Title: Panic Christians! Credit: Craig Young Comment Friday 4th May 2007 - 12:00pm1178236800 Article: 1700 Rights
I was reading a new book on the origins of 'panic' as a concept within psychology and sociology when it occurred to me that this was certainly relevant to prospective inclusive adoption reform debates. Consider this. The now-defused Section 59 debate could have all been defused much sooner if someone had consulted Barnardos, Plunket, the Psychological and Pediatrics Society about why they supported repeal, but the mainstream media was lazy and only interviewed their word processors, creating an 'anti-smacking' bill out of nowhere, and enabling the Christian Right to froth at the mouth about parental "rights" as opposed to responsibilities. Mind you, the above supporters of the bill could have been more diligent in putting their message across. Reading about Orson Welles 1938 US 'War of the Worlds' radio broadcast and the resultant media-derived panic from those who mistook it for real world content, consequent social scientific research into that panic, and the design of public information campaigns during the Second World War (and civil defence mis/information during the Cold War), I realised that the above was as applicable to our own context, and the Christian Right were the culprits. When there is an information vacuum, debris rushes in to fill it. Clearly, we must not make the same mistake whenever the awaited adoption reform bill finally materialises. We must get out there beforehand, present the case for the benefits for same sex parenting from pediatrics and developmental psychology, provide advance rebuttals of the Christian Right's antigay propaganda, and establish a Campaign for Same-Sex Parenting or Family Equality to advance our side of the case well in advance. We should also make it as inclusive as possible, dealing with divergent opinions about adoption. I imagine takatapui and whakawahine will want to discuss whangai adoption in their own indigenous context, while some lesbian relinquishing birthmothers may need to space to talk about the cruelty of closed adoption before the information disclosure regime of open adoption was introduced here in the mid-eighties. Otherwise, we risk the situation below. I've used Garnet Milne's re-regurgitated article from fundamentalist ex-daughter of a dysfunctional gay family Dawn Stefanowicz as an example, and my earlier rebuttal still applies to that nasty shrill piece of propaganda. Do we really want the likes of the link below to dominate future debates about inclusive adoption reform? No. So, let's prepare our side of the debate and present it calmly and rationally, well in advance, so we can face down the ravings and ruminations of fundamentalist panicmongering in this context, as was not done over the Section 59 debate. Strongly recommended: Jackie Orr: Panic Diaries: A Genealogy of Panic Disorder: Durham: Duke University Press: 2006 "All That Gutters is Garnet" (Author's earlier Stefanowicz rebuttal):  
This page displays a version of the article with all formatting and images removed. It was harvested automatically and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. A copy of the full article is available (off-line) at the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand. This online version is provided for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us