It’s not just Israel Folau’s future that’s at stake

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The Gay Liberation Front marches on Times Square, New York, in 1970. Photo: Diana Davies

Now is not the time for silence

If you haven’t joined the dots, let me help you. As I write, it is the end of LGBTQI+ Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, renowned for birthing what we today call gay rights.

Join these dots to news earlier this week that Australia’s rugby sensation, Israel Folau, had his GoFundMe campaign to cover $3 million of legal costs taken down. Why? Because GoFundMe Australia believed Folau’s campaign violated the organisation’s terms of service.

What inclusivity?

Their regional manager, Nicola Britton, stated, “As a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTQI+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity.”

Is this “absolutely committed” fight for equality at the expense of “fostering an environment of inclusivity” for the remaining ninety-six percent of the population? Yes, it is. Note the evident hypocrisy and double standards.

Thirty years ago, I was a gay activist engaged with others in the fight for gay rights … I still believe in fighting for these appropriate spaces today.

Thirty years ago, I was a gay activist wholeheartedly engaged with others in the fight for gay rights. We lobbied for welcoming spaces where anyone, especially the young, could openly admit and take stock of their erotic attraction to the same sex. I still believe in fighting for these appropriate spaces today.

What we as activists did not fight for are the diatribe and vitriol presently awash in the brains and hearts of youth and adults alike, attitudes which have given rise to increased division, discrimination and silencing within our society.

Rights became vitriol

The vilification and exclusion of a Bible-believing Christian like Israel Folau personifies this.

Gay activists even 30 years ago believed our battle was about engaging in debates, in the hope that we might win a few. We never fought to see debate shut down entirely as now consistently occurs. The inclusion and tolerance we fought for years ago have been concreted over by widespread prejudice and crippling domination.

How the tide has turned. Voltaire, who advocated for freedom of speech and religion, once penned “to learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise”.

Corporate Christophobia in Australia

Christophobia is certainly alive in Australia – in Rugby Australia, in Qantas, in the AFL and NRL, in GoFundMe, in Ben & Jerry’s, in Apple, in Google to name but a few. Add this to social media apps like Tumblr which prompts users to “educate, advocate,” and more markedly to “celebrate” everything LGBTQI+.

The so-called love that dared not speak its name now refuses to shut up. It leads in brutally silencing every voice that categorically refuses to celebrate its perverted and divisive doctrine and practices.

Members of Sydney’s gay community celebrate in 2017. After a majority of Australians indicated they favoured same-sex marriage, Australia’s bishops said legislators must ensure that any new law on marriage include protection for religious freedom. Photo: Steven Saphore, Reuters

Even nonconformist voices within the LGBTQI+ community – and believe me there are a rising number of them – are prevented from criticising diabolical advocacy from within their own ranks.

LGBTQI+ rights are no longer about society’s, or even the churches’, acceptance of those who do not experience heterosexual attraction. If you hadn’t noticed, that battle was for the most part won some time ago.

No. This is about silencing every voice that dares to challenge the Judeo-Christian, and even the Islamic, premise that every person can, and does, sin. It is a battle against the very nature of God.

Birth of a harsher discrimination

So what do I believe we can construe 50 years after the Stonewall Riots? Although consistently told the fight is against bigoted, exclusive, depraved and diabolical attitudes towards sexual minorities, the reverse is in fact true. A harsher, more destructive social discrimination has been birthed where common sense and differing opinions are now demonised.

We are not talking about the rights for your family member or classmate being permitted to legally live out an eroticised best friendship with a person of the same sex. That’s another conversation altogether. This is about the very deliberate formation of a new world order.

Participants attend the 2017 Rainbow Parade in in Vienna. The president of the Austrian bishops’ conference criticized a Constitutional Court judgment clearing the way for same-sex marriages in the traditionally Catholic country. Photo: CNS, Christian Bruna, EPA

What is happening to Folau today could well happen tomorrow to you, your children, or to their children en route to any school, church, synagogue, mosque or temple.

Fortunately, mostly thanks to the internet, many young people who today question their sexual attraction are seeing the duplicity and malice dished out by those claiming to fight for their rights, such that they are starting to reject the advocacy and celebration of all things LGBTQI+. These are the ones most isolated and requiring support.

A new stone wall

For five decades a now-visible, noxious stone wall has meticulously been constructed under the guise of gay rights. Rather than being celebrated, the foundations of this toxic wall need to be dismantled if society at large is to ever truly extinguish discrimination and exclusion now paraded within LGBTQI+ rights.

Doves and interlocking wedding bands symbolising the sacrament of marriage are depicted in a stained-glass window. Photo: Gregory A. Shemitz

The wall needs replacing with the temple veil torn in two from top to bottom which provides God’s stance on inclusion, tolerance and compassion towards all. We need the ultimate love that has dared to speak its name for two thousand years. The love which is not threatened by differing opinions and the necessity of debate. The love which offers swift access to an ocean of mercy when challenged with any aspect of sin.

This is the time not for silence. It is time for us to join the dots and to actively be involved in standing not only for Israel Folau’s basic rights as a fellow Australian, but for our own rights to freedoms and those of every neighbour.

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Perth-based James Parker, an abuse survivor and former gay rights activist, is passionate about the godly restoration of men and women.