Christians in Australia fear 'hate campaign' from same-sex marriage supporters

Christians in Australia reportedly fear that they could become the target of hate campaigns because of their opposition to same-sex marriage in the wake of a voluntary postal survey on the issue that revealed 60 percent of the country was in favor of legalizing gay unions.

(REUTERS / David Gray)Supporters of the 'Yes' vote for marriage equality celebrate after it was announced the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage in a national survey, paving the way for legislation to make the country the 26th nation to formalise the unions by the end of the year, at a rally in central Sydney, Australia, November 15, 2017.

In an article published on The Spectator Australia, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church associate pastor Mark Powell said the hate campaign against Christians started when "love won" on Dec. 7. He noted that same-sex marriage supporters celebrated by posting "Eat s***, Lyle" on Twitter.

The trending tweets were in reference to Australian Christian Lobby managing director Lyle Shelton. Powell was not surprised with the message, but with the number of followers who echoed it.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten warned that a hate campaign would be sparked through a plebiscite, but he failed to foresee its source. Powell now wonders how many of their politicians will stand up to defend the 40 percent of Australians who voted against same-sex marriage.

Australia's former deputy prime minister John Anderson conveyed to Powell his sadness over activists' use of their own freedom to "trample on the rights of those who do not agree with them." He also expressed concern over people's lack of respect for the view of others.

In light of the situation, Powell reminded readers that they need to follow the apostle Paul's advice in the book of Romans to not let evil overcome good, but instead let good overcome evil. For him, this was the true essence of winning and loving.

Meanwhile, Shorten has assured "No" voters that Labor will guarantee the protection of their religious liberties. He was speaking in response to the matter brought up by Christian and Islamic leaders whose members voted against same-sex marriage as part of their adherence to their respective faiths, The Australian reported.

In his last speech on the same-sex marriage bill, Shorten urged people to move forward to a time of healing. He also sent a letter to the religious leaders acknowledging their concerns and offered his help in addressing religious freedom issues.