In the 1980s, it was assumed that the great threat to Western freedoms was the “theocons” of the religious right. To an extent, this was true enough: groups such as the Moral Majority tried to muscle their particular brand of fundamentalist Christianity into everything from government to artistic expression.

But, almost ignored in the Moral Majority’s shadow, the much more insidious threat of the puritanical left bubbled along. While the extraordinary leftist violence of the 1970s died down, left-wing authoritarians took up a new tactic in the 1980s: lawfare. “Civil rights” groups launched waves of spurious lawsuits against corporations, who simply found it easier to pay them to go away. “How to legally rob a bank”, Thomas Sowell calls it.

Having bludgeoned the corporate world into submission, left-wing activists are now turning their sights on another pillar of Western civilisation: Christianity.

Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher has warned activist-backed legal cases launched against religious schools “threaten the very future of faith-based education in this country”.

Archbishop Fisher, one of the most senior clerics in the nation, declared the ability of Christian schools to teach according to their faith should not be “defended in costly actions instigated by activist groups in tribunals, commissions and courts”.

Remember when they said there would be no slippery slope following gay marriage? Yet, here we are, less than two years later, and gay marriage has led directly to the ramming-through of dangerous, unpopular transgender legislation in Tasmania. The “Waffen-SSM”, as the late Bill Leak dubbed them, are also preparing to stamp their rainbow jackboot on Christian churches.

Citing revelations in The Weekend Australian about an activist-backed anti-discrimination complaint lodged against Ballarat Christian College, Archbishop Fisher said the case seemed to have been “carefully timed in an attempt to derail current efforts to protect religious freedom in Australia”.

In the 1980s, the religious right used such tactical lawsuits to devastating effect. When punk band the Dead Kennedys were sued, they (eventually) won the legal battle, but lost the war: the cost and stress of the case bankrupted and broke them. The music industry quickly learned their lesson: it’s cheaper to give in to activists rather than stand up for what is right.

“This is sadly true to form: it’s the same style of activism that sought to weaponise state anti-discrimination law against Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, for distributing pamphlets about Catholic teaching on marriage.”

As Douglas Murray (himself gay) has written, “As the gay alphabet grew, so something changed within the movement. It began to behave — in victory — as its opponents once did. When the boot was on the other foot something ugly happened”. The anti-religious left today are using the same tactics as the 1980s religious right, only on steroids.

Former Ballarat Christian College teacher Rachel Colvin last week lodged a claim with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal claiming she was discriminated against over her political and religious beliefs in support of same-sex marriage.

The facts don’t seem to bear this grandstanding out.

Ms Colvin‘s case, backed by Equality Australia, centres on her claims she was forced to quit after refusing to adhere to the Ballarat Christian College policy on same-sex marriage. The school’s enterprise agreement lodged with the Fair Work Commission in 2017 includes a clause which states “all employees are expected by the college to possess and maintain a firm belief consistent with the Statement of Faith of the college”.

The teacher, who notified the school of her objections to the statement in a letter on August 14 last year, met college officials who indicated she was free to hold her personal views but was required to support and teach in accordance with the beliefs of the institution. Ms Colvin allegedly was unwilling to do so.

She took a job, knowing what the requirements were, then ostentatiously quit, and purely coincidentally (no doubt) furnished bullying activists with a tailor-made test case.

The real test now is whether or not the Australian government and the vast mass of “quiet Australians” who voted them in, will show the bottle to fight back against this relentless destruction of Western values. First they came for the Catholics…