CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

The IYF and Culture Wars

Dec 8, 1993

Forgive me for being recalcitrant, but the Prime Minister’s Launch of the International Year of the Family on 6 December was at best, a complete non-event; at worst, it was a pitiful display of a government selling its soul to the feminist and homosexual lobbies. Mr Keating’s speech was a typical bit of bureaucratic oratory – long on platitudes and generalities, and short on specifics and practical content. If the speech appeared to be superficial and vague, that’s because government policy and thinking on the family is superficial and vague.

The only theme to appear over and over in his speech was the “diversity of families” line. This is a reflection of the trendy pop sociology which characterises government thinking about the family. The family isn’t breaking down – it’s simply changing. Therefore the IYF will not offer any concrete help for struggling families. After all, if the family isn’t in any real difficulty, why get too excited about it?

As an indication of just how unconcerned the government is about family breakdown, the word marriage was not mentioned once in the Prime Minister’s speech. Indeed, marriage is not even mentioned in the government’s list of priorities for next year. Instead there is talk of a family day, and more flexi-time in the workplace. Cosmetic solutions, in other words.

But faulty diagnoses always result in faulty remedies. The feminists, homosexuals and other anti-family forces have long ago co-opted the IYF for its own ends. How else can we explain how a year designated for the celebration of the family has so little to do with the family, and everything to do with advancing the feminist agenda?

Mr Keating’s speech provides us with one of a number of clues as to how the family will fare next year and beyond. Indeed, it’s been a bad month for families, with a number of other incidents reported in the press over the last few weeks which spell real trouble for the family. All of these episodes involve governments and bureaucracies, which should make clear to everyone just how poorly the family is viewed by the powers that be.

The first episode concerns the government engaged in classic Orwellian new-speak. Minister for the Family, Rosemary Crowley has recently said that homosexuals will be included in the official definition of the family for IYF purposes. By so doing she has of course thrown out several millennia of consensus on the meaning of family. It all fits in well with the homosexual agenda however. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan has recently noted, deviancy has reached such huge proportions that in order to deal with the problem, we have changed the way we think about normality and abnormality. What we used to call normal behaviour we now call abnormal, and what used to be regarded as deviant behaviour is now reclassified as normal.

Changes in terminology help soften us up for changes in lifestyle. Or as one commentator describes it, “verbal engineering always precedes social engineering.”

A second and related example of “defining deviancy down” as Moynihan puts it, concerns the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The ABS has now decided to include homosexuals in its definition of family. The head of the ABS family service survey said the change of policy was due to changing “societal attitudes.” Society now accepts homosexuals as families? That would be news to most Australians. Indeed, I don’t recall huge demonstrations by ordinary Australians calling for homosexuals to be counted as families.

But the homosexual agenda is being promoted on other fronts. In Adelaide a homosexual HIV-carrier was awarded over $60,000 of tax payers’ money by the SA Equal Opportunity Tribunal. He was dismissed by the SA Education Department when it was discovered that he wrote a particularly offensive and obscene article for a gay newspaper. He had been teaching drama at a primary school. The Tribunal said he had been discriminated against, and ordered the payout.

Lest we think this is just a one-off activity, a Victorian homosexual has just filed suit in a similar discrimination case. The Victorian Equal Opportunity Board is currently hearing the case. One can expect dozens more such cases to erupt in the near future. The gay community is on a roll, and looks to be making substantial gains.

Another episode, this time involving Senator Crowley again, shows that the feminist thought police are also on a roll. Not content to undermine the family, they are now intent on turning our children into sexually androgynous, Politically Correct wards of the State. Senator Crowley issued a child-care booklet with 52 guidelines for proper behaviour in child care centres. Among other things, the guidelines claim that Christmas carols are “culturally irrelevant”; they discourage the use of negative commands; encourage non-sexist play behaviour among children; and argue that only books which depict “women and men doing similar work in similar situations” should be read to the kiddies.

Child care centres that do not kowtow to the guidelines will not be accredited and will not receive fee relief. One would have expected such totalitarian restrictions in Stalinist Russia, not in democratic Australia. But this episode just demonstrates how far the ‘femi-nazis’, as one person described them, have come in promoting the radical feminist agenda.

Just one more example of the war against the family and family values – if the reader isn’t too weary and depressed already. In a speech given last month by Fr David Cappo, Executive Member of the National Council for the IYF, we are given the standard PC pap about families. Fr Cappo tells us that there is a “wide variety of families” and that it is “not time to be trying to define families or to say what is more ideal and what is less ideal.” Moreover, the family is doing just fine thank you – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, in other words: “Families are not breaking down”, they are just “changing”, and “change is continuing and should be seen positively.”

More and more divorce, more child abuse, more broken families, more kids devastated by divorce, and the good Father tells us this is “positive”! Indeed, he says it is “healthy and leads to wider and better opportunities. This capacity for change is a sign of vitality and strength, not decline.” Maybe Fr Cappo sees the breakdown of families, the erosion of values, and the acceptance of “alternative lifestyles” as a good thing, but most Australians do not.

Given these bits of bureaucratic nonsense and Politically Correct social engineering, it is clear that the family is in for a rough year. Instead of something to celebrate, the Government IYF will be another thinly disguised attempt by the homosexual and feminist movements to further undermine and destabilise the family. All things considered, the best thing that could happen to families would be if the IYF were never to take place at all.

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