Rudd Converts: ‘Christians’ Change The Argument From ‘Marriage’ To ‘Parenting’

Australian Civil-Military Centre

Well, I’ve been told it would be churlish of me to be less than enthusiastic about our once and future PM’s conversion to secular same sex marriage, so:  “Hip!! Hip!! Hooray!” Sooner would have been nicer, but, as Archbishop Denis Hart put it with a cheesy grin, “Better late than never!”

I gather Kevvie wants us to believe he was hauled over the line by an evangelical homosexual christian. We are to suppose that all those years evangelizing for Adam and Eve gave the lad the skills to proselytise for Adam and Steve.

So he sat down with Kevin, and opened his heart and behold, the spirit came down upon Kevin, and moved him, and he was changed in his heart, such that he looked upon gay couples, and he saw that they were good.

And lo!, he was moved to go forth and preach unto the multitude, that they should know of the change within his heart. And the people were much moved, exclaiming one unto another, “Bloody hell Mavis! What happened there? Is he having another crack at Julia?”

Praise be to the nameless Pentecostal Gay Staffer (PGS).

Of course, Kevin is entitled to change his mind, especially when repeated polls show that the majority of Australians have already done so. Plus there’s a vote coming up in parliament, during which Jules & Tone will sit side by side saying ‘No’, while Kevin gets to smile smugly at the cameras from the ‘Yes’ bench.

I don’t buy the tale of the PGS converting Kevvie over a cuppa, by the way. I wonder what really made him change his public stance? Could it have been this little nugget brought to light on the PM program?

JIM WALLACE: Just by virtue of its size the Christian constituency has to have political effect.

PETER LLOYD: It was a similar claim to one Mr Wallace made in 2007, the year Kevin Rudd became Prime Minister.

Sydney University’s Professor Rodney Smith put the claim to the test with a research study.

RODNEY SMITH: And the results of that research suggested that in fact it hadn’t really amounted to much and specifically the ACL had targeted a number of seats and said these are the seats we’re going to target and in those seats the swings to Labor and indeed to the Greens were exactly the same or close enough to exactly the same as to not be worth noting as in other seats in the same states.

So my conclusion from that was that really the Australian Christian Lobby’s capacity to mobilise a vote among Christians or among churchgoers against Labor or for Labor for that matter was vastly exaggerated.

Jim Wallace is now on extended ‘gardening leave’ and the frontman role at the Christian Lobby has been taken by Lyle Shelton. This is both good and bad. Bad, because Shelton is an experienced journalist and lobbyist. Good, because he’s far less measured in his fanaticism than his predecessor.

His response to Rudd’s change of heart was so far over the top that it missed the target by miles, landing with a dull thud in the muddy fields beyond. He ranted on about ‘creating a new stolen generation’, which drew the ire not only of gay advocates, but aboriginal ones, too. And the formidable Penny Wong.

At least his comments made a sorta-kinda sense, if you held them upside down in front of a strong light while wearing 3D glasses and singing Abide With Me. The same could not be said of this frankly unhinged piece on the ABC’s The Drum

Rudd seems to have decided that whatever Christians support cannot be secular. This is nonsense.

Take an exhortation from the Book of Deuteronomy: “For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in the land.'” Aha! God-botherers support disability benefits. Abolish them now!

Or the Gospel of Matthew: “Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world for… I was a stranger, and you took me in.” Aha! God-botherers support open door migration. Turn back the boats!

Get that? Me neither.

The argument with the god-squad in no longer about marriage – they know we’ve won that one.  They’ve done some polling of their own and they’ve identified that what really worries people is ‘gays with kids’.

So they have crafted this dog-whistle about ‘stolen generations’ to stir up doubt in the minds of those who still suspect we’re all a bunch of paedophiles. They can’t really want to be parents, the subtext runs, how could they possibly want to take children away from their “real” parents, so why do they want to get their hands on them, nudge nudge, wink wink?

It worked in France, where everyone was happy to see marriage go through – so long as we didn’t get the kids. Expect to see more of this sewage as the election heats up.

And in the meantime, take courage from Kevin’s conversion.  It may be late, when he’s no longer in a position to put anything into practice. Its one virtue is that it punctures the over-inflated bag of wind that is the Australian Christian Lobby.

During the last leadership kerfuffle, Kevin said he wouldn’t play the game unless he was guaranteed in advance to win (this is called ‘leadership’ in political circles, by the way). Kevin has decided he doesn’t need the ACL. It’s a clear indication that this most calculating of politicians thinks he can win without the religious right, and a clear call to other pollies to come to the same conclusion.

That can only be good for our prospects and bring equality that bit closer.

So thanks Kevin. And give your PGS a big hug from me.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)