Title: Who is Greg Koukl? Credit: Craig Young Comment Saturday 25th December 2004 - 12:00pm1103929200 Article: 549 Rights
In January 2005, the Maxim Institute will host one Greg Koukl at its annual Compass youth indoctrination session at Snell's Beach. Who is this bloke? Apart from an imported US Christian Right activist, that is. Koukl can fairly be described as a hardcore fundamentalist. He is an habituee of fundamentalist Californian 'universities' like Biola, Talbot and Simon Greenleaf (read: converted fundamentalist theological colleges) and runs a talkback radio programme entitled "Stands to Reason." I couldn't find all that much rationality in his comments, though. To his credit, Koukl finds Topeka bigot Fred Phelps embarrassing when he screeches abuse at families and surviving partners of People Living With HIV/AIDS and hate crimes victims. However, he still thinks that Matt Shepherd wasn't a hate crimes victim, as he doesn't believe in the existence of hatecrimes. He attacks PLWA entitlements for social support and public sympathy, and advocates censorship of pro-gay sociological studies and fiction in public libraries. I've been aware of his work since the late nineties, and note that this character seems to think he's exempt from citing mainstream social scientific, scientific and medical findings if he wants his subcultural religious viewpoint to be more widely accepted than it is, when it comes to same-sex marriage, the gay gene and Ellen de Generes. To be charitable to Koukl, he's only written a single diatribe against lesbian/gay rights over the last five years, which deals with same-sex marriage. Why does Koukl object to relationship equality? According to his article about 'challenges and responses,' it has something to do with the absence of international voter franchise entitlements. He opposes any legal recognition of nonsexual and heterosexual de facto cohabitants and compares us to polygamists and perpetrators of child sexual abuse. He dismisses comparisons of the legitimacy of claims for same-sex marriage with the comment that inter-racial marriages are heterosexual. However, he misses the point here - according to earlier generations of conservative Catholic 'natural law' theorists, ethnic 'inferiority' was cited as a barrier to such relationships, as much as the 'natural' status of heterosexuality is today. He ignores the changing nature of heterosexual marriage, on the basis that at least it is heterosexual. Moreover, same-sex couples can't bear children- except due to assisted reproductive technology, fostering and guardianship rights and responsibilities- all of which exist in New Zealand for prospective lesbian and gay parents at the moment. I wondered if Koukl was going to cite anything substantive in his reference section to this article. He did - the Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg. Sprigg was a keynote speaker at the conservative interfaith World Congress of Families III in Mexico City (April 2004), which is probably where our own Bruce Logan and Michael Reid met him. What did Sprigg have to say on the matter of same-sex relationship recognition? Sprigg wrote a position paper for FRC in 2003, reprinted in the Australian Family Association's "Family Update" in March-April 2004. Sprigg denounces civil unions as a 'counterfeit parallel' to heterosexual marriage, supports spousal property rights and tellingly, relies on Paul Cameron for his closing vitriolic remark about the alleged adverse health consequences of homosexuality. We could have considerable fun with this bloke when it comes to his perspectives on hate crimes, advovcacy of library censorship and Sprigg's revealing use of Paul Cameron when he denounced civil unions. Koukl may be a subcultural luminary when it comes to the US Christian Right and their New Zealand imitators, but his own statements damn him. What a coincidence, too - just before the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill is reported back to Parliament for its second and third readings. Recommended Reading: Stand to Reason: Homosexuality Greg Koukl: "Same-Sex Marriages: Challenges and Responses" Solid Ground (May 2004): Peter Sprigg "Questions on Same-Sex Unions Answered" Australian Family Association Family Update (March-April 2004): Compass Conference (Maxim Institute, January 2005) Maxim Institute: Craig Young - 25th December 2004    
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