The ACL doesn’t seem to get it. When you say the wrong thing you apologise. You don’t blame people for taking offense. You don’t hide behind being “misquoted” or “misrepresented” - you avoid saying unhelpful and offensive stuff that isn’t the gospel.
Our job as Christians in public isn’t to be offensive – it’s to let the gospel cause offense where it will, by being faithful.
“We rightly warn of the health impacts of smoking. Surely we cannot allow these aggressive activists to conceal the facts of a lifestyle that accounts for over eighty percent of new HIV cases in Australia annually.
“If we warn against smoking because it carries health dangers, we should also be warning young people in particular about activity which clearly carries health risks.”
It’s interesting that he’s moved away from mental health issues and suicide to HIV/AIDs, which involves 1,000 new diagnoses per year. So that’s more than 800 people. I guess he realised he couldn’t possibly win on the first position and made a tactical withdrawal.
Mr Wallace said at no stage did he say that “smoking is healthier than gay marriage”, as reported by some media.
“What I did say is that heterosexual sex and homosexual sex are different and have different health consequences. They should not be packaged the same way as marriage because, as just one of many reasons, they are different.
“If we warn against smoking because it carries health dangers, we should also be warning young people in particular about activity which clearly carries health risks,” Mr Wallace said.”
He overstates the case somewhat when it comes to the impact of Prime Minister Gillard’s decision to pull out of speaking at their conference: “Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Jim Wallace said the decision would come as a deep disappointment to Australia’s Christian constituency.”
I’m a member of that constituency and I’m not at all disappointed.
From the ABC... He said some interesting stuff here…
“I’ve been misquoted in trying to suggest that that means I’m comparing smoking with homosexuality. In the sense that, I’m not saying for a moment that homosexuality is more dangerous than smoking.”
“I’m comparing the packaging. I’m talking about the packaging. What I’m saying is that packaging is important in how we present things to people… then certainly, the packaging of marriage, particularly the packaging of the heterosexual lifestyle and the homosexual lifestyle as one thing under it, and I spoke yesterday about a range of issues under it.”
“I’m talking about the importance of packaging.”
“I don’t think all gay people have a choice.”
You can also watch him get torn apart on the Project. Here’s what he says on the Project… after the story introduces the factoid that suicide prevention Australia says gay people are 14 times more likely to commit suicide than others. Then they asked him about why he compared homosexuality with smoking…
“That’s not what I said at all. I’m really annoyed that this is another example of vitriolic gay activism…”
“The point of my comment is the importance of packaging… it would hide the fact of the consequences of it from the health point of view.”
He also keeps saying that the struggle people experience with sexual orientation is “in their teens” – bizarre.
“We have to be able to discuss these issues… we can’t close down debate by not discussing the issues associated with this lifestyle under the packaging debate…”
He doesn’t prove that he’s been misquoted or misrepresented at all. He blames everybody else.
This is interesting – and not uncommon – I’m yet to see the ACL issue a genuine mea culpa when they’re caught out saying something dumb. Like in the furore surrounding a tweet Jim Wallace issued last Anzac Day which he called a “misrepresentation” before saying:
“I apologise – I would never want to politicise Anzac day – never my intention,” Mr Wallace said.
“The interpretation that is being made of this – that I am saying that Australians didn’t fight for everybody – is totally wrong.”
Here’s the tweet…
“Just hope that as we remember Servicemen and women today we remember the Australia they fought for – wasn’t gay marriage and Islamic!”
“The tweet has obviously been seized on by everyone with an intention to discredit, but although ill timed, it did not and was never intended to suggest that veterans had not fought for all Australians,” said Mr Wallace.”
Then there was the time he said gay marriage advocates were comparable to Goebels.
Wallace has form for saying controversial stuff and then rather than backing away from the content, suggesting that he has been treated unfairly. Or using the furore to get more media coverage.
Anyway. Here’s what he says about the current issue…
“This is a victory for the demonisation tactics of gay activism and it’s a constant misrepresentation and spin of anything by people who support marriage as between a man and a woman.”
Which would be great. If he was being misrepresented. He did compare smoking and homosexuality. Here’s what he said. In direct quotes.
“I think we’re going to owe smokers a big apology when the homosexual community’s own statistics for its health – which it presents when it wants more money for health – are that is has higher rates of drug-taking, of suicide, it has the life of a male reduced by up to 20 years.”
He still is, even if the heart of his issue is about packaging (whatever that means).
“What I was saying is that on one hand we are vocal on our discouragement of people to smoke and on the other we are suppressing public dialogue about the health risks associated with homosexuality.”
That is a comparison – we do something on one hand, and something different on another. The very definition of comparison.
The first release also pointed to the study Wallace is quoting from – which is actually a “human rights complaint” a GLBTI group made against the Canadian health care system. These are the health issues the submission deals with:
- Alcohol consumption.
- Illicit drug use.
- Access to care.
- Violence and bullying.
- Blood donations.
- Organ donations.
- Senior’s Health
Now, there’s no doubt that some of those aspects – particularly the cancer and HIV/AIDS are related to homosexual practice itself, inherently, in the report. And it is possible that certain aspects of the gay lifestyle are related to lowered inhibitions and greater promiscuity – but points 1, 5, and 9, are causally linked to the homosexuals are treated (though not necessarily the only cause).
Anyway. This is all a very long preamble. None of this would be an issue if the ACL didn’t have a strategy of going into, and out of, debates with the expectation that everybody is out to twist their words. Wallace provides enough rope in live interviews to make his accusations regarding “spin” and “misunderstanding” essentially meaningless.
It would be much better by a million times if they just stopped using combative adversarial styled arguments to promote their case. It would be infinitely better if their content was Christian, in any meaningful sense.
I’d love to see Jim Wallace publicly offend people with the gospel. It’s not a mark of faithful gospel ministry if you offend people – it’s a mark of faithful gospel ministry if the gospel offends people. Each gospel makes mention of the world’s negative response to the gospel:
“20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’
Which is particularly relevant to the ACL’s case – because it is about how to deal with government…
12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer,15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.
10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”