An Australian pastor whose videos about former President Donald Trump went viral a few years ago is concerned with how far left Australia has swung in the COVID era, calling what people there are facing an "oppressive mix of insanity, tyranny and hypocrisy."
I have done several podcasts with Pastor Steve Cioccolanti, and we keep in touch. A few days he texted something that alarmed me and prompted a podcast and this article. He wrote: "As of last Friday I can be fined $21k [Australian, or $15,736 U.S.] for showing up at my own church, and the church can be fined $110k [Australian, or $74,935 U.S.] for anyone not needled [vaccinated]. It's a dictatorship in Victoria, Australia."
I'm aware of similar situations in the United States that I wrote about in my new book, God and Cancel Culture. Thankfully it's not as bad here, and some court decisions have minimized the persecution Americans face if they don't go along with COVID mandates. In our discussion, Cioccolanti reveals the truth behind his alarming text message.
"The insanity part is that the rules make no sense," he says. "We've had six lockdowns. In the last one, they shut us down for 13 cases of COVID. ... they shut down the economy, people lose their jobs, we can't travel out beyond 5 km—it was at one point, now it's 15 km—and they shut down for 13 cases. Now they say they're going to reopen while we have 2,000 cases a day.
"It makes no sense other than the goal was to get 80% of the population vaccinated, and it seems like they're reaching that goal," Cioccolanti says. "Nothing is correlated to science right now. It's insanity. It's tyranny, because the rules are just there for rules' sake, and they keep changing."
Cioccolanti adds that for a long time, Australia has had a 9 p.m. curfew. "We're not a war zone. We're not living in North Korea. We have a curfew at 9 p.m. .... 15 km travel restriction and absolutely no crossing any borders. No state borders, no international borders. I used to fly to the States almost every month to minister, and I haven't been there for two years."
And as the U.S. has witnessed with some of its high-profile liberal politicians, a level of hypocrisy exists around these rules, Cioccolanti says. "Our Victoria premier, his name is Dan Andrews, he was called out twice publicly not wearing a mask. So you'll see a lot of times these guys will put on the mask when they show up for TV. And as soon as the TV camera's off, and they think no one's recording, they take the mask off. Our prime minister—his name is Scott Morrison—he got to travel interstate to celebrate Father's Day with his father. Meanwhile, our church members and Christians can't even attend family members' birthdays, weddings, funerals, anything of the sort."
Government oppression in Australia goes far beyond mere hypocrisy, Cioccolanti says. "Melbourne is right now called the most locked-down city in the world. And you might have seen that there were some peaceful protesters going out—I know some of those people, and they were hunted down. They were shot at with rubber bullets, which are much bigger than people imagine. And the police here will come knocking on your door if you post anything on social media that was in favor of the protests.
In the meantime, Australia is under what he calls a "media blackout." As an example, he references a protest held in the city of Perth against the oppressive COVID restrictions. "The police there told them that they counted 17,000 who people showed up, people who were fed up with the lockdown ... 17,000 people who spoke about God, about freedom, quoted the Bible."
The public news station gave a negative report that said only 2,000 people attended the protest, Cioccolanti says. "So while all this is going on, we have no media coverage on the truth. We know suicide rates have gone up 41% due to the lockdown, and this is not reported. ... I'm not making light or lessening the impact ... But COVID is not the only measure of health, and our Australian government's one-track-minded. The only health issue that matters right now is COVID. Meanwhile, people are killing themselves."
Cioccolanti also sees a prophetic connection to what's happening in his country. He explains that in one of his viral YouTube videos, he references Revelation 6:1-2: "The first seal is the white horse. I really believe this is the galloping of the white horse. And you know where it's leading to—eventually it goes to the Antichrist."
Australians don't recognize this, Cioccolanti says, because they don't have a prophetic vision. "The Bible says in Proverbs 29, verse 18, 'Where there's no prophetic vision, the people cast off restraint, and blessed Is he who keeps the law.' So there's nothing restraining this kind of tyranny right now."
Cioccolanti says there is hope for our nation, and for his as well, but only if we return to God. "What we feel the Lord is telling us is to prepare—that there will be a reprieve, but it will come back. It's kind of like the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, but then communism came back through academia and Hollywood and all that." He's also written a book called Trump's Unfinished Business, which he says reveals the 10 divine agendas God has for America.
For much more from Pastor Steve Cioccolanti on the oppression people face in Australia, listen to the entire episode of the Strang Report at this link, and subscribe to the Strang Report on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast platform for more content that inspires and informs in the power of the Holy Spirit. Connect with Cioccolanti at discoverchurch.online and become a member to receive his uncensored content or find him at stevecioccolanti.com.
For more on how you can stand up against the type of oppression seen in Australia and increasingly in the U.S., make sure to get a copy of what I believe is my most important book yet. God and Cancel Culture, released Sept. 7, is now available wherever fine books are sold. Order it at stevestrangbooks.com.
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