MUNGO MacCALLUM. At last our national daily has finally come clean.

The Australian has now abandoned any pretence that the current plebiscite has anything to do with same sex marriage and instead embarked on a holy war to maintain, and if possible enhance, religious (by which it really means Roman Catholic) privilege.  

The princes of the church have already spoken: Pope Paul Kelly calls current laws to protect the faithful “inadequate;” Cardinal Greg Sheridan derides them as “pathetically weak.”

But of course they will not tell us what they actually want, because to do so would admit the awful truth: the aim of the crusade is a full-on theocracy in which not only the church, but all its adherents, will be allowed and encouraged to discriminate at will against those who hold opposing views while enjoying total immunity for themselves.

If there was any lingering doubt about this, it was resolved last week when the paper swung into action over the case of Madeline, the teenager who is unwilling to give her surname. Madeline was told that she would no longer be offered contract work for an employer of children’s parties because she had posted the message “it is okay to vote no” on the internet.

Naturally, the nay sayers reacted with outrage: one of the more restrained, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, whose government normally fiercely opposes moves to counter unfair dismissal, described it as unconscionable.

Well, fair enough. But hang on: is it not equally, or more, unconscionable for church employers to dismiss their workers for their beliefs?

They demand, and receive, exemption from discrimination laws in their schools, hospitals and nursing homes, and can and do use their authority to enforce conformity; gay and lesbian singles, let alone couples, are routinely excluded from their ranks.

Indeed one sturdily heterosexual pair were refused church marriage by the Presbyterians when dared to post a tweet in favour of same sex marriage. No outrage there; rather tacit approval as the zealots of the Murdoch press pursue their case that not only church officials, but anyone who claims to be a Christian –- the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker — should be allowed to break the law to deny service to those whose beliefs they do not approve.

This is not the only inconsistency; when the AFL publicly endorsed same sex marriage, the cry went up that sport and politics do not mix, that it was none of the AFL’s business. But of course sport and politics mix all the time, as do religion and politics.

No one would dare say that opposing same sex marriage is none of the churches’ business, in spite of the fact that marriage law is a purely secular matter: this is why the debate has to be resolved in the Australian parliament rather than in the Vatican.

But for the faithful, the issue is all important. This is pure identity politics: their Catholicism surpasses and transcends all other concerns. And it is how and why they are trying to turn what should be a straight forward question of civil reform into a holy war which they can use to transform society and dominate it in their own image. Yes, there are indeed unforeseen consequences contingent on the plebiscite, but they are not the ones we need to worry about.


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7 Responses to MUNGO MacCALLUM. At last our national daily has finally come clean.

  1. Scott MacWilliam says:

    More than a little concerned with identifying The Australian as `our national daily’. Has been part of Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda arm from the outset. Even as the editorial politics has swung gently from right to righter there has never been any doubt about the owner, a private utterly unprincipled mogul, nothing popular even as there is a pretense of national. That the religious bigots have control on this particular issue hardly surprises since Murdoch has employed them both for decades as faithful epigones.

  2. Vince says:

    This “lawfare” crusade is a reflection of the church morphing from Inquisition to Imposition.
    The so called Christians believe they have a right to be right and impose their dictates and rules on everyone. Just look at the trouble Francis has got himself in over divorced Catholics receiving communion.

    • J Knight says:

      Yes, it’s a bit of a worry when an absolute monarch has less powers than a High Court in imposing a ‘new understanding’ on how things should be!

      Westminster law, with it’s judicial greys versus Roman law – only applicable to you if you want to stay in the Church?

      Ignorance of one leads to punitive sanctions in secular courts and the pastoral application of the other is mistaken as injustice or overturning a teaching?

      Both beg the question as to whether the individual/authority is in communion with the intent?

      Very complex – enforce the law at all costs or accept people where they are and bring people around to the ‘good’ or eloquence of your position? Never the two shall meet?

  3. J Knight says:

    I assume everyone is much better educated than I, but, when I see a comment like this:

    “The question is whether people of different sexuality who love each other should be able to have their commitment recognised by civil law…” I wonder where the thinking is coming from or leading to?

    The High Court has unilaterally redefined Marriage as understood by the common law, statutory law and constitution – yet alone natural law.

    It has removed an essential element – noting that the ‘Catholic’ permanence issue was never assumed by the State ‘Defended’ by the Crown post Henry VIII by virtue of s51 (xxii) – and by removing the complementarity of genders, and using its appalling ‘polygamy is ok’ reverse slippery slope argument, now says that gender and number are purely a parliamentary moving feast.

    So what is the truly Christian response to this? Where is the equity and fairness, let alone policy imperative, in restricting marriage to couples, or men and multiple wives only? Why be concerned, with medical and contraceptive advances, about siblings or step-sibling relationships if love and the equality of taxation and super payouts is all it’s really about?

    Is this recognition of ‘acts’ outside of the original affirmative policy value of supporting heteronormative relationships in the interest of society?

    Having an informed Catholic conscience is not the same as Mungo’s feared – dare I say bigoted – opinion of the Church?

    Should we be letting all and sundry into self-regulated private/public associations like the AMA and Law Society? Why can’t I be a both a physician and SC and rock up to the bar and present a case of malpractice against a fellow surgeon?

    There are lots of things that have conditions we don’t like…recognition is not just a feel good thing.

  4. Howard Whitton says:

    Well reasoned Mr Johnstone…

    You phrase ‘people born of different sexuality’ is next up for scrutiny, as a good deal of science (and experience) suggests that ‘male’ and ‘female’ are merely polar opposites on a continuum. That insight might (or should) give pause to many within and without the Church…


  5. A Sniveller says:

    And we can’t overlook Pastor Kevin Andrews who warns ominously that “Marxism is on the march.”

  6. Peter Johnstone says:

    Thanks, Mungo – as you point out, this is not about Catholic Church sacramental marriage. As a Catholic, I’ve had no hesitation in voting ‘Yes’ as a matter of conscience. The question is whether people of different sexuality who love each other should be able to have their commitment recognised by civil law – as is the case for heterosexuals. Catholic sacramental marriage is a matter for the Church which, unlike civil marriage, also excludes divorced heterosexuals from the sacrament. The Church should not seek to prevent civil society treating people fairly. People born of different sexuality already suffer a life of prejudice; support for civil marriage equality is a truly Christian response.

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