June 18th 2016

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Deregulation cause of dairy industry crisis

CANBERRA OBSERVED Double-dissolution election likely to deliver disillusionment

EDITORIAL Turnbull keeps his smile as all around lose theirs

LIFE ISSUES Infant viability fails to wake upper house interest

GLOBAL ECONOMY A generation left to twiddle its thumbs

LOCAL GOVERNMENT Amateur hour at the Brisbane City Council

EUTHANASIA Too quick a leap to counsel of despair

CULTURE WARS Australia Council cuts funding to Quadrant

SEXUAL POLITICS Gay "marriage" and the given in human procreative behaviour (Part 2)

FEDERAL ELECTION How to ensure your Senate vote goes all the way

PHILOSOPHY John Haldane holds true to faith-reason nexus

HISTORY The Chinese in Australia: not the story you've heard

MUSIC The times it takes to reach eternity

CINEMA Madcap adventures in the Kiwi bush: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

BOOK REVIEW The curate's egg

BOOK REVIEW That other great Irish prelate


 A day in the life of a religious white man from the point of view of evidence and truth

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 A day in the life of a religious white man from the point of view of evidence and truth

News Weekly, June 18, 2016

Having read the comedic stylings of Rebecca Shaw in her lol piece on the SBS (Spitefully un-Balanced Service) website, “A day in the life of Scott Morrison if he actually faced the same bigotry as LGBTI people”,[1] News Weekly in awe-inspired humility offers the following parody (it being the sincerest form of flattery).[2]

Jason (not his real name: his real name is Ishmael) wakes up beside his wife of 20 years, who has given him three children and much happiness. Yet the cancer that is eating away at her body knows no bounds and he can barely keep his grief at bay.

Jason is a white male Christian in a society that has grown to hate its own Christian heritage. Every day he realises that he will be rebuffed and insulted and have to hear a stream of blasphemies as a matter of course; in the media and at his workplace especially. He actually works in the media and knows how his religious faith sparks resentment and fear among his colleagues.

Jason thrusts his head into his hands, his elbows resting on his knees, and remains motionless for some minutes. Having offered his prayers for the world and his wife and family, he rises to the morning routine.

On turning on the television, he is greeted by the image of the Leader of the ALP and potentially the next prime minister of the country. This man is saying that he fears for the LGBT community should there be a democratic vote in a plebiscite to find out what the people themselves actually want regarding the push to recognise same-sex relationships as marriage. His words are startlingly aggressive and Jason feels the attack in his guts.

The Leader of the ALP says: “I don’t want to give haters a chance to come out from under the rock and make life harder for LGBTI people or their families, to somehow question the legitimacy of their relationship.”[3]

The ALP Leader has since promised to legislate to change the words “husband and wife” in the Marriage Act to “any two persons”. Jason finds that extremely hurtful as, his own wife and her own husband are thereby excised from the act.

Jason winces. He hates no one. He has merely held to his much thought over belief on same-sex marriage. The only interest the state has in legislating about marriage is to ensure children’s rights are protected as much as is humanly possible: their right to know and be brought up by their biological mother and father, at the top of them.

Nor is Jason a homophobe in any way, shape or form. In fact, he had loved viscerally and unalterably his same-sex attracted younger brother, whose hand he had held and whose brow he had wiped even as he died at an unconscionably early age in the hospice run by the Catholic Sisters of Charity.[4]

And he knows that the Catholic Church is the biggest private provider of care to suffers like his brother in the world, “providing anti-retroviral treatment, home-care visits and counseling to one in four of the world’s 33.3 million”[5] such patients, according to the Catholic charity Caritas International.

He is proud of that as a fellow Christian, for he knows that he must love the sinner – not tolerate the sinner, mind you, but love him or her – while deprecating the sin. Toleration is not enough: to all persons is owed nothing less than love. At least, that is what Jason believes; for his religion teaches him that lesson.

Jason is reminded at that moment that a Fairfax journalist by the name of Rebecca Shaw had made a comment about toleration along roughly (very roughly) similar lines when she wrote in an article in The Age[6], that “I won’t accept your ‘tolerance’ ” and demanded “you either accept us or be left behind”.

But do not be mistaken. Jason has agonised over his position. But the more he has read and weighed up the arguments on both sides, the more he finds he must submit to what his reason and biology tell him: marriage is not an idea that it is within the power of humankind to change into another idea. It is rather a practice whereby, in the natural order, children of a biological mother and father are best procreated, nurtured and raised.

To change the “definition” of the word “marriage” cannot bestow on just “any two persons” the power to procreate, nurture and raise the fruit of their union. Unless they just “happen to be one male and one female. There cannot be such fruit. Fact of nature. Only by artificial means (surrogacy, IVF, adoption) can a same-sex couple acquire children.

Jason goes to work and takes to his colleagues coffees, each according to their taste.

As Jason lines up in the canteen for lunch, he hears people laughing and vituperating a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. They want him punished for the acts and failures to act of others. Why can the man not remember?, they ask snidely. Why does he show no remorse?[7] The evidence that he could not have known of those acts, and the proven failures of others, they ignore.

Jason’s heart goes out to a man so scurrilously attacked and he says a quiet prayer for both the man and his detractors. For that is what his religion requires of him.

Jason’s thoughts run to the terrible child-abuse that happened in his church. Again his heart is heavy. He offers a prayer for the innocent victims of such abuse; powerless lambs that they were. He puts in a prayer for the perpetrators too. They have done terrible things; but of all persons, they need prayer. And that is what his religion requires of him.

Jason knows that the men and women in his church are not perfect, but where else could he go, with his own sins on board? The LGBTI community does not have an outreach to religious people as his church has to them. Well, Jason’s church may be full of sinners, but its founder at least was not. A consolation, a promise and a welcome.[8]

[1] SBS, www.sbs.com.au/comedy/article/2016/06/22/day-life-scott-morrison-if-he-actually-faced-same-bigotry-lgbti-people, June, 2016.

[2] We do wonder, however, if Rebecca was not inspired in her turn by this wonderful satirical piece by Jacques Derrida   www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/fr/derrida.htm .

[3] Herald Sun, June 17, 2016. www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/federal-election/bill-shorten-warns-plebiscite-on-samesex-marriage-could-inflame-homophobia/news-story/7868656803cc05053795552f658dd418

[4] IOL, April 3, 2007.gaynewsnetwork.com.au/feature/commemorating-30-years-of-australia-s-first-hiv-aids-unit-ward-17-south-15766.html Gay News Network, November 24, 2014.  www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/nun-perishes-saving-aids-patients-from-fire-321519

[5] UK Guardian, 2008. Quoted en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_HIV/AIDS Wikipedia.

[6] The Age, www.theage.com.au/comment/tolerance-no-longer-enough-for--lgbtqi-community-we-demand-acceptance-20150828-gj9vq1.html Tolerance no longer enough for LGBTQI community, we demand acceptance, August 30, 2015. (BTW, also a very funny piece from this comedic genius.)

[7] News Weekly, www.newsweekly.com.au/article.php?id=57221&s=QccONc J’accuse … A travesty of justice”, March 26, 2016; Herald Sun, www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/andrew-bolt/many-more-guilty-in-the-church-than-cardinal-george-pell/news-story/c74dbbe482fef79f980f42dee99b7fe0 Many more guilty in the church than Cardinal George Pell”, March 4, 2016.

[8] News Weekly, www.newsweekly.com.au/article.php?id=57280&s=XRISIN Dear LGBTQs, Christians want for you what you want”, April 23, 2016.

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