Provocative Words Damage Worthwhile Debate

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Chapter Leader
Joined in 2008
July 19, 2011, 12:38

A good example of provocative words destroying worthwhile debate. Sadly, there are proponents of both sides equally as guilty. Keeping our conversation respectful and gracious is far more effective.


Same-sex marriage debate cancelled following anti-Christian slurs

By: Clayton Hinds Christian Post Tuesday, 19 July 2011, 8:44 (EST)

A planned debate on same-sex marriage in Tasmania has been cancelled following claims gay activists personally attacked and demonised the Christian debating team.

In a joint statement from the Australian Christian Lobby’s Managing Director Jim Wallace, Tasmanian Liberal MP Michael Ferguson and the Australian Family Association’s Terri Kelleher called for community and political leaders to debate the issue same-sex marriage on its merits.

“They (gay activists) made reference to the shocking and unfounded attempt to slur Michael Ferguson by ALP State MP Brenton Best, when he accused him of being “partly responsible” for the bashing of a gay man simply because he had been a member of a family values group some eight years before.

“But this is increasingly typical of the tactics being used by the gay rights lobby and their media,” the statement said, read by Mr Wallace. “Only last Thursday the Sydney Star Observer described the Australian Christian Lobby and the Australian Family Association, who Terri and I represent, as ’gay hate’ groups”.

“The ACL is committed to represent Christ in what we do – not to hate, but to love, even those who oppose us. Because Christ’s purpose and witness by my organisation is all important to us,” Mr Wallace said.

“I personally have both same sex attracted friends and associations that I value, and I am deeply offended by these attacks which inevitably damage those relationships,” he said, “such attacks also prey on concerns by same sex attracted people that they might be hated, and this is not the case in society today.”

“Marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as the embodiment of motherhood and fatherhood with all their important implications for children, is deeply valued as that by many people for both cultural and faith reasons.

“This is the definition of marriage, and for many these concepts are precious, even sacred, and people with those views should be free in this society to raise them in the public square without intimidation,” said Mr Wallace.

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
July 19, 2011, 12:54

Hi forestgrey

Yes I agree. This sort of talk is harmful, embarrassing and unworthy of good people on either side of the debate. I cringe when I hear things like that because others will unfortunately associate those comments with our wider LGBT community whether we like it or not. And it certainly does no favours in terms of advancing the argument for gay marriage or the relationship between the church and LGBT folk.

Thanks for posting this.


Ann Maree

Joined in 2009
July 19, 2011, 18:57

Well, dammit, have any LGBT groups come out to publicly denounce the actions as well?

Chapter Leader
Joined in 2008
July 19, 2011, 23:23

Probably not, Chris. Extreme Christian groups (well, they call themselves ‘Christian’) like Fred Phelps et al use disgusting inflammatory language (‘God hates fags’, ‘you’re an abomination’, etc.) to ALL gay people. Then the most militant Gay groups return the language in kind to all Christians (you are ‘gay hate groups’). And those of us somewhere in the middle are tarred with both brushes! I suggest that we should not follow either example. Does nothing to break down barriers and create understanding.

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
July 20, 2011, 13:19

Hi again

Chris has a good point though. I mean when militant muslims carry out hate crimes or make outrageous comments, muslim organisations not associated with the extremists make a statement to clarify that they are not associated with that group nor in agreeance with their actions and beliefs. I think this helps to educate and reassure the wider community that not everyone under one religious banner are extremists.

In the past avb has made statements to that effect, reinforcing the message that you have given, forestgrey, that we seek to dialogue respectfully and will not engage in slinging matches.


Ann Maree

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
July 25, 2011, 12:25

Here is another article that gives some additional info I think.

ACL boycotts marriage equality debate

Written by Brendan Bolger and Serkan Ozturk | 19 July 2011

A same-sex marriage debate has been boycotted by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) “in protest at the increasing use of demonisation tactics by gay activists in pursuing their agenda”.

The debate at the University of Tasmania was to have included opponents, ACL managing director Jim Wallace, the Australian Family Asssociation’s Terri Kelleher, and Tasmania Liberal MP Michael Ferguson, to the question: “The House moves that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry”.

Proponents in the debate were to include Tasmanian gay activist Rodney Croome, writer Dr Danielle Wood from the University of Tasmania, and Tasmania Greens Leader and state Education Minister Nick McKim, who tabled his state-based marriage equality bill in Parliament last year.

In a joint statement issued by ACL, Wallace, Kelleher and Ferguson all claim their withdrawal from the debate did not reflect on the university but said they had “no confidence” the debate would be “free of personal attack and vitriol”.

“A debate is about the ability to put competing views in a civil environment where the reasonable opinions of all participants are respected, and one which is free of personal attack and vitriol.

“But given the record of some gay activists and their supporters in the public debate on this issue, we have no confidence that that will be the case,” the joint statement read.

The statement also directly referred to the stoush that developed last week between Ferguson and Labor MP Brenton Best, following suggestions in Parliament earlier in the month that Ferguson was instrumental in attending anti-gay rallies orchestrated by the Tasmania Family Institute in 2003.

Last week, ACL also sparked widespread condemnation from the LGBTI community and the Jewish community over its support for Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd’s sister Loree and her public comments that equated the marriage equality movement with a global gay Gestapo.

“We would believe most people would view Ms Rudd’s use of the term ‘Gestapo’ as referring to attempts to use fear and intimidation to silence dissent,” Wallace said.

Early this evening, McKim’s office released a press statement in response to the debate’s cancellation.

McKim, who is said to be “mystified” by the pullout, was dubious about the excuse given by the parties involved.

“Same-sex marriage has the support of most Australians, and I suspect the real reason that Mr Ferguson and his colleagues withdrew is because they know they cannot win this debate,” McKim said.

“I support today’s call by the Australian Christian Lobby that this issue be debated on its merits. But we can’t have that debate if Mr Wallace, Mr Ferguson and Ms Kelleher lack the courage to show up.”

Croome questioned Wallace, Kelleher and Ferguson’s sudden withdrawal from the debate.

“This debate was the perfect opportunity for opponents of marriage equality not only to put their case, but to address whatever concerns they have about the tone of public debate.

“By withdrawing it looks like they’re trying to win public sympathy by playing the victim card rather than actually making their case and this does their cause no good at all,” he said.

It was disappointing the trio had withdrawn from the debate, Croome added.

“Personally, I was looking forward to an opportunity to re-assure Jim Wallace, Michael Ferguson and Terri Kelleher that marriage equality advocates like myself want a mature and respectful public discussion about this issue.

“A respectful discussion is something my colleagues and I have committed ourselves to repeatedly, despite provocative language from Jim Wallace comparing same-sex relationships to polygamy, and from Kevin Rudd’s sister, Loree, comparing marriage equality advocates and the Gestapo,” he said.

The debate was scheduled to take place on July 28 at the University of Tasmania’s Inveresk campus in Launceston.

Comment has been sought from the University of Tasmania.

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