Everyday Justice in Conversation (5)

AND SO WE HAVE IT!

The view of Nurturing Justice on the decades-long demand for “same-sex marriage” has been repeatedly articulated by these posts. They have been consistent since 2006. Our Senate Submission Update of 2009 is the self-same view we put forward now.

The critical issues raised in that above-mentioned submission have never been addressed by advocates of same-sex marriage. And we have also often noted how genuine political debate has been suppressed by “both sides”. We have surmised that this is because there is (still) a widespread misperception that marriage is somehow “private”, an institution that is simply constructed out of the human desires of the two persons involved. In previous posts – in Everyday Justice in Conversation 1, 2, 3 & 4 and in other recent posts – we have raised other questions that also remain unanswered.

I am not suggesting that all political activists should now trek to NJ – I probably couldn’t handle the traffic if they did. But I am saying the arguments for “marriage equality” get weaker and weaker as time goes on – Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten and their respective political cliques seem to be blithely ignorant of the inner weaknesses of this movement.

The view of Nurturing Justice  is that the proposed survey to be conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics is nothing other than an attempt by the Prime Minister and Cabinet to over-step their Parliamentary responsibilities in order to use that public office in the service of their political parties. This tricky device blurs what needs to be kept distinct, particularly in this matter where their parties have persistently ignored making coherent policy with respect to marriage. Since 2004 when a bi-partisan amendment to the Marriage Act was passed, both sides have defected and have failed to explain their party’s change of mind. Their electoral platforms have, for decades, ignored setting coherent public policy before their electors.

As political party leaders – who also just happen to be elected parliamentarians with solemn oaths to uphold the constitution – they have now decided that this over-reaching use of Government power is the way to avoid further splits and defections within their tattered ranks. Remarkably they have got the nod for this over-reach from the Opposition. I wonder why? And what will the consequence of this compliance mean when the other “side” comes to power.

It might be valid for the Liberal and National Parties (or even the ambiguous Labor Party) to commission such a survey, in order to determine their party policies, but they should pay for it themselves. (And simply honing on the bogus issue of “same-sex marriage” or “marriage equality” is not to develop coherent legislative programme to protect marriage, family, household and friendship – that’s the political context in which respectful and open discussion about same-sex households needs to take place.)

For the Government to engage in this exercise of naked political engineering, and having it paid for it with public funds, (instead of party funds) is nothing other than a scandalous misappropriation. Therefore, the survey as proposed, is a political conjuring trick. Our advice is that those seeking a Christian political option should steer clear of it. Let it come into your mailbox – you can hardly prevent that, I guess. But keep the ballot paper as a souvenir of a populist nonsense that provoked you to engage in a quiet act of principled political dissent.

As it stands this postal vote is the classic face-saving device – obviously, when the Liberal Party finds itself having to be part of legislation that changes the Marriage Act in the way that has been demanded, the party will be able to say, albeit feebly to its “traditional voters”, that it kept faith or tried to keep faith with its election promise. But the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia in accommodating this manipulative ruse is bringing shame upon our entire system of public governance.

Whether this is only the beginning of a “new dawn” in Australian politics, in which Parliament will be cow-towed to give further symbolic “thumbs up” endorsements to global neo-liberal populist movements, remains to be seen.  But, make no mistake, our system of public governance is certainly well down the track in unbridled populism and Christian citizens who are seeking diligently to find the path of true engagement in civil society and for the sake of public justice for this Commonwealth should take the opportunity to get political experience in expressing law-abiding, principled Christian dissent. The way is clearly indicated if we have ears to hear and hearts to heed the call for genuine love of God above all and of our neighbour as ourselves.

Micah 6:6-8

“With what shall I come before the Lord,
    and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

 BCW 12.8.17