Wendy “Dolores Umbridge” Francis really doesn’t want the AFL to have a gay pride round. Here she links her Facebook followers to the story of some sad Bendigo councillor who wrote in the local paper some rubbish about how gay people threaten family values, yadda yadda, instructing them to vote no on an online poll asking whether the AFL should go ahead with a pride round.
This stuff I think is very revealing. Traditionally, sporting culture in Australia has not exactly been welcoming to gay players and fans. An AFL pride round is a powerful gesture that homophobia is unacceptable in all areas of life, even in sport. What a fantastic way to signal that a culture change within the league has taken place, that the days of violence and hatred and intimidation are gone, and that gay people are accepted and embraced as equal members of society, rather than merely tolerated. That is a very good thing, for everybody. And Wendy Francis is against it.
It’s just further proof that the ACL’s crusade against the “redefinition” of marriage isn’t about protecting marriage at all, it’s about trying to push gays back into the shadows and the margins. The fact that she sees an AFL pride round as some nefarious conspiracy just makes her look more than a bit paranoid and obsessed.
RELATED: Francis has a long history of hateful rhetoric about gay people and gay relationships. In 2010, Wendy Francis ran unsuccessfully as a Family First candidate for the Senate. At the time she Tweeted – and then in a subsequent interview stood by those Tweets – that legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse, though she has since changed her story and now denies having written the Tweets and the accompanying press release. A recidivist liar, Francis last year lobbied to remove safe sex advertising in Queensland which depicted two men hugging, with dozens of angry complaints sent to the advertising regulator, the Brisbane City Council and Adshel. The company removed and then reinstated the billboards after copping a massive public backlash, and Wendy was forced to acknowledge that the viciously homophobic campaign was orchestrated by the Australian Christian Lobby. Wendy Francis believes Julia Gillard is a bad role model because she is unmarried, and once compared the PM’s de facto status to being a drunk. Last year Loree Rudd told the ACL’s Queensland conference that gay marriage should be “put to death” and Francis, instead of pulling her up on that disturbing remark, replied by telling Rudd that she loved her.
I really had to chuckle when I read some of Lyle Shelton’s (pathetically self-serving, distinctly ahistorical) musings on the abolition of slavery.
Trying to finish this before I see Lincoln. Not far in b 4 influence of Christians in abolitionist cause come 2 fore twitter.com/LyleShelton/st…
— Lyle Shelton (@LyleShelton) February 24, 2013
Lucky aggressive secularists weren’t around in Lincoln’s day telling Christians to stay out of politics. 1/2 twitter.com/LyleShelton/st…
— Lyle Shelton (@LyleShelton) February 24, 2013
This kind of stuff makes me wish that saying dumb things actually caused you to feel physical pain, so Shelton and his ilk would perhaps just not in future. It’s just a lazy, one-dimensional bit of revisionism for feeble-minded people, and it’s obviously just a lame dig at those who believe – as I do – in the separation of church and state. Like Lyle, I am not an expert in the American civil war and the abolition of slavery, but I know that reality is much more complex than he wants to believe it is. The reality is that the many passages in the Bible supporting slavery were thrown in the faces of abolitionists for generations.
Take it away, slavery-era American Presbyterian preacher James Henley Thornwell:
The parties in this conflict are not merely abolitionists and slaveholders—they are atheists, socialists, communists, red republicans, jacobins, on one side, and the friends of order and regulated freedom on the other. In one word, the world is the battle ground—Christianity and Atheism the combatants; and the progress of humanity at stake.
And Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America:
“[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.”
“There is not one verse in the Bible inhibiting slavery, but many regulating it. It is not then, we conclude, immoral.”
And Southern Presbyterian pastor Robert Dabney:
“Every hope of the existence of church and state, and of civilization itself, hangs upon our arduous effort to defeat the doctrine of Negro suffrage.”
And just because it intrigues me so much, isn’t it very interesting how the language of people opposed to abolition sounds so similar to tbe language used by the anti-gay religious right today? All that shit about “every hope of the existence of church and state, and civilisation itself” slots so easily into the religious right’s particular moral panic of the current generation: gay people. It’s the exact same rhetoric. The tactics are the same too: paint the issue as a conflict between Christians on the one hand and atheists on the other, throw in a reference to the “aggressive secularists” among the words “atheists and socialists”, slap it on a website and you’ve essentially encapsulated the Australian Christian Lobby’s whole body of work.
Not that it’s actually important or that pointing this stuff out is even likely to convince someone living in a permanent state of fantasy. I suppose it’s just healthy to remind yourself now and again that history lessons from religious fundamentalists should be taken with a massive fistful of salt.