Dr Pollnitz’s Anti-Gay Submission. Part 1. An Unholy Association with Hate Mongers and Hypocrites.

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

I’m in a quandary. Dr Robert Pollnitz has made a submission to the Senate enquiry opposing marriage equality. Although he has submitted the paper as a private individual, Dr pollnitz is the head of the Church’s Committee on Social and Bioethical Questions which assists the Presidents in their deliberations on matters such as these. Dr Pollnitz assisted the General president of the LCA with his submission on behalf of the church. The opinions expressed by Dr Pollnitz are therefore very relevant to the all of us as we explore LCA’s  attitude to homosexuality and marriage equality.

Here is my quandary. I don’t know Dr Pollnitz. I have critiqued his submissions in the past and was initially very hard on a 2003 paper that he wrote on homosexuality. When I write critiques I try to go hard at the issue and not the person but, sometimes I may blur the line. I imagine Dr Pollnitz as a loving father, grandfather and husband and as a devoted pediatric doctor over many years saving lives and helping people. I know that he has also been nationally recognised for his long and faithful service to the church.

I mention all of this just to express my regret that I need to critique this submission so harshly. I do it because it has serious problems that really need to be shown for what they are. And I do it because, ultimately, this is not about Dr Pollnitz or me. It is about the LGBT members of the Lutheran Church of Australia and the campaign that the church is waging against their rights. It is about my friend who is called sinner because of his God-given sexuality and whose love is rejected as abomination. So, I go hard at the issue. Sometimes, I confess, the exercise of my sharp tongue  gives me pleasure. This is not one of those times.

Wouldnt it be good if we could just read something and accept it at face value. Wouldnt it be nice if, just for once, we ran a submission or statement from a church leader through the google  fact checker and found it free of embarrassing misrepresentations, contradictions, hypocrisy or distortions of fact. I wish this submission was free of problems, But it certainly is not.

The full submission can be seen here. Just scroll down to No. 100 and press the PDF link.

Some paragraphs from the submission are presented in the boxes below.

Dr Pollnitz writes…

This is effectively the same statement that was included in the LCA  President’s submission. But the cut and paste nature of the comment is not the real concern. Allow me to “cut and paste” my critique of this section of the presidents report.

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 (and Dr Pollnitz) should have contacted the good professor himself before sending the submission.

In each submission from Dr Pollnitz that I have read (5 I think?) he makes mention of his 30 years of experience as a pediatrician and how he has found that children do best when raised by their own biological mother and father. With all due respect to Dr Pollnitz and his experiences, is he really suggesting that adoptive parents provide less suitable parenting than birth parents? Would he really want to obstruct adoption processes? That seems to be a logical outcome of his thesis. More to the point, one would have to question whether, in all those 30 years, he had much at all to do with the children of gay parents. I do not believe he speaks from an informed position on this matter but one of prejudice. Then again, as he said in his submission, prejudice is apparently ok.

Reader, this is the first of 3 particular paragraphs that I have chosen from the submission. They come from sources that  I have called “an unholy trinity of hate”.

Please note particularly well the references made in this paragraph. Following on from his comments about having 30 years experience in the field of pediatrics, Dr Pollnitz quotes the American College of Pediatricians who state that homosexual parenting presents a significant risk to the child, is hazardous and is dangerously irresponsible. Sounds serious! There is only one problem. The American College of Pediatricians are not what their name suggests.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is the 60, 000 strong professional body that represents medical practitioners in the United States. In 2002 they endorsed same-sex parent adoptions. A small group of conservative Christians then broke away from that body in protest and formed the American College of Pediatricians. The membership of this breakaway group is not released for public scrutiny but it is estimated to be between only 60 and 200 people. This breakaway (bogus ?) group exists not to further the cause of pediatrics but to fight against gay rights in America. They have been caught misusing the research of members from the legitimate organisation in a dangerous anti-gay letter that was sent to every school district in America.

This letter leads us to one George Rekers. Have a look at the youtube clip below. This made the news in 2009. I remember it well because I have seldom seen anything as ostentatiously hypocritical as this. I will let Rachel Maddow of MSNBC tell the story but listen for the references to the American College of Pediatricians as quoted in Dr Pollnitz’s  submission.

The very best construction that I can put on Dr Pollnitz’s use of “research” from the Bogus American College of Pediatricians is that he himself has been mislead and used this material in good faith assuming it represented the findings of the legitimate organisation, the American Academy of Pediatrics. If this is not the case, If pediatrician, Dr Pollnitz knowingly used bogus research from a far right “cure the gays” organisation and presented it as if it were legitimate research from a legitimate pediatric association…well,..the implications of that are a little too disturbing to contemplate.

Stay tuned. Part 2 and the dramatic conclusion on the weekend.