Crucify Them!

Does history repeat itself? With a few drops of irony and a bucket full of ignorance, it appears that some Australians are trying their best.

Two Melbourne Churches were yesterday vandalised by a person(s). 

Waverley Baptist’s building was graffitied with the words,

“Crucify ‘no voters”

“Vote yes”

Glen Waverley Anglican Church was painted with,

“Bash Bigots”, and with a picture equating Christianity with Nazism.

 

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This is not the first occasion when the threat of crucifixion has been used by campaigners on the ‘yes’ side of the marriage debate. It has been painted and proclaimed even in public meetings. No doubt, this is meant to be the worst kind of insult. Perhaps it’s an attempt scare people into silence. One is clear, they are venting anger toward Aussies who won’t fall into line and vote ‘yes’.

In light of the graffiti on these Melbourne Churches, it’s hard not to think of the most famous crucifixion of all.

On the night before his trial and crucifixion, Jesus and his disciples were praying in the Garden of Gethsemane when armed officials approached and arrested him. Peter responded by attacking a man with his sword. Jesus was quick to stop Peter, rebuked him for his wrongful action, and healed the injured man.

In contrast, throughout the trial before Pilate, the crowd repeatedly shouted out,

“Crucify him!” they shouted.

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

They were responding not against the wishes of the political and religious leadership, but in accord with their purpose.

To be sure, there will be many ‘yes’ voters who are appalled by this latest vandalism on Australian Church buildings. But are we surprised? Of course not. When national political leaders and social commentators insist that voting ‘no’ equates to the worst kind of hate and phobia, it is no wonder that we are seeing this kind of behaviour being played out.

It is important to recognise that there have been some awful things said about gay and lesbian Australians; these are rightly reported and are widely condemned across the board. Any comment or insult that aims to dehumanise any Australian is reprehensible.

I can imagine people feeling unnerved when they arrived for Church yesterday morning; it’s not a pleasant welcome. Let’s not downplay the vileness of this threat: the practice of crucifixion was the most creative and cruelest form of execution, and it is still horrifically practiced in parts of the world today, including Iraq, Syria and Sudan, where Christians have been crucified. At the same time, the vandals are paradoxically offering the greatest complement anyone can give, for they are suggesting that these Churches be treated in the same manner as Jesus Christ.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2)

Of course, Christians can be insulted because we’ve done and said stupid things, and even sinful things. In the midst of the current national debate on marriage, I’ve heard some pretty nasty things spoken by Christians, rarely, but it has happened. However holding to the Bible’s understanding of marriage is not repugnant; it’s unpopular right now but it’s not hateful or wrong. Believing in heterosexual only marriage is not only in sync with the Bible, it’s stating the current legal view of marriage and it is also most logical understanding of marriage. 

When Christians are smeared with the kind of hate and threats that were publicised on those Church walls, we should not respond with fear but with joy, for we are being insulted because of Christ.

Jesus said,

 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)

In the off chance that those responsible for Sunday’s vandalism read this blog post, understand that your words are a massive misfire. At the end of the day, you haven’t condemned these churches, you’ve commended them for following Jesus.

I also want you to know this, the very idea that you see as reprehensible may well be something good, and more wonderful than you realise. Just as we know that while humanity’s intent in crucifying Jesus was hateful, God used the cross for love. Jesus willingly went to his crucifixion out of love for the very people who despised him and called for his death. On the cross Jesus cried out,

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”


This is how Drew Mellor, Senior Minister of Glen Waverley Anglican Church, responded, and that’s how we Christians need to keep responding. We can’t hold onto grudges or respond vindictively because we know how much we have been loved and forgiven by God. My own church has been graffitied over the years; it’s annoying, and I understand that it can also be hurtful. But then we remember how we once stood on the other side of the cross and tried to define reality without God.

It is because of Divine grace and love that Christians speak, and we want to persuade our fellow Australians about Jesus Christ, and yes, even about the goodness of marriage, and why it makes sense for marriage to remain between a man and a woman. Should the population and politicians decide otherwise, they can. Should the law change, it will redefine how we view society and how we treat those who cannot support those changes. While the graffiti is probably (un)intentional hyperbole, Australian Christians need to wake up to the fact that the culture has moved. The Bible has always taught that there is a cost for those who follow Christ. Through a combination of grace and complacency, most of us have we’ve avoided paying. We are just beginning to sense that things are changing, and that the historical bubble in which we’ve been living is about to burst, and we will find ourselves where Christians for most of history have lived, on the outside of society.

Therefore, in light of this probability,

 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12)

 

 

In accordance with s 6(5) of the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017, this communication was authorised by Murray Campbell , of Melbourne, Victoria.

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The ongoing offence of the Gospel and of Sydney Anglican Diocese

My brothers and sisters in the Sydney Anglican diocese have donated $1 million to aid the ‘no’ vote on the marriage campaign. The almost instantaneous public backlash following the announcement was as surprising as hay fever in Spring. Critics jumped on board to advise the Diocese as to how they should be using their money.

A balanced media report would have explained how the Diocese uses all its funds, including the near million dollars raised to help Syrian refugees, the huge sums invested into Anglicare, and the even larger sums that are raised annually within churches for many different projects. Naturally, there is more to the story than social media is sharing, but examining the fuller picture isn’t what critics do best. Fairfax once again performed valiantly as they lifted a facebook comment by one Sydney Minister, cutting and pasting his opinion with the surgical skill of my 3 year old pet dog.

I am not saying that I finally agree with their decision (Baptist blood runs thick!), it was not my decision to make and I am not privy to conversations inside the Standing Committee. I am grateful though that the Sydney Diocese is treating this issue with the seriousness it deserves, and they are prepared to back up their words with action and money. Archbishop Glenn Davies is correct in his analysis of the current debate and of the consequences that will inevitably follow should marriage be redefined.

“I believe that a change in the definition of marriage is unwarranted, not just because it is in opposition to the teaching of Scripture and our Lord himself in Matthew 19, but because I believe marriage, traditionally understood as a union of one man and one woman, is a positive good for our society, where marriage and the procreation of children are bound together as the foundational fabric of our society, notwithstanding the sad reality that not all married couples are able to conceive. Moreover, I consider the consequences of removing gender from the marriage construct will have irreparable consequences for our society, for our freedom of speech, our freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. It is disingenuous to think otherwise, given the evidence to the contrary in Canada, the US and the UK.”

Same-sex marriage is about redefining society. It is about degendering  the family unit, and removing the rights of  children to be raised by their biological mother and father.  Numerous social activists are telling us how marriage is only the next stage of the much larger agenda to remove gender altogether and remove religion from public society.

Mauvre Marsden wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald (Oct 4),

“Yes, marriage is not the final frontier. Yes, we want safe schools. Yes, gay conversion therapy is child abuse. Yes, we want transgender kids’ agency to be respected and supported – regardless of what their parents want. Yes.”

Auberry Perry argued in The Age (Sept 3),

“This survey offers us a conscious opportunity to make a firm stand in support of a secular government and to reject discrimination or favouritism based on religion. It’s our opportunity to say that religion has no part in the shaping of our laws. A vote against same-sex marriage is a vote for religious bias and discrimination in our legislation, our public schools, our healthcare, and ultimately, in the foundation of our social structure.”

If the same-sex marriage activists are telling us the truth about their aims, surely we are loving our neighbours by trying to speak up about the good of marriage.

 

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Sydney Anglican Media

There is one particular criticism over the Diocesan donation that I wish to comment on, and it is coming from a few Christians who are suggesting that this will make evangelism more difficult. I understand the point, but I don’t buy it.

People will always be offended by the Gospel and by Christians expressing God’s righteousness.

Society has its own grid for defining moral rights and wrongs, and this isn’t always in tune with God’s righteousness. Sometimes when the culture says I’m a hypocrite, I am acting like a hypocrite. Other times, society just doesn’t like the fact that I’m not agreeing with them. Believing something different to the culture doesn’t make me hypocritical.

As Christians we want to be wise and not glibly explain away offences people may take at us, for it may well be that we ourselves have been blinded by our own sins and it takes an unbeliever to point it out to us. The reality is, the Sydney Diocese has a positive track record of acknowledging wrongdoing and seeking restitution. Last night’s domestic violence policy is the latest testimony to this. I even suspect that Sydney Anglicans are doing a better job than most in serving society’s vulnerable and needy. This may be partly due to the means available to them, but it’s partly because they’re living out what they preach and believe. It is however foolish to suggest that any current social milieu holds truth captive and is the arbiter of moral axioms, and that’s precisely the problem here – the Diocese isn’t conforming to the controlling pattern of our culture.

Same sex marriage was only one of several important social issues being addressed at Synod, including their important policy dealing with domestic abuse. This news story has received some media attention, but pales in comparison to the $1 million donation. Why? Because Sydney Anglicans gave the money to the “wrong” side. Alan Joyce’s $1 million donation and the free advertising given by the NRL are lauded because they conform to the set narrative. I guarantee that if a Christian denomination had donated money to the ‘yes’ campaign, the media would be praising them for their love and boldness.

I don’t believe Sydney’s donation will make evangelism harder, it simply affirms how hard it already is. Who knows, instead of fearing that critics and heretics will take another swing at the Church, perhaps in God’s kindness, this may create new  Gospel opportunities as people in our community see that someone has the guts to stand and be counted.

My caution to Christians is this, be very careful about defining our decisions by public opinion. I’m not saying that the beliefs and ideas of people around us don’t matter to us, but it’s the wrong starting question. We ought to first ask, how we can faithfully and wisely apply what we believe to be true and good in God’s word. We won’t always get this right, but I am thankful for those Churches and denominations who are trying.

 

 

In accordance with s 6(5) of the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017, this communication was authorised by Murray Campbell , of Melbourne, Victoria.

The age of post-reality

After only one season, the AFLW dream has come to end. The AFL has taken the drastic step to remove the women’s football competition, following the publication of a report on gender by Associate Prof. Damien Riggs and Dr. Clare Bartholomaeus of Flinders University. Apparently, it wouldn’t be fair on women footballers to be segregated from the AFL on account of their sex. From 2018, women will be allowed to enter the draft, and word is, there’s no differences between men and women, and so they’ll do just fine. It is believed that one of the club doctors expressed concerns about the move, but he’s since been sacked, and so shouldn’t pose any further threat to the progress of society.

Not wanting to be left behind, soccer Australia has announced that the Matildas and the Socceroos will be merging: the neutered wombats. Given the recent form by our women’s team, experts anticipate that the new national team to jump through the world rankings, sitting just above Brazil.

It is expected that this year’s cohort of medical students will be the worse since 1968. Ever since words like vagina and penis were banned in class, students are unable to identify human anatomy in their exams

Expectant parents are also among the throng who are dodging the bullet of common sense. When a newborn … passes through the …. canal, obstetricians can no longer tell if it is a boy or a girl. The parents, not wanting to force biology onto their children, leave it sexless and nameless, until such time that XYZ decides what it wants to be. One now former doctor made the unforgivable blunder, calling the life form, a human. It is possible however, that after a public letter of apology and taking reprogramming course in one of the nation’s tertiary uneducated institutions, she may be reissued with a licence to practice.

All this stems from a study conducted by Associate Prof. Damien Riggs and Dr. Clare Bartholomaeus, After spending many hours watching youtube videos, they wrote a series of recommendations for schools, urging them to avoid language that might suggest a person’s gender. The reason being, it may cause some children distress.

They have proposed that school staff refrain from calling boys and girls, boys and girls, and cease sporting activities where children are divided by their gender

According to the story in today’s The Australian,

“Gender could be stripped from classroom talks about sex and anatomy, with body parts described according to their function rather than being considered “male” or “female”, in a proposal by two academics to make school sex education more inclusive of transgender youth.

The terms “penis” and “vagina” could be replaced with gender-neutral terms, while reproduction and safe sex could be taught without referring to “sperm and eggs”.

Channel 7 reported,

“The authors said the aim of the report was to offer Australian policymakers and educators alternative ways to consider sexual health education.”

I have a growing empathy for the science community. Prof Richard Dawkins and his apocalyptic horse buddies have been decrying anti-science and pseudo-science for years, but they’ve been targeting the wrong group of people. It’s not Christians and theists who are the danger to rational thinking, it’s the new wave of university teachers and social commentators who insist that boys and girls must be anything other than boys and girls. Identifying the person standing in front of me has become more perplexing than figuring out a Jackson Pollock painting.

 

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There is such a thing known as ‘gender dysphoria’, where a child or adult feels as though their gender does not match their biological body. It is rare, with about 0.52% of people experiencing some form of transgenderism. It is also known that most children who experience some kind of dysphoria will grow out of it by adulthood. We must love and support these people, for they are made the image of God and have inherent worth. It is vital that our schools and society and churches be safe places for them. However, we are surely entering dangerous territory when  we must desist in applying and even mentioning basic human biology and sociology.

Finally, Riggs and Bartholomaeus have today rigorously denied any link between their de-gendering agenda with the current debate about genderless marriage.

Among their recommendations for schools are:

Philosophy and ethos

• Mission-and-values statement of school includes celebration of diversity, specifically naming gender

• Signs and posters in school celebrate gender diversity, including in the front office

• Written statements about philosophy and ethos that are followed through in practice

Policies, procedures, and guidelines

Bullying, harassment, physical safety, and discrimination:

○ Policies naming gender, gender diversity, and transphobia (including mention of transphobic bullying and language, deliberate ongoing use of incorrect names and pronouns, etc.)

○ Policies outlining consequences for such transphobic actions for students and staff

○ Procedures for dealing with complaints relating to discrimination and harassment

○ Procedure for recording incidents

Dress codes

○ All options for school uniforms and dress codes (including in relating to jewelry and make-up) available to all students, including for sport, formals/proms, and other activities

○ All options for dress codes available to all staff

Toilets/bathrooms and change rooms

○ Student facilities accessible to students according to affirmed gender (or individual transgender students’ preferences)

○ “All gender” toilets/bathrooms available for all students to have access to, if they choose

○ Staff toilets/bathrooms accessible by staff according to their affirmed gender (or individual transgender staff members’ preferences)

○ “All gender” toilets/bathrooms available for all staff to have access to, if they choose

○ Building of new facilities to consider individual facilities (e.g., individual toilet stalls)

  School camps

○ Transgender students consulted about their preferred options for sleeping arrangements when attending school camps; students placed with other students of their affirmed gender, unless they have concerns and then a suitable arrangement should be agreed upon (e.g., placing with friends)

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15532739.2017.1355648

 

In accordance with s 6(5) of the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017, this communication was authorised by Murray Campbell , of Melbourne, Victoria.

Footnote: the opening paragraphs are satirical

Meaningless Marriage on QandA

If you watched QandA last night, you may be left wondering why is Australia  having a discussion about marriage at all? It’s not because reason shows us that marriage should remain between a man and a woman, and it’s not because of impassioned stories from gay couples, but because we were told by two QandA panelists that we ought to get rid of marriage altogether.

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English philosopher, AC Grayling, claimed that the origins of marriage were sexist, but now “there’s another sense of the word marriage which is the commitment that two or perhaps more — I don’t know — people make to one another about pooling their resources, mutually supporting one another.”

He added that he doesn’t support the institution of marriage (despite the fact that he is married), although he does support same-sex marriage.

Merav Michaeli is a former journalist and currently serves as a member of Israel’s Parliament. Like Grayling, Michaeli has a very negative view of marriage and thinks society expunge marriage altogether.

“This is not something that we should maintain in the world when we realise all of us are human beings.”

Why?

“Marriage has nothing to do with love but is a tool created to dominate women, and not somethin that should be sustained”.

“In many countries … your parents make you marry someone because of their social status, because of the family they come from, because they want to keep the property in a specific family or another family.”

Any audience member wearing their ‘love is love’ t-shirt last night, must have felt a little awkward…or enraged. Don’t worry, Michaeli was about to insult almost everyone on the planet. Not only is marriage not about love, it is an indictment on society for it is, according to Michaeli and Grayling, a system of oppression. Merav Michaeli went even further and alleged that marriage is a danger to children,

“The core family is the least safe place for children”.

“The custody, this total custody that we have in this structure of marriage which still gives men domination, complete domination over their children and too often over their women … is a part of the ongoing hurt in children.”

When host Virginia Trioli asked Ms Michaeli what is her alternative to marriage and the nuclear family, the answer was, the State should take responsibility for determining who will raise children. In other words, it should not be assumed that biological parents will raise their own children. In fact parents should not have inherent  rights to raise their children, but the State should be given authority to allocate children to what Michaeli calls, ‘share households’.

If your jaw dropped last night, I understand why. Pause for a moment and hear what Michaeli is suggesting; parents should not have the right to raise their own children. I’m guessing that Australians are sensible enough to know how absurd and immoral that idea is. It’s crazy. It’s George Orwell revisited. While we may not be in 1984, we do however need to appreciate that should marriage be redefined, the State will encourage children to be raised without one or both biological parents. Same sex marriage, even more than existing adoption laws, will institutionalise the raising of children without both biological parents. Not for a second am I suggesting that the State will be knocking on doors and taking children away without parental consent, but it does encourage a culture where children can and should be raised without mum or dad.

I have no doubt that there are Australians who have had a terrible experience in marriage. I know couples today whose marriages are not the beautiful and safe relationship that they imagined it would be. There are however many more examples where marriage does not reflect, in any way, the negative and abusive regime model that Michaeli describes. And where marriages have failed and are broken, most couples celebrate this situation, they wish that their experience was one where marriage was full of love and security and flourishing.

it is also important to note that, Michaeli and Grayling were not describing marriage as it was in the beginning, or the countless wonderful ways in which marriage has been expressed throughout history in different cultures. Instead, their arguments depend on taking poor historical examples of marriage, and fallaciously presenting them as normative.

The very first marriage is described in terms of goodness and intimacy and faithfulness,

“for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs  and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones

    and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’

    for she was taken out of man.”

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

The Apostle Paul in Ephesians chapter 5 speaks of marriage with tenderness and other person centredness: a husband should lay down his life for his wife. A wife can choose to respect her husband, and help him be the kind of man he ought to be.

While both AC Grayling and Merav Michaeli said marriage was bad, both they, and Shadow Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, presented the concept of marriage as relative and so not fixed in any ontological or purposeful way. Despite this, every historical example of marriage that was inferred in last night’s program, depended on the fact that marriage is between a man and a woman. Why is that? Could it be that no matter the extent to which a society tries to recalibrate marriage, in less than helpful ways, some things remained unchangeable?

The program also revealed that debates over marriage are much more complex than often presented. Among those who support classical marriage, are arguments grounded in biology, ontology, sociological reasons for raising children, and at times theology. Common among those advocating for marriage change is the view that marriage is a malleable and ultimately groundless institution that should reflect what people want it to mean. The logical extension of this view is exactly what we find Merav Michaeli advocating: let’s get rid of marriage altogether.

The lesson from history is not that marriage is wrong or that marriage is relative, but that we grieve when marriage goes awry.  When society adopts the less than ideal of marriage, surely the answer is not to further walk away from the ideal, but to return to it?

Listening to last night’s conversation on QandA once again reminded me that the first question Australian should be asking, what is marriage? Is marriage love is love, or something more? Is marriage a meaningless term that everyone has the right to use however they choose? Is marriage about property rights?

 

 

 

Yes, SSM is about more than just marriage

Australians have been told again and again that the marriage debate is only about love and equality for marriage. Fairfax columnist, Aubrey Perry, has today argued that “it’s about much more”. Perry admits that changing the Marriage Act is about removing all influence of Judeo-Christianity in Australian political and public life:

“This survey offers us a conscious opportunity to make a firm stand in support of a secular government and to reject discrimination or favouritism based on religion. It’s our opportunity to say that religion has no part in the shaping of our laws. A vote against same-sex marriage is a vote for religious bias and discrimination in our legislation, our public schools, our healthcare, and ultimately, in the foundation of our social structure.”

 

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Inadvertently, Aubrey Perry has just torn a sizeable hole in the ‘yes’ campaign for same-sex. Readers who share her fears about Christianity will no doubt be elated, but other Australians are left wondering, so this whole debate is really about religion? And it is about education, politics, and even abortion? As though mediating Roz Ward, who has insisted that she authored the Safe Schools curriculum to program children toward socialism, Perry presents marriage as the front line fight against Christianity in this country.

Unfortunately though, Perry’s presentation of Christianity often looks more like a cartoon than it does authentic Christianity, and in doing so she makes a series of factual errors.

For example, contra Perry, Christianity cannot be defined as right wing politics. There are many Christians who feel comfortable across the political spectrum. Is Perry whitewashing the Christian convictions of members of the Australian Labor Party? Christian theism is neither defined by left or right politics but by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This good news from God cannot be squeezed into the small and narrow reaches of any political party, for it counters all such human categories and gives us a greater and more stunning alternative.

Also, in a fantastic revision of history, Perry alleges that, “Religious intolerance has kept the possibility of same-sex marriage an impossibility for decades”. Well, no. Until recent years no one, anywhere, in the world would have believed marriage was anything other than between a man and a woman. It didn’t matter whether one believed in God or not, same sex marriage was a non starter. It remains the case today, that many religious and non religious people simply don’t believe that same sex marriage is logical or good for society.

Finally, it needs pointing out that true secularism is not the absence of religious thought, but the freedom to speak regardless of ones religious affiliation, or lack thereof. Perry’s argument for a secular state is not true secularism, it’s imposed atheism. It is anti-pluralism. If the only permitted discourse is void of language deferring to God and religion, then what we will have is exclusive and intolerant atheism.

Anti-religious world views have had a shot at taking charge of nations, and they have produced for the world Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot,  and North Korea. I’m fairly sure that this is not the kind of country most Australians are wanting to become.

The reality is, it is a Judeo-Christian framework that enshrined into law how no single religion would control public policy, but instead the people should persuade and argue their case. Is this so bad? According to Aubrey Perry it is worse than bad, and we must use the marriage survey as a demonstration that we will no longer tolerate religious views in the public square.

Perry has done Australians a great service though, in being honest enough to show Australians that same sex marriage is not really about marriage, but is about removing the religious and social foundations that have given this country the freedoms, prosperity, and security that we today enjoy. I hope Australians will read her article and consider their decision in light of these confessions.

Father’s Day is telling

“For I too was a son to my father,

    still tender, and cherished by my mother.” (Proverbs 4:3)

 

For many families tomorrow is a special day. It’s a wonderful opportunity for family to get together, to enjoy pointless $2 gifts from school Father’s Day stalls, and to eat more cake.

I’m not a big Father’s Day enthusiast, not because there’s anything wrong with it, but it’s not me. I love my Dad, and I adore my 3 children, but I’ve never felt as though I needed a special day to remind me of Fatherhood.

During the week, Channel 9’s breakfast show, Today, ran a poll asking the question,

“Should Father’s Day be renamed “Special Person’s Day?” 

Why? Because, according to University of Sydney academic,  Miriam Giugni, such celebrations need to be more inclusive. Father’s Day excludes, well, non Dads, and in today’s society that’s unacceptable. Wait for May next year and see how that idea flies for Mother’s Day!

It is all very ridiculous, except that ridiculous has become the new standard for public morality. It’s as though we went to bed last night and have woken up on the set of Inception. We are living in one of the craziest generations: boys and girls should no longer be called boys and girls, marriage isn’t what all the world has always thought it was, the Victorian Government tried to allow its citizens to change the gender on their birth certificate (once every year), and Father’s Day should become Special Persons day.

 

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Leaving aside the question of Father’s Day, there is something natural, good, and wholesome about Fathering, as there is with the irreplaceable role of Mums. We can’t always pinpoint why, but mums and dads compliment each other, and together they form a dynamic duo for the raising of children.

Every child has a mother and a father; it is of course a biological impossibility for there to be children without them. We know that in some families children are raised without one or both parents, and others grow up in homes where a parent is abusive. I have friends who have been in these situations, and none believe that having a loving Father and Mother is undesirable and unnecessary. Not for a moment I am suggesting that other families are lesser; I know too many single parents doing a wonderful job at raising their children, and there are adults excelling in life despite growing up in an unloving and even abusive home. Very few people would however argue that those situations were ideal.

In Sara McLanahan and Isabel Sawhill’s recent essay, “Marriage and Child Wellbeing Revisited:Introducing the Issue”, they explain,

“Whereas most scholars now agree that children raised by two biological parents in a stable marriage do better than children in other family forms across a wide range of outcomes, there is less consensus about why.” [1]

New research also shows how Father loss impacts the wellbeing of children, even their physical health. [2]

Father’s Day reminds us that Dad’s play an integral role in their children’s lives. It may take a village to raise a child, but the village can’t replace mum and dad. In those situations where children can’t be raised by their mother and father, we grieve them not celebrate them.

Millie Fontana is an Melbourne woman who was raised by 2 lesbian parents. She loves her 2 mums, and even supports same-sex marriage, however she is deeply concerned by the practice of raising children without both biological parents. She said in an interview on Triple J,

“I’m an atheist. But our story needs to be told. It’s natural to want a mum and a dad. But when we speak, we are told we are homophobes and Christians’.

“It was very hard for me to establish a stable identity,” Millie said. “It was negatively impacting my development.”

‘There was always something missing.”

I realise that some people are claiming that this marriage debate has nothing to do with children. Penny Wong, on the other hand, gave an impassioned speech in Parliament recently about her children while advocating SSM. The reality is, while marriage is about more than just having children, marriage provides the natural and ideal context for raising children.

However, should the Marriage Act change by removing the language of man and woman, Australian society will require an  increasing number of children to grow up without their father, or in the case of a gay marriage, without their mother. There is a world of difference between instituting marriages where children have no chance to be raised by both biological parents, and a society that lovingly practices retrieval ethics when children sadly cannot be at home with both mum and dad.

The question is quite simple, should children ideally be raised by their mother and father? And if so, should the State sanction marriages that will prevent this from happening?

On Friday, ABC television host, Charlie Pickering sent out this tweet in response to an Sky News interview with Liberal MP, Andrew Hastie,

“What an incredible load of bullsh!t. If ideas like that make it through, you have to recalibrate your bullsh!t filter.”

What did Andrew Hastie say that was so awful?

“If we expand marriage, we also redefine it and we render it genderless.”

No matter what side of the marriage debate one takes, Andrew Hastie’s statement is true. It is the logical outcome of removing gender requirements from the Marriage Act. If marriage is no longer between a man and a woman, then it is a genderless institution. Which of course then raises the question, what then is marriage? Instead of engaging Hastie with any semblance of argument or intelligent rebuttal, Pickering chose to join those who belong to the team called slander.

I’m not suggesting that there are not individuals on the ‘no’ side, who haven’t said awful things. There have been, and we should call those offences for what they are.

To the detriment of this country, reasoned discourse is being for the most part, shouted down by a flood of vitriol and threats. If we can cool our heads for a few moments, and consider this,

We know that kids deserve a mum and dad, and we want society to continue to reflect this common good. Given that, should we redefine marriage?

 

 

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[1] Sara McLanahan is the editor-in-chief of the Future of Children, as well as the director of the Center for Research on Child Wellbeing and the William S. Tod Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. Isabel Sawhill is a senior editor of the Future of Children, as well as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

[2] “Father Loss and Child Telomere Length”, Pediatrics (Aug 2017), vol.140/2, by Colter Mitchell, Sara McLanahan, Lisa Schneper, Irv Garfinkel, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Daniel Notterman.