Saturday, June 09, 2012

Gay marriage, the ACL, Sydney Anglicans, a dash of Sappho, and dogs in the manger ...

(Above: graphic fear mongering Sydney Anglican style).

Thought of the week for the pond's Sunday meditation:
Christians are powerhouses of twitter, twittering tweets and great at reducing the complexity of the world to 140 characters?

Lordy, long absent lord, lordy, lah di dah.

No doubt the Sydney Anglicans will be lining up in a frenzy for the Twitter bible.

Day 1: Lighting system installed. BRB.
Days 2-6: Some assembly required: sky, plants, cows, people. Left humans in charge, LOL. Day 7: Siesta (here).

Yep, it's no longer WWJD (Jesus Drive), it's WWGT (God Tweet).

Once again thanks to Russell Powell, the pond has caught up on The Brave new world of the media, and wouldn't you know it, Channel Seven's Sunrise is in hot water with the Sydney Anglicans:

...Channel Seven's Sunrise came out in support of gay marriage in an organised promotion for Getup. It was excruciating to watch the normally even-handed hosts trying to explain they were being fair when all around them was pointing to the bias of the show.
I'm fairly cynical about the media, having worked in it for 30 years, but even I was taken aback.
Incidentally, I think Christians who belong to Getup (I've met two in the past week) should start making their voices heard within the organisation. Many join for the campaigns on refugees and conservation and suddenly find that only some 'grass roots' views are welcome. In fact, Getup sent an email to supporters describing those who don't agree with gay marriage as 'those who seek to propagate hate'.

Excruciating? It's excruciating watching a couple of TV hosts suggest its okay for people to love each other?

1. Intensely painful; agonizing.
2. Very intense or extreme

Yep, Powell's excruciation is close enough to talk of propagating hate, and it's intensely painful, agonizing and extreme to read, the sort of talk that propounds fear, loathing, isolation, exclusion, alien differentness and otherness, and filthy creatures doing beast with two backs business (well perhaps everyone does that, gay, straight and hermaphrodite, it's just the way the holes fall).

That said, if Powell was taken aback by Seven's Sunrise, after thirty years in the media, he needs to get out more. It turns out that MPs have been taken aback by the level of homophobia and vitriolic hatred lurking in the community, as can be read in MPs abused over gay marriage.

The people who got agitated about the Seven show came from that bunch of fundamentalist loons, the Australian Christian Lobby.

Is that where the Sydney Anglicans see themselves? Out there with perennial gay basher Jim Wallace?

The Christian Lobby has told the Australian Communications and Media Authority that Sunrise's involvement in the ''I do'' campaign is a breach of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, which requires news to be presented impartially.

Sunrise is a news service? Does that mean I'm reading The Magic Faraway Tree for its news content?

The ACL conducted one of its digital paper wars - herd the sheeple, get them to send in group think thoughts - as recorded in Amber Jamieson's piece for Crikey, Here comes the Sunrise disgust: gay marriage fires up ACL. Amazingly, in that blitz, the ACL kept up idle chatter about Sunrise being a current affairs show:

That a TV current affairs show, let alone TV station, should take sides in such a highly contentious issue in the public square is disgraceful.

Does anyone at the ACL ever watch the show? The notion of "current affairs" now seems as loose as a Christian after a half a bottle of Scotch.

But back to maintaining the rage:

What it says for the respect they have for alternative opinion, even our values, is extremely disappointing and we need to register our disappointment.
… Also, please consider sending an email to Sunrise’s partners sharing your concerns about the television show. They include Purina, The Coffee Club, Accor Hotels, Myer and Jetstar.

Happily, most of the sponsors seem to have ignored the rage, the fear and the loathing, but the hurt and disappointed routine is just the thing for angry Sydney Anglicans, as can be discovered by reading Andrew Cameron in The modern marriage ideology, who pushes the line that discrimination is good and just and historically so and thus:

Marriage has always been ‘discriminatory’. Not everyone can have it: children, siblings, those already married, those with no-one offering to marry them, and so on.

Clearly the dour Cameron didn't see the recent Colbert sketch about marrying himself.

Such an attractive bride too.

But it's interesting that discrimination is so virtuous. Slavery has always been discriminatory too, but at least the notion that discrimination is okay gives the pond comfort when discriminating against people who think they have imaginary powerful friends.

Cameron spends the rest of the piece explaining with modest piety and righteousness how dearly he loves his gay friends, and might miss their friendship, while maintaining the right to spread moral alarums and panics:

We should ... notice that, in general, it’s the one who wants to change the law who ‘imposes’ a view, since laws impose expectations on everyone. In this case, it won’t be a private law for some same-sex couples: everyone is being asked to live under a new definition of marriage. It’s not wrong to question its wider social effects, such as what it says about biological parenthood.

Yep, a couple of thousands of years of consigning gays to hell, and making sure they conduct their perfidy in a closet, and suddenly it's the Christians yammering about how they're imposed upon and biological parenthood is at stake. Presumably that's the biological parenthood that's produced gays, and presumably gays are incapable of biological parenthood - you there, get that semen and womb out of my sight ...

What's most insufferable about Cameron's piece? Surely it's the sense of martyrdom and self-pity, the same as the ACL's persecution complex, as if it's the Christians who've been under the hammer all these years:

Obviously though, governments can only enact laws that most people accept. Our society may reject those old purposes of marriage and want its new loves. We should note that in a 2011 parliamentary debate, only six Federal MPs indicated that their constituencies wanted the change. We’re only at the loud activism stage, not the rioting-in-the-streets stage. However, if opinions sufficiently shift and a change in marriage law is widely demanded, Christians know how to live under a government with whom they disagree.

Yep, it's the noble pious suffering Christian routine, once again being crucified by populists and government.

Go tell that to Rock Hudson, and sundry forms of inquisition over the years.

SBS recently ran a terrible drama doc about the life and death of Alan Turing.

Never mind the quality of the drama scenes, Turing's a man for whom the pond has much affection, considering his role in computer science, AI and code breaking (wiki him here). He killed himself with cyanide in an apple in 1954. The reason?

In January 1952, Turing met a man called Arnold Murray outside a cinema in Manchester. After a lunch date, Turing invited Murray to spend the weekend with him at his house, an invitation which Murray accepted although he did not show up. The pair met again in Manchester the following Monday, when Murray agreed to accompany Turing to the latter's house. A few weeks later Murray visited Turing's house again, and apparently spent the night there.
After Murray helped an accomplice to break into his house, Turing reported the crime to the police. During the investigation, Turing acknowledged a sexual relationship with Murray. Homosexual acts were illegal in the United Kingdom at that time, and so both were charged with gross indecency under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885.
Turing was given a choice between imprisonment or probation conditional on his agreement to undergo hormonal treatment designed to reduce libido. He accepted chemical castration via oestrogen hormone injections.

A brilliant life destroyed by the mumbo jumbo and cant of a society in the grip of superstitious priests willing to condone the persecution of people because they might happen to be same sex attracted. And not back in the dark ages, but within the lifetime of people who can still remember the second world war, and the role that Turing played in helping bring Europe out of the dark age of Hitler.

You could replicate tales of persecution thousands of times over, and you could add to the list persecutions currently unfolding in all sorts of places all over the world, not least in Africa where Sydney Anglicans ply their trade of gay fear and loathing.

So let's flip it a little, and see where Cameron's mealy mouthed talk gets us. Will gay marriage see Christians forced to take cyanide-laced poison apples? Will they be so persecuted they'll rush off the cliff like twittering lemmings?

Cameron does his best to maintain a persecution complex:

The question will then become whether our liberal polity can allow cultural space for those who view marriage differently, or whether it will pursue such dissidents punitively. A change to the law may create misunderstanding, difficulties and pain along the way. Handled badly, there could be decades of social friction as some refuse to recognise ‘new marriage’ in various contexts.

However you read it, the subtext there is a threat, a promise of decades of friction, delivered up by "some". And who would that "some" be? Sore ungracious losers? Vindictive obsessives? Homophobes? Fractious angry Christians and angry Sydney Anglicans? Yet somehow it's all the fault of those difficult, vexatious gays who want to embrace another person in love? (and perhaps marital bickering and discord, and nothing wrong with that given heterosexual routines).

Sad to say of course it was the coming of Christianity into the Roman Empire that produced misunderstandings, pain and difficulties in relation to marriage and sex and love and the whole damn pagan thing, and it's since been handled badly these past few thousand years.

Oh to be back on Sappho's island:

Since the question of virginity was not involved, nothing was forbidden. ... One caress was as sweet as another, a wreath could be as provocative as an uncovered limb, and because pleasure was luxuriously sensual but never obscene it could be thought of as a form of worship and sung in all aspects. Finally, because this love was open and non-reproductive, an easy promiscuity was the rule, allowing love to follow always, wherever beauty was perceived. (here)

Sensual sex without guilt! Well Christianity, with its tut-tutting and cluck-clucking has surely fucked that concept, and all due to some patriarchal nonsense about Adam, Eve, serpents and apples. That's like using Aesop's Fables as a foundation for a moral approach to life.

Oh wait a tic, Aesop does it better ...

Oh well maybe it wasn't Aesop, maybe it was Lucian and others recycling a Greek fable so old its source is unknown (but natch it now has a wiki here):

'You used to say that they acted absurdly in that they loved you to excess, yet did not dare to enjoy you when they might, and instead of giving free rein to their passion when it lay in their power to do so, they kept watch and ward, looking fixedly at the seal and the bolt; for they thought it enjoyment enough, not that they were able to enjoy you themselves, but that they were shutting out everyone else from a share in the enjoyment, like the dog in the manger that neither ate the barley herself nor permitted the hungry horse to eat it.' (Timon the Misanthrope)

Yep, when you're looking for a dog in the manger jealously guarding the hay and the barley, look no further than angry Sydney Anglicans, dressing up their hostility and resentment with fine and fancy words.

Would Christ have been so hostile and exclusive, intent on running state-recognised and licensed institutions like an exclusive yacht club, and never mind that up until the sixteenth century churches were happy to accept an exchange of vows, even without witnesses (here)?

Unlikely ... Christ was a more little more inclusive than the average angry Sydney Anglican. Take it away Sappho:

Some say an army of horsemen, or infantry,
A fleet of ships is the fairest thing
On the face of the black earth, but I say
It's what one loves.

This is very easily understandable to do
For each of us. She who far surpassed
The beauty of all, Helen, just went and left
Her noble husband
Sailing she went far away to Troy,
And thought nothing of child or parents dear,
Nothing at all, but ...................led her off,
...reminds me of Anactoria who is not here
Whose lovely way of walking, and the dark flash
Of her face I would rather see ---- than
War-chariots of Lydians and spear-men struggling
On a dusty battlefield.
(found here in a very nice pdf about her by William Harris, who helps by brooding about the fragments lost).

(Below: why is that a dog or a Sydney Anglican in the manger?)


  1. Why is he so sure the Christians in Get Up don't support gay marriage? Perhaps theirs is an inclusive faith. Perhaps that is why they joined Get Up....

  2. Oh dear... and Jensen wants to ensure that if marriage equality becomes a reality, then Sydney Anglicans can still maintain the right to preach homophobia in public schools because he says Sydney Anglicans work in them!

  3. 40k in favour, 15k comments in the negative. They need more sheeple anon!

    Still at least the clip shows that Catholics and Anglicans can work together, at least until Catholics are consigned to Anglican hell for heresy, and Anglicans to Catholic hell for heresy.

    As for the right to work in state schools preaching their gospel of hate under the guise of religious freedom. Roll on the caliphate and the Taliban. Oh wait, it's already here ...

  4. Far be it from me to be so rude as to suggest their existence might be merely one of literary convenience, but isn't it fascinating how the multitude of gay friends the Reverend Andrew Cameron and those of his ilk invariably purport to hold dear never seem to have names? Nor are they ever heard defending their otherwise likable homophobic compadres - in the words of the old Wesleyan hymn: "'Tis mystery all..."


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