Author Archives: peter@airborne.org

Triumph of identity politics over open debate (The Australian)

Triumph of identity politics over open debate
Excerpt from an article in The Australian by Greg Sheridan
September 15, 2016

The single most depressing aspect of the debate about the proposed same-sex marriage plebiscite is the determination that there not be a debate — more than that, the authoritarian, censorious, profoundly illiberal strain that the very business of debating the issue is somehow insulting if not illegal.

As Malcolm Turnbull observed, some in the opposition seemed to imply that if you didn’t live in a family with two gay parents, you had no right to have a view on the Marriage Act at all. It’s akin to the view that we must change the Constitution purely because Aboriginal leaders want it changed, that the only change must be a change that they want and that the views of non-Aboriginal citizens are less important — though, unfortunately for the advocates of such change, in our democracy all citizens get to vote.

This sudden and utterly toxic triumph of a doctrine of the supremacy of identity politics — your views are legitimate only if you belong to the relevant or approved identity group, and then only if you repeat the orthodox positions — is one of the most dangerous, undemocratic and ill favoured excursions our democracy has ever taken.

Turnbull has sounded the very soul of reason and sense in this debate. Like the Prime Minister, I will vote yes in a plebiscite if we get one. But, like him, I think it utterly offensive and dismayingly depressing that so many advocates think it is improper for the matter to be discussed in public unless to offer ritual support.

These actions are undemocratic and bad in principle, and promise much worse ahead. They are a sign of the degeneration of our political culture into one of bureaucratic command and diminished freedom. This style, which renders many subjects illegitimate for normal political discussion, was pioneered in practice if not in theory by the EU. It produces bad government and ultimately generates a savage, populist backlash.

If the public feels that mainstream political leaders are not allowed to discuss issues they care about, they finally resort to populists who refuse to take direction from the political class.

Typically, the political class then decides even more censorship is necessary and completely needless bitter conflict ensues, wholly because of the anti- democratic impulses of the bureaucratic authoritarians who police the official ideology.

Plainly 18C is desperately bad legislation and ought to be amended, but the trend in identity politics is all the other way. Nothing was more odious this week than to hear the Greens’ Adam Bandt, when speaking of Lyle Shelton of the Australian Christian Lobby, demand of Turnbull that he not empower “bigots like him” to have a voice in the debate.

Bandt is a typical modern face of authoritarian illiberalism. The desperate desire to prevent a popular vote, and the uncharacteristic concern for public money, that it might be spent on the no case as well as the ideologically approved yes case, wore an air of extremism and menace.

Turnbull was right to admonish Bandt that in labelling his opponents bigots he was doing everyone a disservice. I think there is no longer a case for the civil law preventing same-sex couples from marrying. But there is a real danger to religious freedom in the way we are heading and it is here the churches should make their strongest representations. We saw the likely future when the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner entertained a complaint against the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart for publishing the most mildly and politely worded pamphlet imaginable in support of the traditional view of marriage.

The complaint was not laughed out of court, as it should have been, or defeated in a considered process. It was withdrawn in what seems to have been a tactical consideration. In this sort of abuse of democracy, often the process is the punishment. Most people, perhaps even the Archbishop of Hobart, cannot afford the endless legal and administrative and financial costs defending such actions entails.

But that surely is the shape of the future. Christian churches, schools, adoption agencies, publishing houses and the rest will all be subject to complaint and even litigation if they simply teach traditional Christian teaching.

I don’t think the law should enforce traditional Christian teaching but I don’t think it should outlaw it either. All these subjective rules are not good laws but dangerous political fashions, which change. Opponents of abortion believe it kills innocent human beings. A few decades ago the law agreed with this view. Opponents of abortion thus would have found it highly offensive — hate speech indeed — to advocate the acceptance of abortion. But such advocacy was never illegal. Notionally, we were more conservative then. But in critical ways we were more truly liberal.

We are at an evil fork in the road. Thought control, needless, ideological speech control — these are not a decent path ahead.

Link to original article

 

Ethnic community concerns dismissed by transgender and homosexual agenda

Ethnic community concerns dismissed by transgender and homosexual agenda
8th September 2016

In response to a petition against Safe Schools signed by over 17,000 members of the Chinese Australian community, former High Court Judge Michael Kirby, dismissed their concerns in a most patronising manner, stating that the Chinese Australian community have “got to be told” that “in this country”, we have “moved on” from their values.

When ethnic groups in Australia, including the Indigenous community, do voice their concerns that  their traditional views on marriage and culturally appropriate education of their children need to be respected, they are usually discounted by Leftist thinkers as being a small minority who are not representative of their group. However, when tens-of-thousands from the same community have protested that they are being denied the right for their children to be educated according to their cultural values, the response from a highly educated promoter of gay ideology has been to arrogantly dismiss the view of a whole ethnic community entirely.

It is cynical and hypocritical to abandon respect for other cultures when doing this becomes inconvenient to the “social justice” agenda – while professing support for a multicultural Australia. In his interview on Lateline, Michael Kirby, who is openly homosexual, lamented the treatment of minorities in Australia: “We have a history of the white Australia policy, of how we treated people from different racial backgrounds...” but shortly in the same interview, he dismissed Chinese Australians cultural values as being backward: “…respectfully, the Chinese community and members who’ve signed that petition, I support their right to express their opinion, but they’ve got to be told that in this country we’ve moved on from that.

Mr Kirby, respectfully, the Chinese Australian community does not need to be lectured about Australian values. It would be best for small minority promoting radical sexual ideologies to respect the family values, cultural values and religious values of the majority of Australian people.

The promoters of homosexual and gender-based ideologies DO NOT respect your family,  your freedom of belief, or your right to raise your children into functional adults who support the Australian community. Now is the time to stand up for what is right!

PLEASE ACT NOW:
SIGN the PETITION AGAINST SAFE SCHOOLS for safe kids in schools: http://kidsrights.org.au

Please sign and share this petition to protect religious freedom in Victorian schools

Last week the Daniel Andrews Government launched an extraordinary attack on religious freedom in Victorian Christian Schools and churches.

The State government has introduced a Billthe Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Bill 2016 –  to restrict the ability of religious bodies, charities, schools and educational institutions to employ staff according to their faith and ethos.

The stakes couldn’t be higher, reports Dan Flynn, the Victorian Director of the Australian Christian Lobby.

In fact, Christian schools and churches could be forced to hire people who are fundamentally opposed to what their community stands for.

If this were to happen it would be a terrible blow to religious freedom.

The Age has described this as a crackdown on our schools.

Christian Schools Australia chief executive Stephen O’Doherty said the proposed laws were a “draconian attack on religious freedom principles”.

“We feel that the Andrews government is the most anti-religious government we have seen in a long time,” he said.

Catholic Education Melbourne executive director Stephen Elder said it was important that Catholic schools had the freedom to employ staff who supported the Catholic faith.

“Those organisations want the staff to contribute to the faith ethos of the school, and to be a role model for those beliefs,” he said. “Certain expressions of sexuality could be in conflict with the ethos of a church or school.”

Parents send their children to Christian schools because they want their children growing up and learning in a Christian community.

The Andrews Government seems determined to undermine parents’ choices and the distinctly Christian character and ethos of these schools.

The religious inherent requirement test applies to all religions including schools, churches and organisations – but not to political parties.

Political parties and organisations have  similar freedom to discriminate against a job applicant or employee on the basis of their political belief or activity. For example, the ALP does not have to employ a card-carrying Liberal and vice versa and the Greens could sack someone who was a climate change denier. But the Bill does not limit that freedom of  political employers or make them justify such actions to a human rights commission.

Likewise clubs for minority cultures have a freedom to refuse membership to people who don’t share attributes of the minority culture (e.g. the Fijian club can choose to exclude non-Fijians, and gay men’s clubs can choose to exclude straight men). Again the Bill does not limit that freedom of  minority clubs  or make them justify such actions to a human rights commission. Only religious bodies are targeted in this Bill.

We need to act fast and with urgency to influence our MPs on this important issue.

Please sign and share this PETITION TO PROTECT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN VICTORIAN SCHOOLS, CHURCHES AND ORGANISATIONS

Australians must demand to be respected by politicians for a plebiscite on marriage

Australians must demand to be respected by politicians for a plebiscite on marriage

By Paul Monagle
National President of the Australian Family Association
August 30th 2016

The Turnbull government has a mandate for a plebiscite on marriage. Those opposing the plebiscite are engaging in hypocrisy.

A Fairfax-Ipsos poll found that “A thumping 69 per cent majority of voters backed the idea of having their say on the issue, rather than a parliamentary vote,” reported the Sydney Morning Herald on July 1, 2016, just before the Federal election.

A plebiscite costing $160 million is just 0.04% of the Federal government’s $400 billion budget, while the ABC gets around $1.1 billion annually of taxpayer funds from the Federal government; that’s over seven times the cost of a plebiscite, and it is paid to the ABC each year!

There will be no resolution of the issue until Australian’s vote on the issue after a full public debate.

A parliamentary vote won’t provide a lasting solution. There have already been 16 bills before Federal parliament. Each time one is unsuccessful another one is moved. Regardless of what decision the parliament makes, this is such a deep and important issue, that if the people do not have a say there will be festering dissent and disaffection, with even more marriage bills in the future, costing more time and more money.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says that a plebiscite would be “a taxpayer-funded platform for homophobia”.

Bill Shorten is flip flopping. Just before the Federal election Mr Shorten told a forum in his own seat of Maribyrnong that he was “completely relaxed about having some form of plebiscite… I would rather that the people of Australia could make their view clear on this, than leaving this issue to 150 people,” he said.

The plebiscite is not binding – “It’s just an opinion poll”
The vast majority of parliamentarians would respect the will of the people and it is the only practical democratic tool to resolve the issue in the current environment.

“A plebiscite would ‘unleash hate’ and lead to suicide”
This is a desperate, very irresponsible argument sending a dangerous message to young people that opponents of same-sex marriage hate gays and lesbians; and that in such a climate of hatred the suicide of some people is inevitable.

GLBT people have a higher suicide rate than the rest of the community.
So do indigenous people. Since the Federal Department of Health warns that “the suicide rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples [is] twice that of non-Indigenous people”, should we cancel the planned referendum for recognising indigenous people in the preamble of the Australian constitution for fear that the debate could be a platform for racists?

Turnbull has broken his promise of a plebiscite this year.
Those claiming Turnbull has broken his promise are the same people campaigning against a same-sex marriage plebiscite. Isn’t that hypocrisy?

Many of the same-sex marriage activists making this claim are the same people who praised Ireland for having a referendum on marriage.

Rodney Croome, from Just.Equality and former Australian Marriage Equality convener, praised last year’s Irish referendum saying it “will inspire marriage equality supporters … and quash the myth that Catholics and other people of faith oppose marriage equality.”

Grainne Healy, from Australian Marriage Equality and formerly of the Irish Yes Equality Campaign, didn’t regard the Irish referendum as a platform for homophobia and division. Rather, just after the Irish referendum: “Today we woke up, smiling, in a changed Ireland. A kinder, gentler, more accepting Ireland.”

Tiernan Brady and Grainne Healty, both from Australian Marriage Equality and both formerly of the Irish Yes Equality campaign, said the Irish referendum was an affirmation of the Irish people that was critical in reshaping Irish culture: “This touching — this uplifting — outcome belongs to the Irish people… The Irish people have shown their compassion … The majority said one simple word; for a minority, that word means everything.”

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said of the Irish referendum, it was “very exciting to see Ireland embrace equality,” yet the Greens party says an Australian plebiscite would just “unleash bigots”.

ACTION:

Hand written letters to your Senators are best or try to visit them. If not, can you make a call to their electoral offices?

Focus on Labor, Xenophon Team and other crossbench Senators from your state/territory.

Also include an email to the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Shorten. Bill.Shorten.mp@aph.gov.au

Please write to your papers several times over next 2-3 weeks:

Herald Sun here

Sydney Morning Herald letters@smh.com.au

Daily Telegraph (NSW) here

The Age here

The Australian letters@theaustralian.com.au

The Adelaide Advertiser here

The Courier Mail here

Hobart Mercury here

Canberra Times letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au

The West Australian letters@wanews.com.au

Sincerely,

Paul Monagle
National President
Australian Family Association

New Study Examines Homosexuality and Transgenderism Research

Introduction by Christian Federation:
26th August 2016

Today Roz Ward, a self-professed Marxist and co-author of the Safe Schools program was quoted in the Australian, stating at a recent conference that:

“The conservatives were really not going give up on their homophobia, their transphobia, so the Safe Schools Coalition became a focus for that. Most of their evidence is based on s**t they make up. They literally just lie, fabricate or use really outdated research.” – Roz Ward.

We at Christian Federation disagree and we present the following article by Family Watch International to refute that claim. The article also argues that the foundational teachings of the Safe Schools Coalition are not supported by scientific evidence either!

“The understanding of sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings — the idea that people are “born that way” — is not supported by scientific evidence.

“The hypothesis that gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex — that a person might be “a man trapped in a woman’s body” or “a woman trapped in a man’s body” — is not supported by scientific evidence.”

“Children are a special case when addressing gender issues. …The notion that a two-year-old, having expressed thoughts or behaviors identified with the opposite sex, can be labeled for life as transgender has absolutely no support in science.” .

To protect children in your schools and in your legislatures from this harmful agenda, please spread this information far and wide

_________________________________________________________________________

Major New Study on Homosexuality and Transgenderism Surveys the Research that Should Dictate Public Policies
Sharon Slater
President of Family Watch International

Dear Friend of the Family,

The most extensive review ever undertaken of the scientific research on homosexuality and transgenderism has recently been published in The New Atlantis journal. This study, “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the biological, psychological and social sciences,” is co-authored by distinguished scholars, Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer and Dr. Paul R. McHugh. Together these two scholars, who have impeccable and impressive credentials, reviewed over 200 research articles on sexuality and gender.

Dr. Mayer, who is a scholar in residence in the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University, wrote in the preface that in writing the report he had “consulted a number of individuals who asked that I not thank them by name.” He explained, “Some feared an angry response from the more militant elements of the LGBT community; others feared an angry response from the more strident elements of religiously conservative communities.”

Mayer also stated, “I strongly support equality and oppose discrimination for the LGBT community, and I have testified on their behalf as a statistical expert.” He then dedicated his work on the report, “first, to the LGBT community, which bears a disproportionate rate of mental health problems compared the population as a whole … And above all … to children struggling with their sexuality and gender.”

Dr. McHugh, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, served as the psychiatrist-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital for twenty-five years and specialized in treating the mental disorder now labeled “Gender Dysphoria.”

Both researchers expressed compassion for those struggling with these conditions and the need for more valid research in a variety of areas.

Below are some of the major findings contained in the report.

Major Findings on Sexual Orientation:

  • The understanding of sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings — the idea that people are “born that way” — is not supported by scientific evidence.
  • While there is evidence that biological factors such as genes and hormones are associated with sexual behaviors and attractions, there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation. While minor differences in the brain structures and brain activity between homosexual and heterosexual individuals have been identified by researchers, such neurobiological findings do not demonstrate whether these differences are innate or are the result of environmental and psychological factors.
  • Longitudinal studies of adolescents suggest that sexual orientation may be quite fluid over the life course for some people, with one study estimating that as many as 80% of male adolescents who report same-sex attractions no longer do so as adults (although the extent to which this figure reflects actual changes in same-sex attractions and not just artifacts of the survey process has been contested by some researchers).
  • Compared to heterosexuals, non-heterosexuals are about two to three times as likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse.

Major Findings On Sexuality, Mental Health Outcomes, and Social Stress:

  • Compared to the general population, non-heterosexual subpopulations are at an elevated risk for a variety of adverse health and mental health outcomes.
  • Members of the non-heterosexual population are estimated to have about 1.5 times higher risk of experiencing anxiety disorders than members of the heterosexual population, as well as roughly double the risk of depression, 1.5 times the risk of substance abuse, and nearly 2.5 times the risk of suicide.
  • Members of the transgender population are also at higher risk of a variety of mental health problems compared to members of the non-transgender population. Especially alarmingly, the rate of lifetime suicide attempts across all ages of transgender individuals is estimated at 41%, compared to under 5% in the overall U.S. population.
  • There is evidence, albeit limited, that social stressors such as discrimination and stigma contribute to the elevated risk of poor mental health outcomes for non-heterosexual and transgender populations. More high-quality longitudinal studies are necessary for the “social stress model” to be a useful tool for understanding public health concerns

Major Findings on Gender Identity:

  • The hypothesis that gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex — that a person might be “a man trapped in a woman’s body” or “a woman trapped in a man’s body” — is not supported by scientific evidence.
  • According to a recent estimate, about 0.6% of U.S. adults identify as a gender that does not correspond to their biological sex.
  • Studies comparing the brain structures of transgender and non-transgender individuals have demonstrated weak correlations between brain structure and cross-gender identification. These correlations do not provide any evidence for a neurobiological basis for cross-gender identification.
  • Compared to the general population, adults who have undergone sex-reassignment surgery continue to have a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes. One study found that, compared to controls, sex-reassigned individuals were about 5 times more likely to attempt suicide and about 19 times more likely to die by suicide.
  • Children are a special case when addressing transgender issues. Only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.
  • There is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of interventions that delay puberty or modify the secondary sex characteristics of adolescents, although some children may have improved psychological well-being if they are encouraged and supported in their cross-gender identification. There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.

There is nothing startling in this report.

For a while now, Family Watch and other pro-family groups have been using many of these same research findings to advocate for and support policies based on scientific research and common sense.

The value of this new review, however, is that it is such a comprehensive analysis that evaluates virtually all of the relevant research in these areas and that it has been done by two world-class academics.

The section of the report dealing with transgenderism is especially timely.

The fact that two highly qualified researchers have done such an exhaustive analysis and review of existing research and drawn the conclusions they have should have a major impact on policies related to transgenderism in the U.S. and around the world.

Their report warns of the potential harm to gender-confused children caused by the current “politically correct” policies of affirming them in their gender confusion. They warn especially against the spreading practice in the medical profession of administering dangerous puberty blocking drugs.

While much of the report is couched in traditional “academic speak,” Dr. Mayer, in his preface to this report is quite clear wherein he writes:

“Children are a special case when addressing gender issues. In the course of their development, many children explore the idea of being of the opposite sex. Some children may have improved psychological well-being if they are encouraged and supported in their cross-gender identification, particularly if the identification is strong and persistent over time. But nearly all children ultimately identify with their biological sex. The notion that a two-year-old, having expressed thoughts or behaviors identified with the opposite sex, can be labeled for life as transgender has absolutely no support in science. Indeed, it is iniquitous to believe that all children who have gender-atypical thoughts or behavior at some point in their development, particularly before puberty, should be encouraged to become transgender.” (Emphasis added).

Sadly, militant sexual rights activists routinely misrepresent, deny or ignore the body of solid research and clinical experience in these areas.

Ironically, this analysis of the research shows that many parents, doctors, policymakers and school officials who promote the born-into-the-wrong-body-so-we-must-affirm-cross-gender-behavior approach to gender confusion, are being misled by those who have either completely ignored or purposely distorted the science.

The people who promote this transgender identity-affirming approach, while they may be well-intentioned, may actually end up hurting the very people they are trying to help by pushing irreversible surgeries that can maim children or by prescribing life-altering hormone therapies that may result in infertility or other harms.

The reality is that we don’t even know all of the long-term negative impacts that these controversial “treatments” can have on patients. There are many accounts of individuals who have undergone such treatments and have regretted and even tried to reverse them. (See SexChangeRegret.com.)

Radical sexual rights activists will no doubt attempt to challenge the scientific conclusions drawn by these eminent researchers—they always do.

But once again, the science is clear, and sexual rights activists should be pressured to confront the irrefutable facts that have come out in this landmark report.