Monthly Archives: August 2017

Forget the Lobbyists – What do Ordinary People think about Marriage Equality?

We’re hearing a lot from church leaders and religious lobbyists in the debate over marriage equality and the forthcoming postal survey.

We’re also hearing a lot from marriage equality advocacy groups, LGBTIQ lobbyists and we left-wing, bleeding-heart, ’social justice warriors’.

But, what do normal, average Aussies, think of this whole thing? How are people in conservative, LNP voting parts of the country feeling about the debate?

On Facebook this morning, my  local Sunshine Coast Community Board provided a valuable insight. It should give comfort to all the LGBTIQ people who are really struggling with a barrage of hateful fear mongering. And, perhaps, it might give pause to conservative politicians, most of whom who seem to be completely out of step with their constituents’ views on this issue.

In a discussion on marriage equality which drew well over 500 posts in just a few hours, I calculated that, roughly, 95% were in strongly in favour of marriage equality.

I wasn’t the only one to comment on the strong turnout for the “Yes” vote:

TR:  Well by the look of comments the vote yes will be a landslide. What a stupid waste of tax payers money. Just make it legal already. 122 million to find out what we all already know. It’s a resounding yes to marriage equality.

SSE:  … this does make me feel happy! Just on this thread alone majority want a yes

I’d like to share the original post and responses, below.

William H:  For all those who do not understand.

There is no reason to say YES to SSM marriage. Don’t let them take away what Marriage is, being a union between a woman and man, leave that alone and protect that for our future generations. Equality I agree with, as in equal rights, and that can be simply fixed without destroying what marriage within our society means.

How to fix the problem, it is actually very simple, in the marriage act, married couples do get treated differently to same sex partnerships, all that needs to be done, is fix it with in the act, to protect Same Sex Partnerships, let them celebrate and recognise that celebration as same sex unions even supply a certificate to legalise it, Same Sex Partnership are already being registered and recognised by the birth & death and marriage department. Its only the section of the law that needs to be and simply fixed. We do not have to give away what marriage means to many others. Equal right can be achieved without destroying marriage. 😉  – William H

Please share, to educate others.

The responses came thick and fast!

JG: Oh William. This is just the chuckle I needed over my morning coffee.

RS:  You are a bad human

LL: if you dont like gay marriage William, don’t marry someone who’s gay. It really is as simple as that!!!!!!

MH:  Everyone has a right to marry the person they love. I will be voting for a change.

SS:  Why not worry about righting all the wrongs in your own life and strive towards being a better person before dictating how others should live .

AS:  The ignorance and fear mongering is disgraceful! Love is love, you cannot accept this then please do not reproduce

KF:  It must feel lonely being left behind in a world which is moving towards love and acceptance. Please don’t breed mate.

NH: For me, marriage is two consenting adults who wish to spend the rest of their lives in a loving relationship.. sex of the couple doesn’t come into it. Just two committed people who love one another…

EK:  Whilst I understand your comment, do not agree with it in any way. I think the meaning of marriage has changed over time and is no longer viewed with religious context to many. It is important to realise that with our ever changing and developing world theories and meanings change over time – and marriage is something that has changed. I recently married my husband , and for us getting married was a way of “sealing” our love and commitment to each other. Everyone has the right to love and be with whoever they want, to be treated and viewed with equality.

DB:  Gee thanks William for letting us know our rights. And speaking of rights, everybody should be equal under the law and you can’t help who you love.  Marriage is a legal contract and same sex people want the same benefits of law as straight people, and who are you or anybody else to deny them that

BC:  Not hard to see who he votes for, just look at his page…a Hanson supporter through and through…homophobic and xenophobic…

CR:  Who cares if you are black, white, male or female? If you love something or someone one, what is wrong with that? Love is what this world needs. Not ignorance or hate, and i am not saying yr comment is hate fueled, but an ignorant one.

LIH:  Mmm I understand that you have an opinion and that’s all good and well but how does it affect you what other people do and most heterosexual married couples divorce anyway so why can’t people just be with who they love and be recognised for it

JS:  So you have actually argued for marriage equality. Interesting. No one is asking YOU to change what marriage means to you are they now, just to provide equal rights to all couples.

SSE:  Not even gonna argue. But a big old YES here!!!

CH:  Are you kidding me ? No reason? How about my cousins deserve to marry the woman she fell in love with as much as I deserve to marry the man I fell in love with.

KB: We shouldn’t even have to vote. Wasting tax payers money on something that should be a given. Same sex marriages shouldn’t have even had to go through all this to be allowed. It’s the narrow minded ass’s like urself that needs to be educated. Look at the divorce rate?!?!?! All the married same sex marriages I know of are lasting longer than what most marriages last here. 100% yes for me !!!!!!

RS:  Dont agree with same sex marriage? Dont get married to someone the same sex as you! Problem solved. Not your business who loves who and how they wish to show that love.

AK: How does voting yes affect you in any negative way, if you don’t want to marry a gay person, don’t!  Don’t stop others from marrying who they want cause you’re scared of something you don’t understand

CR:  Marriage is the legal union of two people as partners in a personal relationship. That’s it! Not between a man and a woman. Between two people!  We have been socialised & conditioned (some would say brainwashed) to believe that it should only be between a man & a woman but it is not so. Maybe gays being married will actually restore marriage not destroy it, because there are plenty of heterosexuals who don’t seem to have any respect for marriage!

I’ll be saying YES!  Have a great day! 😊

JP:  What I don’t understand is how anybody can think it affects them, apart from same sex couples wanting to get married. Does not affect anybody else.

AW:  Marriage is not “our right” being man and woman. It should be the right of ANY two people who love each other and want to commit for life to each other…… I see far more same sex relationships working well them male and female ones…. go figure, we could all learn something from gay couples

When William H was accused of being discriminatory here was the response: 

CH:  Technically it is just a different opinion to yours. That doesn’t make it discriminatory.

ZF:  C, it’s not an opinion on whether or not he likes chocolate cake. It’s an opinion that encourages removing equal opportunity to people based on their sexual orientation, so yeah it is discriminatory.

And, of course, there were some comments on the ‘religious view’:

SB:  I had a Christian ceremony 11 years ago and when same sex couples can finally have the same right to that as me, it won’t change a thing.

NB:  Marriage is more than a union between a man and a woman, with it comes legal rights and having the wedding (one of the best days of my life and I’m sure I am not alone there). How can you call it equal rights when I can get married with no questions asked, have our day and have the legal rights that come along with it, yet there are so many others that can’t? That’s not equal rights.

MR:  ‘Marriage is a union between a man and a woman’ is a very religious way of looking at things, which is fine if you still believe in myths, fairytales and imaginary friends, fortunately it’s 2017, and religion doesn’t rule supreme anymore, time to move on and change your views to something more reasonable like – marriage is a union between two people who love each other.

CW: It really saddens me that all of these people who are preaching ‘love’, have so much hate in their heart for anyone who differs in opinion to their own

EW: Who are you to say who can or cannot make a commitment for life to another person. You are not God to order who people can love. Marriage isn’t just to provide future generations. It means that the person you are married to is your ‘next of kin’ your legal partner, your ‘other half”. Allowing everyone to choose who they love to be that ‘other half’ has nothing to do with future generations. A legal marriage makes it binding and an inseparable bond. How does it affect YOU personally William? I am heterosexual and been married for 52 years . I would never deny anyone the joy and security of a true binding love partnership. Most of my gay and lesbian friends have also been in loving partnerships for numerous years but want the security of it being legal. Some are rearing incredible children and again want the security of knowing that child will be secure and safe with the other parent should anything happen to the adoptive one.

BB: Also…the countries that force under aged girls into marriage! Is that protecting the “santity of marriage” ? As for religion !!!! how much horror has that caused in the world!!! Let’s change the world to a more happy place, especially by letting ppl who love each other be married

JL:  You know for a group of people that are supposed to love everyone the religious folk in this world cause more hate and trouble than anyone else -.-

Sunshine Coasters had a very clear idea of what is threatening the ‘sanctity’ of marriage – and it isn’t allowing to loving, consenting adults of the same sex to marry each other.

RC:  It’s very sad that people still want to treat someone that’s different to them as second class citizens. You should be ashamed of your bigotry and get educated on equal rights and who really has been destroying the meaning of marriage!

KD:  The real destroyers of the sanctity of marriage are abuse, cheating, disrespect, lack of communication, addiction and divorce. Why not focus on stopping these ‘sins’ and let people have the choice to marry who they love. I’ll be voting YES to equality

FMac: I think you need to look more closely at what actually destroys marriage: infidelity, stress, money, having kids, alcohol or drug abuse, contempt, lack of respect, not putting in the effort, choosing the wrong person, changing, growing, having married too young or for wrong reasons, getting married on tv, treating marriage as a stepping stone, marrying someone 50 years older than you then they die – none of these reasons are exclusive to the heterosexual community. So your logic is flawed. Allow people who love each other to have the same equal rights, including marriage. It’s none of your business anyway

DB:  What marriage means William? Like the many women who are abused or murdered by their husbands. Or those many who are having affairs. Then the fifty odd percent who get divorced.  Marriage is a legal contract between two people, not some fantasy land.

ECS:  You can marry your uncle, Aunty, and first cousins as long as they are the opposite sex, you can get married and divorced as many times as you like, you can marry someone of the opposite sex and abuse them to the point of death….but marriage equality is what is going to destroy ‘what marriage means’???

I don’t know about you, but MY marriage, is not defined by any other marriage, it belongs to my husband and I, it has nothing to do with anyone else, so I don’t understand why people think marriage equality will have any bearing on their own existing or future marriage?

NJ:  how is it that marriage is sacred between a woman a man but the actual respect and sanctity of marriage itself is disrespected and taken for granted by heterosexual marriages?! I believe every couple has a right to be married especially those that keep fighting to be able to have the right to be married. Those couples will actually respect marriage and it’s sanctity. go back to the middle ages

MM:  What about divorce, infidelity and that ridiculous show Married at First sight? None of those ruin the sanctity of marriage? You dear sir are a homophobic bigot who needs to keep your uneducated rants to yourself.

The next three posters summed it up nicely:

CMc: I’ve only got three words to say about the theory about homosexuality ruining the sanctity of marriage: “Ashley Martin website” .

RJ:  38 million people registered on an infidelity website, but yea it’s the gays ruining the “sanctity” of marriage

KMc:  Sorry same sex couples want to ruin the sanctity of your fourth marriage …

Some equated the discrimination with racism (although it seems the original poster is also racist):

LG:  This is like saying that African American people should have stayed sitting in the back of the bus and in the “coloured” section in cafes because at least they got to ride the bus and go to the cafe… how do you not see how that is not equality??? Being recognised legally but not being allowed a union of marriage like others is not equal.

SMCG spoke for all the families out there who just want to celebrate and honour the relationship between their loved ones and their partners – gay or straight …

I’m so excited that my daughter Haylee and Elle are getting married in three weeks.. I’ve never seen a couple so happy and in love… And I can’t wait for them to have children together and I becoming a grandparent again.. just my opinion

Or, as MW said: 

Who gives a fuck. Just let everyone get married and be done with.

And a post from KS summed it all up very nicely:

Uh, the only reason I would share this is to talk about how much I disagree with this view. There IS a reason to say yes, so that they can proudly declare their loved one as their husband and wife. That title signals so much, it does not have to be between man and woman. It should be between two people that love and adore each other. End of story.

Yep, KS. Love is love. End of story.

Chrys Stevenson

 

If you’d like to have some simple arguments to use against the fear-mongering and misinformation being disseminated by the “No” campaign, please take a look at Doug Pollard’s post here.

Doug’s provided a downloadable flyer which you can use for noticeboards, neighbourhood leaflet drops, or just to pass on to your friends and relatives who are ‘on the fence’.

Vote “Yes” everyone! It matters.

The Swastika-Shaped Mote in the ACL’s Eye – Melbourne’s Homophobic Poster

“Homosexual partners who lack conjugality [the joining of complementary sex organs by persons properly disposed to do so] cannot raise children as competently as heterosexual partners who possess conjugality.

… you probably all know this, this is bedrock Catholic teaching on this topic …

As a recent Catholic teaching document on this topic expresses, quote, ‘The absence of sexual complementarity in homosexual unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children such that,’ quote,  ‘allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children.’

…. Now I could be accused of hate speech in lots of settings just for reading that but here, that should be kinda background knowledge to what I’m going to cover.’

Fr. D. Paul Sullins: Gay Parenting and the Conjugal Ideal: Implications for Research – Franciscan University of Steubenville, 21 December 2013, quoting from Considerations regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Card. Ratzinger, Prefect, Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Titular Archbishop of Sila, Secretary. 

This week, in the heat of the debate about the marriage equality ‘plebiscite’, a vile poster appeared on the streets of Melbourne. The poster took its inspiration from a ‘study’ by D. Paul Sullins:

The study cited on the poster is: D. Paul Sullins, “Invisible Victims: Delayed Onset Depression among Adults with Same-Sex Parents,” Depression Research and Treatment, vol. 2016, Article ID 2410392, 8 pages, 2016. doi:10.1155/2016/2410392.

Last night, Lyle Shelton, Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby appeared on The Project on Network Ten. Asked about the poster, Shelton said:

“I don’t know who put that poster up. I can’t imagine anyone from our side would do that. … I know the people on our side of the debate and we’re not like that and nor would we be like that.”

Instead, Shelton suggested, the poster may have been put up by those involved in the “Yes” campaign, as a means of proving our point that a public referendum would lead to hate speech.

“[The poster] may have even come from people wanting to prove the sort of point you’re making,” Shelton told The Project host, Waleed Aly.

But, Mr Shelton misspoke; not to say, lied. Lyle Shelton’s people ARE like that. Exactly like that.

As I have shown above, Father Sullins, the ‘academic’ who provided the propaganda for this poster has publicly acknowledged his view on homosexual parenting amounts to hate speech. And Lyle Shelton’s Australian Christian Lobby website promoted exactly the same study cited on that hateful poster just last year:

 

Make no mistake. The ‘findings’ of this piece of trash research are complete and utter fiction.

Not disclosed on the ACL website or on the hate-poster is that D. Paul Sullins is a married Catholic priest from the Catholic University of America. He is “the Director of the Summer Institute of Catholic Social Thought; a longtime board member of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists; a Fellow of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute; the Ignatius Loyola Fellow for Catholic Identity at the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education; Associate Pastor of the Church of Saint Mark the Evangelist, Hyattsville, Maryland; and (not least) a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus.”

Father Sullins works at the Catholic University of America. A pontifical university founded by the US Catholic Bishops. For the past 17 years, the CUA has been under censure from the American Association of University Professors for failing to honour the AAUP’s Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

In 2013, the CUA severed links with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) because of that organisation’s well-considered, evidence-based policy in favor of legalized abortion.

The CUA does not engage in a robust search for truth. Instead, as a college endorsed by the conservative Catholic Cardinal Newman Society, it conforms to the society’s aims to support education that is:

‘faithful to the teaching and tradition of the Catholic Church; producing and disseminating research and publications on developments and best practices in Catholic education; and keeping Catholic leaders and families informed.’

In accordance with that aim, the Cardinal Newman Society demands that:

“Priority is … given to those means which will facilitate the integration of human and professional education with religious values in the light of Catholic doctrine, in order to unite intellectual learning with the religious dimension of life.”

The aim is not to participate in honest and open research in order to uncover the truth. Rather, it is to create documents which will pass as ‘research’ but are actually propaganda designed to rationalise Catholic ideology in a secular world.

Fr D Paul Sullins and the university he works for do not approach the subject of marriage equality and same-sex parenting from a neutral stance. Both are openly homophobic. An LGBT group within the CUA, CUAllies has repeatedly had its application to be an official student club denied on the basis that “officially recognizing the group would be supporting advocacy work against the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

A former student described the university’s attitude towards LGBTIQ students as ‘hostile’.

Credible academic journals no longer publish Father Sullins’ work. Instead, he has to pay to have his work published in ‘open access’ online journals with dubious peer review processes.

Sullins work is discredited by his peers. In a brief to the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Obergefell et al v Ohio Department of Health, the following organisations spoke out against the inadequacy of Sullins’ research on homosexual parenting:

The American Psychological Association,

Kentucky Psychological Association,

Ohio Psychological Association,

American Psychiatric Association,

American Academy of Pediatrics,

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy,

Michigan Association for Marriage and Family Therapy,

National Association of Social Workers,

National Association of Social Workers Tennessee Chapter,

National Association of Social Workers Michigan Chapter,

NationalAssociation of Social Workers Kentucky Chapter,

National Association of Social Workers Ohio Chapter,

American Psychoanalytic Association,

American Academy of Family Physicians,

and American Medical Association

They said, in part: “Recently published papers by Donald Paul Sullins … have similar methodological flaws.”

No less than three articles on same-sex parenting by Sullins are critiqued by America’s leading mental health, social work and medical bodies:

“Sullins fails to adequately take into account children’s histories of family disruption; he combines all children residing with same-sex couples into a single heterogeneous category, while creating more differentiated categories of children of opposite-sex couples (children residing with married versus single or divorced parents); he fails to acknowledge known coding errors in the NHIS data set, which resulted in the misclassification of many heterosexual partners as same-sex couples; and – in one paper – he attempts to correlate a largely heritable condition (ADHD) with variables related to children’s upbringing. In addition to these problems, none of the journals in which Sullins’ papers were published are indexed in major, reputable social science databases.”

His many detractors point out that Sullins’ academic peers, after decades of research, concluded in 2004 that:

(a) “there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation: Lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children” and (b) “research has shown that the adjustment, development, and psychological well-being of children are unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish.”

They continue:

“The APA has continued to monitor the state of the scientific research and confirmed that this conclusion continues to be accurate.

Similarly, the AAP has concluded that “[t]here is extensive research documenting that there is no causal relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and children’s emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral development. Many studies attest to the normal development of children of same-gender couples when the child is wanted, the parents have a commitment to shared parenting, and the parents have strong social and economic supports.”

Of the journals that have published Sullins’ shoddy research, his peers say:

“the review process used by these journals appears to have been perfunctory and conducted by reviewers without relevant expertise or any familiarity with the NHIS. Even a cursory examination of the reviews, which are posted on each journal’s web site, reveals that they raised few substantive concerns at all.”

Even the shonky pay-to-publish journal that published Sullins work has since tried to distance itself from the fallout, adding a disclaimer to the article:

“In June 2016, several readers raised concerns about this article. At that time, we evaluated the article’s peer review process and brought several concerns to the handling editor’s attention. These included: the study’s small sample of same-sex parents, the lack of discussion of other influences such as family breakup on the wellbeing of the children included in the study, the implied causation in the title ‘Invisible Victims,’ and the potential conflict of interest implied by the author’s position as a Catholic priest.”

All of this information is readily available on the internet. It took me a morning to research it. And yet, with all of the financial resources of the Australian Christian Lobby, they clearly never bothered to employ a researcher to fact-check the data they put up on their website.

Why? Because like the Catholic University of America and Father Sullins, their aim is not to disseminate the truth, but to create propaganda – no matter how much harm it does to members of the LGBTIQ community.

There are many legitimate, mainstream peer-reviewed studies from credible academic journals which show exactly the opposite to the filth disseminated by Sullins. But the Australian Christian Lobby rejects those mainstream studies because they do not mesh with their ideological bias against homosexual parenting. The Australian Christian Lobby has no interest in the truth; only in shoring up their own harmful, hateful, outdated and disproven ideas.

Father Sullins’ study is indefensible. It is not research; it is ideological, religious propaganda. Yet, the Australian Christian Lobby was not content just to promote that propaganda uncritically. When it surfaced on Melbourne’s streets as a hate-speech poster, Lyle Shelton accused supporters of marriage equality for disseminating it in order to make his side look bad – because his side wouldn’t put out material like that.

That, of course, as I have shown, is an outright lie.

The origins of the poster have been traced to a neo-Nazi organisation, called Iron March. The poster was designed by someone using the name “Regnum Dei” – literally “Kingdom of God”. Again, there are far more ideological links between that name and the ACL than between those of us campaigning for marriage equality.

“I got some new hate facts here, fresh off the press.

“Should I be putting “Ironmarch.org” on these? I’ve been debating the idea since the first one I made. On one hand, these aren’t explicitly fascist, on the other, it might attract fagbashers to this site,”

… says Regnum Dei above a graphic showing the same poster which appeared in Melbourne.

Interesting, that just like Father Sullins (and potentially the ACL), “Regnum Dei” is also fully aware he is disseminating hate-speech.

“Hey Jereb,” he says, elsewhere on the site, “I’m Regnum Dei (aka Regnum KAY KAY KAY). I’m here in NW Florida, and I want to start the Pensacola Division. I’m a high speed low drag 250 lbs, as per ROF regulations, and I have a T H I C C SHEWOLF QT GF that will redpill more STRONG INDEPENDENT WAMEN to our cause, which is SEXY.

… National Socialism? Fascism? More FACism amirite? That is NOT what our BASED MASON founding fathers wanted! Getting married through the Church? Naw, christ don’t know SHIT about my ETHNOSTATE, I’m getting married through ROF. Practicing sexual self restraint for spiritual health and not contributing to the impurity of my Kinsmen’s future wives? Naw, as stated by #5 of the Codes of RoF, recreational sex is fine so long as you use contraceptives (wouldn’t want any reponsibilty for may actions, let alone children, that is what KIKES want), and don’t worry, my T H I C C SHEWOLF QT GF uses contraceptives when out “recruiting” 😉

I’m ready for all out war, with all my TACTICAL BLACK 5.11 gear, which really blends into all the black trees, black dirt, black foliage, and black sand that makes up the Floridian biome and terrain.”

This is the kind of thinker Lyle Shelton and the Australian Christian Lobby align themselves with when they disseminate D Paul Sullins’ hate speech on their website. This is the kind of person who agrees with their perverse, extremist views on same-sex parenting.

And while suggesting links between an American neo-Nazi member of the Ku Klux Klan, a Catholic priest and the Australian Christian Lobby may seem to be drawing a ‘long bow’,   it is not as long as the link Lyle Shelton tried to draw between the hate-speech poster and those of us who advocate for marriage equality.

The Catholic Church has shameful historical links with fascism. Their ideologies and modus operandi mesh well. Throughout modern history, the Catholic Church has supported fascist regimes. It is almost needless to say, also, that the Catholic Church’s fears about ‘violence to children’ did not extend to protecting the many thousands of children under their care who were sexually and physically brutalised by their own nuns and priests. Nor that barely a whimper has been heard from the Australian Christian Lobby on this topic, other than to blame homosexuals.

But, what is less well known is that Mr Shelton’s own family and the Australian Christian Lobby are closely connected with fascism and right-wing extremism.

The Australian Christian Lobby evolved out of a religious cult called the Logos Foundation. Logos continues to this day, according to some, in the Toowoomba City Church, which operates under the auspices of Shelton’s father,  Ian Shelton,  in Toowoomba.  Lyle Shelton was raised within the Logos cult and his father was a cult leader along with Logos founder, Howard Carter. When Logos fell apart, Ian Shelton ‘regrouped’ with the formation of his Toowoomba City Church, and what had been ‘Logos’ reformed as the Network for Christian Values – later to evolve into the Australian Christian Lobby.*

It has a fascinating history, retrievable for those of us who like to trawl through internet archives and obscure books.

According to David Greason (in Faces of Hate, Cunene et al, 1997), the Australian Christian Lobby’s predecessor, the Logos Foundation,  and the fascist, ultra-nationalist, League of Rights worked in alliance during the 1980s. The League of Rights was described by the Federal Government’s National Inquiry into Racist Violence as “undoubtedly the most influential and effective as well as the best organised and most substantially financed racist organisation in Australia.”

In 1994, Derek Brown, previously the national co-ordinator of the Logos Foundation, was the director of the Network for Christian Values, later to rebadge as the Australian Christian Lobby (Source: Sydney Morning Herald, December 12, 1994).

During its heyday, Logos, had close links with both Ruis John Rushdoony’s theocratic Chalcedon Foundation and Australia’s extreme-right wing, anti-semitic League of Rights (Canberra Times, August 1994).

Today, the Chalcedon Foundation is listed as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, principally because of its support for the death penalty for homosexuality (Schlatter, Southern Poverty Law Centre, 2010). That is not to say the Australian Christian Lobby holds that view today, but its dubious history certainly traces back to an organisation with close links to those who did.

There is a strong history of homophobia running through the history of Logos, the NCV and the ACL. For example, during  the campaign to decriminalise homosexual sex in Queensland, the Logos Foundation (with Lyle Shelton’s father as one of its leaders) campaigned against any change to the law, branding homosexuality as ‘unnatural, unhygienic and unproductive’ (Clive Moore, Sunshine and Rainbows, 2001; Courier Mail, 7 November 1989).

Toowoomba Uniting Minister Rev. Ray Lindenmayer commented at that time on Logos leader, Howard Carter’s “extreme social, political and religious views” and how “his organisation [LOGOS] exploits people’s anxieties and insecurities to push their far right-wing agenda” (Greg Spearritt, Sea of Faith, August 2013).

The links between Logos, the Network for Christian Values (later the Australian Christian Lobby) and the fascist League of Rights are too numerous to ignore.

ACL founder, John McNicoll was a contributor to the League of Rights’ journal, “The Strategy”, although he later sought to distance himself and the Network for Christian Values (later the ACL) from the organisation and claimed NCV director, Derek Brown, had since resiled from Logos’ anti-semitic views (Canberra Times, September 1994).

Jeremy Lee was the Queensland and northern NSW director of the League of Rights and acted as the ‘defacto deputy’ to the League’s founder, Eric Butler. Lee was also a founder of the Logos Foundation.

After the Logos foundation was dissolved in the wake of founder, Howard Carter’s, sexual indiscretions it was reborn as Shelton’s Toowoomba City Church, an entity which continues to operate today.

Shelton’s son, Lyle, worked in his father’s church as a youth pastor for a time and is now the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby. Lyle Shelton maintains ties with his father’s church and preached there as recently as August 2015. In his sermon, Shelton describes himself as “very much a product of this church” and says he wouldn’t be doing what he is doing in Canberra today if it were not for the vision of his father’s church. Far from advising the congregation from toning down their extremist views, he advises, “Don’t settle for comfortable church existence – stay on the edge.”

“The edge”?  Considering the history of the ACL and the Toowoomba City Church and Lyle Shelton’s upbringing in a fascist-linked cult, one might wonder whether that’s a thinly veiled exhortation to religious and/or political extremism.

Let me be clear, I am not saying the Australian Christian Lobby produced or put up the poster in Melbourne. What I am saying is that for Lyle Shelton to suggest supporters of marriage equality had any part in a ‘false flag’ campaign linked to neo-Nazi propaganda is disgraceful.

Shelton would do well to remember the Australian Christian Lobby, his family, and the Catholic ideology he disseminates have far more links with neo-Nazis and fascists than those of us campaigning for the simple right of two people who love each other to have the right to marry in a civil ceremony.

The Australian Christian Lobby evolved from a cult that was intimately linked, through ideology and personnel, with the racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, fascist, League of Rights. That is its history. If Lyle Shelton wants to draw links between marriage equality activists and neo-Nazi propaganda, he would do well review his own history and remove the rather large swastika-shaped mote from the ACL’s eye.

Chrys Stevenson

See also: The Christian Right’s Roots in Rural Queensland by Dr John Harrison, UQ.

* The Australian Christian Lobby was started in 1995 under the name of the Australian Christian Coalition, which was developed by two Network for Christian Values board members: former Townsville Bulletin editor John Gagliardi and Canberra-based Baptist minister John McNicoll. – https://www.crikey.com.au/2016/02/22/money-and-mining-men-behind-the-shadowy-australian-christian-lobby/