Clear Thinking about Christians in the Public Square

There is plenty of confused thinking about how Christians should or should not act in the public arena. We of course expect non-Christians to get this issue wrong big time. But when believers also manage to mangle this, it becomes quite disappointing indeed.

For example, some believers quite mistakenly insist that Christians should not even be involved in the culture wars at all. We are just supposed to roll over and play dead, and allow ungodliness and evil to come in like a flood. Sorry, that is not how I read Scripture, and that is simply acting irresponsibly and unbiblically.

But I have made the case for Christian social involvement elsewhere, eg.:

And here:

But then we have other believers who seem to get bent out of shape when Christians decide to take a principled stance on issues that they are rightly concerned about. They get all antsy when Christians actually start being responsible social citizens, and let their faith impact on what they buy, where they go, and who they patronise.

One well-known Christian leader for example seemed to get rather upset about a recent case of this happening. I have no idea why he found this so worrying. But here is what he had to say on his social media page:

The Australian newspaper is reporting today that Telstra – the country’s largest telco – has withdrawn its name and logo from ‘Australian Marriage Equality’ advertisements following a letter from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney suggesting it will take its not-insignificant business elsewhere if the company continues to promote gay marriage in this overt way. I realise that non-Christian lobby-groups routinely use such pressure tactics (in reverse), but I feel uncomfortable with Christians making commercial threats like this. If you agree with me, help me put my finger on my disquiet. If you support the Catholic Church’s move in this case, I’d love to hear why – please help me see how it might be godly and constructive. I am convincible on this one.

Um, what? “Commercial threats”? “Pressure tactics”? I thought it was called living in a democracy. I thought it was called exercising your right to act according to conscience as you see fit. I thought it was called being salt and light. I thought it was called seeking to reflect biblical righteousness in a dark and pagan society.

I thought it was all about allowing a Christian voice to be heard. I thought it was called exercising our buying power responsibly. I thought it was called being faithful to biblical values and resisting the world’s agenda. I thought it was called being wise and discerning.

Unless I have missed something, when I last checked, the majority of Australians identified as Christians. I know the secular left wants them fully silenced and prevented from speaking on the contentious issues of the day, but it sure is surprising when believers seem to make the same silly case.

If Christians decide that a company or business or group is pushing agendas which they cannot or will not be comfortable in supporting, they have every right to take their business elsewhere. Why shouldn’t they? It is called choosing to act in accordance with one’s values. It is called enjoying the benefits of living in a free society.

wilberforce 8

If I do not like the fact that a coffee seller like Starbucks is supporting the homosexual agenda, then I have every right as a believer – or even a non-believer – to take my custom elsewhere. I can seek out a coffee chain that has values more in line with my own.

If some fast food chain repeatedly features sleazy television ads (as Nando’s Chicken often has done), then I can choose to boycott it. I can encourage my friends to do the same. I can suggest my church does likewise. I can urge my entire denomination to consider similar action. And there is nothing wrong or un-Christian about this in the least.

Why it is that anyone should have “disquiet” about these sorts of things is beyond me. One simply has to reflect on a similar situation here to see why there is no reason to be upset with this. When Wilberforce and other Christians were fighting the slave trade, they used any and all means possible to seek to stop this evil business.

Had there been telcos back then lending their logo to pro-slavery groups, then Wilberforce and the team would have been perfectly justified in making a public stink about this, urging people not to spend their money with such groups, but instead seek out groups who were not engaged – either directly or indirectly – in this evil.

Now unless this Christian leader has no problems with homosexual marriage – in which case we have a far bigger problem on our hands – then of course it is wrong to support a company that is giving its support to it, even in terms of using company logos and the like as endorsements.

And by the way, in this case the Catholic Church and other Christians were 100 per cent right to engage in these sorts of activities. Indeed, they paid off very well. Because Telstra was obviously feeling the heat – not so much morally speaking but in terms of their back pocket – they have decided to get out of their activist political support of the homosexual agenda.

I think that is very good news indeed, and I congratulate those principled and conscientious Christians who acted according to their faith and put their money where their mouth was. Well done. Standing up for what is right is always right – and in this case it paid off to do so.

But even if Telstra had refused to budge on this, doing the right thing is always commendable and biblically praiseworthy. We are called to have godly influence whenever and wherever we can. This has nothing to do with cramming our morality down people’s throats. This has nothing to do with the bullying tactics and practices routinely utilised by the leftist activist groups.

This is called being the salt and light that Jesus commanded us to be. This is called being responsible Christian citizens. This is something all true followers of Jesus Christ should be engaged in. A quietest, privatised faith is just what the secular left wants from us.

I get that. But when Christian leaders effectively call for the same thing, then I got to wonder whose side they are on. The truth is, the Catholic Church was the good guy here, and they deserve a lot of credit for bringing about this welcome outcome.

And for whatever reason Telstra made the back flip – most likely for financial reasons alone – it is still good news, and I encourage all believers and others to contact Telstra and thank them for making this policy change:

And by the way, it might also be pointed out that many of these same Christian leaders who do not like believers taking a public stand on things like abortion or homosexual marriage are fully happy to do exactly the same when it comes to their pet lefty causes, such as disinvestment campaigns targeting Israel, etc.

So we also seem to have a bit of hypocrisy and double standards going on here. Sorry, but I will always seek to stand for that which is right. Homosexual marriage is not right, and it is something I simply will not just sit down and shut up about. I will speak against it, and where possible, I will act against it.

And if that means taking my business elsewhere, either as an individual or as a group, then fine, that is what I will do. If certain believers are squeamish about all this, well, that is their problem, not mine.

You can read about the Telstra back down here:

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22 Replies to “Clear Thinking about Christians in the Public Square”

  1. In the same vain, I no longer patronise the Grill’d burger chain since their owner publicly stated they are pro-choice and would not support a local pro-life charity Cherish Life after someone complained. Grill’d have chosen not to support life, and I have chosen not to support them. Their owner told everyone who’d listen, and so do I. I know a significant number of our staff have stopped patronising Grill’d as well.

  2. I think we should put our foot down all the way to the metal and segregate those who do not believe in HOLY-days by denying them time of work as it would be hypocritical to not believe in the celebration of the holiday but claim it as a given right.
    We Christians fought long and hard to achieve what we have and had to face the Romans before Rome became a Christian empire and then the many hurdles to overturn slavery etc.
    I do not for one moment say that others should celebrate their versions of religious fervor or the lack of it and the Atheist should celebrate April 1st but should not claim that which they condemn such as Christmas or Easter as they are exclusive Christian Holly days.
    How hypocritical of homosexuals to celebrate Christianity when they condemn it or scripture when they claim that the Bible is nothing more that toilet paper.
    I think it is time that we claim what we have won and not just give it away or throw to the feet of swine.
    John Abbott

  3. However I have heard the argument from a pastor who says that Church is no position to get on its moral high horse, when many of its members, including church leaders are engaged in downloading pornography, open adultery and such like. What right does the Church have to take a stand when it has compromised its own integrity by covering up paedophile scandals, on an industrial scale? Having lost its salt it is only fit for throwing out and treading underfoot. Certainly the early Christians and present day Christians in such places as Saudi Arabia or North Korea could give us lessons in meekness, humility and long suffering who seeing and hearing the filthy conversations on a daily basis of the wicked are vexed in their righteous soul from with their unlawful deeds. Only when the Church is prepared to put its money where its mouth and suffer real persecution for standing up for righteousness is it justified boycotting Starbucks and Tesco food chains, which at the moment must sound like so much sanctimonious hypocrisy.

    David Skinner UK

  4. Thanks David. That objection is a logical fallacy, known as the false dilemma. It effectively says: Because the church is not perfect, it has no right to speak out on anything. I reject that of course. Sure the church is not perfect, and sure many in the church are bound to different sins, be it porn or what have you. But the answer is not to say we should therefore just shut up and never stand for anything. The answer is to get our act together while at the same time we speak out against various evils. But I discuss this in more detail elsewhere, eg.:

  5. I agree Bill; the truth is always the truth, irrespective of the mouth from which it comes, but we lose our credibility as witnesses in court if we are seen to be hypocrites, people without integrity. Paul speaks about this in 1 Corinthians 9.
    But I would agree; we should not be fighting for our own standing in the community, or so – called religious human rights, but defending the honour of the name of Jesus Christ and the rights of the unborn baby, the satanically sexually abused child and the parents who have had their children torn away from them by the state. On these issues the Church has remained quiet.

    David Skinner UK

  6. Bill, as the ‘Christian leader’ whose comments you quoted above, I need to say that I don’t feel well represented here. For the record:
    1. I totally support the Catholic Church’s right to move business elsewhere. It was the appearance of a commercial threat that concerned me. It doesn’t look like the gospel to me. But the point of the social media post was to invite discussion and correction, and, as I say in that thread, I found myself moved through the course of the discussion in the direction of those who supported the Catholic Church’s decision.
    2. It seems totally valid to take your business elsewhere when a business is actually engaged in sinful or harmful activities and/or profiteering from sinful or harmful activities. In this case, however, Telstra just acquiesced to the gay lobby’s pressure to support gay marriage. They were no doubt worried about the PR risk of not doing so. Their actual operations and profiteering are completely unrelated to same sex marriage.
    3. The paragraphs that follow your quotation of me could be interpreted by some of your readers as if the person quoted (me) was not in favour of standing up for biblical values, was not in favour of seeking to persuade society of what is right and good. In my case, this would be misleading. You can find me and my colleagues from the Centre for Public Christianity in many secular media outlets – print, radio, TV – advocating for the biblical view of marriage and of sex more generally.
    4. When you say “it might also be pointed out that many of these same Christian leaders who do not like believers taking a public stand on things like abortion or homosexual marriage are fully happy to do exactly the same when it comes to their pet lefty causes”, I want your readers to know this couldn’t possibly refer to the Christian leader whose quote you opened with (i.e., me). My stand on all these issues is part of the public record. And ‘pet left’ seems a cheap shot, and inaccurate in my case, anyway.
    5. It seems we may all have jumped the gun. The Catholic Church today categorically denied they made any real or implied threat to boycott Telstra over this issue. They insist they were just trying to get Telstra in a room so that they could seek to persuade them of what is true and good in marriage. Good on them. Sounds great.
    Blessings on your work.
    John Dickson

  7. Thanks John. You publicly stated your concerns on this issue and asked for feedback, so I publicly gave some feedback. It seems you are now backtracking somewhat on your original “disquiet”. I am glad you are. Blessings.

  8. Repeating my comment to Telstra:

    “Thank you for removing yourself from this debate. In a plebiscite it is individuals who vote, not corporations. Your stance supports the right of all within your employ to make up their own mind without fear that their views may be at odds with their employer. This is how it should be. I encourage you to stick to your position and resist those who would use bullying and intimidation to try force you into taking sides.”

    I see it as a bigger issue from the perspective of employees sitting around the lunch table, trying to have free and open discussion. When the employer (I.e. Telstra) chooses a side in the debate it (perhaps unintentionally) applies pressure upon its employees to conform or else face discrimination/marginalisation by their peers/superiors.

    Where alignment to a particular belief/belief system is clearly NOT an ‘intrinsic requirement’ for of the job then the employer needs to stay out of the debate.

  9. I can well imagine in time these companies having enough support that they can do as Bendigo Bank did. Close accounts of those whose values aren’t in line with theirs. The time to fight is now and not when we are taking our last breath.

  10. Should the church only be reactive to the ills of the world or should we aim to be preventative where possible?

    There will always be evil things occurring that are out of our control, sure, but does that mean we make no attempt to prevent evil where we know it will spring up?

    Maybe in a dictatorship we don’t have an option but this is a democracy where apparently we are free to have a say.

    So I say it’s better to prevent evil in the first place than have to fight it once it’s built up its stronghold – how often does scripture warn us against this on a personal level? Don’t let sin in…not even a little bit!

    And we do this in our everyday life – we take out insurance to avoid future financial burdens, we put locks on our doors to deter theives, we don’t wander alone late at night in dangerous places so we don’t end up dead, we put caps on our power points so children don’t get electrocuted – all preventative measures.

    I think it applies at least somewhat (and arguably much more) on a national level also.

    We know only too well at least some of the damage done to society by those seeking the destruction of marriage and total sexual anarchy but there is plenty more pain to come as the transgender movement begins to get going. Think of how many lives will be damaged – and how companies like Telstra, Starbucks, Apple, etc are rooting for exactly this.

    Why on earth wouldn’t we try to stop it?!

    Would it be wrong to warn a company offering its support to an infant Nazi movement? Or would it only become “Godly and constructive” after the atrocities began and ended?

    It’s a pretty important question to answer.

  11. Replying to John’s comment above, “Their actual operations and profiteering are completely unrelated to same sex marriage.”

    Telstra most definitely profiteers from lobbying. It’s called cashing in on the Pink Dollar. For some time Telstra have been major sponsors of the Sydney gay and lesbian mardi gras – I’m not sure if this is currently the case.

    I checked the Mardi Gras partners webpage, and the principal partner is the ANZ bank.

    Major partners include Qantas, Brown-Forman, Airbnb, Facebook, Canon, Google, Medibank, Twitter, and Atlantis.

    If the allegations about the RC church and Telstra are true, I salute them!

    Now, what is the Christian response to the ANZ bank, Qantas, Brown-Forman, Airbnb, Facebook, Canon, Google, Medibank, Twitter, and Atlantis and all the Official supporters?

  12. The money quote in your excellent post:
    “I thought it was called living in a democracy. I thought it was called exercising your right to act according to conscience as you see fit. I thought it was called being salt and light. I thought it was called seeking to reflect biblical righteousness in a dark and pagan society.

    I thought it was all about allowing a Christian voice to be heard. I thought it was called exercising our buying power responsibly. I thought it was called being faithful to biblical values and resisting the world’s agenda. I thought it was called being wise and discerning.”

    For some practical strategies in turning the left’s playbook, Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals back on them, I recommend this article, substituting “Christians” for “conservatives”:

  13. In answer to your question Marcus- I think to pull out support wherever you can and let them know why.
    It is not convenient or easy but if many concerned citizens took such a stand it would have an impact and make them think twice about dismissing the views of their customers.

    I have been a long time customer of ANZ but can do so no more. I have already stopped using airbnb and google.

    Thanks Bill and John.

  14. This issue takes us to Revelations 13: 17 “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

    Under the direction of Angela Mason, Marxist, lesbian, anarchist, lucifer worshipper, and ex chief executive of Stonewall and ex – chair of the ubber feminist group the Fawcett Society, the British government’s department of trade and industry, in 2007, brought out the Sexual Orienation Regulations (SORs) which made it a punishable offence to:

    “discriminate in the PROVISION OR DELIVERY of goods and services on the grounds of sexual orientation.”

    It must be noted that whilst Angela Mason worked on the home front, it was the queer puppet master, Peter Mandelson, who had conspired with Sir Ian Mckellen and Matthew Paris to corrupt school children on an industrial scale with the launch of Stonewall in 1989, who was the European Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry [1]

    To the British public, the SORs sound remote and dry as dust legalese, having absolutely no relevance or practical impact to their daily lives . Nothing could have been further from the truth. What the SORs mean is that it is against the law to refuse to provide or deliver goods and services that celebrate and promote sodomy and every other kind of sexual perversion. Even before the regulation came out, we saw, in 2004, ordinary people like Tom Forest, running a Christain based bed and breakfast in the Highlands of Scotland, suddenly hitting the headlines because he refused to open up his business and home to queers and lesbians [2]

    One morning such citizens wake up and begin work, like any other day of the week, and by the end of the day they have been thrown into a nightmare of possibly losing everything. What is worse is to discover that those whom they thought would support them, fellow Christians, turn on them and accuse them of not only breaking the law, but worst of all, being a homophobic bigot! – a crime worse than mass murder.

    The corollary of all this, is that if as a consequence of ALL the Christian teachers, MPs, judges, cake makers, bed and breakfast owners, photographers, tinkers, taylors, soldiers and sailors who refuse to give sexual perverts what they want, when they want and wherever they want, are removed from the market place, the governement considers it morally right that Christians are discriminated against RECEIVING the goods and services that celebrate and support Christian values and morality.
    Hence the government applauds the fact that after professionals who have refused to sign up to the SORs, have been expunged from the public space, Christians will no longer be able to find a lawyer, counsellor or pastor who support biblical truth, values and morality.

    Imagine the uproar that would occur if Muslim butchers were forced to either sell pork, or Mosques were forced to conduct Christian ceremonies, or shut down, all in the name of equality and diversity.

    Christians in retaliation remove their patronage from companies that are represented in gay pride parades. In Britain we mounted a campaign against the giant food chain, Tesco, causing them to lose five billion pounds from their shares on the stock market, early in 2012. However the problem: as is self- evident, as more and more companies and businesses sign up to the gay agenda, even to putting the Stonewall logo on all their business letters, the pool of providers of goods and services that provide basic necessities as banking, travel, medical treatment, education and legal representation who do not celebrate and promote sexual degradation and depravity, is rapidly to shrinking. Soon Christians will have no where to go, as the homosexual web site, “ Free Thinker” crowed [3].

    Christian activists, like Stephen Green of Christain Voice and Andrea Minichiello Williams of Christian Concern who have dedicated themselves to standing up for the name of Jesus Christ is tiny, but it is a matter of life and death for our nations that we get behind these warriors. Be of no doubt the gaystapo are not into tolerance, inclusion, fair go, or live and let live. We are in a fight to the death, in a zero sum war, in which the winners take all and the losers leave with nothing. There is no room for co -existance. It really is either them or us and our children [4].

    [1] Peter Mandelson
    [2] Tom Forest
    [4] Christain Voice

    David Skinner UK

  15. As one who has been employed to address cultural issues for the church, there is no doubt that the opposition whoever they are, work on the basis you will keep quiet. If you don’t in many cases they are quite surprised and not ready for the push-back.

    The longer we let it go the stronger they get. Nip it in the bud and they will have to regroup and try a new strategy or in some cases, give up.

    Last year, the ABC banned Charlie Drake’s song “My boomerang won’t come back” on their radio stations because of one complaint.

    I immediately wrote to them and said that as you respond on the basis of one complaint, I want all blasphemy on your TV stations banned unless you blaspheme Islam in equal measure. If you don’t I will take the matter to the anti discrimination board.

    Maybe it is because I am watching less and less TV trash that I haven’t heard any blasphemy since then.

  16. I am certainly doing my best to not support companies like Target, Coke, Apple, Disney etc. as well as any other company I find promoting the immoral agenda.

    Meanwhile back in the “States” it looks like the public health cost (and I believe there are many other costs) of STDs is now over fifteen billion dollars annually:-

    I wonder how these companies are going to react when their taxes have to be raised to pay for the agenda they are promoting.

  17. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke.
    If ever I had/have a ‘pet hate’ about us Christians it would be our disgraceful inability to be the voice in opposition to the thief in our backyard. I surmise many of the foul legislation passed over the past 50 years would never have been ratified were we the “salt and light” we have been commanded to be. “Don’t rock the boat” I have heard said many times. Like hell! Stand out, stand up! Shout it from the rooftops. As Christians, we need be vocal and make a stand for what is right. The alternative is this appalling ever-pervasive multifaceted evil which is creeping into our neighbourhoods and our homes whose sole ambition is to steal and kill and destroy.
    A very well-written article Bill.

  18. As a christian consumer I am fully answerable to Jesus for my stewardship of His money. If I choose to spend it in one place over another, I am answerable to that – not only in my conscience but also when I finally meet Him face to face.

    On that basis, there are quite a few practices/businesses we as a family don’t support. Vaccines being one of them because they use aborted foetal tissue to make them.

    We also left Medicare Private for their latest ad proclaiming alternate lifestyles and we told them why. We have turned down employment on several occasions because the work was not moral. I choose poverty over immorality.

    Many of our churches are irrelevant to our culture because they don’t speak out against social injustice and teach their members to do the same. If it’s not coming from the pulpit and the leaders aren’t modelling it to their members… How these churches can reconcile this position with Isaiah 58, I will never understand.

    “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
    to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
    to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
    Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
    when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
    Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
    then your righteousnessa will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
    Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
    “If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
    and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
    then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
    The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
    You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
    Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
    you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

  19. The ramifications of the Sexual Orientation Regulations are enormous.

    As Christians boycott more and more companies and employers that support Gay Pride and Gay rights, they will be cutting themselves off from essential services such as banks, schools, medical care, food suppliers, public transport and churches. To many this will be seen as cuttng off one’s noses so as to spite one’s face.

    We in turn will find ourselves being refused banking and medical etc. Mr Edward Atkinson, an elderly was denied a hip replacement because of his politicaly incorrect views on abortion. Stephen Green had is bank account closed down by the Co-op because of his views on homosexuality. Parents at a Primary school in Bromstone, Broadstairs, Kent, who objected to their children being bombarded with gay propagada were advised by the headteacher to take their children elsewhere.
    From now on anyone, be they the highest in the land or a small child who refuse to support gay pride will be disciplined and forced to undergo diversity training, or be exhiled to God Knows where [ 1].

    Employees within organisations that support Gay Pride already find they dare not express views in the canteen that can be described as homophobic. I received this from a Tesco employee.
    “Let me open by apologizing for my going through the absurd necessity of using a fake email address – my employer (Tesco) has been known to take action against members of staff who are identified as making any remarks online which could be considered derogatory. (This is advice handed out by our union, USDAW – never, ever mention Tesco on Facebook, Twitter, etc). I simply cannot run the risk that my real name would be associated with the comments I am about to make. (which is not meant to question your personal integrity, it is simply a risk I cannot take).”

    Moreover if it is discovered that an employee has expressed politically incorrect views on social media that have nothing to do with the company or his or her ability to do the job, then he can find, like Felix Ngole, himself out on his ear [2]

    More recently in Britain a new polticial party, UKIP, whose agenda is to get Britain out of Europe, has been infiltrated by the gays who work night and day to subvert and corrupt every conceivable human institution. A Christian, Alan Craig who had been nominated by UKIP to stand as a councillor for the South West Region of the Greater London Assembly, was attacked by a homosexual candidate, Richard Hendron, because of Alan’s christian views on homosexuality. A petition was set up to deselect him. We could have just rolled over and died with our feet in the air, but we fought back with a counter petition which comprehensively defeated that of the gays [3]. We desperately need victories like that and to shout about them.

    Whilst there is yet day we need corporately to put pressure on big companies and hit them where it hurts most – in their pockets and with MPs – by withdrawing our support from them during elections. Let us use our freedom of choice, corporately before it is completely taken away. We owe it to our ancestors who gave their lives in defence of religious freedom and freedom of conscience and our children who are threatened by Shariah and its Queer equivalent. Homosexual High Court Judge, Sir Adrain Fulford has boasted that Pink law with cease to be an anomoly but the shape of things to come. The price of this freedom is eternal vigilance.

    [1] School children disciplined for not supporting gay rights

    [2] Felix Ngole

    [3] Richard Hendron v Alan Craig

    David Skinner UK

  20. Telstra has apparently backflipped…

    Australia’s largest telco, Telstra, appears to have backflipped on its support for marriage equality, vowing to renew its “active position” on the issue.
    Last week, chief executive Andrew Penn announced the company would no longer “publicly participate” in the debate over same-sex marriage. It followed revelations by The Australian newspaper that Telstra had quietly dropped its public support for marriage equality following pressure from one of its major clients, the Catholic church.
    Telstra experienced a customer backlash after it pulled back on its public advocacy for same-sex marriage.
    Telstra experienced a customer backlash after it pulled back on its public advocacy for same-sex marriage.
    But following a backlash in which many customers threatened to cancel their contracts, Mr Penn seemed to concede his announcement had been an error of judgment.

    “It is clear that rather than Telstra stepping back we should in fact step forward and support our view for marriage equality and so that is what we will do,” he wrote in a statement on Monday.
    “By renewing our active position, we acknowledge that we are at equal risk of inflaming a new debate but it is the right thing to do. It also remains very important that we continue to recognise and respect the right of the individual to hold their own view on this issue.”
    The Catholic church lobbied the openly gay CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, to withdraw the carrier’s public support for …
    The Catholic church lobbied the openly gay CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, to withdraw the carrier’s public support for same-sex marriage. Photo: Ben Rushton
    What exactly Telstra means by “renewing our active position” is as yet unclear, and was not addressed in Mr Penn’s statement. But it is understood the company stands ready to participate in future campaigns run by Australian Marriage Equality, organiser of the corporate campaign Telstra joined last year. That would include events such as the CEO breakfast AME hosted with corporate leaders last year.
    The telco has also sponsored major LGBTI events such as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Melbourne’s Midsumma festival. It is understood those sponsorships were not under threat from last week’s fleeting change of heart, and are set to continue into the future. The company also ranked 20th on the 2015 Australian Workplace Equality Index for LGBTI employers, published by Pride in Diversity, a program of the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON).
    Telstra is one of hundreds of Australian companies to pledge support for marriage equality through AME’s campaign. Its logo featured in full page newspaper advertisements published last year. At the time, many of those corporations were contacted by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, which urged them to reconsider their public support.
    Last week Fairfax Media revealed the church’s business manager Michael Digges wrote directly to two of Australia’s most prominent gay chief executives, Alan Joyce of Qantas and Michael Ebeid of SBS, urging them to drop their marriage equality campaigns.
    In a statement, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney said it was “pleasing to know that Telstra recognises the right of all individuals to hold their own view on the issue of same-sex marriage, as expressed in yet another news release”.
    But the church questioned whether it was fair or reasonable for a company to propagate a particular viewpoint “on behalf of all their stakeholders”.
    “However, church leaders have every right to participate in respectful and open discussion on all important social issues and public policy and in this case we renew our position on marriage”, the statement said.

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