Tag Archives: Lyle Shelton

Turnbull’s postal opinion poll: a vicious, bullying farce.

19 Sep

It’s rather difficult to empathise with the marriage equality No crowd’s insistence that they are being “bullied” by the Yes side, given that the postal opinion poll on the issue is, in itself, one of the most outstanding examples of government and social bullying that we’ve seen in quite some time.

Subjecting groups to the judgement of their fellow citizens on the basis of their sexuality is bullying, of the most insidious and damaging kind. Sexuality is an integral part of who we are. It ought not to be the business of anyone other than ourselves, and those we choose to share it with. And yet here we are, bullied into participating in a bullying opinion poll on our bullied fellow citizens.

(Well done, Prime Minister Turnbull. We all know you chose this persecutory path this because you’re scared dickless of your right-wing. We also know that bullies are always cowards.)

The opinion poll is a survey (and I use the word loosely, given it wouldn’t pass muster as an actual survey anywhere except perhaps North Korea) of what some Australians think of the sexuality of other Australians. It is inherently privileged: gay people do not and never will have the right to participate in a government-initiated opinion poll on the sexuality of straight people and their right to marry. (The very fact this comment sounds ludicrous is solid evidence of entitlement and privilege). It is a survey with a non binding outcome if the answer is yes, and a binding outcome if the answer is no.

I understand that the national result of the opinion poll will be broken down on a federal electoral basis, thereby enabling politicians to claim they will vote in parliament according to their constituents’ wishes and not their own. Yet again they’ve worked out a way of getting themselves off the hook. Eluding responsibility is the one skill this government seems to possess in abundance.

Although the postal poll is to say the least haphazard (piles of envelopes left in the rain at apartment blocks; sent to people who’ve left the address ten years before; stolen forms auctioned online and so on) the results will be a permanent record of opinion in each federal electorate without any safeguards in place to ensure everyone in that electorate had the opportunity to comment. It really is an absolute farce, confected by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and embraced by Turnbull as a way to save his sorry arse from a right-wing kicking. If this isn’t bullying, I don’t know what is.

The No crowd, on the other hand, seem incapable of distinguishing between disagreement, and bullying or silencing. It’s a conservative trait to believe anyone with an opinion that differs from yours is your enemy. According to the right-wing, if you aren’t agreed with you are “silenced.” To this end, the No crowd continues to appear on every available media platform on a daily basis, protesting their “silencing.” Not one of them can see the irony in this.

Here, yet again, we see entitlement and privilege in action. The No crowd is working from the premise that they must be agreed with, simply because of who they are and what they believe. It’s become perhaps an over-used concept since the advent of Donald Trump, however, the notion that anyone who doesn’t believe what you believe is wrong and wickedly trying to silence you is teetering towards narcissistic. It’s also bullying.

So far throughout this debacle, the right has shown itself to be relentlessly seeking victimhood. However, for mine, Shelton’s appearance at the National Press Club last week conclusively undermined his accusations of silencing, both for him personally, and for his followers.

Let’s face it: we should be so lucky…

 

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Dutton stigmatises CEOs as no better than women. Wow.

20 Mar

 

 

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton inexplicably stepped out of his portfolio last week to make commentary on CEOs with an opinion on marriage equality that does not coincide with his own.

Dutton singled out Qantas CEO Alan Joyce for particular attention, presumably because Mr Joyce is gay.

In a final flourish, Dutton advised CEOs to “stick with their knitting” and in so doing revealed the putrid depths of his masculinist contempt not only for gay men and marriage equality advocates, but also for women.

Knitting is largely (though not entirely) a female occupation. It has long been the practice of hegemonic masculinity to “feminise” and therefore devalue gay men through the conflation of homosexuality with effeminacy.

Heterosexual masculinists such as Dutton work to denigrate homosexuals and their CEO supporters as undesirably  “female” by suggesting that their expertise is not in the world of business, opinion and commentary, but rather in a confined domestic environment where they are powerless, voiceless, and, knitting.

The denigration works only if Dutton (and heterosexual masculinists of both genders who agree with his point of view) believes women are inferior, and uses the recommendation to “stick to your knitting” as a profoundly unpleasant, homophobic and sexist insult.

The Minister is actually saying: you have no place and no power in the world of “real” men like me, because if you are a man who supports marriage equality you are inevitably effeminate.

Dutton devalues the male CEOs by attributing to them the “feminine” activity of knitting, and simultaneously devalues women. Our real place is not, in his opinion, in the public space advocating marriage equality, but in a domestic life removed from concerns best left to masculinist politicians.

In Dutton’s view, gay men and male supporters lack masculinity, evidenced by their subversive refusal to unquestioningly support the hegemonic masculinity Dutton represents.

Indeed, Dutton’s masculinity is, like the Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton, defined by his heterosexuality. I recall Shelton’s plaintive tweet that if we allow marriage equality, no one will know he is straight.

Feminising gay men and supporters, stigmatising them as no better and no more relevant in the world than women, is an abject attempt to differentiate the heterosexual masculinist from his greatest perceived threat: a man who loves another man and in so doing becomes, oh dear god no, feminised.

In the world of heterosexual masculinists opposites attract, therefore, if you’re a man who loves a man, you must be a woman.

That this is employed as an insult by Dutton should give us significant pause.

Knitting is generally regarded as a harmless occupation, however, Dutton should note that knitters are not necessarily quite so bland. Madame Defarge, for example, knits contentedly on through the Revolution as the despised ruling heads of France fall one by one into the basket under the guillotine, their names stitched into her patterns.

Dutton has managed, in one short phrase, to cast a thoroughly offensive slur upon gay men and all women. Actually, there aren’t many human beings Dutton likes. This nasty piece of work does not belong in our government. Let’s hope his electorate see it that way.

 

 

Scott Morrison to speak at religious homophobic conference

12 Apr

 

Eric Metaxas Protest

 

Twitter just alerted us to the news that Treasurer Scott Morrison will be speaking at the Australian Christian Lobby’s 2016 conference at the Wesley Centre in the Sydney CBD on Saturday, April 23.

This piece in New Matilda reveals that the conference star turn is one Eric Metaxas, a Christian who believes there are parallels between the failure of church groups to resist Nazism in the 1930s and the growing acceptance by liberal US Christians of LGBTQI people. Metaxas has also backed gay conversion therapy.

We already know the ACL and its spokesman Lyle Shelton have campaigned, successfully it seems, to have the Safe Schools program gutted. We also know that the ACL has an inordinate amount of influence over our governments, including that of atheist PM Julia Gillard, whom Jim Wallace persuaded to keep the school chaplaincy program.

Why are our politicians beholden to this minority group of fundamentalist extremists?

Also speaking at the conference are Miranda Devine, Noel Pearson and Dr Jeffrey J Ventrella, whom New Matilda describes thus: A Senior Counsel at the litigious Alliance Defending Freedom, Jeffery Ventrella argued in 2012 that the US government should divert funds from LGBTI health programs and instead spend the money convincing those in the communities to change their sexuality.

There’s no doubt in my mind that if Morrison speaks at the conference without challenging its homophobic slant, he is endorsing that perspective.

He is billed on the conference website as The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia, so we can assume from this he is appearing in his official capacity, and thus as a representative of the Turnbull government.

It is most alarming that the Treasurer of this country should support the extreme discriminatory views expressed by Metaxas and Ventrella. It’s extremely alarming that Morrison should represent the Turnbull government at a conference that seeks to disseminate homophobic perspectives.

There is probably an argument to be made that politicians, particularly those holding high office, ought not to publicly support any religious views in their official capacity. We are a secular country. Our governments are not vehicles for the furtherance of religious beliefs of any kind.

There is definitely an argument to be made that no politician and legislator should publicly support views that are contrary to our anti discrimination laws, such as those held by Metaxas and Ventralla.

As usual, I don’t support no platforming. I do support protest, and support for protesters if you can’t actually be there on the day.

 

Turnbull sells out young people to the deranged, to save himself

26 Feb

 

Malcolm Turnbull

 

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.

 

Christian Lobby claims it needs hate speech to argue against ssm

16 Feb

ssm

 

In a new and bitter twist in the ongoing debate about the plebiscite we’re having because politicians lack the courage to do the job they were elected to do and just change the damn marriage laws, Lyle Shelton, managing director of the right-wing fundamentalist Australian Christian Lobby, has now called for anti discrimination laws forbidding hate speech against LGBTQI people to be relaxed, so that his tribe can argue the “no” side in the same-sex marriage plebiscite without fear of legal action being taken against them.

It’s difficult to know where to start deconstructing the bigotry of this: a Christian lobby group is demanding the right to use, with impunity, what the law defines as hate speech to argue its case against same-sex marriage.

If any group needs access to hate speech in order to argue its case about anything, it obviously has no case. The very request for impunity from the law is all the evidence needed to demonstrate that its case is already illegal, before any argument is embarked upon. However, Shelton argues that anti-discrimination laws have “such a low threshold,” anything the no side argues will make them vulnerable to the constant threat of legal action.

Shelton intends to use what he describes as “the millennia-old argument” that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Millennia-old arguments are not the best place to start when debating a point of view: they can be refuted in seconds, and besides, before proceeding with such an argument the proponent must demonstrate why longevity is an argument for anything.

I’m not a fan of marriage, however, it is currently a powerful institution and every man and woman who wants to live in that institution has the right to do so, regardless of sexual orientation. Shelton, et al, are arguing for their religious ideology. They have now admitted that they can’t make that argument without employing bullying, and discrimination. This, to me, says their religious ideology is tyrannical, as is their determination to inflict their views on those of us who do not wish to be subjected to them.

I don’t think Shelton has a hope of having anti-discrimination laws relaxed to enable him to use whatever speech he likes to argue against marriage equality.  However, the upside of this unforeseen aspect of the debate about how we should run the plebiscite debate before we actually get to debating the plebiscite, let alone voting on the most unnecessary plebiscite EVAH, is that it demonstrates as nothing else can, the bigotry and tyranny of the no faction.

It also demonstrates the level of stupidity with which we are dealing, and it isn’t all on the ACL side.

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