Brigadier Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby believes that a church school should have the right to expel any openly gay student.
“But I would expect any church that found itself in that situation to do that in the most loving way…I think it’s a loving response,” he says.
It’s legal for religious institutions in NSW to expel homosexual students, and Attorney-General John Hatzistergos, supports that law. While there are churches that oppose it, Jim Wallace gives it his whole-hearted support.
It’s difficult to know where to begin addressing the offensiveness of Wallace’s comments, but perhaps from a human rights point of view, it is most shocking in its reduction of the identity of a young human being solely to their sexual preference.
Nothing else about these students has any apparent value for Wallace, other than their sexuality. The intrinsic worth of the student is reduced to his or her sexual orientation. If the young person is brilliant, gifted, a high achiever – and gay, the Christian school should expel him or her, according to the well known Christian, Wallace.
“Lovingly,” of course.
Would this be another version of “tough love” perhaps?
How does one “lovingly” expel a young person from their school community because of their sexual orientation? Please explain.
Reducing a human being to one aspect of their character is a dehumanising tool used in all propaganda. When we can’t see another’s humanity, we’re far more likely to treat them badly. It requires a leap of the imagination to make an identification with people who’ve been reduced to stereotypes, and many of us don’t want to/can’t be bothered with that imaginative exercise.
Propaganda ensures that certain lives (homosexual in this case) are not considered lives at all in the fullest sense. Reduced to the issue of sexual preference, and on the sole grounds that they are not heterosexual, gay students are punished by expulsion from their community, their lives stigmatized as deviant by their churches.
Failure to see young people as individuals in their own right leads to serious repercussions for them, and for society. Homophobic religious imperatives are determining the course of some students’ lives, with the support of politicians whose first concern is not the welfare of young people, but winning the religious vote.
Belief systems with discriminatory attitudes are putting young people at risk, and governments are supporting the process. This is described by Hatzistergos as maintaining “…the sometimes delicate balance between protecting individuals from unlawful discrimination while allowing people to practice their beliefs.”
Since he admits homophobia is “unlawful discrimination,” Hatzistergos’ position is that what the rest of the community has declared illegal is acceptable if it occurs within a belief system. That church schools are granted permission to behave illegally makes a mockery of anti discrimination laws.
If a behaviour is illegal, it is illegal.
Religions in this country should be abiding by the laws of this country.
Around Australia, churches are exempt from anti discrimination legislation that prevents others from dismissing gay, lesbian, and trans gendered people, solely because of their sexual orientation.
Culturally salient beliefs normalize these problematic practices. One of these beliefs is that religious freedom trumps the anti discrimination culture.
But only some religious freedom, otherwise we’d be condoning genital mutilation and the polygamous and forced marriages of ten year old girls.
We’re selective about which religious freedoms we uphold.
Religious beliefs are fluid. Values change, often quite radically. There’s disagreement within religious circles about the expulsion of gay students. It isn’t the government’s role to legalise these vacillating values, or to give legal validity to one point of view within the churches at the expense of another.
As our law declares discrimination illegal, the government’s role is to support and validate the country’s law.
Religions in this country should abide by the laws of this country. We require this of non Judeo Christians, especially those most recently arrived here. State and federal governments must require it of all religions in Australia, and particularly of all schools.
GOD IS IN THE HOUSE, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Homos roaming the streets in packs, queer bashers with tyre-jacks Lesbian counter-attacks That stuff is for the big cities Our town is very pretty We have a pretty little square We have a woman for a mayor Our policy is firm but fair Now that God is in the house God is in the house Any day now he’ll come out God is in the house.
- Faiths rule on sex from staffroom to bedroom (theage.com.au)
- NSW Greens denounce anti-gay school laws (news.theage.com.au)
- Holy unrest over religious right to discriminate (theage.com.au)
- Nashville churches divided over anti-gay bias bill (knoxnews.com)