Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sticks & Stones


The Australian Christian Lobby issued a media release earlier this week, claiming that it was unhappy with the way the Greens and gay activists were using strong language in their battle with the ACL over equal rights. Apparently the ACL don't take kindly to being called 'haters' and 'extremists'. 

ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace claimed to be both hurt and deeply offended by being referred to as a 'gay hater':

“I and the ACL do not hate anyone, let alone same-sex attracted people. Using pejoratives like ‘haters’ and ‘extremists’ to describe ACL is tantamount to intimidation tactics designed to cause us and others to stand aside from the debate,” Mr Wallace said.

I won't call Mr Wallace and his colleagues names. I'll suggest, quietly and with all due respect, that they're a bunch of self-aggrandising sooky-lalas with a narrow agenda and a fringe perspective. 


Has Mr Wallace considered how the LGBT community, single people and their supporters feel when accused of gross child abuse if they choose surrogacy as a means to parenthood? I can tell Mr Wallace right now that being accused of gross child abuse leaves "hater" in the shade, yet, on June 1st, the ACL issues this media release,
headlined "Single and same-sex surrogacy a gross abuse against of the rights of the child".

It was a carefully worded release, short on facts, designed to evoke the kind of imagery associated with pedophilia and the Roman Catholic Church. Mr Wallace says they run their campaigns without resorting to words of hate. Who needs words when you can evoke those images?

As discussed previously, the ACL hasn't offered any examples of this gross child abuse they're linking to gay (and single) parents,  or even a source from which they get their definition of what a child's rights might be. The rights of the child remain a convenient distraction for the ACL. 

This week's press release suggests that the ACL aren't too fond of being called extremists either. Well, I guess if their policy (singular) to repress gay rights wasn't so unpopular and so extreme, they wouldn't have to wear the title. According to the release, Mr Wallace and his team of non-haters don't hate people who are "same-sex-attracted". 

I challenge Mr Wallace on that. There has been exactly no evidence that I can find of any engagement with or compassion to the LGBT community by the ACL. None. Instead, there has been a wall of anti-gay commentary and persistent lobbying against anything that could bring this segment of our a step closer to equality.

Why? For the sake of the children, of course...except that there's no evidence of that either. 

Speaking of children, the vitriol directed at ACL's Wendy Francis following her high profile campaign against the Rip & Roll Safe Sex billboards is indefensible. No excuses.

Having said that, the ACL and their followers need to accept that every time they issue a media release, send a tweet or appear on media speaking out against rights for the LGBT community, there will be a response. Just as the ACL doesn't like being called 'haters', gays don't like being labelled abnormal, perverted, deviant, sick, or dangerous. The ACL has no right to be playing the victim card.

Still, if Mr Wallace wants to lose the "hater" tag, how about exercising some Christian love and acceptance by putting some of his, and the ACL's resources towards promoting an LGBT cause. They could choose any gay cause that doesn't conflict with their restrictive, anti-gay agenda: how about a campaign to address homophobia in public schools? Or a campaign to secure funding for the Queensland Association of Healthy Communities? 

If the ACL can't - or won't - find a pro-gay cause that it can support, then the homophobia and gay-hater labels are likely to they should.

As for the Greens and gay activists using words like 'hater' and 'extremist' to intimidate, Mr Wallace knows better than that. He's a retired soldier, a former commander of the SAS Regiment. This won't be the first time in his life that he's been told to "Harden up, Princess." I'll also encourage him to enjoy a nice big cup of reality; words aren't all that intimidating out here in the real world, and Brigadier Jim Wallace (Ret) knows it.

It's well past time that the ACL accepted that they aren't the victims in this battle, and they don't control the moral high ground. There is no moral high ground in a war to sideline, to undermine, to marginalise your fellow humans to preserve your own superiority.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. - His Holiness Dalai Lama


  1. Jim's problem is that he is so used to being surrounded by people that blindly accept what he says (be it later in his military days or his tenure at the ACL) that his comments are not only accepted but applauded and any kind of claim he makes is gobbled up quickly as fact to support their position.

    When he makes the same comments or claims on say Sunrise or media releases on their website where he doesn't have this security blanket of yes men things get interesting (laughable but at the same time outrageous).

    I believe things like the Nazi comment, the Anzac Day tweet, his blaming gays for child abuse in the churches @ FORT, supporting church schools rights to expel openly gay students etc, the reactions he gets to these comments outside his circle must genuinely surprise him because he's not encountered that kind of resistance or thirst fact checking when he's made those comments privately.

    It's got to the stage that I don't know if he is playing a publicity game or he honestly believes that he and the ACL are the victims and aren't gay haters (despite the long list of public comments/campaigns to the contrary). That to me is the scariest thing of all. Are the ACL really that deluded or just incredibly dishonest?

    I'm still waiting for him and the ACL to be held accountable for the hate messages they spread, but scripture and religion is apparently a wonderful shield. That and gay rights still have a long way to go in Australia.

    If it was any other issue that, like gay marriage, didn’t affect the ACL in the slightest yet they had inserted themselves into the debate, like say Aboriginal rights, Jim would be stopped and fact checked at every step and when his claims are found to be unsubstantiated, incorrectly extrapolated or just plain false and he would be held accountable.

    Imagine what would happen if Jim or other vocal ACL members had applied some of the comments they’ve made on the issue of same sex anything to Aboriginal Rights (supporting the expulsion of students from church schools for being openly Aboriginal, Aboriginals adopting children is child abuse etc).


  2. They wouldn’t be able to hide behind religion or claim that Aboriginals chose to be that way and would for once, no matter the ACL’s connections and financial contributors, they would be held accountable for what they have said or at least they would finally be portrayed for what their lobby group are and who they actually represent by the main stream media.

    If this happened, it wouldn’t be long before they stopped being looked at as the voice of Christian or Moral values and they would be left out in the fringe where they belong. No amount of victim card playing would help them then.

    But they aren't talking about Aboriginal or some other rights issues and sadly it just reinforces how far we as a country have to go on the issue of gay rights.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Jim or any member of the ACL censored, far from it. They deserve the right to have their voice heard just like everyone else. What should happen is their voice should be heard in the proper context, not shrouded by the guise they operate under today.

    I hate to be so blunt, but I’ve never felt luckier to be an Australian-born white heterosexual male in my life. Nobody has stopped me from marrying the love of my life and I grew up without having to face any issues about “going home to my country” and was reasonably unscathed from bullying.

    I wish that wasn’t how the world worked and I know that I can’t change that, but it won’t stop me from doing all I can in the pursuit of equal rights for all.

    At first, as a Christian (please don’t dismiss what I’m about to say after using that phrase) I was uneasy with the notion of opposing the ACL, but a quick fact check and a read of their website (at the time on the matter of Internet Censorship) and seeing the level of deceit and dishonesty used in their campaigns it was clear very quickly that they didn’t represent the majority of Christians, not even close. And certainly not me.

  3. Thanks for your thoughtful contribution, Chris. It's very much appreciated.

  4. The ACL will say that they don't hate gays. They will say, like many other good Christian folk, "Love the sinner, hate the sin". It's a popular saying in Christian circles. And when they say these words, they truly believe with all their heart that they are being loving, enlightened, hip and Christ-like! They have absolutely NO CLUE that the mere mention of the words "sin" and "sinner" immediately places the gay person in a category that makes them feel inferior, unacceptable, ashamed and dirty. Inferior, unacceptable, ashamed and dirty because they LOVE someone who happens to be of the same sex. Work that one out!