One of the (many) problems I see with religious ideology is that it offers people whose intelligence and experiential curiosity is limited by cowardice and fear, a socially legitimised avoidance of the challenges of thinking differently.
This is what we’re witnessing in the current outburst of venomous denial expressed by Cory Bernardi, George Christensen, Lyle Shelton and their fellow travellers towards the Safe Schools program.
This is an extremist group resistant to any change in what they perceive as the traditional order of things. They use nostalgic reification of “tradition,” underpinned by religious ideology, to legitimise what is nothing more than personal emotion and private insecurity.
This isn’t to say only religious people are closed to difference, or that all religious people are closed, and religion isn’t the only ideology that closes minds and hearts. However, in this instance, which is focused on human sexuality and its many expressions, the religious appear to be dominant in their vicious objection to there being any expression other than the one they endorse.
Not one of them is able to take personal responsibility and say, for example, I am frightened of sexual difference and its expression and this why the Safe Schools program causes me such discomfort. Instead, they resort to what they claim has been “traditional” for “millennia” and/or the will of a transcendental exteriority they define as a Christian god.
These are frightened, cornered people, and frightened, cornered people are no less dangerous than any other frightened, cornered animal.
As Nietzsche observed “…systems of morals are only a sign-language of the emotions.” This isn’t a difficult concept to test: what upsets us humans are inclined to declare in some way immoral, while what brings pleasure and ease is intellectually defined as morally good. But as Hamlet observes before Nietzsche “… there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Bernardi, Shelton, et al have embraced the man-made doctrine that any sexual feelings and expressions other than those their peer group considers right and good are aberrations that they have set about attempting to destroy, regardless of the consequences of that destructive rampage for their fellow human beings. They do this in the name of some god. They are, quite frankly, deranged.
They are now supported in this endeavour by our government, as Prime Minister Turnbull endorses their demands for an inquiry into a program designed to alleviate the suffering of children and young people who do not express their sexual feelings in ways the religious consider moral. That our government should agree to the demands of religious extremists rather than wholeheartedly support acceptance of differences in youthful sexual expression is appalling.
Turnbull’s support of those who would cause suffering to the young, based entirely on religious ideology, must be greatly discouraging to young people as well as to those adults who want to make acceptance of difference commonplace.
Turnbull has made a Mephistophelean covenant with religious extremists. If there is such a thing as a soul, he has likely sold his in an exchange that benefits himself to the detriment of the young. Surely it must be clear by now to even the most optimistic that Turnbull is no improvement on Abbott, indeed, there’s probably an argument to be made that he is at best, little different and possibly worse.
Turnbull will continue to capitulate to the demands of the extremists in his party, to the detriment of the country and the majority of us living in it. He is a man without courage, and his ideology is personal ambition, and he is blinded by these factors as much as is any other ideological extremist.