September 26, 2017

Editorial: We can win this — we can uphold real marriage

Recent data suggests that people who support traditional marriage can succeed in the same-sex marriage plebiscite. PHOTO: Kelly Sikkema

Australians in favour of authentic marriage – as opposed to its numerous proposed counterfeits – may well have been disheartened or dismayed in recent years by the seemingly overwhelming bias of the media and our culture in general at what may seem to many as the last battle that can be fought: the battle for the family and for children. But the word “bias” is misleading.

What has been levelled at supporters of authentic marriage in Australia in recent years has been not bias but outright vitriol, hatred, deliberate denial of equal time or coverage by the media who do so much to shape contemporary attitudes, deliberate lies and characterisations of those who support authentic marriage as evil and intolerant, violence in the form of death threats and, on at least one occasion, the attempted suicide bombing of the Australian Christian Lobby headquarters in Canberra – all in the name of “tolerance” and “love.” It is clear that those who support the redefinition of marriage to any possible temporary union between any numbers of people are determined to allow no debate.

Even worse has been the official connivance of the political elites who have, in the process, revealed an overwhelming ignorance about the factual, historical, social, human and moral importance of marriage combined with an equally overwhelming determination to seek political advantage by preventing Australians from voting on the most fundamentally important issue to confront the nation since Federation.

With forces ranged against the continuation of authentic marriage such as these, who can possibly hope for victory? However, The Catholic Weekly announces this week that victory is not only possible but is becoming probable. Why? What the same-sex marriage lobby does not yet understand is that its moment has already passed. The campaign for authentic marriage, on the other hand, has only just got going and is already showing signs of gaining traction in the wider community. The enemies of authentic marriage such as Bill Shorten certainly sense this and are already concerned for the long term effects on their political greatness.

A married couple pose outside St Mary’s Cathedral after Sydney Archdiocese’s annual Marriage Mass, July 6, 2017. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

Until now, the campaigners for anything-as-marriage whose real long-term goal is to turn the nation’s education system into their equivalent of a gender re-education camp preying on students have relied on the sleight of hand that to be tolerant we must extend the redefinition of marriage to any relationship (same-sex marriage is only the starting point). The term “marriage equality,” entirely inaccurate, was a great early manoeuvre. But after several years of repetition – and an heroic opposition from numerous groups, individuals (including some bishops) and churches – it has worn thin. Around the nation people have begun to reflect more deeply on the actual consequences of what happens when marriage is effectively defined out of existence.

Secondly, the violence and totalitarian psychology which have so often characterised the same-sex marriage lobby, especially its language and treatment of opponents, have unnerved many Australians. Most Australians still believe, deep down, that any major decision facing this country should be debated in order to achieve resolution – that is how democracy works. But the McCarthyist self righteousness of the SSM lobby which has morphed so regularly into political and employment intimidation has seriously worried many and given many more serious pause for concern.

Thirdly, the SSM lobby’s over-confidence allowed it to reveal (and even revel in) the true nature of its “Safe Schools” program which has horrified absolutely everyone who has encountered it in detail. That anyone could propose that children should be mandatorily schooled by rote in the lunatic extremism of “Safe Schools’” pornography and values-free sexual activity as human normality, (despite parents’ deepest reservations and sustained opposition, effectively removing for the first time in Australian history the right of parents to be parents), has been noticed and absorbed by growing numbers of people.

Positive signs at the March for Marriage in Sydney’s CBD on September 9, 2017. PHOTO: Andrew Smith

Finally, the silence of SSM proponents such as Attorney General George Brandis on protections for conscientious objectors such as parishes, schools, businesses, employees and families has proved to be equally ominous. In war, one can often deduce far more from what is not reported in the news than what is reported. The silence of both Prime Minister Turnbull and Mr Shorten on protections has been more widely noticed than they would prefer. Despite repeated questioning, the best response any of these has been able to muster is to say that religious wedding celebrants will not be forced to celebrate same sex marriages. Outside that, no promises or guarantees have been made.

These factors reveal that the state of the debate on redefining marriage is far more fluid than has generally been thought. More importantly they indicate that defenders of authentic marriage have a far greater chance of winning the plebiscite than was previously supposed. We are in this fight with a real chance. Now is therefore the time for courage as opposed to (always so often a temptation within the Church, especially among its management class) a time for avoiding truth and clarity because of fear of controversy.

Every reader of The Catholic Weekly should be supporting with their donations, their time, their letter-writing to politicians and the media, their calls to talk-back radio and their sharing of social media resources the cause of authentic marriage based on the complementarity of the sexes and its absolutely unique character and importance for children and human society. The SSM lobby and the nation’s self-appointed elites regard those who have largely not been heard in this debate as idiots and simpletons. Worse, they behave as if this is so. They clearly intend – if not opposed – to govern us in accordance with their natural superiority. But we beg to differ by paraphrasing that master of clarity and extraordinary defender of the family, GK Chesterton: after all, we are the people of Australia, and we have not spoken yet.

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