Don’t legitimise the Australian Christian Lobby, Mr Shorten! – An open letter from Adamm Ferrier

Apparently I wasn’t the only person to be taken aback by the news that Labor leader, Bill Shorten, has agreed to be the keynote speaker at the Australian Christian Lobby’s forthcoming conference. When I rang his office yesterday, his very polite staffer acknowledged they’d been deluged with complaints.

I was planning to write a blog post in the form of an open letter to Mr Shorten until I came across this letter from Adamm Ferrier on my friend, Doug Pollard’s, Facebook page.  It is beautifully written and really says everything I wanted to say.  

Adamm speaks for me (except for the ‘church-going Anglican part!) and, I expect, his words reflect the thoughts of many of my readers.

If they do, you may wish to contact Mr Shorten’s office yourself.

bill.shorten.mp@aph.gov.au
(03) 93261300
twitter @billshortenmp

Chrys Stevenson

 

An Open Letter to Bill Shorten from Adamm Ferrier

Dear Mr Shorten,
aferrier
I met you once, back in 2008 when you visited the Western Hospital in Sunshine Victoria. I was impressed at the time at your integrity and earnestness. I have continued to be impressed by your integrity despite the circus of musical-chair Prime Ministers – both of whom, I might add, appeared to have every virtue as far as the public were concerned excepting team playing. One can understand the political desire to gain a majority in the lower house, but frankly, I simply don’t know what the Australian Labor Party stands for any more. The ALP might just as well change its name to “Not the Liberal Party”, rather like “Not the Nine O’Clock News” but without the irony, charm or intentional humour.

I am a regular church-going Anglican. So I feel somewhat qualified to consider the Australian Christian Lobby as nothing short of a sanitised Ku Klux Klan, and find it difficult to understand why any political party in its right mind would lend credence to this most unChristian of organisations.

If you feel the overwhelming need to court this group of right wing lunatics then by all means do so: but remember, a leopard cannot change its spots. They will never endorse the Australian Labor Party: never in a million years. Not even with your undoubted charm and charisma and boyish smile. Never, mate. Never.

One day, I hope, someone with some sense in the party will connect the dots: Australians don’t give a tinker’s cuss if people are religious, but the vast majority resent moralistic views being shoved down our throats by a self-appointed and self-righteous federal lobby group.

Only a fool would think that courting the ACL could result in an electoral dividend for the Australian Labor Party.

Exasperatedly yours

Adamm Ferrier

 

Adamm Ferrier, RN, holds a Masters degree in Health Science Administration and is a lecturer and doctoral candidate at the School of Public Health & Biosciences at La Trobe University. 

Clearly, Adamm Ferrier’s views are his own and do not reflect those of La Trobe University.

27 thoughts on “Don’t legitimise the Australian Christian Lobby, Mr Shorten! – An open letter from Adamm Ferrier

  1. alleyb88

    So incensed I’m compelled to email this (edited version) to Bill Shorten.
    Adamm’s words certainly reflect my feelings, thanks Chry for publishing it to be used.

    Reply
  2. John Turner

    Excellent except that the inference that the politician himself is a fool will not win him to a better point of view.

    Reply
  3. avrilhj

    The email I just sent:

    Dear Mr Shorten

    I was horrified to learn that you are going to be the keynote speaker at the Australian Christian Lobby Conference.

    I am horrified because I am a Christian, and your appearance at the conference will legitimise a painfully conservative, exclusive version of Christianity.

    While the mainstream churches are seeking to be part of a welcoming multicultural and multi-faith Australia, the Australian Christian Lobby seeks to impose its own ideas about Christianity on Australia. As an organisation it is profoundly homophobic, and its obsession with same-sex marriage makes it harder for non-Australian Christian Lobby Christians to convince the GLBTI community than not all Christians believe that they will burn in hell. It is important that same-sex attracted young people, in particular, know that there are churches that will welcome them just as they are, and the amount of media attention given to the Australian Christian Lobby makes it harder for that message to cut through.

    The Australian Christian Lobby speaks for a minority of Christians. Unfortunately, because of their money and emphasis on lobbying rather than on worship and welfare, they have convinced the media and the broader community that they speak for the majority of Australian Christians. Your attendance at their conference will just reinforce that mistake.

    I can understand that you believe it is important to connect with Australian Christians. We are a sizeable part of the Australian community. But the best way to do this is through the National Council of Churches in Australia or through individual denominations. Not through a conservative lobby group with no connection to the churches.

    Reply
      1. avrilhj

        The Australian Christian Lobby does not speak for me – and I’ll say that in every forum that I possibly can!

  4. Vance

    “ACL aims to foster a more compassionate, just and moral society …” http://www.acl.org.au/about/

    Unless you happen to be part of a same-sex union. In which case, you deserve to be discriminated against :

    “Changes in 2008 to Australian law mean there is no discrimination against same-sex couples.” http://preservingmarriage.acl.org.au/

    Perhaps Bill Shorten is planning on using his speech to encourage these people to reconsider their bigotry, but I very much doubt it.

    Reply
  5. Mike

    The very first line of the ACL website states: ‘The vision of the Australian Christian Lobby is to see Christian principles and ethics accepted and influencing the way we are governed’. No prime ministerial aspirant possessing even a basic concept of separating church and State and wishing to maintain any credibility, would be seen dead anywhere near this mob. Logic and reason must ‘influence the way we are governed’, not superstitious nonsense. Mike

    Reply
  6. palmboy

    Thanks Chrys for writing this. I have already rung, written to and Tweeted to Mr Shorten about this offensive decision.
    Here is my letter:

    Dear MR Shorten,

    I understand you are to speak at the ACL conference.
    This is deeply offensive to many Australians who value “a Fair Go” and treating all Aussies equally.

    I attended a Parliamentary public hearing into Qld Civil Unions,where the ACL attended as a witness – I was shocked at the message of division and intolerance they were giving to Parliament. They are not a church – they are not about promoting love, tolerance and acceptance. They are an extremist group who promote intolerance and hatred for gay people.
    The discrimination and prejudice the ACL promote is disgraceful. Jesus and God would be horrified at how the ACL represent Christianity,

    I am disgusted and call on you to immediately cancel your appearance at their conference.

    Phil Browne

    Reply
  7. palmboy

    A couple of things for people to please share:

    ONE
    Statement by Victorian Council of Churches: “Australian Christian Lobby does not represent all Australian Christians, nor all Christian viewpoints” http://www.qct.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=915:australian-christian-lobby-does-not-represent-all-australian-christians-nor-all-christian-viewpoints&catid=1:latest&Itemid=39

    TWO
    “Christian Lobby analysis reveals strong gay focus” http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/christian-lobby-analysis-reveals-strong-gay-focus-20120608-2017g.html
    (see the graph in this link showing how the ACL promote hate)

    Reply
  8. Max Wallace

    From the Defence of Government Schools media release of 21 June 2006: Bill Shorten was cited in the Weekend Magazine of The Australian 27-28 May 2006 saying ‘The Catholic faith – that’s my tribe.’ Shorten was educated at the Jesuits’ Xavier College in Melbourne. I guess the point is, it’s only a small step to the ACL when the concern is policy for preferences as preferred by the ACL . Max Wallace.

    Reply
  9. Melvyn Dewsbury

    Wow. What a bunch of anti-democratic, religion-hating, illiberal bigots. Since when have you the right to tell other people who they may or may not talk to or meet. It’s this sort of intolerance that gets humanism and secularism a bad name. It is one thing to state your case but quite another to try to censor opinion. There are many things which offend me but I don’t go around trying to stop people saying things I don’t like. Unfortunately (I live in England) this same aggressive approach to others we disagree with has taken hold here. When the words ‘we must not tolerate….’ are used you’ve stepped onto the same moral low-ground that those with whom you disagree already occupy.

    Reply
  10. Rob Isaachsen

    .Only just read this blog , but want to add my comment.
    I am passionate about Australia, and recently read up the foundations of our democracy,system of government and justice, and in fact why Australia is about the best country in the world.
    Most people in the world would give their right leg to be born in Australia, or at least to come and live here.
    It seems most people think these things “just happened”.
    If you care to look at the facts, there is only one reason we have the freedom and society we have. It is the Christian foundations it was built on, and still depend on.
    This includes the freedom of speech we have.
    BEFORE YOU LAUGH –
    The worst thing that could happen in Australia is that freedom of speech is destroyed by those who don’t know the foundations of our freedom, and who abuse and shout down to silence those who represent and seek to maintain the very source of our freedom.
    Christians may not always be right, but removal of Christian faith and influence in free nations has always led to state imposed tyranny and great loss of life.
    READ UP WHAT HAPPENED WHEN HITLER CAME TO POWER and its results,
    and the background to the millions who died under Stalin and Mao.

    I am an Anglican minister, and I support the Australian Christian lobby and their aims at seeking to sustain the values that have made Australia great
    – including freedom of speech, and the vital role of fathers and mothers in raising children.

    Before you run with the angry crowd check out where it will lead to!

    Chrys, I am an Anglican minister working for the community.
    I encourage you to check out the facts.
    To say:
    “the Australian Christian Lobby as nothing short of a sanitised Ku Klux Klan, and find it difficult to understand why any political party in its right mind would lend credence to this most unChristian of organisations”
    is to mouth off the slogans of the mob. I encourage you to find out what they really support and why.
    ROB

    Reply
    1. Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear: Assorted Rants on Religion, Science, Politics and Philosophy from a bear of very little brain Post author

      Rob, I’m well aware of the foundations on which this country was built. I have a BA with majors in Australian history, literature, sociology and cultural studies and a first class honours degree in cultural studies. For my efforts studying Australian history and culture I was awarded the Griffith University Medal for academic excellence, plus a slew of scholarships.

      I am also the author of the first chapter of The Australian Book of Atheism (Warren Bonnet, ed. 2010) which provides an historical overview of the atheist impact on Australia.

      https://books.google.com.au/books?id=nXrJS7aOM3wC&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+Australian+book+of+atheism&hl=en&sa=X&ei=g3YvVbeBOsvs8AX9x4HYDA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=The%20Australian%20book%20of%20atheism&f=false

      You may care to read my speech on the impact of Jeremy Bentham, atheist and Enlightenment philosopher, on Australia.

      http://www.hsnsw.asn.au/articles/Bentham-ChrysStevenson.pdf

      Or you can watch me deliver the speech here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kb4AA1XF7aE

      For the last five years I have been researching for a book which will debunk the oft repeated but completely erroneous claim that Australia is a Christian nation.

      But, thank you for your patronising, condescending post which assumes that as a woman and an atheist my knowledge of Australia’s history must surely be inferior to yours. I’m sure my readers will find it as amusing as I did.

      Reply
      1. g2-5bba245eb6db01d36e28de6648a6336a

        Dear Anglican Minister Rob Isaachsen How interesting that you somehow believe your faith and your religion is some kind of beacon or pillar of freedom or democracy. You obviously have no understanding of your own history, the Anglican Church was founded by a murderous tyrant who had no regard for anything but his own desires and his own monarchy. Please remember Matthew 7:3 ►
        “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

        As for freedom again you seem to neglect the simple fact that the ACL and so many religions are in the business of preventing people from having personal freedoms or removing the freedoms they have already gained.

        Freedom is a double edged sword, if you truly want freedom you must not only want freedom for yourself and those you agree with you must also fight for the freedoms of those you disagree with.

        Neither Chrys nor I want to see Christianity banned, persecuted criminalized or restricted, we will fight for your right to do what we may consider stupid things.

        The ACL on the other hand does not want freedom for anyone else but themselves and those who agree with them. They are against “Other” people having freedom. That cannot be tolerated in a free society,

        They have the right to free speech, they have the right to call for the removal of freedoms, they have every right to be insane bigoted arseholes of the first order who use hate and fear to spread their vile messages, that is freedom.

        They cannot break our laws because our laws are what keeps us free, and they must expect people to treat them as they treat others

        Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” If you spew hate and loathing it is only Christian to expect to be hated and loathed in return.

        Please there is no crime in being ignorant but if you are going to discuss a subject try to educate yourself before you cause yourself to look like a total fool.

        Cheers Doug Steley

    2. davethehappysinger

      Hi Rob.

      I am one of the very lucky human beings who got to migrate to Australia without internment by your coreligionists Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott.

      In fact, I am about to take the Australian citizenship test and am revising the testable materials Our Common Bond.

      Oddly, it makes it rather clear claims that Australia is a secular nation, with no religious foundation. Why are they lying to us, Rob? Why?

      I also wonder what surprise Indigenous Australians might experience on learning that the country they have inhabited for 40,000 years was founded on a 2,000 year old middle Eastern legend. Why have they been lying to us? Why, Rob!

      Reply
    3. Kaye D

      I find it incredulous that you would assume that a writer of Chrys’ calibre would be ignorant of “what happened when Hitler came to power” and “the background to the millions who died under Stalin and Mao” – comments that are as inane as they are condescending. Do you not even see the incredible irony of an Anglican minister lecturing on the “great loss of life” due to the removal of christian faith and influence in society? Once again another example of a victim of a brainwashing doctrine that chooses to cherry pick examples from history to support an ideological position – a stance all too common in those who would project their belief in a god that apparently we should all believe in. The problem with this position of course, is that it fails to actually represent history and the very complex circumstances that have led to where we are today. It fails to acknowledge the millions of people throughout history who have died as a result of christian and other religious beliefs and the enforcement of the “one god (our god) for all” policy which led to the slaughter of civilised, then colonised, peoples around the globe. Our country, our government and ultimately the document which serves as our fundamental charter is not underpinned by references to christianity or god or any particular religious belief, so in fact our country was not built on christian foundations.

      Perhaps it is time for christians to recognise that their delusion of an all powerful, masculine, omnipotent deity has done nothing but serve as a divisive, dangerous and damaging force throughout history, and that for us to ultimately achieve a peaceful and comfortable coexistence on our little blue planet then organised religion has to be abolished.

      Reply
    4. palmboy

      Hey Rob. I respect the Victorian Council of Churches (representing 30 real churches – unlike the ACL), Progressive Christian Voice, and other clergy who speak out publicly against injustice, including speaking out against the Australian so-called Christian Lobby.

      The ACL are a bunch of hypocrites who cherry pick their bibles to promote division and prejudice – these are not meant to be good christian values.

      Reply

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