Deep civility Troppo style

Tim Dunlop is very very rude about a bloke named Jim Wallace, who is executive chairman of the ominously-titled Australian Christian Lobby.

We here at Troppo Armadillo are much more deeply civil, but I must agree Tim has a point. Wallace unsurprisingly claims that “Christians have had a significant impact on the result” of the federal election. But Wallace ignores the fact that Family First got some piddling proportion of the national primary vote, and only won a Senate seat in Victoria because the ALP stupidly preferenced it ahead of the Greens. Instead, Wallace claims the god-botherers had a big impact on the election result because:

Nearly 6000 attended more than 30 Australian Christian Lobby “meet your candidate” forums mainly conducted in marginal seats around the country, and thousands of voters guides were distributed through church networks nationally. Of those seats where the ACL campaigned, more than 60 per cent recorded two-party preferred swings to the Government above the national average.

It’s not surprising that Wallace would try to convince politicians to treat the god-botherers as a serious threat, but I doubt that Labor strategists with even a modicum of statistical literacy will be tossing and turning in bed or contemplating urging Mark Latham to rock along to his local Assembly of God and start speaking in gibberish and falling over backwards (to the extent that he doesn’t occasionally do that anyway). If 60 per cent of seats where ACL campaigned recorded two-party preferred swings to the Government above the national average, that means 40 per cent didn’t. And by how much in each case? And what other reasons might there have been? This is a classic piece of “data-mining” of the most primitive kind.

I certainly hope people like Wallace aren’t taken seriously by politicians. The Family First mob might well have reasonably enlightened stances on refugees and Aboriginal reconciliation. They might even be persuaded to oppose the abolition of cross-media ownership rules (although I doubt it). But they will certainly have appallingly illiberal views about things like homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, censorship and sexual freedom generally. They’re a small fanatical bunch of sanctimonious, narrow-minded, sexually-repressed, god-bothering arseholes who want to impose their stupid, ignorant values on the rest of us decent, tolerant, pleasure-loving Aussies. They should piss off back to the Bible Belt of America, where all this ignorant wankery originated. But I say that with a deeply civil spirit.

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Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

Hear! Hear! Good one, Parish. You’re one of the few bloggers who hasn’t had the wool pulled over their eyes about the Christian Taliban (I’m going to keep using this term to remind readers what we’re dealing with here). Unfortunately both John Quiggin and my co-blogger Andrew Norton have fell for FF’s respectable front.

Ron
Ron
2022 years ago

We have to remember that, like their US counterparts, some of these big Pentacostal organisations are businesses not Christian churches in the sense most Australian have grown up.

I can’t see Aussies taking up these business churches the way Americans have (at least, I ‘pray’ they don’t!).

Geoff Robinson
2022 years ago

Just what the left needs like a hole in the head another culture-wars bogy to distract our attention from election-winning issues. Ignore them.

Tim
Tim
2022 years ago

Careful, Ken. Jack Strocchi will whack you with his wet lettuce.

Spiros
Spiros
2022 years ago

I wonder if this is the same Jim Wallace as Brigadier Jim Wallace who was a frequent (and very good) media commentator on the Iraq War.

I hope not.

Geoff R is correct. These people are not the main game. What is more, attacking these people in a repeat performance of the attacks on Pauline Hansen would give them publicity and sympathy, neither of which they deserve.

I suspect the attitude of most voters that the Labor Party needs to attract to the Christian lobby is “live and let live”. Howard is too smart to attach himself to their agenda or their rhetoric. Let’s hope Latham is smart enough to see their irrelevance.

Spiros
Spiros
2022 years ago

Just to clarify, the Labor party doesn’t need to attract voters to the Christian lobby. The sentence should read

I suspect the attitude of most voters that the Labor Party needs to attract, to the Christian lobby, is “live and let live”.

Alan
Alan
2022 years ago

Just what the left needs like a hole in the head another culture-wars bogy to distract our attention from election-winning issues. Ignore them.

True. After all the election-winning issues strategy worked really well with the bill banning gay marriage and adoption. I’m sure thousands and thousands of potential Family First voters decided to vote Labor instead.

And anyone opposed to the principle of that bill is deeply reassured by the promise that the Latham government will review all federal laws to eliminate discrimination. Admittedly the review may not start until 2007 or 2010…

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Tim

Vegetables are versatile. Even the humble wet lettuce leaf is said to have miraculous pain-reducing qualities when wrapped around a milk-engorged female breast. It is, however, too flaccid for most other purposes, including those you might wish to use it for on an excessively pushy god-botherer. I don’t know quite how I got here. Maybe the mention of Jack Strocchi sent me off on a similar interplanetary orbit.

Alan
Alan
2022 years ago

I am sure any Strocchian whacking would involve a Cultural Lettuceand several acronyms of mass destruction.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

The Senate survived Brian Harridine, and it will survive Family Farce.

Though I’m a bit worried about the FF censorship stuff. Tim Dunlop’s a deadset cert to get an M rating the way he keeps telling everyone to ‘fuck off’.

Christmas Ape
Christmas Ape
2022 years ago

Jason,

Care for some perspective?

Actual atrocities of the Taliban included:

– Killing Dissenters and leaving their bodies to rot in the street. After they’ve been tortured.
– Public Hangings of ethnic minorities.
– 8 boys killed because they laughed at soldiers.
– Jailing children as young as 10 for alleged dissent.
– Drug Trafficking
– Destruction of the 2000 year old statues of Buddha
– Systematic persecution (rape, torture, execution) of women, and the denial of basic human rights to woman.

You have persisted to use the term ‘Christian Taliban’ so this is not some case of hyperbole on your part. So, do you honestly believe that if Family First had control of both houses they would implement policies that even remotely resemble these?

Christmas Ape
Christmas Ape
2022 years ago

That should read: ‘persisted in using’.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

My oh my such musings from non-believers about a christian group whom are misleadingly called evangelical when they patently are not.

Jim Wallace is indeed the former brigadier.

Their shrewd handling of preferences should be applauded.

I for one will be happy if they mange to be consistent with most of their platform but I doubt it.

For the record this is one evangelical christian who did not support these pentecostal christians.

Russell
Russell
2022 years ago

G’day Ken,

It’s cabbage leaves that relieve engorged breasts.

C.L.
2022 years ago

A lot of hysteria for what’s thought to be an irrelevant phenomenon.

TJW
TJW
2022 years ago

Ken

Can you just clarify the postion in the Senate for me.

From what I understand, the Government will end up with 38/76 Senators. Some have claimed this will allow them to block inquiries etc. But after appointing a speaker, won’t they only have 37/75? Or does the Speaker get to vote as well? If not, then the combination of all other parties would allow them a majority (38/75).

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

It is indeed Brig Jim Wallace, late of the SAS and subsequent erudite Iraq commentary.
I’m still not sure about them but put it this way: if you were, say, Karl Rove thinking about utilising the 150,000 member-base of the A of G to kickstart an Australian conservative vote-catching party on the Right, how would you go about it?

You’d call yourself something like “the I love Mum” party or, “the sunny skies” party or “Family First” maybe. Something that says warm and positive things to the punters, words that feel good and have absolutely nothing obvious to do with God. “God” is a big turnoff to Aussie voters. Sounds too narrowminded, Godbothery and wowserish. Sounds like Fred Nile in fact. A major downer. Focus testing tells us so. But we’ll get them round.

So. You’ve got your well-oiled church-based machine to deliver your vollies and get the message out. You drop the references to God, you slick it up with friendly-faced, front persons next door with blowdried hair, good teeth and a soothing newsreader-like ambience to get the untreatening message across. You locate an indigenous woman and trundle her out as testament to your modern inclusiveness (she doesn’t look too hot and makes Pauline Hanson sound articulate but that’s not the point).
You’re on to a winner. Hillsong churches are packed with aspirational, McMansion owners who’ve done well in pyramid-selling (someone should do a Ph.D on the synergy between Amway and personally knowing Jesus), insurance, etc; anything that relies on networking – cause that’s what these people do really well.

You make sure that your policies are relatively benign and chuck in one or two – refugees, Reconciliation, etc that could even pull centre-left preferences. You leave out the ones that are likely to attract negative publicity, abortion, “the homosexual agenda” (where is this bloody agenda anyway? I’ve never seen it. Not even the Minutes of the last meeting), etc, etc, and you pitch to middle Australia like the fair, balanced, family-oriented Aussies we would all wish to be.

You differentiate your brand relentlessly from the knitted underwear wearers, nutjobs and on the edge crazies who infested One Nation. You’ll never be represented by the sort of bearded, gun-toting, Elvis-impersonating people you find hanging out on a verandah near Gympie. When one of your more excitable volunteers invokes the burning of lesbians as a good thing, you express horror, whisk him out the back and bash him to death with the Good (but clean) Times Bible.

Then you clean up.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

TJW

The Senate has a President rather than a Speaker, but it’s essentially the same thing. Section 23 of the Constitution provides:

“Questions arising in the Senate shall be determined by a majority of votes, and each senator shall have one vote. The President shall in all cases be entitled to a vote; and when the votes are equal the question shall pass in the negative.”

That is, the President has a deliberative but not casting vote. Hence the potential importance of a Family First Senator if the Coalition has 38 of 76 in its own right.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

I think I’m missing something, Ken. I had a look at the FF website, read through their policy details (what’s there, anyway) & am really not sure how they’re the “fanatical bunch of sanctimonious, narrow-minded, sexually-repressed, god-bothering arseholes who want to impose their stupid, ignorant values on the rest of us decent, tolerant, pleasure-loving Aussies” that you claim.

Should I read it again, maybe from bottom to top, or right to left? Is there something there between the lines — & will lemon juice work on invisible font? Or is some subliminal thing happening? Perhaps I need to update my browser….

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Wen

I’m a subscriber to Geoff Honnor’s theory about FF, which also answers your question.

C.L.
2022 years ago

“fanatical bunch of sanctimonious, narrow-minded, sexually-repressed, god-bothering arseholes…”

Who believe in reconciliation and an apology to the Stolen Generation. The left won’t praise this or leader Andrea Mason of course.

That’s because she’s right of centre. The left believes ‘good’ Abos are supposed to be left-wing.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

CL

This is an area (like many) that doesn’t comfortably break in a straight left/right cleavage. Civil liberties, sexual freedom etc aren’t traditionally the sole property of the left. Classical liberals and libertarians believe in them at least as passionately as the latte left, and the old traditional hard (commo/industrial) left doesn’t really believe in them at all.

But there’s little doubt that Geoff Honnor’s pen picture of th typical pentecostal christian is spot-on from the ones I’ve known.

C.L.
2022 years ago

I agree with you and Geoff on that Ken but my point is that the ‘Christian Taliban’ view of things is a bit over the top. Well, a lot over the top actually.

I think the undoing of Penecostalists-as-politicians won’t come just from policy conundrums but also from a Democrats-style internal collapse.

Pentecostal operaters, in my experience, often do a lot of damage because of their poaching of vulnerable people from other faith traditions and their narrow-minded pride in their own correctness.

Yes, the old left-right dichotomy is getting pretty hard to nail down these days. I think FF might surprise with a few left-of-Howard policies.

But Taliban Jason? That’s a very non-libertarian kind of hysteria.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

CL
I think I will need to start collecting examples of all the right-wing commenters (you being the latest) who have been citing this ‘female Aboriginal leader’ who is apparently worthy of praise and immune to criticism just because she’s Aboriginal, so I can throw it in your faces the next time you guys talk about ‘identity politics’ or ‘affirmative action’. This is getting tiresome.

C.L.
2022 years ago

I’ve blogged more than once on the need for an apology to the Stolen Generation Jason so I’m not sure I know what you’re on about.

I didn’t say she was immune to criticism. I implied her aboriginality was noteworthy and praiseworthy in historical terms.

So far, she’s received no such attention. Why? Because she’s a right-of-centre Pentecostal.

It’s always tiresome when people disagree with you but the reference to affirmative action is specious. As far as I or anyone else knows, she won her position on merit.

zoe
zoe
2022 years ago

I say we send Darp

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

People like Darp are the biggest vote-losers the Left have. Send him to a Liberal Party function instead.

The Christian Right are a bloody nuisance and for Classical Liberals like my good self, are no friends of mine. Not sure that calling them the ‘Christian Taleban’ is the best way to de-fang them though.

I will say this though. If it’s okay for left-wing nutjobs to have their own party and people seem keen to pay attention to Bob Brown, then why is it not okay for the right-wing nutjobs? They are equally as bad as each other, in my opinion.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

My impression is that almost all christians believe an apology is called for.
I am a supporter of the Windschuttle Brunton form of history and even here they/we accept things were done in which an apology is called for.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Homer

Yes I agree. I’m not suggesting FF’s views about reconciliation are insincere. And I agree with Scott too. I’m not suggesting that the religious right nutters aren’t as entitled to form their own party as the Greens (many of whom are equally nutty). I’m just saying we should be wary of their agenda while not treating them too seriously. I’m sure Labor will remember to preference them last next time, although that’s rather shutting the door after the horse has bolted.

tipper
tipper
2022 years ago

“fanatical bunch of sanctimonious, narrow-minded, sexually-repressed, god-bothering arseholes…”

Ken maaaaaaaaaate, be careful.
The “correct” as in politically correct “friend” and master of the Labor party might get a tad pissed off with you. And you know what that means.
Oh! you weren’t referring to him. Well I suppose that lets you of the hook, and dodge the “hate crime” charge that would deservedly be coming your way, if you used that kind of intemperate language about the “Religion Of Peace”

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Tipper

Yes, all those adjective apply equally or more so to Sheihk Hillaly and his band of charmers at Lakemba. But they haven’t formed a political party that was preferenced by the Liberals and, for fuck’s sake, the ALP as well, nor do they have a Senate seat. That’s why I’m not talking about them. There may well be some politically correct ALP types who would feel it was terribly inbappropriate to talk about the brethren of Lakemba Mosque in that way, but are perfectly comfortable with slagging the Pentecostal Christian Right. But I’m not one of them. Political correctness is one of the few political sins of which I’ve never been accused.

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

Obviously I’m no fan of anybody dictating morals by law. Obviously, as an atheist I don’t always have much time for The Lord and all His works. However, I gained an appreciation of a limited subset of christianity whilst shacking up with an adventist girl a few years ago. Some of them were genuinely lovely people, even when they were busy saving my soul.

That said, I think everybody needs to put the Family First senator into perspective. There are still 4 democrats in this Senate. What this means is that Howard can get one or the other to pass his legislation as necessary.

To do so, all he needs to do is to tie together a policy he desires with a policy at least one of the two will loathe.

Say he wants to sell Telstra. Both the FFP and the Dems seem against this. But say he ties the sale of Telstra to banning IVF for lesbian or gay couples. Now he turns to either of the parties and says, “Phones, or poofters: your choice”. Almost certainly, one of the two will buckle.

So that it may be remembered, I am christening this “poison pill politics”. It is so called because it is a semi-accurate and catchy slogan.

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

On an unrelated note, I yesterday finished reading Volume I of the Great Books edition of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a task I have been chipping away at since 2001.

Now, on to Volume II.

PeterF
PeterF
2022 years ago

As I understand it, the expectation is that the Libs will get 3 Senate spots and Nats 1 in Queensland. That together with 3 in each State, plus one in each of the Territories, would bring them up to 39. If that’s the case (and it is likely rather than certain atm), the duchessing of either FF (assuming they get 1 or 2 Senators) or the remnant Democrats won’t be necessary.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Peter

Yes, that’s certainly what the experts are saying on Queensland. William Bowe the Poll Bludger explains it well.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

CL, as you probably know – there are a lot of Indigenous Australians who are Pentecostals. That’s not bad or good. Issues to do with reconciliation and an apology are surely a concern of us White Australians since we appear to be the ones resisting doing anything about it.

Scott, Brian Harradine was a completely different kettle of fish to FF. He had a long track record in the Labour Movement (former Tasmanian TLC secretary) and the Labor Party (from which he was expelled essentially for too enthusiastic support of the right wing Gough Whitlam over the left wing Jim Cairns). Harradine’s politics were no different from those of the Catholic Right of the ALP (eg the various Shoppies affiliated Senators – one of whom, Jacinta Collins, the preference deal was done in an attempt to save) – it’s just that as an independent, he had more freedom to express his politics and at times, more bargaining power in the Parliament.

Ken and Jason – hear hear!

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

ps – I discovered today that the person who wrote FF’s policies is a PhD student in political theory in my school. Apparently the University accepted timeout to do the policy development and website as grounds for leave of absence. On the other hand, Drew Hutton is a retired Lecturer from our School. So I guess academia is not a hot bed of lefties as rumour has it, but rather pluralistic. (among other disciplines, we host “Applied Ethics” which appears largely to be staffed by Protestant ministers)… truly a University for the Surreal World!

Alan Green
2022 years ago

On my reading, the point of Wallace’s article was buried at the end, “…Labor must demonstrate that the social conservatives within the party are given an equal hearing to the left-wingers.” That’s all – but to get there both sides need to put their prejudices aside, listen until they understand each other and work out where they agree. Then they can seek the pragmatic compromises that acknowledge people’s right to differences of opinion.

Any less than that, and Labor leaches support away for naught but keeping the true believers comfortable. Worse, the leached support goes to extreme parties like FF, which are unlikely to negotiate their stance on any social issue.

(Declaration of bias: I’m an anti-Howard voter and a Sydney Anglican.)

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I think any fair examination of the post-Keating era demonstrates that Labor gives a reasonable hearing to the social conservatives within its own ranks – both within the caucus and the organisation. Beazley for instance is a fairly conservative bloke – it’s just that he believes in a pluralistic society – which I don’t think FF prima facie does.

saint
2022 years ago

Gee FF seems to be on everyone’s blog.

As a ‘god-botherer’ who has been critical of FF on my blog over the last few weeks, and preferenced them last, I would nevertheless agree with C.L. and say that ‘Christian Taliban’ or even ‘Right Wing Fundies’ are over the top labels. But I will concede if you allow me to call most of you part of the Great Unwashed or Children of the Devil (that was a very bad joke by the way).

But seriously.

FF have modelled themselves more on
United Future NZ than any American style Religious Right type movement. Pentecostals were also accused of ‘taking over’ UFNZ when the party was formed by merging a few minors. Anyway you can judge for yourself how popular or not they have been in NZ/

While I agree that they may have watered down an extreme agenda, the FF senator in SA, Andrew Evans, has been reasonable in his voting in the SA senate. Perhaps the pentecostals have realised that you cannot expect others to live by your own religious values if they do not share your faith.

So expect for example, that if the gay marriage issue comes up, they will argue for something akin to Tasmania’s Relationship Act – the baby of a gay activist lawyer no less – instead of ‘legalising’ gay marriage, whatever ‘marriage’ really means in today’s civil society and for whomever ‘gay marriage’ is an issue.

The gays and lesbians for whom I work for example, are in stable long term relationships but neverthless think ‘marriage’ is for ‘breeders’. Another gay couple who are friends of mine, have been together 20 years, one partner wants to get ‘married’, the other partner doesn’t…What is lost on most is that the gay, lesbian, etc community itself is divided on the importance of this issue, although inheritance, property etc rights would still be on the agenda in areas where they discriminate against gays, as they should be. Nevertheless, on those issues, I expect FF to go for an approach where the law is decoupled from ideas of sexual preference and put in terms of the nature of the relationship – ‘significant’, ‘caring’ etc. – which would then encompass a wider range of relationships as well. Hardly extreme right wing fundamentalist. And as I said, these sorts of approaches have been put forward by gay activist lawyers.

Oh, and if Sweden is an example to go by, then if we go down the path of broadening the idea of marriage past ‘male and female, entered voluntarily, to the exclusion of others’ or whatever the words are now, so that we include same-sex marriages (personally I don’t care if we do, as long as no-one tries to tell churches to consecrate them) then we can possibly expect even fewer people – heterosexuals, gays, lesbians, whoever, will be married in ten or twenty years time. Bit ironic.

Anyway I also expect that some of the Liberals(and I have already heard slime bag Minchin go down this line twice now) to start reminding everyone that about 70-75% of Australians are Christians…and use that to play politics. Of course what they will fail to clarify is that probably 60% or more of Aussies self-identify as Christians to distinguish themselves from Muslims, Hindus etc but actually do not profess any real Christian faith at all (like my atheist dad, and I suspect our PM is a nominal Christian as well), or if they say the follow Judeao-Christian principles don’t really display that in many aspects of their lives.

Also, Jacques, I do think that some laws have a moral element to them whether we like to think of it or not

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

saint, I think the sort of model of degrees of commitment you’re talking about in terms of partnership is something also being proposed by Archbishop Carnley as a way forward for the Anglican Church to go in terms of same-sex relationships. There is some evidence, by the way, historically, that up to about the 11th century the Catholic and Orthodox churches had a liturgical form of blessing for same-sex partnerships. This is from the historian John Boswell, author of “The Marriage of Likeness” and “Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality” – as far as I know, his historical scholarship hasn’t been seriously called into question though his interpretations have. When I first heard Carnley talk in these terms, I suspected Boswell’s work was his source material. I might invite my colleague and friend Dr Michael Carden from UQ’s Studies in Religion Department to comment on this, because he knows far more about it than I.

As I understand it, and I think Geoff Honnor made the same point a while back, you’re correct to say a lot of queer Australians think marriage is for the heteros. I agree in the sense that I think the discursive construction of the institution is deeply implicated in a heterosexist practices – but I can also see the argument – a separable one, in my view – that in a liberal society – marriage ought not to be defined as being gender-specific. It wasn’t in Australian law until just before the election – when Labor passed Howard’s legislation.

After all, a lot of the gay and lesbian people who married recently in the States seem much more committed to the institution than – say – Britney Spears.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Britney, incidentally, was at one stage, somewhat of a poster girl for George Bush’s “abstinence for teens” campaign – funded to the tune of $167 million in his first budget.

saint
2022 years ago

Mark – yes I am aware of Carnley’s views and it would be interesting to find out his sources of influence.

However – and sorry if this offends you, my gay and lesbian bosses and friends know this about me too – I would still oppose Carnley and any Christian church blessing same sex marriages and would do so on theological grounds (you can guess I am conservative theologically and Carnely is openly a theological liberal). Marriage is more than a civil institution, as you know, but you would probably also know that in traditional Christian teaching which all main streams of Christianity share (Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, even Pentecostals!), marriage has a spiritual element: protological, prophetic, soteriological, eschatological…even sacramental…the gospel lived out in the most intimate of human relationships.

Carnley knows this too. It just seems he has, as many liberal theologians have, let too much of the cultural agenda influence his faith. Perhaps someone should ask him if he remembers what it means to ‘walk by the Spirit’.

Anyway, it would take me too long to even summarise the arguments that would lead to one startling fact: the male-female union is central in Christian teaching, because a male-male union or a female-female union is divisive, exclusive and false; it says that God denies half of humanity (either the female or the male) His grace, whereas in Christ, who unites us Christians, there is no male or female, Jew or Gentile, slave of free man. His grace is available to all.

Unfortunately most erroneously get this arse about face to argue that union with Christ means we can justify same-sex unions.

But that’s me. I don’t expect those who are not (conservative) Christians to agree.

Having said that, while there has been much progress in affording equal rights to the gay and lesbian community, and some more still needs doing, I think all of us – Christian or not – really have to decide on what does marriage mean in a secular multicultural society as our own, (albeit with Judeao-Christian roots some would add). How should it be reflected in our laws? Can it be reflected in our laws? Is it better to separate out the rights issues from the marriage issue? Do we really need to define marriage in our laws at all? Do we need some symbolic representation or ceremony given that – and I can guarantee you this – all the theological conservatives in all the Christian denominations as well as conservative Jews, Muslims, Buddhists etc will refuse to consecrate same-sex unions in their churches synagogues, mosques, temples etc.
Do we end up with a concept of civic unions and leave us ‘god-botherers’ to our own praxis?

I don’t know; I just think we have never had a decent discussion about this – it’s all been reactive.

Gosh too much time at the pub tonight. Can’t write any more. But I would love to see someone more erudite than me get that discussion going amongst *Australians* of all creeds and persuasions.

Alan
Alan
2022 years ago

There are a whole sting of different issues to unpack.

1 To begin, no-one’s ever required any priest, minister of religion, or for that matter civil celebrant, to conduct marriages they did not want to conduct. That is the law now and no-one is proposing it be changed.

2 I suspect the division over marriage in the GLB community is pretty much generational. It is not nearly as much a matter of arguing it out as of one generation’s ideas replacing another’s. Einstein always said he never won an argument against an anti-relativity scientist, he just waited for them to die off.

3 At risk of entering some delicate territory, if Christ can only (and I find putting those 2 words beside each other silly in itself) bless male-female unions then what did the Incarnation say to women at all? What is the scriptural authority for making gender such an overriding category? You cannot have one argument from the consequences of a belief without having the other.

4 Lastly the evil Howard eat-my-preferences bill did a lot more than codify the definition of marriage as heterosexual. It also derecognises foreign same-sex marriages and bans all same-sex couples from intercountry adoptions.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Err Saint,
Carnley neither believes in Jesus dying on the cross for our sins nor in the physical ressurection which means he believes Jesus was sinful.

He is a well qualified Anglican Archbishop because he clearly isn’t a christian

Alan Green
2022 years ago

I’m no fan of gay marriage, but I’m not implacably opposed to it. I’d be willing to trade allowing gay marriages for being allowed to say that God disapproves of homosexual acts and for allowing churches to discriminate on the basis of religion when they hire employees.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Alan

To the best of my knowledge there isn’t any current state or federal legislation prohibiting “vilification” of homosexuals (which is presumably what claiming God disapproves of homosexual acts would come under). Personally, I think anti-vilification laws are democratically obnoxious per se.

Of course, discriminatory acts (as opposed to words) are prohibited in most if not all states.
I’m not fully familiar with the anti-discrimination legislation of every state and territory, but I am familiar with the NT one, because I was the Director of Law and Policy of the NT Anti-Discrimination Commission at one time. Section 30 of the Act says:

“30. Exemptions
(1) An educational authority that operates, or proposes to operate, an educational institution wholly or mainly for students of a particular sex may exclude applicants who are not of that sex.

(2) An educational authority that operates, or proposes to operate, an educational institution in accordance with the doctrine of a particular religion may exclude applicants who are not of that religion.

(3) An educational authority that operates, or proposes to operate, an educational institution wholly or mainly for students who have a general or specific impairment may exclude applicants who do not have that impairment.”

Thus you wouldn’t have to do a trade-off when hiring employees at church schools.

Finally, as for God disapproving of homosexuality, my general understanding (as anything but a Biblical scholar) is that only the Old Testament clearly and unequivocally condemns homosexuality. But it also condemns and advocates all sorts of practices that everyone, including even fundamentalist christians, today regards as obnoxious and bizarre. To pick out Old Testament injunctions against homosexuality and ignore all those other prohibitions and exhortations would seem to say rather more about the mentality of the person making the claim than about what God may or may not want. Nevertheless, as I observed above, my own view is that the law shouldn’t prevent you from saying nasty things about homosexuals, nor should it prevent me from saying that people who do so are nasty, intolerant and ignorant (at least in that respect), irrespective of whether they do so under the guise of a dubious claim that God agrees with them.

Alan
Alan
2022 years ago

Ken

See the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act at s49ZT. I believe similar laws exist in Queensland and Victoria but I wouldn’t swear to it.

I was actually more concerned with the furphy that permitting same-sex marriage might mandate churches to conduct ceremonies.

saint
2022 years ago

Ken – I fear we have veered off your original topic. I accept that some Christians or else some as portrayed in the media, would seem to condemn homosexuality as sin from the OT and have a be in their bonnet just about that. But all I guess I would say is no. The NT also does. In fact, most of the ‘commandments’ in the OT Law are repeated in some form in the NT writings – although even that fact still misses the point. It actually missed the point of the OT laws in the first place (For example, we moderns seem to interpret the OT law as some form of legal code…a concept unknown in Ancient Near East cultures within which books like Leviticus were written. That should be enough to sound warning bells)

I guess, if you are really interested in the basis of Christian teaching on homosexuality and adultery and fornication and marriage and whatever else, you would make efforts to find out for yourself. But if it is not an issue for you – in the sense that you don’t care because you have your own view (either of what Christians think, or of what your own personal stance is) based on your own knowledge/experience/rationality/etc that’s fair enough too. I’d still shout you a beer.

Homer – Your evangelical fervour always makes me smile. I don’t think I would go so far as condemning all Anglican Archbishops in the Communion on the basis of something Carnley implied (I say ‘implied’ because I’m not sure if he has never openly stated as such). The Anglican Communion is indeed, a broad church. One would also wonder why the evangelical Bishop of Durham felt the need to write a book on the resurrection given that it is such a central tenet of the Christian faith. Could it be, that even many evangelical Christians still think of resurrection as some disembodied spirits floating around in some ether outside of space-time reality strumming harps? Does it make them less Christians?

Alan (Southerly Buster) –

3. Good questions, perhaps someone should start a theological blog which is a forum for this sort of dialogue.

4. Agreed it did that too. And for me it sounded very reactive and a response to events going on overseas at the time. And well, not quite with the consent of the people, given that I don’t think we in Australia have really worked out what we want for ourselves on this issue. But then, maybe they wanted to avoid high profile, costly court battles about this given the ‘ambiguity’ in the law. I would really really like to know what motivated that piece of legislation and the speed with which it was passed.

All- yes you are right no one can force a minister to perform a marriage, administer communion etc etc. and religious schools can select on the basis of religion (although most smaller religious schools will just say to employees that they don’t expect them to be believers but to recognise and accept that the school will teach certain values etc in accordance with the school’s religious affiliations. Some who teach in say Christian schools, aren’t Christian, just as some who teach in secular schools, aren’t secularists)

In any case, how do you then stand on say, the Rainbow activists who pulled that stunt a while back when Pell was presiding over communion? (I didn’t see them running into mosques and synagogues and temples with the same routine) If we don’t want religious groups imposing their values on others, do we also allow non-religious people or even those of other religions trying to impose their values on religious groups – with or without deep civility! What if we are dealing say with, say, an extreme Wahhabi sect within Islam, preaching hatred and violence towards infidels? Or some obscure child-abusing cult?

Or have I really strayed off the topic here.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

” I suspect the division over marriage in the GLB community is pretty much generational.”

The generational aspect may have some relevance (though I’m not sure how- no-one gay seems actively opposed to the concept in principle) but I do think that the much greater recognition and validation of de facto relationship in Australian jurisdictions, compared to the US, has significant effect here also. Constant assertions in the pre-election campaign against the Lib/Lab marriage bill along the lines that, “only marriage will permit gay partners to visit each other in hospital” mystified coupled poofs who’d been each others NOK’s for years and had been continually recognised as such by hospitals. Equally, the insistence that unmarried gay partners wouldn’t be able to inherit each other’s estates in the event of death stacked improbably with the reality that thousands already have.

There’s a debate to be had about what marriage actually means for gay Australians. How we see it working – or not working – against the way we aspire to live our lives and make our relationships work within them. But there’s been virtually no community discussion about it all. There was simply a blind assumption that everyone would line up behind the fact that this was a simple matter of [in]equality and demand justice accordingly. Very few did. I don’t think many of us would deny the merits of the equality case – every poof thinks that people should be able to marry if they want to – but relatively few of us seem to regard it as imperative at this point. It’s frustrating for activists but they need to start engaging their community as part of the advocacy process.