Like the U.S., Australia faces considerable threats to the free speech and other rights of Christians. Under the guise of inclusiveness, the Government there seeks to limit the expression of viewpoints it deems as inappropriate, like Biblical values.
One of Christianity's staunchest advocates in Australia is Dr. Augusto Zimmermann. He is arguably one of the world's foremost authorities on Christianity and the law. I'm so honored to have him visit the Taking God to Work blog. His comments are timely and informative for those facing opposition to free speech about their beliefs.
1. Thanks for joining us. Tell our readers where you call home and any other places that have special significance in your past.
I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, I have been living in Australia over the last 20 years, first in Melbourne (until 2007) and then in Perth.
2. What do you write about?
My main areas of expertise are Christianity and law, including Christian foundations of the common law, Christian jurisprudence, legal history, Constitutional Law, comparative law, legal sociology, free speech, rule of law theory.
3. I know you are considered a leading advocate for free speech in Australia, and co-authored a leading book on the subject entitled ‘No Offence Intended’ (Connor Court, 2016).
Click here or on the cover below to learn more about the book.
Tell us about your most recent book and the message(s) behind it?
The legal system known as the common law was originated and largely influenced by the moral convictions of lawyers, philosophers and politicians who believed in the existence of a higher or natural law reflecting enduring principles of freedom, justice and morality. Indeed, there is little doubt that Christian philosophy influenced the origins and development of the English law, with this legal system subsequently influencing and shaping the laws of America, Australia and numerous other common-law jurisdictions. My 3-volume collection on Christian Foundations of the Common Law (2018) aims to correct this glaring omission.
(Click here or on the cover shown below to view the volume covering Christian Foundations of the Common Law as it relates to the United States.)
By analyzing the philosophical foundations of the law in England, America and Australia, my collection reveals, first, how Christian principles have inspired and developed our legal systems and, second, why these principles should be applied to the law even in this present day. The main purpose is therefore to explain (and provide a rounded documentation of) how Christian philosophy provided the basic foundation of the common-law tradition. In doing so, it traces and explain the incredibly rich Christian heritage of this legal system not only in England but also in other common-law jurisdictions, in particular Australia and the United States. This collection is therefore divided into three volumes, each of these volumes addressing the Christian foundations of a particular legal system – England (Volume 1), the United States (Volume 2), and Australia (Volume 3).
5. Other than the Bible, which we all can agree is a must-read, what books affected your life and how did they make an impact?
J Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, P Johnson’s Intellectuals, P Johnson’s Modern Times’, J Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government, O Figes’s People’s Tragedy, and The Federalist Papers.
6. What are some of your favorite things about Australia?
Spending time with my Australian friends and family.
7. What major spiritual issues are currently facing Australia?
There is a dramatic erosion of free speech and freedom of religion in the country. There is also no respect for freedom of association and parental rights in Australia. There is no doubt whatsoever that anti-Christian sentiments are so strong that contributed even to the demise of a Prime Minister. His Christian faith, including his background as a trainee priest, no doubt contributed to his ousting. He became an easy target of anti-Christian, particularly anti-Catholic, bigotry. There is also the legalization of heinous practices such as abortion on demand as well as the attempt by both federal and state parliaments to introduce sharia by stealth via anti-discrimination law on grounds of ‘protecting religion’ from so called ‘hate speech’.
8. If you could tell Americans one thing to help us understand Australia, what would it be?
Australia is ruled by an ungodly political elite who displays a remarkable lack of regard for the protection of individual rights and freedoms. Australians are very naïve about government and have an utterly distorted idea of the role of government in society. Australia’s secularism is remarkably intolerant of Christian values, which often rules to be entirely incompatible with the ‘progressive’ values of the ruling elites.
9. Do you have a life motto or Bible verse that guides you?
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
10. Tell us about what’s next for you? Any appearances, forthcoming releases, etc.?
I will be visiting Brazil in May to attend as speaker a conference on Federalism. I am also organizing a legal conference on religious freedom on 14-15 June at Sheridan College in Perth/Western Australia. ‘Religious Freedom at the Crossroads – The Rise of Anti-Christian Sentiment in the West’ will be the first ever conference of its kind in Australia. The Pew Research Centre Report, which analyses religious freedom in 198 countries and territories, reveals that Christians are indeed the most persecuted religious group in the world today.
But is intolerance of Christians slowly creeping into our western societies? Is faith being pushed out of public life in countries such as Australia, the UK and America? Is it time Christians took more of a stand to reclaim their rightful place in society? This and other correlating issues will be addressed in this timely conference. Our list of speakers includes some our finest legal minds in Australia. The keynote speaker will be Distinguished Emeritus Professor William Wagner of Western Michigan University, Thomas Cooley Law School.
Augusto, thank you so much for visiting our blog. My prayer is that many will read your books and better understand the Christian roots of the Common Law. May God richly bless you as you continue to fight for the rights of Christians to live, preach and teach Biblical values.
Our book Taking God to Work continues to spread across the United States and to many countries throughout the world, including Australia. It is available through our website, Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble and many other outlets.