotry” to deflect criticism so long as this reality is obscured, so long as individuals like Matthew do not exist.
The second key precept of the LGBTQ+ movement is that sexual orientation is immutable and hard-wired at birth (Gender, conveniently, is not). The ban on so-called conversion therapy stems from this idea, and it should be opposed regardless of its efficacy (I’m ambivalent myself) because it’s an excessive and unwarranted encroachment on personal liberties by the State. There is nothing scientific about this. A truly scientific approach would preclude specific and extreme methods that are provably harmful but leave room for the possibility that homosexual impulses can indeed be curbed. This is excluded a priori because of ideological commitments. Matthew is right to point out that the government is firmly under the LGBTQ+ lobby’s thumb; refusing to listen to dissenting voices and imposing a single moral viewpoint on the entire country even though we’re constantly fed the idea that whatever consenting adults do in private is nobody’s business.
It would also be helpful if the government could define specifically what is understood by “conversion therapy”. The law itself is very loosely worded, and I suspect that was deliberate. Is prayer a form of conversion therapy? Is sharing one’s testimony a form of conversion therapy? Can a priest or minister accompany those with unwanted same-sex attractions and support their desire to remain chaste? Does it distinguish between therapies which seek to change one’s sexual orientation and those that help individuals to control their sexual urges? Is the government seriously arguing that no individual can have legitimate recourse to such treatments? Bear in mind that it’s not necessarily the government’s duty to determine the efficacy of a particular form of medicine. Homoeopathy and chiropractic are not endorsed by the mainstream medical community and are even met with harsh criticism for not strictly adhering to the scientific method, but to my knowledge, no Maltese politician has ever advocated for their suppression. Instead, the government allows people to exercise their prudential judgement. Why shouldn’t the government maximise freedom if there is no threat to the public order, to third parties or social cohesion?
If you’re a devout Christian, this is your fight as much as it is Matthew’s. The push to criminalise traditional Christian positions in both the public and private spheres will not stop here. Speak now, lest there be nobody to speak for you when the woke stormtroopers come knocking on your door in chromatic uniforms.