Could the tragic event that unfolded in rural Queensland on Monday December 12, 2022 have been prevented?
It has been widely reported that the Train brothers had been taking ice and “bragging” to locals about how they were “fortifying” their remote property. One Train family member even described the situation at the property as “cult” like.
Let’s flip this. If the Train brothers had been of middle eastern appearance and Muslim, that behavior would have almost without question, have been reported to the terrorist hotline, or at least to the police. The police themselves are claiming that the risk assessment analysis done before venturing to the property threw up no red flags. It would not be unusual if indeed, some locals empathized to whatever extent, with some of the positions held by the brothers, while also not contemplating that they could pose any threat to anyone. After all, being a One Nation voter is not illegal!
This is the underlying, almost invisible racism that allows people like the Trains to slip under the radar.
The Train brothers were raised in a strict household dominated by the personal bible interpretations of their evangelical father, who had started his own church – The Christian Independent Fellowship of Toowoomba. Christian “fellowship” evangelical churches number among them, many that are regarded as cults. Both Nathaniel and Gareth went into the teaching profession, along with Nathaniel’s first wife, Stacey. A third brother, Andrew, was also a teacher in Queensland. It is not known if he still is. Last year, a Queensland High School asked on its facebook page for students and former students to name the teacher who had the most impact on them. One responder nominated Andrew for implanting the following quote, “Take on board advice given but always act with respect to your own values and goals.” Without drawing any direct parallels, or suggesting that Andrew shares his brothers’ worldviews, it can be said that they took this life advice to the nth degree.
The Christian Independant Fellowship of Toowoomba
Some years ago, The Christian Fellowship of Toowoomba transforned from a church to a registered charity operating in NSW and Qld. It’s headquarters is a suburban home in Coff’s Harbour, NSW. It also has a presence in a number of regional towns in NSW and Queensland – particularly those with significant Indigenous populations. The charity is also known as “Communicating Informally Faith and Truth”. It is not known if it is associated with other organisations, charities, groups or churches who use similar words in their names. Ronald Train is the registered director, with committee members listed as Naomi Train and Andrew Train. Up until the end of 2013, the sole purpose of the charity was listed as “the advancement of religion”. It now lists its purpose as helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who are disabled or financially disadvantaged in rural, regional and remote communitie with their economic and spiritual needs.
It should be noted here that last September, the ABC and the Guardian were reporting on vaccination resistance in rural, regional and remote Indigenous communities being driven by religious groups.
The Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center in the United States characterizes the types of organizations and groups that influenced the Train brothers in the following manner.
There is little doubt that Stacey Train targeted a job to try and affect the carriculum at Tara State school (she was head of curriculum) and that Nathaniel’s complaints about the curriculum to the NSW Education Department were also related to the agenda of such groups. Meanwhile, Ronald Train has disavowed any responsibility for the actions of his sons. On the face of it, this sounds reasonable. They were adults and he had not seen them for over 20 years. But perhaps he should reflect upon his own conspiracy theories about Masons, and the strictness of his house and of his beliefs. Beware the preacher with the One Truth. Rejection of science and of man’s law and governamce would also seem to have sprung from their upbringing.
It is really as big a question as climate change. How do we keep “freedom of religion” from becoming a life and deatrh struggle with misinfornion and the trampling of the rights and the freedoms of others? Especially in light of some of these groups looking to bring on an apocalyptic end-game heralding the return of whoever they percieve their savior to be. Historically, one of the issues in preventing any real action in these areas has been that some governments have used such groups for political advantage, while intelligence organizations and police forces have been stacked with, if not adherents of these philosophies, at least related philosophies.
If climate change does not get us, regious and cionspiracy extremism just might.
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