opinion

Pom in Oz: Be open, willing to hear other side of the argument in divisive Australian Christian Lobby debate

Derek GoforthMidwest Times
Australia Christian Lobby WA director Peter Abetz speaking at Geraldton Anglican Cathedral.
Camera IconAustralia Christian Lobby WA director Peter Abetz speaking at Geraldton Anglican Cathedral. Credit: Lisa Favazzo

The last two weeks have seen the State Government backflip over the booking of a taxpayer-funded venue down south.

The booking was made by the Australian Christian Lobby. It was first approved, then denied and then eventually approved again. Policy was quoted back and forth.

Now, the ACL does not represent a church or represent Christianity. But, arguments against the booking, for the most part, has been against Christians and Christianity.

Many social media posts have called all Christians “bigots”, “homophobic”, “transphobic”, “self-entitled” and other things not suitable for print. They have also accused the ACL of being a “hate group” but when pressed are unable or unwilling to provide specific examples.

We seem to live under fear that if we speak our truth, whatever it may be, we will be branded as an iteration of ‘phobic’.

In some people’s “opinions”, the State Government’s decision to block the booking — because “the content of the event does not represent the views of the WA Government or the vast majority of Western Australians” — is unlawful and borders on communist control.

Is the ACL a “hate group”? Is it spreading fear and malice everywhere it goes? Is its sole objective to ostracise and vilify a minority group? I have yet to attend an event, but I honestly do not believe so.

Reverend professor David Seccombe walks over to talk to the crowd protesting outside the Anglican Church in Geraldton.
Camera IconReverend professor David Seccombe walks over to talk to the crowd protesting outside the Anglican Church in Geraldton. Credit: Lisa Favazzo

My knowledge is limited to their literature and many social media videos and campaigns, with research into their work, the work of various LGBTQ+ organisations and the effects of both sides of the debate.

I would like to see evidence from the people who make these claims. Not anecdotal, not biased, not generalised terms. Specific evidence based on research and data.

We live in an age where self-entitlement and the interests of the individual rule.

We seem to live under fear that if we speak our truth, whatever it may be, we will be branded as an iteration of “phobic”. So, we refuse or are reluctant to speak, leaving only the extremist voices being heard, because they are the only ones bold enough to be shouted.

My advice — for want of a better word — is to take a leaf out of the Anglican church’s minister in Geraldton and Out Midwest. Talk to each other, hear each other. Protest and make a stand if you need to, and walk across the road if needed.

Don’t spout phrases like “self-entitled morons”, “extremist lefties”, “bigoted hate group” and expect people to come together.

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