The Member for Warringah, Tony Abbott, has written yet another opinion piece1 in the Fairfax press and it opines that same-sex marriage will fundamentally change society. Extracts from this piece are in italics below.
I want a country where everyone gets a fair go and where no one is discriminated against on the basis of race, gender, religion, political opinion or sexuality.1
If this is what Abbott wants, I don’t really know what he is so upset about with regard to same sex marriage. But then I realise that this is Tony Abbott (or one of his minions) speaking, so it is most likely a lie, being as he is the most egregious liar I have ever seen in politics in decades. He wants a country where there is no discrimination on the basis of race (unless you are a bit brown, then we will stick you in intolerable conditions on Manus or Nauru), gender (unless you are homosexual or intersex in schools), religion (unless you are muslim), political opinion (unless you are in a union) or sexuality (unless you are homosexual).
We all want people to be appreciated for their achievements and for the quality of their character; not pigeon-holed and dismissed on the basis of prejudice.1
That is precisely what Abbott is doing. If everyone was to be judged solely by the content of their character, then Abbott would fail dismally. He is a Catholic who is quite prepared to stick to the ten commandments, except for those that do not suit him at the time. The one he seems to enjoy transgressing the most, is that about bearing false witness. He transgresses this so often, one could be excused for believing that doing so is his hobby.
He pigeon-holes someone who is gay into a group which his prejudice says is not worthy of marrying. That he could say he isn’t, clearly demonstrates his lack of familiarity with reality, or his lack of ability to comprehend what he himself is saying.
It’s a long time, thank God, since gay people have been discriminated against and just about everyone old enough to remember that time is invariably embarrassed at the intolerance that was once common. Already, indeed, same sex couples in a settled domestic relationship have exactly the same rights as people who are married.1
This is laughable. Stating that it is a long time since ‘gay people’ have been discriminated against, when that is precisely what is occurring now, is typical of the Abbott inability to discern reality. ‘Gay people’ do have exactly the same rights as people who are married, except for the right to get married. Given Abbott’s inability to see the irony in what he says, one could be forgiven for thinking that the late Bob Ellis might have been on to something in considering Abbott had suffered a few too many blows to the head in his boxing career2.
The Archbishop of Hobart has been dragged before a tribunal for defending Christian teaching.1
Yes; this is true, but the complaint was about the assertion in a pamphlet issued by the church that changing marriage was ‘messing with kids’. The complainant argued that the phraseology implied some sort of criminal activity3, which ironically seems to have been more common in the Catholic Church itself than in the gay community. This pamphlet was sent home to parents with children at Catholic schools. This is Abbott simply being disingenuous.
Coopers Brewery was bullied into withdrawing support for the Bible Society after sponsoring a debate about marriage.1
Coopers Brewery did suffer some customer backlash for its seeming support of a Bible Society video. However, the Bible Society stated that the brewery had nothing to do with the video, and Coopers themselves did not approve the making or the release of the video. Coopers was not forced to withdraw its support of the Bible Society, it was forced to deal with boycotts of its beer, just like Qantas will have to consider how it deals with Margaret Court’s boycott. This is Abbott lying by omission
A Father’s Day ad was banned for being “political”.1
Again, this is a lie, and has been detailed elsewhere. The group who made the advertisement were asked to put an identification tag at the end of it, in accordance with the Broadcasting Services Act, but declined to do so4. It was not ‘banned’.
Yet if the polls are to be believed, we are about to discard the concept of marriage that has stood since time immemorial in favour of a new concept that would have been scornfully rejected even by gay people just a generation ago.1
I am married. Giving homosexuals the right to marry will not change my marriage, just like 16 years ago, giving the right of homosexuals to marry in the Netherlands didn’t change my marriage. In Australia, it will just be extending the right to marry, a right I have had, to people who hitherto were not allowed to do so. In Queensland, it used to be that Aboriginals were not allowed to marry white people, but that changed5. Does Abbott believe that the reversal of that policy in Queensland changed the ‘concept of marriage’? Sexual orientation is just as unalterable as skin colour, and nobody in this day and age, except for perhaps some neo-fascists, would discriminate against people based on skin colour.
In Britain, Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to close down and an orthodox Jewish school threatened with defunding.1
These are two more Abbott lies. UK Catholic adoption agencies have not been forced to close down because of same-sex marriage. In 2013, before same-sex marriage was legalised in the UK, the Labour government in the UK changed the law to allow homosexual couples to adopt children. Adoption agencies had the option of either complying with the law, or closing. Indeed, several went against the church hierarchy and simply removed the word ‘Catholic’ from their name, and complied with the law6. The Jewish School for girls was threatened with defunding, not because of its attitude to same-sex marriage, but because it failed to teach children that ‘homosexuality is normal’, which is in breach of the UK Equality Act7.
In America, a baker has been prosecuted for refusing to put a slogan on a wedding cake.1
Surprisingly for an Abbott assertion, this seems to be true. As one of the staff attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said “While we all agree that religious freedom is important, no one’s religious beliefs make it acceptable to break the law by discriminating against prospective customers. No one is asking [the defendant] to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple.” It was also noted in the court case, that the defendant had agreed to fulfill a cake order for the ‘marriage’ of two dogs, but not for a commitment ceremony of two women8.
In the remainder of the piece, Abbott reiterates the drivel which I have dealt with elsewhere9,10. However, in his final paragraph, he states that “Australians have never liked being pushed around or hoodwinked” and that is true. It is therefore time for religious nutters to stop trying to do it.
Abbott seems so incapable of being honest with his readers and perhaps himself, it makes you wonder if he understands what lying actually is.