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

Truth, the Media, and Ideology

May 17, 2006

Those who are pro-faith and pro-family have long realized that it is hard to get a fair hearing in much of today’s media. Last night on television there was a good example of this. The May 16 episode of the Insight program on SBS featured a debate about same-sex marriage and adoption rights.

One feature of the debate stands out, and was reported in today’s Australian. Former Chief Justice of the Family Court Alastair Nicholson was on the program, and among other things, made the incredible claim that it is “an act of cruelty” to not recognize and legalise same-sex marriage and adoption rights.

Of course for years Nicholson has been a strident proponent of various radical agendas. But his claims are simply bewildering, considering the actual facts of the matter. Indeed, he went on to say that there is “not one shred of credible evidence” that children raised in a same-sex relationship “have any disadvantage in relation to other children”. He continued, “I don’t think it matters whether the person is a male or female or two males, (or) two females, provided they are loving parents”.

Sorry, but he is simply denying the facts in the interests of pushing his own radical agenda. The truth is, there are over 10,000 social science studies that have come out over the past four decades, and they all point in one direction: Children are best served, by every indicator, when living with their biological mother and father. No other family structure comes close to the positive benefits of being raised in a biological two-parent family. Indeed, there are many negative benefits associated with not being raised in the natural family.

Generally speaking, the research clearly shows that kids are more likely to commit suicide, do less well in school, and be more likely to become involved in crime and drugs, when raised in households other than the two-parent family. Of course there are exceptions, but this is the clear weight of the social research.

Thus he is simply ignoring the evidence, in order to ram through his own ideological goals. But he did not stop there. He went on to say that Christian values on marriage should not apply to the law. This is another incredible claim, and is simply wrong-headed for several reasons.

The truth is, Western society is built on the Judeo-Christian worldview and moral system. What is he suggesting? That we renounce every law, every custom, every social more that may have a trace of religious background to it? Perhaps then we must ditch our laws on murder, theft, and lying to begin with. After all, they are all part of our Christian heritage.

And what would the former judge do with the fact that 68 per cent of Australians are Christian, according to the last census? Should they be disqualified from voting, from public life, from positions of power and influence, because they might contaminate society with religious beliefs? Nicholson is simply pushing his radical secular agenda – which is a minority viewpoint – on to the rest of Australia.

And he was quite happy to resort to some cheap tricks as well in his presentation. He made the comparison between a loving, close homosexual family and an abusive, dysfunctional heterosexual family. Said Nicholson: “Certainly if [the homosexual relationship] is a loving relationship, as many of these ones we’ve discussed tonight are, then it’s highly likely that the children will be much better off than in a heterosexual relationship which is not a good one”.

Well of course, who wouldn’t agree? But (as I told a radio interviewer today on this very point), that is simply chalk and cheese. It is comparing apples with oranges. There is no comparison. A fair comparison would be a loving heterosexual family with a loving homosexual family, or a dysfunctional homosexual family with a dysfunctional heterosexual family. But such fair comparisons are seldom offered. The debate is usually rigged from the outset.

How not to conduct a debate

Indeed, this debate bore all the hallmarks of how the media often conducts a debate: quite one-sided. Interestingly, I had been invited to appear on this very debate, but I declined. I have been on too many of these debates before to know that they are a stacked deck, and one’s chances of getting a proper hearing are next to zero.

It is not just the fact that I am usually the only conservative voice in such debates (or if it is a larger crowd, there may be several token conservative voices), but the very medium of television is just not conducive to proper debate.

For example, the producers of these shows (who are almost always radicals themselves, – or very sympathetic to trendy causes), are no dummies. They will not only have a majority of the debaters on the radical side, but the supposedly disinterested audience members will also be well to the left on such issues as well.

Indeed, I recall being on a very similar debate some years ago (in fact, with the same SBS program – Insight), and I was amazed that I and only two others out of a debating audience of about 40 were on the conservative, pro-family side. But I should not have been surprised. After the taping of the program, a number of the most vocal lesbian and homosexual activists went up to the show’s producers and they exchanged hugs and greetings, and said how nice it was to see each other again, etc.

As I say, a simple set-up, from the word go. The activists working at the television networks simply invite their activist friends on the show, and pass them off as disinterested participants, simply a cross-section of society. And they add a few token conservative voices, in order to claim that they offered a balanced and objective debate.

But that is not the only problem. In these debates, they will pit emotive human interest stories against the plain hard logic of the conservative side. That is, they will bring in a lesbian “family” or what have you, and the whole spectacle will play to the emotions of the viewing audience. The child in the lesbian household will fawn over his two “mums”, while the two lesbians will profusely demonstrate their great love for their child. Facts and evidence will never stand up against such a display of emotion, so you lose every time.

In such a situation, it is no good for me (or anyone else) to try to cite the clear social evidence which shows the vast superiority of the two-parent family. Cold hard facts will always lose out to a visual, emotive story played out before one’s eyes.

And not only will such “debates” feature many of these alternative “families”, they will not feature an opposing sort of family: a mum, dad and child who can speak of their loving and functional home. If a homosexual activist wants to debate the evidence with one opposed to that agenda, that is one thing. But to pit a real live alternative lifestyle “family” against a conservative talking head is never fair nor balanced.

And it goes even further than that. Not only is the emotional story always going to trump the simple presentation of objective facts, but if the one side is presented as a victim, as an underdog, then the other side (the conservatives) will automatically come across as the cold, uncompassionate, judgmental, intolerant types, no matter what they say. Because modern society puts such a high value on a soppy version of tolerance, anyone speaking the truth about these sorts of issues will just be cast as the intolerant bigot who is preventing people from doing their thing.

So television debates seldom offer a real chance of a fair or objective exchange of ideas. They simply become theatre, pitting the ‘good guys’ versus the ‘bad guys’. That is why I declined the debate, although I congratulate those few conservatives who were willing to appear anyway.

In sum, both the Insight debate, and the comments of Nicholson, were typical of how a largely radical and secular media skew truth and manipulate information. I have had too many years experience of such activities to expect otherwise. That is why I and so many others are turning to websites and other forms of communication. Truth is important and needs to be heard. If it will not come freely from the mainstream media, then it needs to come from elsewhere. Let the debate continue!

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27 Responses to Truth, the Media, and Ideology

  • Yes, the media is very clever at putting on a debate where both sides argue for the same point of view.

    Tas Walker, Brisbane

  • Bill, Thank you for yourncommentary on the insight program about same-sex relationships and the family court judges views. I have seen this happening frequently on programs about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, homosexuality. A token conservative is “sandwiched” in-between many who are pro the main view-point. The data presentation is skewed and no evaluation of stories is enterd into. Thank you for setting out this frequent process so clearly.

    John Simpson

  • OK I’ll be first.

    Well done Bill. How true it is that the truth does not get a hearing in such forums. As stated, apart from the obvious bias of most of the presenters and the anti-christian agenda of most in those media organisations, the fact is that TV is about entertainment, highlighting the sensational.

    The obvious truth is not sensational or glamorous. Rather, it is simple and constant.

    Like you, I respect those conservatives that agree to participate in such forums as they are surely aware that they are placed in the ampitheatre as food for the lions!

    I know that we christians should be fighting these culture wars but, on the whole for this type of stuff, my choice for my family at home is just to turn the thing (tv) off!

    I, too, am grateful for the internet medium as an avenue for promoting truth. Let us not forget our own best avenue that we can use – the message that we can send to the world by how we train and lead our own (one man, one woman) family.

    Jeremy Peet, Melbourne 

  • Although I did not see the Insight program on which the article is based, I agree that the media is unbalanced and often presents a biased viewpoint and the examples you mentioned above seem to confirm that.

    I, too would consider myself ‘pro family’ and ‘pro faith’, however I am not opposed to same sex marriage and adoption rights. I think this because (maybe slightly ideologically) that our society should be based on love and equality and that those two values cannot exist except beside each other.

    You rightly stated that a conservative ideology will never stand up against love and emotion as ties that bind us will always be stronger. Western society is built on Christianity and what stronger values can we have other than Mark 12 30-31, Love God and Love your neighbour.

    David Sturdy, Launceston

  • Thanks David

    But if you do indeed accept what Jesus said in Mark 12 about loving God, then you need to unpack that. What does it entail? “If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” Jesus said. To love God means to obey him, to do what he asks of us, not what we want to do. And since the Bible from Genesis to Revelation makes it clear that God’s intention for human sexuality is heterosexual marriage, full stop, then obviously adultery is out. So too are same-sex unions.

    And we only really love our neighbour when we direct them to the best that God has for them. Love in the Bible is never sentimental nor amorphous. It is bounded by the holiness, justice and righteousness of God. His requirements are for our good, and if we think we know better than him, then we get into all kinds of strife.

    And given what a dangerous and high-risk lifestyle homosexuality is, why would we wish that on anyone? What is loving about that? And how can depriving a child of a mother or a father be in the child’s best interests? That does not sound like real love to me.

    So I obviously beg to differ with you on this!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • And while I am at it, one more point David, concerning your comment: “You rightly stated that a conservative ideology will never stand up against love and emotion as ties that bind us will always be stronger.”

    You misread me here. What I was seeking to say was that in any given debate on television, a purely logical argument will always come across a distant second to some personal interest story. Thus any talking head – conservative or not – will have a hard time making a case after a TV debate has just featured a real life story packed with pathos and emotion. That was the point I was trying to make, perhaps awkwardly.

    And that was just what Insight did last night.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I watched the SBS Insight programme with disgust. You would have trouble believing that homosexuals number less than 1.5% of Australian society by watching this sort of rubbish. The whole studio (almost) seemed to be filled with pro-homosexual people, and if you disagreed with any of it you were obviously a mongrel who needed to take a good long hard look at yourself in the mirror. What a whitewash – why should anyone bother with the facts. And the trophy centrepiece of the night – placed right up the front to grab max camera time – the good-looking, bright, healthy and articulate ex-christian pastor who now lives in a homosexual “family”, obtained of course by the use of a surrogate. What must our loving Father-God think of all this?

    Ian Brearley, Canberra 

  • Hi Bill,
    Thanks for your response. God gave us free will that we might make our own choices, however given that we are human we often make the wrong choices. Being the loving God he is, he sent his son to die so that we might be saved.

    Free will is the ultimate gift and I agree that we must use it responsibly to ‘fufil his requirements for our good’. However it is not our responsibility to create discriminative legislation and should you feel the need to offer direction to a homosexual it should be as equals within the law.

    I also feel the need to disagree with your point that ‘homosexuality is a dangerous and high risk lifestyle’. While some homosexuals (and hetrosexuals) live a dangerous and high risk life, some do not. I would suggest that it is people not living this sort of lifestyle that are choosing to raise families.

    Finally, I understand that an argument will come second to a real life story, but the point I was trying to make was that the talking head could really offer no valid response unless he/she was part of a disfunctional homosexual family. In truth it seems that both homosexual and hetrosexual families can be loving and caring and both can be disfunctional.

    David Sturdy, Launceston

  • Thanks again David

    I agree with your first paragraph but have problems with the next two.

    Of course it is our responsibility to create “discriminative” legislation. Or more accurately, our elected representatives are called to do just that. Both individuals and lawmakers discriminate all the time. When I keep my 12 year old from driving the family car, I am being discriminatory. When I choose to not read a pornographic novel, I am being discriminating. When I keep my wife out of the way of oncoming traffic, I am choosing to discriminate between good and bad options.

    When lawmakers forbid a pedophile to live near a school, they are being discriminatory. When our laws forbid citizens from owning submachine guns, they are of course being discriminatory. When they decide where a factory can be located, they are being discerning, and discriminating.

    There is a place for discrimination in other words – it is not all bad. And for believers, we are told to test all things, to approve that which is good, to avoid that which is evil. That is discrimination, and it is a good thing as well.

    Governments in the past have granted special benefits to married couples because of the enormous benefits that they provide to society. Governments are under no obligation whatsoever to extend those same benefits to any and every type of relationship.

    There is no natural right to sodomy – certainly none in the Bible. If you are a believer, you must recognize that there is no right to do what is wrong.

    Moreover, the same argument for forcing governments to recognize homosexual relationships can also be used to argue for the right to polygamy, polyamory, incest and bestiality. They all involve the same sort or arguments. All involve claims of “discrimination” and lack of equal opportunity. If a threesome love each other and have a committed consensual union, should governments be obliged to recognize and promote that relationship as well? I don’t think so.

    And with around 85% of HIV/AIDS cases in Australia due to male homosexual activity, there is even more reason not to promote this lifestyle. In the same way, governments “discriminate” against cigarette smokers, making it hard for them to engage in their preferred lifestyle. High taxes, smoking bans, etc., are some of the ways government seek to reduce that sort of dangerous behaviour. The same with drink driving.

    For more on this see my article in this site, “Clear thinking on Equal Rights and Discrimination”.

    Thanks again

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Dear Bill,

    I am glad you are open to reading studies on this issue.

    You mention 10,000 studies in your introduction, but I must sadly confess to ignorance about these or their being directly applicable to gay/lesbian families, most of which include a biological parent.

    I looked up this topic, which carried me to the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University which apparently runs a Future of Children project. The four studies it mentions specifically comparing heterosexual and homosezual families seem to conclude there is no substantive difference.

    The American Psychological Association also takes this view.

    I think ideally it is true that you would want a child to grow up with both biological parents, though I base this on my own feelings rather than empirical research – nonetheless, it seems like social engineering or eugenics of the worst kind to therefore penalise children or their families who do not fit some kind of presecriptive formula so long as it is a healthy and happy family.

    I agree that television debates are often less than satisfactory, though it is always interesting to see and debate people in person. I find the internet tends to caricature rather than reflect reality, and is in that respect no substitute for real conversation, with all its attendant frustrations. Thanks for writing and listening.

    Dr A. Paul

  • Hi Bill –

    I’m a lesbian and doing my community development placement with the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby. While I didn’t see the Insight program, I have met some of the people on it.

    I can see the potential to get into a slinging match here, and I don’t want to. Suffice to say that I’m guessing that you don’t approve my sexuality and my desire to have a family, and I believe that I have just as much right to have a family as you do.

    I would like to address your assertion that children with same sex parents are worse off than those with heterosexual parents (presumably in a marriage). You mentioned 10,000 studies that back this assertion up. Obviously it would take too much of your time to provide the details of all 10,000, but could you please direct me to some of these so I can have a look? Thank you.

    I’d also like to commend you. It must take an enormous amount of effort to maintain a lifestyle that is congruent with every single part of the Bible. I’m amazed that you can manage it.

    Kath Raymond

  • Thanks A Paul
    (In future, please provide full name and city, as I state in my blogging rules.)

    As you confess to ignorance about the studies, I am happy to help you out. For a shorter piece examining the evidence, see my article on this site, “Family Structure Does Matter”.:

    For a longer article complete with well over 100 references to the major studies, see my article, “The Case for the Two-Parent Family” at this site:

    You also mention studies supporting same-sex parenting. (Again, as I state in my blogging rules, general debate is OK, but people wishing to push their own views have other venues to do it in. Thus this site will usually not post other people’s links or slabs of article quotes, etc.)

    Again, I can respond by pointing you to articles on this site. See for example my review of “Children as Trophies”:

    Almost all these studies you refer to are fatally flawed with major methodological shortcomings: eg., lack of longitudinal research, small sample size, etc. Indeed, the main way these studies are conducted is to ask the kids or parents what they think of the relationship! Hardly scientific and objective research that.

    And as to the APA, they long ago caved in to homosexual pressure groups, resulting in their 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from the listing in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Mental Disorders (DSM-1). Indeed, it has since made similar moves on pedophilia! Thus the APA with its heavy political bias is not quite the best source to appeal to here.

    Finally, thanks for making this confession: “I base this on my own feelings rather than empirical research”. But as the well-being of children is at stake, then we dare not let mere emotion settle these questions, but truth and fact. And as I said the overwhelming weight of the research to date shows that children do best when raised by their own biological mother and father. So I trust you will take the time to review some of the hard data which I present it in my articles above.

    Thanks for writings

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Kath

    (As per the blogging rules, please provide a city identification next time if you don’t mind.)

    Assuming your request to see the evidence is not just a rhetorical question, but a genuine desire to learn the truth about the evidence at hand, I refer you to the various articles I wrote which I mentioned in my comment above, in my response to Dr A Paul. They will certainly provide you with an entry point into the vast amount of data which backs up what most people know by common sense: children need their own biological mum and dad, not several dads, not a committee, not a football team.

    As with Dr Paul, this site has not posted your links, nor your large slabs of quotations. There are zillions of homosexual and pro-homosexual websites around, if people wish to see what the other side is saying. As I mention in my blog comment rules, there are other venues available if one wishes to get on a particular soapbox and push a particular agenda. This site happens to be my soapbox!

    But I certainly welcome genuine comments and questions.

    Finally, thank you for your last sentence, the commendation. However, it is misplaced. I cannot keep even a fraction of what Scripture enjoins. Neither can you, nor anyone else. Thus the good news of the Gospel: God takes the initiative and provides though Christ what we can never attain in our own strength. This gracious enabling and ability is given to those who are willing to humble themselves and confess their great need.

    But that only applies to those who admit they are not the centre of the universe, and that the creator of the universe is the only one entitled to call the shots and make the demands. Our place is to enjoy the provisions thus made, or else to simply go our merry way, and pretend that we know best. In this universe, there can be only one boss: either it is God or self, but it cannot be both.


    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Dear Bill,

    Your response to David, dated 18.05.06, 10pm is truthful.

    Yes we need to make discriminatory decisions all the time in our daily life. Did you notice during the Insight program that the main argument Mr Stanhope used was that current legislation in Australia discriminates against homosexuals by not granting them a relationship status? And that this was the reason why his administration wanted to introduce the Civil Union Bill, to stop the discrimination.

    Our Australian heritage is based on Judeo-Christrian values that is an indisputable fact. Do you think this has anything to do with why we enjoy, in a world of turmoil and destruction, the great Australian way of life?

    In this Judeo-Christian heritage it is accepted that God the Creator created man and woman and that marriage is for man and woman alone. (Many references in the bible) Have you noticed how only the seed of a man and the seed of a woman can produce offspring?

    The values and boundaries Jesus Christ teaches us are discriminatory and confronting indeed! These Christian values or moral code teach us to set boundaries for ourselves to save us from our own selfish and destructive behaviour.

    I can talk about this as I destroyed my first marriage when I lived a life without discrimination and without boundaries and before I accepted the Christian values and moral code. The dissolution of that marriage was painful, so painful in fact that I planned my suicide more than once and came very close to calling it quits.

    Eventually I embraced the Christian teaching and today ten years later, I am alive by the grace of God who has given me a second chance with a new family life.

    And how do I now cope and not allow myself to make the same mistakes? By continually embracing the teachings of Christ and by reminding myself that I need those boundaries and that I do need to discriminate everyday so as not to make the same mistakes twice.

    Any choices made outside and in contradiction to the Christian moral code bring havoc and destruction, trust me I’ve been there.

    I thank God daily that He taught me how to discriminate.

    Thank you Bill for bringing true insights.

    Erik Werps, Melbourne

  • Bill and Erik,
    The Oxford English dictionary’s definintion of ‘discrimination’ is ‘treats unfairly’ which is frequently misused in your comments. You say ‘it is not all bad’ but how can it ever be good to treat someone unfairly??

    David Sturdy, Launceston

  • Thanks David

    Yet you conveniently fail to inform us that the Oxford and every other dictionary also defines the term and its cognates in this way: to discern, to differentiate, to distinguish.

    Why omit that important feature of the term, David? Obviously that definition runs against the relativism and rejection of truth that characterises our culture. The need to engage in moral discernment and clear thinking is all the more pressing given the mushy moralizing and fuzzy thinking that is so much part of our times – and of liberal religion.

    You hint in your comments that you are a believer. If so, why not take seriously the many injunctions found in Scripture which urge us to test all things, to make moral judgments, to prove what is right, and so on?

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Erik,

    I am pleased to hear you have got your life back on track: forming stronger relationships, living by a firm moral code, and generally looking after yourself.

    I’m happy that the Bible has given you meaning in life. That’s one wonderful thing about the Bible.

    However, not everyone’s experience is like yours, yet many people still live happy and healthy lives, with direction, morals and meaning.

    I am fortunate to be a committed relationship with another man, and we have a wonderful and fulfilling love for each other. I live a happy and healthy life. I find meaning in doing volunteer work, and I attempt to live my life according to principles of love and compassion.

    My point is, there is more than one way to live a life. I’ve got mine, and, gladly, you’ve got yours.

    John Kloprogge, 22, North Croydon

  • G’dday.

    And I quote:

    “…Indeed, I recall being on a very similar debate some years ago (in fact, with the same SBS program – Insight), and I was amazed that I and only two others out of a debating audience of about 40 were on the conservative, pro-family side…”

    Perhaps that tells you something.

    Everyone is human. Everyone, not just right-wing middle-aged heterosexuals with two adult children and three grandchildren, two small cars and a house in a leafy suburb. Or whatever you happen to be. Everyone is human. Everyone has rights. And there are a huge number of dysfunctional, even abusive or abused heterosexuals, as well as a huge number of balanced, sane gays. If I had to be a child again, I know which of those tao groups I’d like as parents.

    Nisaba Merrieweather

  • Thanks Nisaba

    (Please state your city next time as per the blog rules, or else you will not be posted.)

    Yes the sentence of mine that you quote does say something. It says either that around 95 per cent of the population is to the far left, or that the media (or at least SBS) is quite unrepresentative of the Australian community.

    Clearly the latter, not the former, is the case. Numerous studies have demonstrated how out of touch our media elite are with the rest of society. They simply do not represent mainstream opinion.

    I am not denying that there is a divergence of opinion on this and other social issues in the community. What I am saying is that the bulk of Australians to not share the radical agendas of most of our media elites.

    As to your remark that everyone has rights – quite right. But what we are talking about here is the desirability, or otherwise, of governments conferring special rights on various minority groups. There are no compelling reasons for governments to formally recognize any and every sort of relationship and lifestyle choice, as I argue elsewhere.

    Finally, you commit the very fallacy I warn against. You compare functional same-sex household with dysfunctional heterosexual households. As I said in the article, and say again, this is apples and oranges. It is not a fair comparison and is therefore really meaningless as to the present discussion.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Mr Muehlenberg, you are gravely mistaken. Gay people are not after “special” rights. The only “special” rights are those enjoyed by heterosexuals.

    The campaign for same-sex marriage is a campaign for *equal* rights.

    It is discriminatory to give some people the right to marry the person of their choice, but deny others that right.

    “Special rights” have their basis in selfishness. “Equal rights” have their basis in love.

    John Kloprogge, 22, North Croydon

  • Thanks John

    Your response is a very good example of postmodern thinking which promotes the idea that while everyone has his or her own story, there are no big stories, or no “metanarratives” as they say. The PoMo rejection of absolute truth leads of course to epistemological relativism, and we are all left with our own individual narratives, with no way to decide between them. Indeed PoMo is squeamish even about the prospect of comparing stories.

    But the problem with this sort of relativism (the “hermeneutics of suspicion” as they put it) is that in the end all stories are reduced to the same playing field. No one story is superior to another. But this is problematic.

    Most people recognize that there is a big difference between the story of, say, Mother Teresa, and that of Adolf Hitler. Not only are they different but clearly one is better than another. But when we jettison universal truth and moral absolutes, we are just left with individual stories, and no way to argue that one might trump another. No way, in fact, to say that anyone or anything is right, or wrong.

    But the very fact that you think it is wrong for others to not embrace your preferred lifestyle presupposes that there are some moral standards by which to make the judgment. So it is not sufficient to simply claim that you have your story, I have mine, and that is the end of the matter. In the end, you clearly think that your version of events is the right one. But to do so undermines the relativism which you seem to embrace.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks John for your May 23 posting.

    Sorry, but the homosexual demand for marriage is a plea for special rights. You are demanding the benefits of something without fulfilling the obligations associated with it. Marriage has always been about one man and one woman coming together, with public recognition. In order to get the benefits, one submits to the rules. If you want to redefine marriage out of existence, you are welcome to try. But please stop this foolishness about your rights somehow being denied. Any time you want, you can marry the woman of your choice. If that is not of interest to you, then do not pretend that you are somehow being discriminated against.

    I have made this case in a number of places on this site. You obviously disagree. But the burden of proof rests with you to show clearly why the millennia-old institution of marriage must be recast in your image. You and your associates have thus far failed to make that case, in my view, and that of most Australians.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Dear Bill,

    Like you, I abhore postmodernist theories that claim there is no absolute truth or absolute morality. I utterly reject moral and epistemological relativism.

    I *do* believe in truth and universal morality.

    However, I don’t think that being gay is immoral. Rather, I think that hatred and discrimination of gay people is universally wrong. It is the *harm* caused that makes it wrong. Homophobia causes suicides, depression, assaults, murders, as well as practical and financial hardship.

    To say, however, that we all must act in the same way and do the same things is ridiculous. Soon enough, we will all be forced to do the same jobs, play the same sports, wear the same clothes … Diversity is a fact of life.

    And I do not want to redefine marriage out of existence. The claim is ludicrous. Firstly, marriage has changed many times in the past and still exists. Secondly, marriage can be defined as the union of two consenting adults who share a strong, committed and intimate love. And thirdly, a loving same-sex couple getting married has no effect whatsoever on their heterosexual neighbours.

    You are wrong to claim that my partner and I do not fulfill the “obligations” of marriage. We have been together for 3½ years. We love and support each other. We work, we pay taxes. We obey the law. You can’t possibly claim that “being a woman” is an obligation, because obligations are something that you do, not who you are. We fulfill all the obligations of marriage, and we would like the opportunity to marry.

    And your logic is circular. You argue that:

    1. If marriage is the union of a man and woman, then a gay couple cannot conceivably marry.
    2. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman,
    Concl: A gay couple cannot conceivably marry.

    But to accept the premise that “marriage is the union of a man and a woman”, you must presuppose the truth of the conclusion “a gay couple cannot conceivably marry”. This is classic begging-the-question: we have no independent reason for accepting the premises. Thus, your argument falls back to weaker justifications based on “tradition” or whatever.

    And I simply don’t accept your argument that the “burden of proof” lies with me, because I supposedly want to change the “millennia-old institution of marriage”. The burden of proof didn’t lie with black people when they wanted to end centuries of slavery and oppression. Their fundamental right to equality and freedom was universal and self-justifying, even though most people didn’t realise it.

    Rather, I think the burden of proof lies with heterosexuals to explain why they should have the right “to marry the consenting adult partner of one’s choice”, and gays shouldn’t. If you are going to promote inequality, you’d better have a good reason to do so. So far, I haven’t heard any.

    “Tradition” is no justification for something being “right”. For, if it were, then whatever a particular society happens to have as it’s tradition must be beyond question. Morality would be based on what people in a community feel like doing. And really, this is a form of moral relativism. And I reject it utterly.

    John Kloprogge, 22, North Croydon

  • Thanks John

    First, I remind you of my blogsite rules: genuine debate is encouraged, but using my site as a soapbox to push agendas is not. Especially given that you have your own website where you can pontificate all you like on your pet topic. So I will post this comment of yours, but remind you that long comments, or too frequent comments, are not in order here.

    I am glad you abhor moral relativism and the postmodern morass. But I ask you, what is the basis of your morality and truth? If it is an objective, independent source outside of yourself, then you too need to submit to it, whatever it may be. But if it is simply truth and morality as you make it to be, then you are still in the PoMo muddle of “I have my story and you have yours” which you have before admitted to.

    You next bring up the old canard of homophobia. One grows a little tired of this. It seems whenever one disagrees with the homosexual agenda, he is simply being homophobic. Well that is a good way to avoid real debate. Simply engage in name calling and hope you have made your case. (Moreover, I do not fear sameness – nor man – which the term more accurately means, nor do I fear or hate homosexuals.) So please spare us of this juvenile tactic.

    And as I have said elsewhere in this site, real love is willing the highest good for another person. Thus the most loving thing a person can do is warn and encourage the homosexual to leave the high-risk, dangerous and dead-end lifestyle they are in. Simply tolerating or accepting such lifestyles is not a loving thing to do – quite the opposite.

    In the same way, the most loving thing I can do to a drug addict is encourage him to be set free from this unhealthy addiction. It is not loving to let him continue in his perilous path. Real love does not mean simply accepting anything that happens. That is apathy and indifference, not genuine concern.

    Believe it or not, John, it is exactly because some people love you that they do not want you to continue living in something that is second best.

    Your thoughts on everyone wearing the same clothes, etc., is of course simply a non-sequitur.

    Your logic gets even more fuzzy when you totally misrepresent (or misunderstand) my argument. Your syllogism is not at all what I am saying. The proper syllogism is this:
    1. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
    2. Homosexual relationships are between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman.
    3. Therefore, homosexual relationships are not marriage.

    Thus as to obligations, the obligation of marriage is one man, one woman, full stop. If you do not like those obligations, fine, you can seek to change them. But do not pretend to equate your lifestyle with marriage. It never was, and never will be, marriage. It is simply a relationship, of which there are kinds around, and which Governments are under no obligation to give special recognition to nor extend special rights to.

    And the burden of proof does lie with you to show us why we need to turn the millennia-old institution of marriage upside down so that we can cater to your sexual preferences. You have yet to make your case.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • [i]Kath Raymond said: “…and I believe that I have just as much right to have a family as you do.”[/i]

    Kath, the US Declaration of Independence proclaims the following: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are [b]created[/b] equal, that they are [b]endowed[/b], by their [b]Creator[/b], with certain unalienable Rights…”

    If you agree with the Declaration that rights are endowed to us by the Creator, thus making them inalienable, why believe that you have a “right” to behaviour that the same Creator responsible for endowing you with your rights deems to be abominable?

    If you don’t believe our rights come from God, then where do they come from? If our rights are temporal in their provenance, then they can’t be inalienable, because they can be taken away. In addition to this, their temporal provenance would make them arbitrary and subjective. In effect, rights would become arbitrary inventions simply determined by the principle that might makes right.

    But should a tiny minority like homosexuals seriously be advocating for a system of human rights based on the principle that might makes right? If so, we have to question their sanity!

    [i]John Kloprogge said: “However, not everyone’s experience is like yours, yet many people still live happy and healthy lives, with direction, morals and meaning.”[/i]

    John, what would you say to a pedophile who says to you that he lives a happy, healthy life with direction, morals and meaning? If you suggest that his engaging in pedophilia is morally wrong (I assume you believe this to be the case), what would you say to him if he replied, “there is more than one way to live a life. I’ve got mine, and, gladly, you’ve got yours.”

    See, you mention the word “morals” there. But is morality objective or is it merely subjective and relative? If the former, what is the basis of morality’s objectivity? If the latter, how can morality make sense if it is relative?

    [i]Nisaba Merrieweather says: “Everyone is human. Everyone has rights.”[/i]

    Nisaba, see comments to Kath above. If rights come from God, than how can anybody have a right to behaviour God declares to be abominable? If rights don’t come from God and are instead the result of the principle that might makes right, how on earth does a tiny minority like homosexuals have any rights at all?

    [i]John Kloprogge said: ‘The campaign for same-sex marriage is a campaign for *equal* rights.

    It is discriminatory to give some people the right to marry the person of their choice, but deny others that right.

    “Special rights” have their basis in selfishness. “Equal rights” have their basis in love.'[/i]

    John, should “equal rights” to marry be extended to polygamists or people who wish to marry animals? If not, then isn’t this discriminatory? Don’t “equal rights” have their basis in “love”, as you say?

    Frank Gashumba, Melbourne

  • This is a really interesting debate guys. I am a Christian who has spent time both studying theology at an evangelical college, and also a young man working through the implications of having same sex attractions. My understanding of Christian scripture is that Jesus loves me and forgives me and nothing that i can do is greater than his love and grace can cover. However my response to someone who loves me so much ought to be that i try to please them with all that i say and do. As such i live life in a way that seeks to please my saviour.

    It seems to me, sometimes that it would be ok for me to be in a loving relationship with another male. Why not if it is genuinely based on love and servitude? For me the answer lies in that my saviour makes clear that the way he expects us to love him and each other, is to live in hetrosexual relationships not homosexual ones.

    For me there is another reason that i would not enter into a relationship with another male, and that is that i am attracted to boys/children, rather than adults.

    Up until this point in my comment, most of what is said about ‘equal’ rights would mean that i could enjoy a family with another male as my sex partner. However most people would not agree that i should be allowed to live in a sexual relationship with an 11 year old boy.

    And rightly so. Because there are times when, despite our human desires, it needs to be our appreciation of true love (love that is learned from Jesus) that we ought to base our relationships on, and that does not include homosexual union with either adult men, or children.

    ‘Equal rights’ taken with the terms than many people use in their disussions would mean that i, convinced of my ability to genuinly love an 11 year old, could live in a sexual relationship with one.

    However (and thankfully i have never been sexually involved with a minor because of this) true love, Jesus style, is far more profound than this, and does not allow for unions other than that of a hetrosexual nature.

    Craig Larkin

  • Of course, gays already do have a right to marry. A gay man has as much right under our law as a straight man to marry a woman.

    The only time liberals ever have anything but contempt for marriage is if they can redefine it to mean a same-sex relationship.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

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