Christians (and others interested in the preservation of free speech) need to stay informed about developments in this area.
Two things stand out from recent weeks: one is the comments made by Bill Shorten with regard the possibility of a plebiscite on redefining marriage. In an opinion piece in the SMH last month, once again he cast the issue as merely one of discrimination/equality, and was dismissive of the need for further public debate (Rick Lewers stole my idea and wrote about this really helpfully in the local paper :)).
His idea is that debate would involve discrimination, hate-speech and malicious homophobia. Nowhere does he acknowledge that debate about this issue might be loving, respectful and peaceable. He implies that to disagree is to be hateful and discriminatory. One of his closing lines: ‘Marriage equality is an act of justice, too long delayed and denied.’
The message is clear: as far as he is concerned, the time for discussion is over. Should this attitude prevail, it doesn’t bode well for what lies beyond whatever decision might be taken. If same sex marriage is legalised, I know how to live under a government that doesn’t line up with my beliefs. Not their job to line up with me, really. I do expect to be able hold and express my own views, however.
Events in Hobart might be a foretaste of what many would like to see. If you haven’t caught up, a Catholic bishop in Tasmania distributed a booklet defending classical marriage to the parents of it’s own schools. The booklet (enititled ‘Don’t Mess with Marriage’, google it) is sober, well argued and exactly what one should expect from a catholic bishop.
Incensed, the leader of Australia’s gay marriage political movement, Rodney Croome, said the bishops had turned children into “couriers of prejudice”. He urged people to complain to the Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. In response, a transgendered male-to-female candidate for the extreme left wing Greens political party, Martine Delany, lodged a complaint.
Commissioner Robin Banks ruled on Friday that the Bishop, but the entire Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, has a case to answer.
As the Australian Christian Lobby notes, the gay lobby has spent years saying that same sex marriage affects no-one. Even before it is law, this is a serious challenge to free speech.
Here’s a challenge to every single member of unechurch: find out who your local member is, and get in the habit of writing to them. Know how to respectfully make the case for classic marriage. It’s to do with equality and dignity but definitions, the role of family, and the importance of biological parenthood as an ideal, with the distinct roles mothers and fathers play.