‘Stop telling me Christians don’t support gay marriage.’

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Once again, the Australian Christian Lobby has shown that they are not only out of step with community values, they are out of step with Christian values.

Alys Gagnon, an editor at the Mamamia Women’s Network and a church-going Christian, explains why she is furious at the reaction of the Australian Christian Lobby to Ireland’s successful referendum on same-sex marriage.

Last night, Ireland, a traditionally conservative Catholic nation, voted overwhelmingly in a referendum of its citizens in favour of same sex marriage.

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The Australian Christian Lobby greeted this news by saying, “the redefinition of marriage and family in Ireland this weekend is a wake-up call to Australians who value the rights of children and freedom of belief.

“Australia should not pass a law which forces millions of Australians to pretend that a same-sex couple with children is the same thing as a mother and father with children.”

Make no mistake. This is nothing more than bigotry dressed up as concern for children.

The ACL is a small organisation and can lay no legitimate claim to the notion of being the Christian voice of Australia. It doesn’t disclose its source of funding, but the rumours of being supported by a couple of old blokes from some conservative evangelical churches in rural Queensland have been floating around for years. Arguably, it’s the voice of a few old rich men than it is of any kind of Christianity I have ever been exposed to.

This out of touch and out of step organisation is the squeaky wheel of Australian politics. It’s loud, and somewhat annoying, but it does not represent the majority of Christians.

This is particularly so when it comes to the debate on equal marriage.

ACL Jim Wallace feature
Australian Christian Lobby boss, Jim Wallace.

The leadership of the ACL like to swan around Parliament House intimidating MPs and threatening to move huge voting blocs against them. But all the evidence suggests that the majority of Christians in this country support equal marriage.

In 2010 a Galaxy poll found that over half of all Christians support equal marriage.

It also found that 62% of people of other religions support equal marriage.

In 2014 Crosby Textor found that 67% of Catholics support equal marriage along with 57% of Anglicans and Uniting Church members and 59% of other denominations.

Crosby Textor also found that 75% of religious people from other religions also support marriage equality.

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Image via Marriage Equality Ireland

It annoys me greatly that the ACL bills itself as the voice for values in public debate. It annoys me further that it dominates commentary when media outlets go looking for a Christian take on matters of public policy.

But it infuriates me that as a churchgoer, I am constantly battling through the perception of Christians as homophobic and bigoted readily helped along by the likes of the ACL and Catch the Fire Ministries.

Ireland gay marriage 2 feature

Jesus was a social rebel. In his day, the leaders of the temple were conservatives who used the ancient laws of their religion to oppress and marginalise women, the poor, the sick and the needy. Jesus stood up to the conservatives. He hung out with the social outcasts of his day – prostitutes, Samaritans, tax collectors and lepers. Jesus asked people of faith to place love at the centre of their lives. He said, love your neighbour as yourself. He said, do unto others as you would have them do to you.

If the ACL want to truly walk the path of Jesus, if they want to really be a voice for Christian values in our community then they should working for marriage equality. They should take to Parliament House and remind the MPs on the no side of this debate that Jesus fought for change, he fought for progress, and he fought for love.

If you’re interested in equality (and why wouldn’t you be?) check out these:

Powerful leader talks about equality. Encourages other leaders to to the same.

Tony Abbott’s sister is actively lobbying the PM on the new marriage equality bill.
“To attain gender equality, we need to focus on men.”

Anger after ambassador’s same-sex partner told NOT to greet the PM.

Would you vote YES in an Australian Marriage Equality Referendum?

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