The LCA and the Anti-Gay Submission Part 2: We gotta check our sources!

A post by Neil Hart on homosexuality, LGBT lesbian and gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Australia.

Hey Reader…Yesterday I said, “I promise that I will get back to you tomorrow” didn’t I ? Why are you surprised? Did you doubt me?

Actually, I surprised myself. All I know is that I couldn’t put 2 words together last night and had given up and gone to bed. Then, in the middle of the night, I heard the tapping of computer keys. I came out to the living room and there was a little gnome like creature typing away. He was mumbling something about rumplestilz and straw and gold and owing him my first-born child…It made no sense to me. I came out this morning and here was the review part 2 all finished for me :-)). BONUS!

Anyway, this all looks pretty good to me so I thought I’d just post it. Hope the gnome spell checked it.

For those of you who have come in late. The president of the Lutheran Church of Australia has made a Submission to the Federal Government opposing proposed legislation for gay marriage…or marriage equality. You can read Part 1 here including my critique or go to the Government’s submission page. Just scroll down to no. 76 and press the PDF link. While you’re there, have a look at mine (No 69) and perhaps Dr Pollnitz’s (no 100). Dr Pollnitz is the head of the Lutheran Church of Australia’s Committee on Social and Bio-ethical Questions. His submission makes VERY interesting reading indeed! My review of that document will be next.

Ahhhh. Thankyou jesusandmo.net. You say what i want to say but you say it with pictures and I think that’s jolly clever.

Anyway..here is the next part of my review of the submission YOU sent to parliament. Well…the President SAID it was on your behalf and I think it was jolly nice of him to speak for you.

(Why have I suddenly started saying “jolly”? Where did THAT come from?)

Anyway, the presidents words are in the box and my comments are underneath. We pick up on the submission with an argument that the approval of Gay marriage will somehow violate the separation of church and state.

Confused? Well, read on…but it aint gonna get any clearer… :(

I’m sorry but…WHAT THE??

OK…lets think THIS one through. The Lutheran Church of Australia has a particular understanding of homosexual sex. In the past we have said that it is sinful. Therefore, we oppose it. The stand of the church arises from its belief system and its understanding of the Bible. It is a statement of faith. What the church has consistently done over the last decade is to oppose every legislative move to bring justice to the LGBT community. It has not been based on common sense or constitutional law as it applies to marriage or even  accepted community ethical standards. It has been based on a belief in what scripture has to say on the matter. If it wasn’t, the church would have no basis to say anything. The role of the church is to be the voice of God into the community.

The president of the church confirmed that the issue for us is a faith issue and not a secular one.  In response to my critique of his submission he said that the issue was not about logic or human rights. He said that it is about theology and being the children of God. His quote can be found at the end of Part 1.

So, why suddenly is there a concern for the “separation of church and state”? We certainly didn’t consider the separation of church and state when we joined together with the Australian Christian Lobby and signed a letter to the government that was chock-a-block full of Roman Catholic teaching on sexuality.   The majority of the Christian church leaders in Australia  have a clear agenda to impose religious beliefs into the government’s legislative deliberations.

It seems to me that we don’t get to do that and then, if the government decides to act contrary to how we would like them to, suddenly claim “separation of church and state” and demand that they not interfere with us! We stick out fingers, consistently and persistently into the national legislative pie and if they slap our hand…we cry foul and object to their manipulation of the church?

The legislation clearly separates the church from any responsibility to perform gay marriages.  Not only that, the church has never been required to perform any marriage that was outside of its faith requirements. Ministers of Religion are authorised to marry ONLY according to the rites of their church. That is a government legislation making a clear separation. The government properly doesn’t interfere with the church’s rights to perform marriages or refuse to perform them.

The government even legislates to exclude Church’s from litigation under anti-discrimination laws. Personally, I think that it is offensive that the church demands and holds onto its “right” to discriminate against people outside of the bounds of the law that guide every other citizen and employer. But, the government is willing even to go that far to allow religious freedoms for our church. The lines of separation are well drawn and well maintained by our government. That, however, hasn’t restricted the church from imposing its faith agenda on the government as in the present campaign against gay marriage.

The Presidents argument about potential transgression of church/ state demarkation simply makes no sense. But i guess that’s ok….As he said, It’s not about logic. It’s about being “theologic”…sigh…

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The following sections are Dot Points that were forwarded with the Submission. They come straight from the points that were forwarded to the president by  Dr Rob Pollnitz who appears to have advised the president in forming this submission.

Altmann’s  one line comment is made in dozens of conservative articles opposing gay marriage. I was, however, unable to track dow the source and therefore have no idea of the context. I doubt that the president has actually read whatever document this comment has been lifted from either. But I am open to correction.

Altmann is a professor in politics at Latrobe university. He has been in a relationship with his same-sex partner for over 20 years. Altmann wrote an influential book on homosexuality 40 years ago entitled  Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation. He is a contemporary of Germaine Greer and, like her book The Female Eunuch, his work has become a classic in cultural studies. Professor Altmann in a recent RN radio interview acknowledged that his approach to the question of gay marriage represented a minority view in the community. He opposes gay marriage from the traditional feminist viewpoint in that he does not  believe that “either the state or the churches should define (any) relationship”.

Apart from the obvious lack of value of a half sentence quote included in the submission without reference or context, it remains that the professor’s views are simply those of one man. I have spoken to Barry down the road. Barry is a heterosexual man and is in an “Open Marriage”. He told me…”I should be able to screw whoever I like!”

Hie comment has left me with grave concerns about the future viability of heterosexual marriage in Australia.

Once again we have a quote that is taken out of context and I question whether the president has actually read the report. I have.

The report certainly speaks of the adverse consequences faced by children in what are becoming increasingly unhealthy family structures and practices in Australia. The report speaks of single women with teenaged daughters who have several short term relationships with different men. This exposes the daughter to greater risk of sexual abuse.

The report speaks of the negative consequences on children of the extra financial and emotional burdens that are placed on single parent households.  It speaks of the negative consequences and extra stresses placed on children in step family arrangements. it speaks of the negative outcomes for children whose parents are in de-facto relationships because of the tendency for these relationships to not be as enduring as formal marriages.

2 things need to be noted.

1. The report is concerned with the increasing family stressors effecting children in our society in the past and now,  not what may happen in the future if gay marriage were legalised.

2, The report nowhere mentions homosexual relationships. Not one sentence.

An argument could certainly be made that the report indicates that long term, stable, committed, married gay relationship would be a great asset in improving the negative consequences mentioned above. The report has certainly been used in that way by those in favour of gay marriage.

In the end, the best person to speak on this is the man who wrote the report.  I contacted Professor Parkinson and he advised the following…

I do not endorse (the report’s) use to buttress arguments for or against a legislative change.

Perhaps the president should have contacted the good professor himself before sending the submission.

This is a scandalous comment that is based on no facts. I challenge the President to back up the accusation with some REFERENCES!  This comment is a type of fear mongering that is not worthy of inclusion in a submission to the government. I have no doubt that it will be seen for what it is  and, as a member of the church that this purports to represent, I am embarrassed by its inclusion. I am saddened that this type of fear driven, unsubstantiated nonsense and gossip is regurgitated by those who claim to speak for God.

There! Does that give an indication of how I am feeling as I read this??

Sigh..Maybe i better walk away and have a coffee or something.

OK. Back now. Reread the above and I’m going to leave it in. It is strong wording and it is provocative but the question I raise and the challenge I put are valid.

An argument could be mounted that Gay marriages have actually proved to be of benefit to the counties who have had legalised gay marriage for any length of time. Denmark was the first country to approve gay marriages in 1989. A report from Psychology Today shows that the divorce rate in gay marriages in Denmark is at a remarkably low 17% compared to 46% for heterosexual couples. As the report says…what can these gay couples teach us about long term, stable, loving and committed relationships.

I am not aware of any sudden spike in numbers of marriages between people and dogs in Denmark as a result of their acceptance of gay marriage.

The only thing that can be said with some degree of certainty is that the introduction of gay marriage is so recent and is in so few countries (15?) that no reliable figures on anything can  be produced.

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Ok, reader. there is my summary of the presidents submission. What about you? How do you feel. This submission purports to speak for you if you are a member of the Lutheran Church of Australia. Let me know…yeh? Or better yet…let him know. I’m happy to forward any comments and letters on your behalf.