Increasingly international courts and Australian situations have seen ‘woke’ challenged and overturned - or - aggressive activists were unable to follow through.
Many are well known, the latest was an international win by parents over a school board (USA) and a Finnish MP cleared for hate speech regarding ‘sin’ in the bible - and in Tasmania the now famous Archbishop Poeteous drama (where he wrote to Tasmanian Catholics on the Catholic position of – guess what) and hauled before a tribunal.
On Monday a well researched article by Benjamin Kruzins (who writes for Christian Today Australia, Christian Today UK and been published in the Canberra Times and the Sydney Morning Herald) – illustrates ‘woke’ and how it happens in business.
He cites illustrations whereby big business became woke - and concludes that - “All of a sudden their views (woke) became the views of the mainstream, accept them or risk being ostracised.”
An associate of mine said of Benjamin’s article – “That is a breath of fresh air, well-constructed. Not sure that ethical and woke are ends of the spectrum though. I think the ‘aethical’ is the most wokest.”
Woke can be described as a form of restriction, ostracisation upon traditional accepted norms and process thinking - woke can be exercised by a private person, an activist or a group of activists on a political social agenda or personal demand. To challenge woke - costs a great deal in personal heartache, frustration, money, lawyers, courts …. everything is against the target person /group …
The on-line dictionary has many various definitions to describe ‘woke’ as the term over the years has broadened in definition. This is one of them
Another question is then raised regarding Christian ministry. Earlier this year a Brisbane, Queensland ‘Christian School’ circulated the philosophy of the school (summarised) - they did not discriminate but the school policy was ‘straight’.
The earth fell in on the school and the principal ended up resigning – yet there were voices in the Law and Federal Parliament that expressed serious caution concerning the ‘mob’ and that a Christian School had a parent clientele that endorsed such a policy. Their views were equally guaranteed.
This illustrates the ease in which any activist or a group of activists can create mayhem and everything in our society can be held to their account. Concerned citizens, lawyers and Members of Parliament have expressed serious reservations. As Peter states (above) “aethical is the most wokest”.
Missions / Churches / Christian anything
In my own research and consultation with profile rulings (as illustrated above) and legal wisdom - Missions and Churches can be open to activist or private ‘woke’ activity.
Many Codes of Ethics of Missions and Churches are very similar, so we only need in reality to look at one.
At the suggestion of the ARPA President, I looked at the published ‘Code of Ethics’ of the Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA).
ARPA has met every year at an annual conference (except Covid years 2020 and 2021 – Online Zoom with a hand full of delegates). ARPA commenced in 1974 (40th anniversary held in Canberra 2014) and the 50th is coming up.
In all those 45 years except the last seven, the celebrated photographer Ramon Williams took the photos – Ramon won an ARPA Citation in 2015, a Gutenberg winner 1987 (the premier award) and the ARPA Youth Award named after Ramon.
The last seven years it was my lot to take photographs during the conferences - then someone realised there was no specialist photographer for the ARPA annual awards – (usually done by someone else) and I was rushed into that role in 2014 and again in 2017.
The ARPA code of ethics was followed – in that a photographer was present at the conferences (including the AGM’s) and taking photographs – for 45 years.
I have published over the years in Christian Today many photos of ARPA ‘AGM’s.’
Not to my knowledge was either Ramon or I - told to ‘get lost’. And moreover, each editor and writer had their own CV photographs in their respective publications. Photography is part and parcel of ARPA conferences.
The photos after the conferences were sent to the ARPA office where every ARPA Christian media member had access to the photos for their own publications. The system worked very well. All for one and one for all.
Side step – the Press Service International (PSI) young writer ministry and ARPA both held their annual gathering on-line on ZOOM due to Covid 2020 and 2021.
In 2020 the young writer conference was held on the Gold Coast for Qld residence while everyone else joined in on ZOOM. Photographs were taken at the young writer conference of people on the big screen.
In 2021 when on ARPA Zoom with a handful of delegates – someone challenged. 45 years photography at ARPA and AGMs – came to a halt! In my view ARPA succumbed to ‘woke’. Yes, ‘woke’ is legal. Yes, ‘woke’ has a life of its own. Yes, ‘woke’ has consequences.
As Benjamin Kruzins has explained, a new phenomenon across business and society has crept in. This is important - each is specifically documented in business, corporations, community groups. Many Christian ministry ‘Code of Ethics’ - check out your own legal wisdom - has simply not kept up. The Code of Ethics were enacted prior to ZOOM and the various modern communication technologies.
Woke steps in. Missions / churches need to further clarify and moreover, document such things. If not, any activist or private person can bring havoc. A fresh updated Code of Ethics is required. Until such is available, then the way to submit an objection is in writing for the body corporate to reflect upon and decide.
Otherwise, it is a dog’s breakfast and the mission / church leaves itself wide open.
The sad reality
An activist or private person could, in effect, drag a mission / church in directions without a thorough review or consultation. That is the reason that every mission / church needs to keep updating such things as Codes of Ethics - this way any changes are at the discretion of the mission / church. The legal wisdom is that the body corporate decides these things.
In this age of woke, a new policy can be approved by a miniscule group of people, without the body corporate being consulted.
I amongst many also wonder about the thousands upon thousands who take photos and videos at a wide variety of conferences – you see them on television news casts. You see them at concerts. You see them in war zones.
Everyone in some sense is a publisher. Consider blogs, consider articles in parish publications, devotional magazines, and the massive online options … the person took the photograph, it’s their copyright.
News and current affairs have some exemption as photos and video take in wide sweeps. For example, flood images with many people around.
Where do we go from here
I am now 70. All this is for younger people who can keep up with the nuanced change. I am withdrawing as photographer at ARPA gatherings. I’ve done my bit.
In my view, whenever ARPA meets in conference again in person, all mobile phone (cameras) may need to be handed in until after each day. Photographers will need a pile of authorisation sheets ‘to sign’ for those being photographed. (Group photos may need multiple forms). We’re talking nightmare consequences.
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 45 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 45 years with 4 children and 6 grand children