SENATE INQUIRY EXPOSES DEEP DIVISIONS IN THE SAME SEX MARRIAGE MOVEMENT
A Senate inquiry examining the consequences to religious freedom of same-sex marriage has exposed deep divisions in the same-sex marriage movement. Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said it was significant that a cross-party group of Senators came to the consensus that non-clergy Australian’s rights and freedoms would be lost and needed to be protected should marriage law ever change. “This is the first time this has been acknowledged by politicians who support redefining marriage,” Mr Shelton said. “But the committee’s consensus view was vehemently opposed by same-sex marriage movement leaders in their testimony before the inquiry who believe non-clergy dissenters to same-sex marriage should be fined,” Mr Shelton said.
The Senate Select Committee report into the consequences for religious freedom of a draft same-sex marriage bill has been tabled in the Senate. “For years we have been told that same-sex marriage is just a simple change that only affects the couple involved and that all that is needed is a minor tweak to the Marriage Act. “A Senate committee now agrees that there are far-reaching and complicated impacts that run through anti-discrimination laws which must be addressed, should the Parliament ever decide to redefine marriage,” Mr Shelton said. The committee recognised that it was not bigotry for ministers of religion, civil marriage celebrants and even business owners who supply the wedding industry to wish to be free to live out their beliefs about marriage.
The Senators’ views were in stark contrast to the leaders of the same-sex marriage movement who gave evidence at the hearings. “Just Equal” spokesperson Rodney Croome, told the committee hearings he was opposed to protections for religious freedom for civil celebrants. “To us providing protections would sound like a way to legitimise prejudice,” Mr Croome told the Senators. Chris Pycroft of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby told the committee: “I think that any amendment that would be introduced to the bill which would introduce exemptions for religious freedom in some form or another would need to be reviewed two to three years after the specific exemptions were put in place, to evaluate their effectiveness and whether it is appropriate to keep them in place”.
“Clearly protections for freedom of belief that Parliament might include to secure the passage of a same-sex marriage bill would not stand the test of time before activists started lobbying again for change,” Mr Shelton said. The Co-Chair of Australian Marriage Equality and member of the NSW Parliament, Alex Greenwich, is constantly chipping away at the legal protections for religious schools in NSW anti-discrimination law which allows them freedom to hire staff who share their ethos. Mr Shelton said while progress was being made with Parliamentarians, the leaders of the same-sex marriage movement had a long way to go before they would accept pluralism and diversity for other Australians.
The silent majority is being targeted by the LGBTI agenda once again, with teachers and educational officers as the focus. GALE Association, whose leaders include Roz Ward of Safe Schools, are distributing the first wave of extremely controversial ‘guides’. These documents are not only a masked attempt to encourage the implementation of sex education in Australian schools, but worse, they villainise those who do not whole-heartedly celebrate the mass instruction on the LGBTI lifestyle. In an article entitled ‘Push in Schools to Fight ‘Modern’ Homophobia’, Rebecca Urban addresses the new slurs which the document established for those who are not actively embracing the LGBTI agenda:
Educators are urged to look out for new forms of “modern homophobia” characterised by disinterest, disingenuous support or “sham tolerance” of efforts to promote sexual diversity education in schools. “Tolerance” is not enough for these activists; people must wholly and enthusiastically embrace and celebrate their radical agenda in order to avoid being labelled as “modern homophobes.” The guide, which coins a new acronym to describe its target group: DESPOGI, or Disadvantaged because of their Expression of Sexual Preference or Gendered Identity, cautions activists to be aware of “laggards”, defined as “conservatives whose main aim is to protest or block government action” as well as “traditionalists” who try to ensure schools safeguard conservative values and limit knowledge of liberal values.
According to the guide: “Modern homophobics state they are not homophobic but prefer their child not to be LGBTI.” The pamphlet explains that teachers will encounter this “modern homophobia” in most of their classrooms. To solve this, GALE suggests all educators should participate in “peer sessions” where teachers are “educated” by LGBTI advocacy groups. It cites the importance of “peer education” in generally supportive markets, where LGBTI advocacy groups conduct sessions for teachers on issues around supporting LGBTI students in schools. “In this phase, peer educators will encounter more ‘modern’ homophobia and transphobia,” it says. “Modern homophobia and transphobia are more difficult to deal with than traditional homophobia and transphobia and peer educators need to be trained on this.”
Although claiming to be a crusade for tolerance, the movement is far from that. They are not content to “live and let live,” but rather require everyone to hold only an “approved” opinion, and are co-opting our children’s educators into their campaign. Fighting for equal rights seems a thing of the past with the LGBTI agenda intent on forcing any opposition to its knees. They are now seeking to create legislation which would obliterate any opposition in the school system. This slow and steady loss of personal freedom of opinion is one of the effects of altering the definition of marriage. As Australians, we deserve the right to our opinion, and the freedom to express it. We must hold fast to that right and not surrender it to the cultural whims of the day or the pressure from LGBTI activists.
The members of the 6th Episcopal Assembly of Oceania met recently in Sydney. The Assembly provided the opportunity for the Hierarchs to recognise and reinforce their unity in the Orthodox faith. Present were Archbishops, Bishops and Assistant Bishops of the Orthodox Churches in Greece, Antioch; Russia; Serbia and Romania. In the opening session, the Chairman, His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos of Australia welcomed all Hierarchs. All Hierarchs were provided with the opportunity to raise common concerns confronting the Orthodox Churches in Oceania and benefit from the experience of fellow bishops. In light of the discussion, the following decisions were made:
1. The Sacredness of Marriage: That the Christian understanding of marriage as a sacrament of the Church between a man and a woman, to the exclusion of others, drawing the couple closer to one another, to God and His eternal Kingdom be reaffirmed. In this context, it was noted that should the Marriage Act be changed, this would have destructive consequences on the institutions of Marriage and of the Family more generally. Once again, the significance of speaking with one common voice on this issue, together with others, was brought to the fore.
2. Safe Schools Program: The Assembly noted that even though the Safe Schools program introduced in Australia purports to be an anti-bullying initiative, nonetheless, the Assembly highlighted that the program is primarily concerned with exposing children and teenagers to material regarding gender fluidity contrary to the teaching of the Holy Bible and the Orthodox Church. For this reason, the Assembly denounced this program and considered it to be a vehicle of indoctrination in which process parents are being disempowered in the sexual education of their children.
The Assembly once again remembered and prayed for the safe return of the two kidnapped Hierarchs in Syria, the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Paul Yazigi and the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop John Ibrahim. The Assembly expressed its concern with regards to the plight of the Orthodox Christian faithful in Syria and of all peoples of the Middle East. Furthermore, the Assembly denounced the violence and bloodshed taking place throughout the world in the name of religion. It affirmed the importance of reminding the faithful that religion, far from dividing peoples, ought to unite them on the fundamental issues of human rights, social justice and peaceful co-existence. The importance of cultivating respect for all people irrespective of race, gender, language and religion was emphasised.
Source: Press Release from Orthodox Assembly of Oceania