Title

The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Religious Liberty in Australia: 1885-1900

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

1986

Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as:

Hansen, D. E. (1985). The Seventh-day Adventist church and religious liberty in Australia: 1885-1900. In A. Ferch (Ed.), Symposium on Adventist history in the South Pacific: 1885-1918. Paper presented at The Adventist History Symposium, Monash University, Melbourne, 24-27 October (pp. 30-39). Wahroonga, Australia: South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

ISBN: 0947145079

Abstract

Religious liberty is not ordinarily regarded as one of the more significant issues in late nineteenth century Australian history. Most general accounts of the period do not make even passing reference to the subject, and few of the more specialised works dealing with religious developments give it much attention. Nor is this comparative silence unjustified, for on the surface little seems to have happened to suggest that the subject is worthy of greater consideration. Few comparatives seem to have feared for their basic freedoms, and the legislative operations of the time were not the kind which would arouse feelings of apprehension among ordinary people. But it would be a mistake to confuse absence of change with inactivity, or to assume that a peaceful conclusion implies that the peace was never under threat. For in the period 1885-1900 a small number of militant churchman, sharing the general clerical dream of a Christian Australia and hoping to bring the dream to reality, adopted tactics which seriously threatened the religious liberty of many, if not all Australians. This paper examines the more repressive actions of these men, and the part Seventh-day Adventists played in frustrating their purpose.

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