Title: Marriage Equality: Submission Holds Credit: Politics and religion commentator Craig Young Comment Wednesday 31st October 2012 - 11:58am1351637880 Article: 12473 Rights
Say uncle, fundies! Now that the submission phase of the marriage equality debate has closed, what will happen next? Much depends on what volume of submissions are affirmative and what proportion of submissions are negative. Contrary to Bob McCoskrie's Family First website puff piece several days ago, I spotted a pile of untouched Family First anti-equality submission template brochures in one local fundamentalist bookshop. Which may mean? Well, possibly it may be the case that Family First is not galvanising opponents of marriage equality as much as they'd hoped might be the case. At this stage of the marriage equality debate, there are no placard billboards, no whole page newspaper advertisements, no bumper stickers against marriage equality or even any mass demonstrations against the bill. There haven't even been any imported US or Australian Christian Right marriage equality opponents. This may arise later during the context of this particular campaign, or it may not. However, it may also imply that Family First doesn't have access to this scale of campaign funding or donations within the marriage equality debate. Why might this be the case? Having monitored the Australian marriage equality debate, I've noticed that there were such individuals deployed from their mates in the US Christian Right- Unification Church-owned Washington Times columnist Rebecca Hagelin addressed a recent anti-equality rally in Canberra, for instance. However, due to our enduring recession and smaller scale of Christian religious observance, and cumulative number of progressive social reforms, the US Christian Right may be unwilling to throw their money away fomenting local mischief amongst Family First, the Conservative Party and its other satellite pressure groups. As we can see from the Family First, "Protect Marriage" and Bob McCoskrie.Com websites, there is the same usual slavish dependence on US Christian Right imported propaganda, tactics and strategic advice, as well as those from its fellow satellite movements elsewhere in the world. I almost hope that either McCoskrie, Ian Wishart or one of the more clueless New Zealand Christian Right activists decide to import either militant Australian fundamentalist Bill Muehlenberg or other wild-eyed, intemperate Australian Christian Right liabilities to their cause. Indeed, we should remember that McCoskrie himself has made repeated lapses and unguarded statements, and we know that he associates with Bill Muehlenberg, and Ian Wishart reprints his work within Investigate. While reading Muehlenberg's histrionics against marriage equality and LGBT rights more generally in a recent volume on the subject of marriage equality, I noticed something telltale. Muehlenberg does not cite the names of his alleged sources, which Rodney Croome spotted straight away- and disclosed the questionable and aberrant nature of Muehlenberg's 'sources.' Predictably, most of them came from the US Christian Right and its subcultural luminaries, not mainstream professional sources. After all, Muehlenberg has no real mainstream medical, scientific and social scientific qualifications- his "expertise" is restricted to theology. This Australian Christian Right activist is a fundamentalist Baptist American-Australian whose work experience originated with the Assemblies of God fundamentalist youth organisation "Youth With A Mission", as well as brief periods with the "Australian Family Association" (a front group for the Australian conservative Catholic National Civic Council) and most tellingly, "Focus on the Family Australia." Why? Ah, well, when it comes to same-sex parenting, those professional organisations and related evidence-based research support the benefits of same-sex parenting. Therefore, it is drearily commonplace for the US Christian Right either to refrain from naming them because they have risible mainstream professional reputations and publication records as 'social scientists' or 'researchers', or to accuse LGBT rights activists of ad hominem abuse when the Christian Right has an attack of dishonesty, opacity, concealment or other ethically challenged behaviour within the context of public debate. However, it is not ad hominem 'abuse' to correct errors of fact and misrepresentation within public debate. The US Christian Right and its satellites have a tiresome tendency to cite material while concealing the actual background, Christian Right subcultural affiliations and consequent questionable 'research procedures' or 'methodology', as has patently occurred in the context of the flawed Regnerus 'study' in the context of same-sex parenting studies. (The Christian Right is fully aware of this and resents exposure of their unethical conduct, as can be witnessed by a recent complaint from UK "Christian Medical Fellowship" activist and opponent of marriage equality Dr Peter Saunders.) In a forthcoming article, I'll delve more deeply into the weird and far from wondrous work of Bill Muehlenberg, Australian Christian Right activist and militant homophobe. Below, in case other LGBT community members may need to use them in local marriage equality debates, I've provided links to the most common rebuttals of unsubstantiated Christian Right claims about aspects of LGBT existence that usually come up in this context. Feel free to use them. Recommended: Rebuttal of pedophilia accusations: Rebuttal of exgay claims: Rebuttal of Paul Cameron: Rebuttal of Mark Regnerus: Not Recommended: Peter Saunders: "Define disingenuous please" Mercatornet: 22.10.2012: Bill Muehlenberg: Strained Relations: The Challenge of Homosexuality: Balwyn, Victoria: Word: 2011. Politics and religion commentator Craig Young - 31st October 2012    
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