Opinion: “Speaking the truth with love…”

Faith in Cambridge

By Murray Smith
Senor Leader Bridges Church

In our household I’ve been instrumental in five teenagers obtaining their driving licenses.

It’s a duty of care I think for parents to ensure kids learn to drive responsibly. And that entails correction…that’s why it’s called driving ‘instruction’.

Life is full of things responsible parents ought to teach their kids, guiding by words and actions, shaping their values and understandings in ways that will in turn shape their behaviours and hopefully see them become caring mature adults.

With respect to driving, it would be parental negligence to just throw kids a set of car keys when they turn 16 years of age, telling them, “you’ll figure it out!” Yet sadly some parents adopt such an approach in many important areas of life.

In my family, driving lessons provided unforgettable experiences sitting there – your health and safety entrusted to a teenager.

Learning to drive a manual car had some benefits and makes driving an automatic a breeze. Once, trundling along in a little Morris 1100 on a 100km per hour road, it came time to change down through the gears approaching an intersection. Somehow my ‘student’ managed to shove the gear stick from fourth into first gear – instead of third. Mechanically, the poor little car somehow survived the grinding halt that nearly catapulted us through the windscreen!

Another of my driving protegés was lining up traversing the narrow ‘high bridge’ in Cambridge. It’s challenging for seasoned drivers and my learner driver had a panic attack and floored the accelerator to get off the bridge as soon as possible. We careened across the span terrifyingly out of control despite my ‘admonishments’ to slow down!  I accidentally “pocket dialled” someone in the angst of rocketing over the bridge. The recorded message of my ‘animated instructions’ created much mirth later.

Learning road rules or abiding by any laws we are under obligation to observe in our land, carries the intention of protecting us. Good law provides boundaries designed to keep all people safe.
But currently there’s potentially troubling laws under discussion within our country that ought to concern us as to the real intentions and outcomes we could face.

The “Hate Speech” legislation being formulated within our government, while well intended to protect people from being victimised, discriminated against or attacked in speech, writing or behaviour, on any basis such as religion, ethnicity, nationality, has bothersome aspects.

Implementing such law while ‘protecting’ some, completely mutes ‘freedom of speech’ for others.

It’s a valid question – “will hate speech law become a device to silence any view at variance with what government legislates as appropriate?”

It’s in the same lane as proposed ‘anti-conversion laws’ which would forbid the mere hint of anyone- be they a counsellor, teacher, pastor or trained professional, appearing to offer anything other than endorsement of someone questioning their sexual identity as they ponder heading down the pathway of ‘changing gender.’

Surely the duty of care we have in teaching kids to use a car responsibly extends to making good decisions in every area of life?

In my view being prevented from offering caring, loving objective advice due to it being the prosecutable offence of ‘hate speech,’ is the crime in itself.

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