CultureWatch

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

On Relationship Recognition

May 1, 2008

People are involved in all sorts of relationships and personal associations. They always have been, and always will be. But the question arises as to how much government and public recognition and support should be extended to various types of relationships.

Most societies throughout human history have given special recognition and privilege to one type of relationship because of its overwhelming importance: the heterosexual marriage relationship. Because of the tremendous social goods produced by the institution of heterosexual marriage, almost all cultures have seen it as a unique and special relationship, deserving of public promotion, government sanction, and legal protection. Thus marriage has been a privileged institution, although no one until recently saw that as in any way being discriminatory or unfair.

For millennia marriage has been afforded certain rights, privileges and benefits because of how important it is. Among other things, heterosexual marriage offers two significant benefits: the regulation of human sexuality, and the begetting and rearing of the next generation.

Human sexuality has always been seen to be special, and always seen to be in need of boundaries and limits. And sexuality – again, until recently – has almost always been inescapably bound up with human procreation. Since children are our future, it is vital that they be given high priority, and societies have always recognised the father-mother-child family unit, cemented by marriage, as the maximally ideal environment in which to raise children.

And because the heterosexual family provides so many social goods – it is an education system, a social welfare system, a health system, a place of moral and spiritual value development and character formation, eg. – it has been seen as deserving of special recognition, status and position. Because everyone in a community so greatly benefits from married families, societies have granted special benefits to married couples.

But today that special position which heterosexual marriage enjoys is under attack. It is seen as being discriminatory, unfair, intolerant and exclusive. Calls are now being made to extend government recognition, endorsement, sanction and blessing to all sorts of relationships.

This is especially being promoted by the militant homosexual lobby. They are arguing that their relationships should also be the recipient of government favour and benefits. But should they? What they are really seeking to do is demand all of the benefits and privileges of marriage, but without offering the responsibilities and duties of marriage. Sorry, but there should be no benefits given without meeting the requisite obligations.

Married couples – generally speaking – offer real positive social goods to society, to each other and to the next generation. This is not necessarily the case with most other types of relationships. The documentation for the social goods of marriage I have detailed elsewhere.

There is no compelling case for why governments and societies as a whole should grant special rights to, and special recognition of, same-sex unions. Obviously individual homosexuals, as individuals, may contribute all kinds of goods to society, as do many other individuals. But the issue here is whether their relationships should be the object of special recognition and favour, as has been the case with heterosexual marriage.

What about a strategy of compromise?

Unfortunately a handful of Christians have lately sought to argue that while we should reject same-sex marriage, we should encourage some types of civil unions for homosexuals, and/or relationship register schemes. They argue – quite naively and wrongly, I believe – that if we go down this road of compromise and give in on so many areas, and allow them special rights, that they will be satisfied, not demand marriage, and everything will turn out alright.

More specifically, they think the government of the day will regard this as a nice safe compromise, and will therefore hold the line on same-sex marriage. But with wall-to-wall Labor governments today, the full homosexual agenda can easily be implemented, once we have gone so far down the road of compromise. Many Labor MPs will want to give the homosexual lobby their full set of demands, in the interests of being seen as tolerant, inclusive and fair.

But there are further problems with this type of compromise reasoning. One is – as anyone who carefully follows the literature of the militant homosexual lobby knows – they want the whole package, and will never be satisfied with getting just some, or even most, of their demands met.

And their ultimate goal has always been complete social, legal, public and government recognition and endorsement of their lifestyle. Nothing less will satisfy. They have despised the privileged position of heterosexual marriage, and have long sought to elevate their relationships to a par with it, if not beyond.

And they have been very successful at getting the public’s eye off of what homosexuals actually do, and instead get the focus on vague notions of human rights, discrimination and the like. They know the average Australian is not too keen on what homosexuals actually do, but they will be suckers for victimisation claims.

Indeed, the homosexual lobby has been very successful in reframing the issues. For example, an interesting article appeared in the gay press some years ago entitled “The Overhauling of Straight America”. The article outlined a strategy by which homosexuals could best implement their goals. It included the following elements: desensitisation; portraying gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers; giving the protectors a just cause; and making the victimisers look bad. Here are some quotes from the article: “In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be cast as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to assume the role of protector. . . . Our campaign should not demand direct support for homosexual practices, but instead make anti-discrimination as its theme. . . . In the early stages of the campaign, the public should not be shocked and repelled by premature exposure to homosexual behavior itself. Instead, the imagery of sex per se should be down-played, and the issue of gay rights reduced as far as possible, to an abstract social question.”

The authors of the above article expanded their strategy into a full-length book, and amplified this theme: “Our ultimate objective is to expand straight tolerance so much that even gays who look unconventional can feel safe and accepted. . . . Thus our campaign should not demand explicit support for homosexual practices, but should instead take antidiscrimination as its theme. Fundamental freedoms, constitutional rights, due process and equal protection of laws, basic features of fairness and decency toward all of humanity – these should be the concerns brought to mind by our campaign.”

This strategy of the homosexual community to shift attention away from homosexual behaviour and instead to focus on discussions of civil rights has been an ingenious and successful ploy. As Australian homosexual activist Dennis Altman has put it, “The greatest single victory of the gay movement over the past decade has been to shift the debate from behavior to identity, thus forcing opponents into a position where they can be seen as attacking the civil rights of homosexual citizens rather than attacking specific and (as they see it) antisocial behavior.”

Thus civil rights, not behaviour, has taken the limelight. By taking attention off homosexual behaviour, a clever strategy has been successfully carried out by the homosexual community, namely, to convince the general public that their relationships are just the same as heterosexual relationships.

Unfortunately some Christian groups have bought this ruse hook, line and sinker. They are saying that in the name of social justice Christians must grant homosexuals all sorts of special rights, privileges and government recognition, as in the form of relationship registers, or certain types of civil unions. And they again naively think this will save the day for marriage and family.

But what does the other side actually think?

It is appropriate to examine this strategy of these Christians, and see whether it in fact stacks up. I have argued elsewhere that it seems to be a fundamentally flawed strategy, and it is simply giving the homosexual lobby on a silver platter most of what they have been demanding.

But what are the homosexual activists themselves saying about all this? Do they agree with the Christian groups that relationship registers are fundamentally different from civil unions, and that civil unions are fundamentally different from same-sex marriage? Are they seeing things the way these Christians are? The answer is no.

The truth is, homosexual activists see very little difference at all between the various public and government forms of same-sex relationship schemes. Many quotes can be provided here. Homosexual activist Wayne Morgan of the ANU College of Law has written much on this issue. He sees the various schemes as identical:

“What is the difference between these three (supposedly different) legal mechanisms? What is marriage, if it’s not the granting of legal entitlements and protections through the registration of a pre-existing intimate relationship? What does the Tasmanian registry achieve, if it’s not the granting of legal entitlements and protections through the registration of a pre-existing intimate relationship? What does the ACT’s civil partnership law allow, if it’s not the granting of legal entitlements and protections through the registration of a pre-existing intimate relationship? Of course these laws are different in their minutiae, but in intent and purpose they are ALL the same.”

I believe Morgan is basically right here. And he has more to say about all this, especially the Tasmanian registration scheme, which some Christian groups are holding up as a model to emulate:

“The Tasmanian scheme is, and always has been, a civil union scheme. That is how it is viewed internationally. The (supposed) distinction between a ‘registration’ and a ‘civil union’ scheme did not exist until the ACT government decided to make it. Why? Because they wanted to ‘sell’ their scheme (which merely mimics marriage) as somehow ‘better’ than the Tasmanian scheme. The distinction was then perpetuated by the Howard government and is still being perpetuated by the Rudd Government. Why? Because they are paranoid about the political influence of the Christian lobby and the Christian lobby (mistakenly) thinks that a ‘civil union’ is too much like marriage, while a ‘registration’ is not. The Christian lobby fought hard to prevent the Tasmanian Relationships Act from being passed, but, having failed, they seem to have a fundamental psychological need to make everyone believe it is second rate and ‘not like’ marriage.”

The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby have argued that there is no need to “make a distinction between civil unions and registration”. Jamie Gardiner of the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission says there are “closer parallels between the two cases – marriage and partnership registration – than most people imagine”.

Also, the Australian Greens see no fundamental difference between the two most common proposals. They have argued for a “civil union and/or formal registry of relationships that recognizes, affirms and celebrates same-sex and all significant personal relationships”.

And the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has said that to combat ‘discrimination,’ Federal laws should be amended and the definition of de facto partner be extended to include same-sex partnerships. Of course de factos now experience all the benefits of marriage, and HREOC simply wants to include homosexual unions in this group. Again, the lines are quite fuzzy between the various sorts of relationship recognition schemes.

Conclusion

The question remains, if the homosexual activists see no differences here, why do these Christian groups still cling to these distinctions? And if some vague notion of justice is being appealed to here by these Christian groups, then surely justice would demand that if we give homosexuals 90 percent of what they want, then the remaining demands should also be met.

After all, if we are giving homosexuals nearly all the benefits and privileges of marriage, but denying them the right to call it marriage, or have a public ceremony, is that not being unjust and discriminatory? They have already conceded – by granting them so many special rights – that their relationships are on a par with heterosexual relationships, so would not justice demand they therefore be given the whole package?  This is the obvious rejoinder of the homosexual lobby. And it seems both reasonable and fair.

Indeed, this is exactly what we find. In today’s papers, ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell said it was inadequate to leave some ‘discriminatory’ laws in place. “Removing discrimination cannot be done in a piecemeal manner – removing discrimination means removing discrimination full stop.” This is certainly logical if we accept the premises that these Christians have set forward.

And Rod Swift of the Australian Coalition for Equality argues that a ceremony should be a necessary part of any government attempt to recognise same-sex relationships. This too is logical, yet some Christian groups are saying we should not allow ceremonies because they mimic marriage. But when you grant homosexuals stacks of privileges and benefits that overwhelmingly mimic marriage, a mere ceremony should be the least of our worries.

As one lesbian put it after yesterday’s announcement that the Rudd government would change 100 laws to grant special rights to homosexuals, “this is a massive relief; all the legislation is really marriage without the meringue dress.”

It is better not to accept these faulty premises in the first place. There is no reason to grant special rights to homosexuals, and the Christian groups arguing for this are wrong to do so. Despite their good intentions, they are now helping to dig the grave of marriage and family, and making the job all the more difficult for those who believe that these institutions must be preserved at all costs.

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40 Responses to On Relationship Recognition

  • Bill, how right you are. The influence of the radical left on the Labor Party is enormous. In fact, the Labor government in Victoria made sure that the most vocal minority groups were well represented (more like over-represented) in the consultation phase leading up to the Charter of Human Rights. There are many ways in which the consultation phase of any legislative reform can be manipulated so the government can claim that it is “what the people want”. In fact your previous posting on the 2020 Summit shows how it can be used to achieve a predetermined outcome. The Charter itself is useless to the most underprivilaged in our community because it is silent on economic rights (such as every person having a right to basic sustanence, basic shelter, basic health care), instead it is all about intangible rights that guarantee that the gay lobby can proceed with their propaganda push without restraint.

    I am tired of the victim scenario they push. I am tired of them using the mardi gras to mock the church and all things sacred. Yet they demand respect even though they show none for the sensibilities of others.

    You mention Julian Gardner of the EOHRC. Well, he has been commissioned to undertake a review of the EOHRC. It is obvious already what the findings and recommendations will be. The EOHRC will go from a body that takes complaintsa and assists complainants to seek redress, to a body that will be given teeth to investigate on own motions and enter premises to ensure that the conduct of individuals is not discriminatory and mandate changes where required. It’s role will be extended to one of policing our behaviour and our thoughts.

    However, I disagree on your point that the homosexual lobby want the same rights as married couples. It appears they want more! They actually want preferential treatment, they want addition protections such as hate crimes. So if a gay is bashed, it is not restricted to the crime of assault and battery, but it is also a “hate” crime that will carry additional penalties.

    I find their duplicity tiresome and yet I am always staggered that most people just don’t see it. Most people have fallen for their propaganda hook, line and sinker. If this goes any further we’ll soon have indoctrination classes and re-education classes to make sure we all think according to how the manipulated governments want us to think.

    Frank Norros

  • Thanks Frank

    Yes you are right that they want more. And hate crimes – which I have discussed elsewhere on this site – is a good way to silence all opposition and criticism. They speak much of tolerance and acceptance, but they will not tolerate or accept any criticism or even open discussion about their lifestyle. One suspects that prison ministry will soon be the lot of those willing to speak up. But increasingly people are being intimidated into silence. I will soon write a post on this.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • No compromise, no regrets (as the old adage goes).

    When I hear the word “compromise” I think of “Chamberlain”.

    Michael Mifsud

  • Bill,
    As with many of your other articles I’ve been reading lately, this one is spot on! It seems that once certain steps have been allowed or legislated, (ie, Relationship Registration), it’s assumed that the battle is lost on that topic, and the discussion must move on to the next step in the line – in this case, battling over whether or not we can call these relationships ‘marriage’. But this reasoning lets us fall directly into the hands of the enemy! No wonder they can press for more and further rights, when we have conceded the very basic truths and tried to argue on their ground. They are quick to jump on our confused logic and arguments, and indeed in the small scope of their arguments they are 100% correct – there is no way we could even logically argue that there is a difference between marriage and a relationship register.

    So the question is – how do we turn back time? How do we go back to the fundamental issues that need to be addressed, and undermine the foundations of the entire homosexual movement? Fighting these little battles on ground they choose seems so very futile.

    Andrew Vanderven

  • Thanks Andrew

    I was asked a similar question in the previous post, and suggested ways that we can get involved to turn things around from a political and social activism point of view. But there is also a bigger picture to all this. These radical attacks on faith and family are due to such things as the secularisation of the West, the decline of values and morality, and the erosion of the Judeo-Christian worldview which helped produce the West in the first place. All are related.

    To turn this around is a big task, involving many things: revival, reformation, political activism, prayer, and so on. I guess for starters people need to be aware of what is happening (which my website seeks to do) and then they need to be roused out of their sleep and apathy into compassionate concern and action.

    Of course another big aspect of the problem here is the church – or sections of it – that have in so many areas caved in, compromised, abandoned Biblical absolutes, and so on. If the church would get its act together, great things could happen, but in many ways the church is as much a part of the problem as it should be part of the solution.

    But we must never give up and we must never despair. The battle is too important to lose heart and withdraw. We owe it to the next generation to stay concerned, stay engaged, and stay passionate about these issues.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Now, now, Bill… don’t misquote me. You said: “And Rod Swift of the Australian Coalition for Equality argues that a ceremony should be a necessary part of any government attempt to recognise same-sex relationships.”

    Actually, I have never argued such. I have argued that a ceremony should be an allowable thing, but certainly not mandated.

    However, I have argued for documentary evidence to allow any couple (heterosexual or gay) who is in a de facto relationship to prove their relationship, rather than having to revert to using the definition in many state Interpretation Acts and the like.

    That is, in regard to de facto laws that exist in each state, that there is a need for law reform so that people can receive evidence of their relationship, rather than having to prove time and time again to various government, business or community organisations that they are in a relationship.

    There is no logical reason to deny such certification. I note that in the absence of such things, couples now regularly have to fill in statutory declaration after statutory declaration making the declaration they are in a relationship.

    Similarly, nothing has ever stopped any couple getting a ceremony right now. Civil celebrants do relationship ceremonies all the time. Indeed, I strongly believe in the separation of church and state and for that reason, believe that the church and state should be clearly separated on the issue of matrimonial affairs. My personal opinion is that a ceremony shouldn’t be mandated by law, but an option that people can exercise. I certainly know that I’d rather not have a ceremony in regard to my relationship.

    Indeed, back in the old days, before we had government-run registers of births, deaths, and marriages, it was all done by the local parish. We managed to successfully separate church and state in births and deaths — so that all people of any religion (or non-religion) receive a secular birth certificate or death certificate issued by the state. The churches are still free to do the religious side of things, namely Christenings and Funerals.

    Maybe the future of Australia will bring a similar separation of church and state? Maybe one day we’ll all have access to an underlying federal civil unions, and Churches (and other groups) will then have the freedom to do the religious thing of wedding two people.

    I strongly believe if churches want marriage as a ‘special institution’ that they want to run, then getting government and churches to separate civil law from religious practice is important.

    Do you, Bill?

    Rod Swift

  • Christians should withdraw financial support from ostensibly Christian lobby groups and pastors who sign on to the homosexual lobby’s agenda. This includes those who encouraged Christians to vote for Chairman Rudd.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Thanks Rod

    Specifically, your exact words were, “I think the Federal A-G will, over time, learn that it’s not a hugely controversial idea to allow a couple to have access to a ceremony when they’re entering into a binding same-sex relationship.” (Bnews, 14 Feb. 2008, p. 4) My word “necessary” should more accurately have been “logical”.

    As I said in my article, you are right on the issue of ceremonies. If we are to go down the path of full relationship recognition, ceremonies are really not the major issue. And yes I realise that non-religious ceremonies are taking place, thus I again agree with you, over against those who say we must block this.

    As to your concluding thoughts: marriage is an important social institution, regardless of church support. It stands on its own legs as a vital institution which impacts us all, and should not be taken lightly, or redefined out of existence.

    If there was not one church in Australia, a compelling argument could still be mounted as to why heterosexual marriage is important, and should not be weakened and reduced to merely one in a range of options. All Australians benefit from heterosexual marriage, whether they take part in it directly themselves or not.

    Even in a completely secular society, there is a strong case to be made to insist on the uniqueness of heterosexual marriage, including the importance for the wellbeing of any children that are produced from such a union. So your church-state separation concerns do not really enter into the overall argument here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill wrote:

    “But we must never give up and we must never despair. The battle is too important to lose heart and withdraw. We owe it to the next generation to stay concerned, stay engaged, and stay passionate about these issues.”

    The decisive part of the battle was won when Jesus died and rose again. We know what the eventual outcome will be. Satan has been defeated and it is only a matter of time until he faces his eternal destiny.

    So we can fight on, secure in the knowledge that God is victorious. No matter how bad things get they will not stay that way forever. We are not fighting for the lost cause.

    The real challenge to us is this: God created the earth, he led the Israelites out of Egypt, tore down Jericho without the Israelites even needing to fight etc… Jesus died on the cross and rose again … and there have been many great stories of faith and the power of God to intervene since then.

    Do we believe that God who has moved so mightily countless times in the past, still can and does today and that he works all things together for good? Do we believe that God’s word carries no less power and authority today, no matter how long ago it was spoken or written?

    If so, then we will never give up in our fight. to preach the good news of the kingdom to the whole world, to transform the world as much as possible to be like the kingdom of heaven. Why else would be pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

    Matthew Mulvaney

  • Christian Lobbyists, when speaking publicly, need to learn to distinguish between their roles in speaking for the Christain faith and their other role in lobbying for what is possible.

    If the Christian Churches cannot make this distinction then they will not only have contributed to the dilution of the understanding and sacred nature of Marriage, they will have conceded ground in terms of the debate.

    Paul Russell

  • Paul, that is so true.
    Politicians may need to adjust or propose amendments to legislation. They retain the right to then vote against it, as has happened in the cloning debate and in the SA Domestic Partnerships bill. Lobbyists may talk to politicians privately to get them to alter – or support or oppose – legislation.
    As Christians we cannot be ‘advocating’ such things as relationship recognition or removal of discrimination as ‘policy’ to the Christian community or the society in general.
    That certainly is confusing the two roles you describe.
    Jenny Stokes

  • Do we believe that God who has moved so mightily countless times in the past, still can and does today and that he works all things together for good? Do we believe that God’s word carries no less power and authority today, no matter how long ago it was spoken or written?

    Yes, but that doesn’t mean we sit on our laurels without putting up a fight. Jesus has effectively given his authority to act on the Earth to the Church. Which is me and you and all Christians. In a real sense we are the voice, hands and legs of God. If we are asleep at the wheel then things will just keep getting worse.

    Michael Mifsud

  • Michael wrote:

    “Yes, but that doesn’t mean we sit on our laurels without putting up a fight. Jesus has effectively given his authority to act on the Earth to the Church. Which is me and you and all Christians. In a real sense we are the voice, hands and legs of God. If we are asleep at the wheel then things will just keep getting worse.”

    Yeah that is true. My comment was designed to say why we shouldn’t give up hope. But yes we should be actively praying, reading God’s word and listening to him for what we should be doing and standing up for what is right.

    The Bible talks of the body of a Christian as the Temple of the Holy Spirit and talks of Christians as ambassadors of Christ. We are representing the kingdom. As ambassadors we don’t need to worry about what we will eat, drink, wear etc. because the King, God will provide for us. What we should be concerned with is faithfully representing God, showing what he is like, expressing his beliefs.

    Think about Rome. They went and invaded a country and rather than taking the people back to Rome, they sent an ambassador/governor to transform the province to be like Rome.

    God has placed us here for a purpose. Our mandate to preach the good news of the kingdom, requires us to mention the standards that God sets and advocate them as the ideal standards for society.

    Matthew Mulvaney

  • Now, now, Rod… don’t open your mouth only to put your foot in it. Either; 1) you are unaware of the history of the settlement of Australia, or 2) you are cunningly and deliberately using the notion of “separation of church and state” to push a flawed argument in a disguised attempt to discriminate.

    Let me put you straight on the first point. The notion of separation of church and state is founded on the principle that the state must not interfere in religion. Many of the early settlers were fleeing religious persecution, such as the Quakers and the Irish who were suffering systematic persecution at the hands of the English. When the Constitution was drafted, it was their experience of religious persecution by the state that was a significant driver to adopt the provisions in the Constitution that ensure the government will “not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust…” (S.116). There is nothing in this Section that purports to limit the role of religion in the administration of the state because that was never the intention.

    Now let me put you straight on the second point. The body of the church is its membership – its parishioners. In other words, its community of people. However, your misuse and erroneous application of the phrase “separation of church and state” would serve to discriminate by excluding a specific community group from political discourse. Please explain why you and the gay community (or any other group for that matter) should be able to partake in the political discourse of the day, but my church group and I be excluded. On what basis are you and your group more worthy of public participation than my group and I?

    Clearly, you do not genuinely support the principle of freedom of speech, the basic tenet for a dynamic and inclusive democracy. Yet, I have no doubt that you and your insidiously named Australian Coalition for Equality are some of the loudest callers for freedom of speech. If so, how disingenuous and bigoted of you to even dare to suggest that certain groups should be denied a most basic freedom.

    I also doubt that you are qualified to decide doctrinal matters for the church. How magnanimous of you to permit us (in your point of view) the freedom to “still… do the religious side of things, namely Christenings and Funerals”. Please explain on what basis you have determined which of the sacraments the state should prohibit in the church? In case it hasn’t clicked yet, your idea is in breach of S.116.

    Your attempt to justify the privatisation of belief by reference to the separation of church and state to supposedly ensure that public policy is neutral is deceiving. Privatisation does not favour neutrality, it is merely a means to silence opponents. Barring an entire community from the public arena is not neutral and it serves to not only deny them the right of free speech but also to marginalise and punish them for their religious affiliations. Need I quote S.116 again for you?

    However, even if you succeeded in implementing such a totalitarian regime you would create other complications. I have numerous acquaintances that oppose legal recognition of same-sex unions yet they don’t have a religious bone in their body. How would you then treat someone that espouses the same view as a religious person but who is not religious? Well, by your distorted thinking, they would be allowed to participate in the public discourse (because they have no religious affiliation) but you would deny a religious person participating even though they espouse the same view. It then becomes persecution merely on the basis of religion. Not only is this starting to resemble a religious test (refer S.116 again), but if you have ever heard of Nazism you may begin to see some emerging similarities.

    Rod, it is ignorant and inappropriate remarks like yours and the repetition of slogans such as the incorrect use of “separation of church and state”, made without even the faintest clue of history, the law or the basic principles of democracy that make you look like a mindless ideologue of the Cultural Revolution targeting innocent people in the name of some supposedly higher cause.

    Frank Norros

  • Rod – “The churches are still free to do the religious side of things, namely Christenings and Funerals.
    Maybe the future of Australia will bring a similar separation of church and state? Maybe one day we’ll all have access to an underlying federal civil unions, and Churches (and other groups) will then have the freedom to do the religious thing of wedding two people.”

    Oh goody. Is it just me, or do I detect a level of patronizing ‘we’ll make the determination about what you can and can’t do’ attitude? I suspect once these militants get a taste for power they’ll want more. It’s already happening overseas. Get ready to be told what to think and how to live and what to say, not just what framework you can do some things in. And how wonderful this new “freedom” will be too, they promise us. A new peaceful, tolerant, inclusive society! Spare me.

    How I wish we had people of integrity in power. Those who would see where the hatred and intolerance really comes from. People in authority that would understand that marriage is an institution inhereted from the generations before us (and ultimately from God) that works (when followed properly) and therefore detractors are obliged to bring overwhelming evidence to change its definition even a little. Bleatings from a selfish minority for ‘recognition’ or removal of ‘discriminations’ do not satisfy the required criteria even remotely. You must surely at least (and this is just a secular basis) demonstrate benefit to the wider community, not just how the current status is a disadvantage to some individuals. But, wow, this federal government has swallowed the victim line completely. Like that farcical ‘sorry’ day. I used to help my older brother with ALP elections when I was younger. I feel profoundly embarrassed about that now. No, I did not vote for the Chairman.

    I have a couple of questions for you, Rod. What do you think should happen in the future to those Christians who conscientiously object to acknowledging same-sex ‘committed’ relationships on the basis that it conflicts with their faith? Do you think it is justified (on the basis that laws should be framed for the good of society) that we are benefited by fining or locking up those who will not accept homosexuality as good?

    Even if some provision is made in the law, this does not guarantee protection for churches or individuals to make determinations based on their beliefs. For example, over in Canada very recently, a Christian ministry was fined $23,000 over a homosexual worker who left her job. But the worker in question had signed a contract in 1995 that stipulated no sexual immorality (as part of a broader doctrinal statement), began a homosexual relationship during her employment, left of her own free will, and attempts were made for her to find alternative employment so she would not be disadvantaged financially. But now the ministry has been ordered to pay the fine, almost 2 years wages and also undergo a pro-gay “human rights training program” for its 2500 staff!!! All this despite a provision in their Human Rights Code for preferential employment decisions based on conflicts with creeds. The judge decided the provision did not apply in this case. Neither did the contract.

    In other words, provisions like this are highly likely to become mired in legalspeak requiring a protracted defence to utilize (a situation in which are cards are stacked against you to lose anyway), so the risk is real that a healthy view of sexuality can cost you dearly. Welcome to ‘The New Tolerance.’ Believing that one man and one woman go together for life can land you in court or worse.

    Is this common sense? This is an organization that receives $75 million annual to provide care and support to about 1400 people with developmental disabilities in Ontario and it is being effectively asked to compromise the belief system on which that work is performed. The ministry appeared to have the woman’s best interests at heart by offering her counselling, but, of course, that’s not politically correct. The judge stated that “…the attempt of “restoration” for persons who are gay or lesbian is profoundly disrespectful and oppressive.” (And the the judge acknowledges that Christians consider homosexuality “unnatural”, but he counters that by claiming it is not an “illness.”) Never mind how profoundly disrespectful that statement is to ex-gays. (That’s right, they don’t really exist!) And the judge seemed to define repugnance of homosexuality as that favourite misleading ad hominem, homophobia. (Of course, it’s them that have a problem!) But it’s not “oppressive” at all to forcibly enroll people to their rethink classes.

    http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onhrt/doc/2008/2008hrto22/2008hrto22.html

    Check out in particular, points 235 & 236. Absolutely chilling reasoning from the judge. Believing “normal sexuality which is the male/female relationship” supposedly “runs a serious risk of being a poisoned work environment.” Is he serious??? Well, there you go – apparently thinking straightforward about gender roles is a bad workplace idea!

    And then, in reference to beliefs, point 277 “Where there is a conflict, the Code must prevail.” (Silly me, and here was I thinking God runs the universe and therefore makes the decrees.)

    But you may not get that far – I must admit I got stuck for awhile at the first two statements of point 4 juxtaposed. “Ms. Heintz is an individual of deep Christian faith. She is also a lesbian.” How do otherwise intelligent people say such things?!?

    So, who benefits from this decision? Not the organization or those who rely on it, and, as a consequence, society is a little poorer again. But the complainant is laughing all the way to the bank. Well, now we now what “freedom” actually means, don’t we? It’s not about equal opportunity and the wider community, it’s about screwing those who disagree with your lifestyle for cold hard cash so you can go on living as you please. Stuff everybody else, courts are there to hear about how my feelings have been hurt. One person’s selfishness and confusion about their sexuality and faith (she admitted to a ‘crisis of faith’) has resulted in diminished resources for everybody in that region. And this is good?!? Multiply this kind of situation a few dozen, hundred, thousand times and, tell me, will any society be better or worse off? (Lawyers need not answer that)

    The irony of this of course, is that gay rights campaigners claim they reject what they perceive in their minds as an unjust authoritarian structure, but in reality they are just introducing something that is in actuality much, much worse than that. I suspect further tolerance of faith-based views will evaporate as everybody is forced to think the same… All this and more I’m sure Australia has to look forward to if the current plans go ahead.

    This situation makes me sick, and I am livid at the ACL for not taking a biblical stance on the issue. Their weak viewpoint was even quoted back to me once in a letter from an Equal Opportunity organization as justification for ‘reforms’ and ‘equality’ being endorsed from a Christian body. They knew better but compromised. I always end up thinking of analogies involving sport (usually footy) and I can only think of playing on a team where some on my side think that endeavouring to get the ball half way to the goal is good enough. After all, we’re heading in the right direction aren’t we?!? That makes it tough when you have an opposition that thinks a little differently about reaching their goal. The ACL should change or give up, otherwise we cannot hope for anything.

    What now? The darkness of the human heart gradually seeps into a civilizations thinking until decades later everybody pays and the ones who inherit the subsequent poverty and/or disarray adopt more solid principles as a last resort of survival to rebuild it all over again. Does this sound familiar? Sure, it’s what’s described in the Bible time and time again. All this situation serves to do for me is reinforce that the Bible is reliable and useful – as is the God who gave the Word to us worthy of praise and ruler over all. But all those who think otherwise have to offer is death, sickness, pain, misery, lies, depravity, cruelty, selfishness and, then, to top it all off, persecution and hatred of those who actually do work for the good of Man. I think Bill is right, it may be prison in the future for those who dare to defy the incoming totalitarianism and choose to listen instead to the One who actually designed us and cares for us. One day I will stand before Him, and I don’t want to be found admitting that I considered human authority above His on matters this serious. Eternity is a long time. Do I really believe that, or not?

    Funniest quote I found in relation to the above: “Air Canada Fined $23,000 For Rejecting Blind Pilot.”

    Scariest thing I found about the broader issue:
    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=jhaq_D68RX4
    You’ll find the links to the other parts there. Just wait until the end of the 7th part… I love her words, “pretty ironic.” But still, this is frightening and a whole lot more credible than any claptrap about global warming, gay discrimination or women’s reproductive freedoms under attack from pro-life ideals. Sorry for the long post, btw – thanks for reading.

    Mark Rabich

  • When we see the changes mooted by the Rudd government it will be possible to know more. But it looks as though the aim is to achieve de facto status., which is one step from a ‘marriage’ position. My only suggestion for the legislators is that they should look carefully at the legal situation before moving too quickly on this matter. Also, if the next aim is to enter the Bill of Rights arena and succeed we have a situation of taking control away from the legislature and handing it to the courts to decide issues included in the list of ‘rights’.
    Peter Rice

  • Bill, I write this to call all brothers and sisters in Christ to wake up and take a stand against people who pursue sinful desires of homosexual activities, which is abomination to the Lord.
    Florence Ong

  • Hi Bill,
    The scarry part is that Kevin Rudd stood up before the election and publicly stated his own Christian beliefs now we see his government wanting to make changes that will eventually lead to the legalisation of gay marraige in this country. Homosexuallity is an abomination in the eyes of God, and while God still loves the person he hates the sin. We know the wages of sin is death, so where does this leave Kevin in Gods eyes? I personally believe he must make a stand and if he is truly a Christian and believes Gods word then he must come out and publicaly denounce what his party is trying to do. If he dosent do this I believe he shows himself as best to be a hypocrit.
    David Gaskell

  • Bill, As you are probably aware your article has appeared on Anglican Mainstream which only goes to demonstrate that we are in a global war, with Christians on one continent needing to assist those on another with the necessary intellectual, heavy ordnance for exposing the fog, confusion and deception being practised by the enemy.

    In the eyes of the enemy, the great weakness of Christians is their tender consciences, their readiness to confess hard – heartedness, lack of generosity, lack of compassion and above all hatred. Joseph Stalin was a supreme master of getting millions into making public confessions. It didn’t do them any good though; they all got carted off. We are being pushed in the direction we would naturally fall.

    So I am very encourage by your article which gives us the moral courage to repudiate the claim that homophobia has been the cause of a minority, disenfranchised group being oppressed, bullied, disproportionately more than any other section of the population, even to the point of being murdered wholesale in the holocaust.

    Stonewall have constructed this picture of a minority, persecuted “community,“ a nomenclature for which they have no more claim than that of the obese calling themselves a community).

    Indeed they have insinuated themselves into the holocaust week, when clearly Ernst Rohmm, a brutal and sadistic homosexual established the Brown Shirst who became Germany’s Storm Troopers. Basic arithmetic would tell us that if there were 2- 3 million homosexuals in Germany at the time of the holocaust there would have been the same visible evidence of persecution, deportation and mass killing as there was for Jews. There is evidence that 6,000 homosexuals were killed by Hitler, so where were the others? They were obviously serving Hitler as soldiers, collaborators and murderers. Hitler’s true, primary victims? Eighty-five percent of European Jewry, 23.5% of Gypsies, 10% of the Poles, 12% of the Ukrainians, 13% of the Belorussians and tens of thousands of “Righteous Gentiles” and their families were tortured and gassed. It is unconscionable for radical homosexuals to wrest “Nazi victim status” from the bones of millions of exterminated Jewish men, women and children. History – a true guide to the future – ought not to be fictionalized to suit the interests of a modern “gay militant” class.

    Dr. Fritz Von Balluseck, a Nazi pedophile who contributed to Alfred Kinsey’s research on sexual behaviour between 1936 and 1956 was regularly sending Kinsey details of his experiences with children. Kinsey was even mailing to the Nazi, encouraging him to continue his ‘research, without any regard to the plight of the man’s victims.

    The confidence of Stonewall to believe that the public will swallow this propaganda without it even touching the sides of the throat are exemplified in an ad placed by The Gay Police Association in the Independent in June 2006 that featured a photograph of a Bible next to a pool of blood and the slogan, “In the name of the father.” The copy read, “In the last 12 months, the Gay Police Association has recorded a 74% increase in homophobic incidents where the sole or primary motivating factor was the religious belief of the perpetrator.”
    http://www.christian.org.uk/issues/2006/gay_rights/gpa/advert.htm

    There was no substantive evidence as to who had done what, where, when or to whom. This was blatant incitement to Christianophobia. Fifty thousand complainants felt threatened and offended by the ad: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/sep/06092608.html

    As for being marginalized and discriminated against , there is nothing they are denied for which the homosexual lobby have demanded: the benefits, rights and status of marriage are extended to them; children are handed over into their tender keeping; airlines and banks are falling over themselves to celebrate their sexual activities and the Stonewall awards ceremonies at venues like the V&A museum are bestrewn with the glitterati. Like Stalin’s party conferences it will soon be a case of not “who was in attendance” but of “who was missing.”
    Today every leading political party not only has gay MPs, those “outted” politicians are on every frontbench; but at the heart of power in Downing St. are non – elected advisers like Spencer Livermore who enjoys political power that most MPs could only dream of. He has worked with Gordon Brown for nearly ten years, and has become one of the most powerful people in Britain as Director of Political Strategy at 10 Downing St.
    It was also the lesbian Angela Mason, working in the Women’s Equality Unit of the Department of Trade and Industry, who I believe was the main author of the SORs. It comes as no surprise that the European Commissioner for Trade and Industry is none other than the homosexual, Peter Mandelson.

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-6417.html (Introducing Spencer Livermore)

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-6416.html. (Who’s Who of homosexual influence and power in government)

    http://www.christian.org.uk/issues/2008/family/stonewall_18apr08.htm (Stonewall at the heart of government).

    David Skinner, UK

  • Excellent article Bill, also thanks to Mark and Frank for their words too about this fundamental challenge to our nation that was founded on a worldview of Biblical principles. The evil homosexual lobby must be seen for what it is and the appalling agendas they agressively push. It is a terrible betrayal by the ACL. The meaning of marriage is found in its origin in Genesis. God ordained for our good, completeness, joy and the nurture of godly offspring. It should be a non negotiable for all Christians. I expect nothing but total compromise from the big pretender marxist liberation theology of Kevin care nothing for heaven Rudd. He is only PM because he fooled a vast majority of fuzzy thinking Christian ‘working families’. Like B. Hussein O. he not only tells lies he is a lie. KRudd has an insatiable passion for pseudologia fantastica addressing the ACL pre election and mouthing what he thought they wanted to hear knowing full well that he would support the opposite ‘when they got in’ as the AGW alarmist Peter Garrett revealed. The Lord Jesus had lots to say about hypocrites, starts with big Woes.

    Jennifer Parfenovics

  • In Britain the militant and Christianophobic Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of the homosexual lobby group, Stonewall, is claiming special protection for gays by way of creating a new offence of inciting homophobic hatred. If the offence is accepted, probably within the next month, by the present labour government, this will carry a seven year prison sentence. It may even be that by remaining seated, after a public speech, promoting homosexuality – with everyone around one giving a standing ovation – a dissenter, by sitting on their hands, could be accused as inciting hatred – the Sir Thomas More experience.

    Ben Summerskill claims that the context of his demand for an incitement to homophobic offence is, I quote:

    …“that in the past two years there has been a 167 per cent. rise in the number of convictions secured for offences with a homophobic element. That is not what is sometimes characterised as cranky complaints, or cases that might not have resulted in a conviction; that is 600 offences……….. That is the public context in which we are anxious that such incitements are taking place. We simply find it difficult to accept any longer that there is no connection between the distribution of such poison (rap lyrics that also target blacks, women and others besides gays) in the public domain and the outcomes that we are seeing in terms of anti-gay violence on Britain’s streets.”

    Dr Louise Brown, from the Evangelical Alliance, whilst addressing a parliamentary committee refuted this claim by saying, “Current levels of crime in this area do not justify changing the law. A comment was made saying that there has been a 167 per cent rise in the number of convictions, but according to the figures for the period between April 2006 and March 2007, the Crown Prosecution Service prosecuted 822 cases identified as having a homophobic element, compared with 600 cases in 2005-06. Those are the actual figures.”

    Christians are told that they cannot hide behind their religion when making negative comments about homosexuality. Really? But it is OK for Sir Elton John to hide behind artistic expression when putting on a performance at the Royal Albert Hall that is blatantly paedophile in its implications. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19991201/ai_n14271097

    How long before Sir Ian McKellan, the founder of the British branch of Stonewall, exhibits his bits before parties of school children at Stratford?
    http://www.metro.co.uk/fame/article.html?in_article_id=42653&in_page_id=7&in_a_source=

    David Skinner, UK

  • Bill,

    This move started under the Howard government, and had Howard’s own support. It now has largely bipartisan support, so it’s quite unreasonable for the Christian Right to indulge indulge itself in another round of Rudd-bashing.

    Australia is a pluralist, secular society, not some Christian theocracy. The elimination of discriminatory laws has the clear support of a large majority of Australians. It’s called democracy.

    The rest of Australia has long ago moved on from the phobias of the past. It’s time conservative Christians did too.

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • The homosexual lobby strategy of “I am the victim’ is also being used by the islamic community. The Christian majority is an enemy and alien in their own country of freedoms.

    Ray Robinson

  • Thanks Steve

    Actually John Howard did a pretty good job of holding the line here. He did not promote special rights for homosexuals, or actively seek to grant government recognition to their relationships.

    And there is nothing discriminatory about benefitting those people who meet the obligations and responsibilities of marriage. Homosexuals can have all the benefits of marriage as well, if they simply follow the rules, and stop seeking to radically change the rules and redefine marriage out of existence.

    Also, there are plenty of non-Christians who treasure marriage and family, and are appalled at the homosexual lobby. And it is not fear, but love for what is right and helpful and socially important that drives so many to seek to defend marriage and family from those who would destroy these institutions.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Steve, it might be true that this move has “largely bipartisan support” as you say, but that should have no effect on the Christian view which is grounded in the truth of Scripture and the evidence from sociology and not upon the shifting sands of fashionable humanistic ‘thinking’. And we are not just “Rudd-bashing” here. The present Liberal poor-excuse-for-an-opposition deserves just as much censure as do the Ruddites.

    And even if you and the rest of the nation want to jump off this cliff, you don’t expect Christians to be stupid enough to follow you or cheer you on as you do it, do you?

    Ewan McDonald.

  • Steve, why are you being like Rod Swift and using big words out of context?

    Doesn’t a pluralist society include the Christian Right (this is your categorisation, not anyone elses in this blog discussion) or are you giving “democracy” a special restrictive definition for your own purposes? Your post implies that somehow the Christian Right should be excluded from political discourse. And if Australia is a “secular society” then how do you explain the existance of so many religious groups let alone the Christian Right?

    Let me put you straight on a couple of things too. Firstly, your statement, “The elimination of discriminatory laws has the clear support of a large majority of Australians. It’s called democracy.” is flawed. Your implication that because it has the support of a majority the rest of us should shut-up is wrong! It is because we are a democracy that the rest of us should be able to speak our minds and seek to influence policy regardless. Clearly, your view of democracy is skewed. As Bill pointed out there was no real bipartisan support, but even if there was, the principles of real democracy mean that anyone still has the right to object and to voice it.

    And your labelling it as “Rudd-bashing” is only a thinly veiled attempt to atttack the speaker and not the argument. It is because we are a democracy that anyone can make open criticism of government. This is contrary to your implied view that to criticise government is malicious. Now your starting to sound like a totalitarian too.

    And try not to mention “phobias” when it is you who is clearly showing a fear of conservative Christians.

    Frank Norros

  • Excellent! A detractor willing to debate on this issue.

    Alright, Steve, here’s a few questions for you.

    What is the total reproductive potential of all the exclusive homosexual relationships in the world?

    If gay relationships are of equal value as heterosexual relationships, it would follow logically that it would not matter to society if all relationships were exclusively homosexual. Would you agree?

    Is our biology something that can be determined by “democracy”?

    Based on your answers, how then should a government determine policy on this issue?

    Finally, when are you actually going to allow the answers given to questions on this blog actually influence your thinking that has so regularly been shown to be shallow, biased, and even illogical? I agree with one of Bill’s recent answers to you – I doubt your intellectual honesty.

    Mark Rabich, Melbourne

  • Is not the debate ignoring a few foundation rules? The 10 Commandments gave us a clear requirement of God in our use of human sexuality: Do not commit adultery.

    The Australian Marriage Act recognises for Australia and Australians that the making of a commitment in a public form, ie marriage, protects the sacred nature of the relationship which is one in which the vital role of the procreation of the next generation is undertaken. The creation of those rights is in no way discriminatory. It recognises the value of providing children a secure environment in which to be nurtured and brought up. It recognises the public good in a man and a woman making a personal commitment to each other for life together in the establishment of the sound environment for the procreation of children and their proper upbringing.

    The people who support active homosexual life are in denial of the 6th commandment. They argue that it is discriminatory to deny them this right of relationship. How can you discriminate against a group who cannot biologicaly provide an environment for the reproduction of humankind as a man and woman do in marriage? They seek adoption rights which denies a child the God given right to a mother and a father. That’s discrimination against the child. Homosexuals seek access to IVF to enable a technology assisted pregnancy as if the function of giving sperm to an egg is all that parenthood is all about. If heterosexual relationships were supposed to enable human reproduction, did God get it wrong when he created man and woman. Why not just Adam and another person?

    Why have distinction in gender at all? God created male and female for a purpose and it is not up to society to play with that purpose. I understand that there are those in society who deny the existence of God and who therefore see no rquirement to observe His laws. But for all believers in God, these laws are real and consistent with our biology.

    We must expect these arguments to be thrown up based on some distorted concept of discrimination because there is no biological justification to their argument. And if God had meant that there be other ways of human reproducitve acts then the function of man and woman in conjugal love, He would certainly have provided adequately for it. As he did not all the arguments in the world will not change the simple fact that the laws of marriage discrminate against no one. They merely recognise the enormous social value in the protection of the relationship for the good of the human race.

    I personally support changes to laws which are genuinely discriminatory between humans. We are all equal before God. This argument is not about equality, It is about the denial of a section of society to understand the reasons for the rules we have are based on the logic of our biology and and our God given rules which were made to direct our minds to the proper function and the respect we must afford to our own human sexuality. Christians love all human beings whatever they may be. However where persons seek to undermine the rules of God, it is their right and indeed duty to stand behind those rules and protect them. We understand such actions will draw criticism from those whom it offends but that is not to be feared.

    David Grace

  • Frank’s comment, and other comments I’ve seen elsewhere on Bill’s site, suggests there is a misunderstanding here of the meaning of “secular”. The term is generally understood to mean freedom from government imposition of a particular religious belief upon the people. It also implies freedom of religion, i.e. people are free to hold any religious belief they choose. As such, it should be celebrated and encouraged by all believers, not disparaged.

    Christians who hold right-wing views are as free as anyone else to hold a political opinion and to speak out. My previous comment was merely questioning why you are so outraged and surprised when you don’t get your own way.

    I’ve been happily married for 30 years, and have children and grandchildren. I don’t see the extension of certain legal rights to homosexual partnerships as any kind of threat to me, my family, or to society at large. I’m totally mystified that some Christians can claim such a threat.

    The issue has nothing to do with reproduction. Partners in a homosexual relationship who share their love, domestic costs and property ownership should be entitled to legal recognition of that partnership, plain and simple.

    Heterosexual couples, whether married or defacto, are entitled to such rights and protections irrespective of whether they have children. Society provides incentives to those who have children in other ways, not through basic recognition of the relationship.

    David mentions adultery, which also has nothing to do with this argument. Adultery means infidelity.

    And Bill’s suggestion that “Homosexuals can have all the benefits of marriage as well, if they simply follow the rules..” is just plain silly. Do I really have to explain to you Bill that homosexuals are not attracted to the opposite sex?

    If anything, a greater threat to marriage as an institution is the growth in defacto relationships. I don’t see the same level of outrage directed at such couples, which suggests that this debate has little to do with alleged threats to traditional marriage.

    Homosexuality has always existed in a small proportion of humans, and it always will. It’s time society recognised them and showed some human compassion towards their situation.

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • Thanks Steve

    Ah, if only secularism were such a benign, neutral and harmless phenomenon as you describe it to be. For some people it may be, but there is also a ruthless, militant secularism that has pronounced war on people of faith. That is what I speak of here, and that is what you seem to be ignorant of, or unconcerned about. But it is a real concern. The secular jihad can be almost as nasty as the Islamic counterpart. It is certainly as committed in weeding out what it regards as the enemy.

    You are right to suggest that government blessing on de facto relationships should have been much more strongly contested when they first appeared on the scene (I was not in the country when this happened.) I do not approve of this either, although it is now the law of the land and thus harder to fight, while same-sex marriage is not yet law of the land, and therefore more readily defended against for the time being.

    And sorry, but human sexuality always has been and always will be intimately connected with procreation. There is no reason on earth why governments should bless, sanction, confer recognition upon and give special benefits to couples whose only distinctive feature is non-procreative homosexual sex

    And why stop there, Why not government sanction and endorsement of threesome sex, or foursomes, or other combinations? By your reasoning, there should be no limit to what governments endorse and sanction.

    As to your remark: “Do I really have to explain to you Bill that homosexuals are not attracted to the opposite sex?” Two replies. Just because people have an attraction does not mean that attraction cannot change. I have a number of friends who were homosexuals, deeply attracted to those of the same-sex. But now they are heterosexual, and some are married with children.

    Second, one might as well also argue, “pedophiles are not attracted to their age range” Does the fact that paedophiles are sexually attracted to children somehow make it right? It may be fully “normal” for them, and it is perhaps an attraction they have felt all their lives. But so what? In the same way, so what if people have same-sex attractions? ‘Is’ does not mean ‘ought’.

    Ditto your other equally unhelpful remark: “Homosexuality has always existed in a small proportion of humans, and it always will. It’s time society recognised them and showed some human compassion towards their situation.”

    Again just substitute a word here: “Paedophilia has always existed in a small proportion of humans, and it always will. It’s time society recognised them and showed some human compassion towards their situation.”

    Or, “Arsonists have always existed in a small proportion of humans, and it always will. It’s time society recognised them and showed some human compassion towards their situation.”

    Or “Slavery has always existed in a small proportion of humans, and it always will. It’s time society recognised them and showed some human compassion towards their situation.”

    Or “Polygamy has always existed in a small proportion of humans, and it always will. It’s time society recognised them and showed some human compassion towards their situation.”

    Sorry, but your moral relativism is coming across too painfully clear here, and most people do not like what they see in such thoughts. Your bondage to secularism, materialism and moral relativism leads you to make such unfortunate and misleading remarks about homosexuality (and by implication, other behaviours). Maybe it’s time for a paradigm shift Steve.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • But Steve, even ‘benign secularism’ if there is such a thing cannot be religiously neutral since it is itself under-girded by certain ‘religious’ presuppositions. Every worldview including all ‘secular’ varieties are in a sense ‘religious’ since they all have axioms. Call it faith if you like – faith in certain presuppositions, such as naturalism and its corollary of evolution.

    So your paradigm needs adjusting here. Government is not a ‘secular’ umpire that provides a ‘level playing field’ upon which the different religions can compete – it is a playing field where the secularists are just another one of the competing players. The sooner the secularists stop thinking of themselves as the umpire and realise that they are just another one of the players, the sooner we will have a true ‘level playing field’ for all worldviews.

    Ewan McDonald.

  • Steve “The issue has nothing to do with reproduction.”

    Rubbish. As Bill wrote there is no reason to recognize relationships that cannot by definition contribute to society the way a heterosexual marriage can. (And please don’t give us that spurious point about infertile or elderly couples – this argument is about the reason for the institution, not about individuals)

    I’m 40 and never married. No kids. Yet, I absolutely acknowledge that part of God’s creative design involves setting up families a certain way. It is blatantly obvious (from even a totally secular perspective) that the model of heterosexual monogamous commitment for life works substantially better than any other. This is an endorsement of God’s design and a repudiation of every other model. (This is not, btw, a disparagement of those individuals who find themselves as, for example, single parents or in other difficult circumstances – but simply an endorsement of the ideal as a goal.)

    There is no need for a government to recognize whether two people claim they love each other, but there is plenty of good reason to elevate the status of the special relationship that creates and nurtures the next generation. Giving special benefits to regular married folks is an investment in the future. Which leads me to the next point. You ask why we care when it will make little difference to your own relationships. You may find it interesting that I will actually agree with you on this to an extent, but you need to recognize that this is not our main concern.

    Fast forward 75 years from a point where same-sex relationships were endorsed as normal by a civilization. You will find substantial regression in that society as they value selfishness and pleasure above outward focus and sacrifice for the common good. Sex is at the core of humanity and we need to be very careful to get it right. Endorsing same-sex marriage (even though it may not be called that) is entirely about individuals seeking justification for their own unhealthy lifestyles and not giving a stuff about setting things up for the next generation. The cancer of this ethos will permeate our culture and render it weaker. I am single, but absolutely honour those who have made the sacrificial decision to commit to each other and give up selfishness for the sake of having and bringing up some kids. Gay marriage is an assault on this cycle of life because it cannot by very definition be involved in this. This is why it demands to be rejected or at the very least, actively discouraged. Stupid words like ‘homophobia’ and the portrayal of gays as victims of ‘discrimination’ simply obscure the cold hard fact that biology itself mocks their lifestyle as inferior. A normal view of sex involves reproduction as part of it. It’s kinda ironic I’m telling you this, but it’s also good science, mate. A government that fails to recognize this is, in my view, manifestly stupid and irresponsible and deserves the highest level of criticism because future generations will pay dearly.

    Am I being unreasonably alarmist here? No, because it’s all happened before and the connection between how a society views sex and its future health is extremely strong.

    The record of history is clear. English anthropologist J.D. Unwin extensively studied 86 societies through 5,000 years of history. After his death in 1936 the results of his research were published under the title “Hopousia: The Sexual and Economic Foundations of a New Society.”

    Unwin studied cultures and empires from the standpoint of their sexual behavior. In particular he was interested in their prenuptial and post-nuptial behavior. He noticed a correlation between such behavior and what he termed a nation’s “expansive energy.” We might refer to this as the capability to remain productive and maintain a position of influence and leadership among other nations.

    He stated that “expansive energy has never been displayed by a society that inherited a modified monogamy or a form of polygamy . . .” (J.D. Unwin, Hopousia, George Allen & Unwin, London, 1940, p. 82, emphasis added throughout).

    from http://www.ucgstp.org/lit/gn/gn010/immoral.html

    In case you’re wondering, same-sex marriage qualifies as “modified monogamy”. What he is saying that by the time a generation that has been born into this idea has reached the end of their lives, the prosperity of that civilization is over. So about 75 years is pretty much all you get. Exaggeration? Unwin stated this, ““The evidence is that in the past, a class has risen to a position of political dominance because of its great energy, and that, at the period of its rising, its sexual regulations have always been strict. It has retained its energy and dominated the society so long as its sexual regulations have demanded both pre-nuptial and post-nuptial continence… I know of no exceptions to these rules.”
    and “In human records, there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial continence.”

    Steve, you may not be affected, but future generations are guaranteed to be. Guaranteed.

    also check out: http://www.traditionalvalues.org/pdf_files/deathofmarriage.pdf

    BTW, I’m still waiting on answers for my previous post. My questions were not rhetorical.

    Mark Rabich, Melbourne

  • Steve, I hope you don’t feel as though you have dipped your toe into piranha infested water, but I have to agree with Ewan, secularism is just another competing world view, just as with Christianity. No doubt there are different brands of secularism but in Britain it claims to be the ultimate, absolute and objective authority by claiming that there is no ultimate and objective authority. The British government has set itself up as (to appropriate the words of Anselm) “that” beyond which nothing of any greater truth, morality or conscience can be conceived. When you then claim that people are free to hold any religious belief they choose. Too right! But only if it is “temperate,” private and wouldn’t offend anyone. I don’t believe that there any laws compelling you to live by Christian morality, apart from the few remaining laws that dimly reflect our past Christian heritage. But the secularists are already imposing their secularist, humanist, atheist and materialist (SHAM) ideology on the British, which is far from temperate or inoffensive, by way of police harassment, arrest, public humiliation, fines, loss of job and now the threat of seven years in prison.

    Melanie Phillips wrote:
    Local authorities and government bodies are systematically bullying Christianity out of existence by refusing to fund Christian voluntary groups on the grounds that to be Christian means that they are not committed to ‘diversity’.
    Thus local and central government refused to replicate the vocational training provided by the Highfields Happy Hens Centre in Derbyshire for young offenders and pupils excluded from school despite its impressive record of success, simply because it was run with a clear Christian ethos.
    Norfolk council objected to the inclusion of the word ‘Christian’ in the constitution of Barnabas House in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, which houses homeless young men.
    And the Housing Corporation, the major funder of Romford YMCA in Essex which looks after hundreds of needy young people, objected to the fact that only Christians were board members — which meant, it said, that the YMCA was not capable of ‘diversity’, even though it was open to all faiths and none.
    The ‘diversity, tolerance, inclusion, non discrimination agenda, is a fig-leaf for an attack on Christianity.

    Canadian Michael D. O’Brien develops Lewis’ thought in this way. ‘How long will it take for our people to understand that when humanist sentiments replace moral absolutes, it is not long before very idealistic people begin to invade human families in the name of the family, and destroy human lives in the name of humanity? This is the idealist’s greatest temptation, the temptation by which nations and cultures so often fall. The wielder of power is deluded into thinking he can remould reality into a less unkind condition. If he succeeds in convincing his people of the delusion and posits for them an enemy of the collective good, then unspeakable evils can be released in society. Those who share a mass-delusion rarely recognise it as such, and can pursue the most heinous acts in a spirit of self-righteousness.’ Just as good Germans did after spending a day stoking the incinerators in the concentration camps.

    Steve, secularism is discriminatory; it is selective as to whom it wafts the sceptre of tolerance, inclusion and diversity. Where is the justice here?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=563303&in_page_id=1770 (Transsexual husband annuls marriage and enters into civil partnership with wife to keep pension benefits)

    http://www.christian.org.uk/issues/2008/family/sisters_29apr08.htm (Elderly sisters told they can’t have same tax rights as gays).

    Finally Steve, what do you call all the men and women who have abandoned their spouses and children for same-sex partners like Bishop Gene Robinson, the soon to be June Bride, if they are not adulterers?

    David Skinner, UK

  • David, do you have a link to the Melanie Phillips quote you provided above?

    Ewan McDonald.

  • Hi Ewan, This for you and Steve. http://www.melaniephillips.com/articles-new/?p=447 September 7, 2006 (How Britain is turning Christianity into a crime).

    I have made my own contribution to Melanie’s more current Spectator blog, where she talks about the gagging of a Christian candidate, Alan Craig, for the position of Mayor of London. This obviously struck a cord with some and not with others. As Christians we may disagreed and even hate the way humanists use delusion, denial and deception to lead us to destruction but we must respect them as being made in the image of God. God loves them no more and no less than us. We are called however to judge those within the Church like Rowan Williams who consciously or unconsciously attempts to lead the church into apostasy.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/page_3/ A Censored Choice

    David Skinner, UK

  • Bill Thank you for your comments, what a terrible lack of understanding these “christian” groups have, if they think that pacifying the homosexual lobby will ease their conscience, the greatest tragedy is that they are willing to deminish the Gospel. God loves the sinner but Not the sin. By agreeing to further the homosexual position, they are driving them away from any hope of salvation. My thanks to you and the ACL for your stand. Although some of us are not gifted with great wisdom thank The Lord Jesus for His gift of Salvation.
    Ian Angliss

  • But Ian, it is the ACL who are one of the groups doing the compromising on the same-sex relationship recognition issue. The ACL has done much good work to be sure, but its position on this issue has been extremely unhelpful to those Christian groups that have taken a biblical stand. It’s very difficult for conservative Bible believing Christians to convince a member of parliament that he/she should be opposed to granting relationship rights to homosexuals when there are other Christian groups telling them to do exactly that!

    Ewan McDonald.

  • One really good reason I voted liberal was that Howard was a decent man and would have no bar or support of homosexuals. I have seen their intolerance to those who don’t agree with them as well. They are becoming quite millitent in their approach, let alone many are always seeking a new partner, as a result I would be very concerned and watchful if they had any relationship with any of my children or grandchildren. Where is all this leading us as a nation?
    You make such good sense Bill. I am so glad ther are people like you.
    Rhonda Jaunitis

  • In various jurisdictions, where civil unions have been instituted, same-sex marriage eventually followed. None the less, from a Christian point of view, I struggle to see a sense of balance and reasonableness to the argument that same-sex civil union laws must be opposed. I do think they should be opposed within the church, but beyond that, Im not sure that this is a social justice issue that should be taking up the church’s time. I dont recall Jesus preaching “Go ye into all the world and ensure that there is no legal recognition of gay relationships.” I dont even recall him preaching more broadly “Go ye into all the world and ensure that state laws conform to Scripture.” Sure, it can be argued that by opposing civil unions, heterosexual marriage is affirmed and that this both appeals to receiving blessings from God and is of benefit to society. BUT, I suggest that opposition to civil unions comes at a cost. The cost revolves around whether Christians love their neighbours. When we think of the injunction to love thy neighbour, we often perceive that to mean loving “people like us”. But sometimes our neighbours are gay. And sometimes they are gay, non-christian, and sometimes they passionately want state recognition of their relationships. To say to them that they cannot marry and that in fact they cannot have any state recognition of their relationships, can seem very cold hearted. Even though it’s well intended, Christians who take this position can genuinely seem very unloving. Im not saying that allowing civil unions will stop the demand for same-sex marriage. But im saying that denying both seems more mean than just denying the latter. And it’s not just the gays who perceive it this way. Increasingly, straight non-christians perceive the position to be very unloving too. And not just unloving, but also inconsistent, because there are many other sins that go ignored by the church. Given Jesus emphasis on love, I have to wonder whether Jesus is looking down and thinking to himself “gosh, the Pharisees are back.”
    Tom Kentwell

  • Thanks Tom. But please tell us all how it is unloving to affirm Jesus’s teaching on marriage as between a man and a woman? There is absolutely nothing Pharisaical about upholding the biblical view of marriage. But there is something decidedly non-Christian, even anti-Christian, about saying God and Jesus were wrong in their views on this matter, and we must change with the times. Christian love is never about affirming and condoning what God calls sin. Christian love is willing the highest good for the other person. In this case that means seeing them delivered from their dead-end and high risk lifestyle. So yes I sure do love my homosexual neighbor: I love them enough to want to rescue them from a lost eternity and a lousy life right now. But don’t take my word for it: listen to one ex-homosexual:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/02/22/caring-enough-to-offend/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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