Now I have heard everything. The bizarre exhortation from the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, for governments to keep “out of the friendship business and out of the bedroom”. What he means by the reference to friendship, I can only guess at. Could it be a disparaging comment about same-sex relationships?1 Only he would know. The irony of this celibate old man telling people how to live their lives and in particular their relationships is probably lost on him. The churches (yes, all of them) have been telling others how to live (and die) for millennia, so the initial irony probably faded long ago; much like it did with horseriding; with women riding side-saddle and men astride.
Fisher also spoke about marriage being primarily around the importance of children. It seems I have been misled by my psyche. I thought marriage was all about love and companionship. What does Fisher’s assertion mean for couples who cannot have children? What does it mean for those who choose not to have children? Are their marriages lacking? Are their marriages not up to par?
After this he then got into the most egregious red herring (if that is possible): the old religious freedom drivel. He stated “in a culture which for all its putative open-mindedness is less and less tolerant of Christianity, how will we ensure in the years ahead that people in parishes, schools and other institutions are free to speak and practise their beliefs?”1. Our culture is much more open-minded that it used to be, just like it used to be more religious. His assertion that the culture is less and less tolerant of Christianity is a lie. What it is becoming less and less tolerant of, is Christians trying to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. Christians will be free to practise their beliefs, just not inflict them on others. This red herring is something that all of the ‘no’ advocates have used.
Fisher also said “If overseas experience is anything to go by, it will be very hard to speak up for real marriage any more in schools, at work, socially”1. That is simple to fix; don’t proselytise when the debate is over. Nobody argues any more about killing your wife on her father’s doorstep if she is not a virgin when you marry. That argument was lost a long time ago. This will be the same.
Hilariously, Fisher said he feared that some Catholics might face discrimination for voting ‘no’1. The sort of discrimination Fisher fears is presumably like that proposed by the Australia’s most senior Catholic, the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, who stated that the church’s teachings must be upheld totally by its employees, and that defiance would be treated very seriously, the implication being that they would place their employment at risk2. Again, the irony is probably lost on them.