Australia Christian lobbyist won’t apologise for comparing gay weddings to the Holocaust
The head of Australia’s largest Christian lobbying group has refused to apologise for comparing the equal marriage movement to Nazi Germany.
Lyle Shelton of the Australian Christian Lobby made the shocking claims this week in a blog hitting out at the debate around same-sex marriage in the country.
He claimed: “Changing the definition of marriage to entrench motherless and fatherlessness in public policy and teaching our kids their gender is fluid should be opposed.
“The cowardice and weakness of Australia’s ‘gatekeepers’ is causing unthinkable things to happen, just as unthinkable things happened in Germany in the 1930s.”
The insensitive comments were slammed by Jewish groups and attacked by LGBT rights activists, but Shelton has refused to apologise.
Speaking to the Star Observer, he said: “If people are thinking that I think same-sex marriage is going to cause a Holocaust, that’s ridiculous.
“What I’m saying is that when you’ve got harmful ideologies there are consequences, and future generations will think how did this happen, why are children being taught that gender is fluid in schools?
“When people don’t speak out and oppose harmful ideologies there are bad consequences.”
He added: “I was making the point about people being silent when bad ideologies are given airplay in society – of course gay marriage isn’t like the Holocaust, but what is similar is the silence in 1930s Germany and the inability of good people to confront bad ideologies.
“How did good people go along with something as extreme as Nazism when it resulted in such a catastrophe?
“Right now, future generations will ask where the ‘gatekeepers’ were to stand and say [same-sex marriage and Safe Schools] aren’t actually based on science, it’s not true.”
Australian Marriage Equality spokesperson Shirleene Robinson said: “Everyone is entitled to their point of view and to have their voices heard in our national conversation about marriage equality.
“We must however remember that as we discuss marriage equality that we are talking about real people, members of our families, our friends and neighbours and our tone and language must respect their dignity.
“Words can inflict terrible harm sometimes and we would ask that people of all opinions remember that. The use of intemperate language can cause deep hurt among LGBTI people and their families.
“It’s important that we have an open and positive discussion about why marriage matters to all Australians.
“Our Australian values are based on a fair go and respect for all and it’s important that these values underpin the national conversation on marriage equality.”
The comments have also been condemned by Jewish groups.
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Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, said: “I recognise how irresistible the Nazi analogy has become in today’s society and how its usage has spiralled out of control.
“But no matter how strong one’s objections to marriage equality or to the safe schools program is, cynically debasing, twisting and abusing the Holocaust in order to advance any agenda and to attack opponents is repugnant and has no place in Australia’s civil discourse. Perhaps the ACL figures that their insensitive equation will generate headlines and grab attention for their cause.
“However, to compare gay marriage and the acceptance of transgender people to the rise of Hitler’s regime, responsible for the extermination of six million Jews and millions of others is profoundly offensive, shows a gross lack of understanding of the historical truth, and only fans the flames of hatred and demonisation of the LGBTI community.
“It also insults the memory of the victims, which included gay people, as well as survivors and all those who fought valiantly against the Nazis in WWII.
“As an organisation with a longstanding commitment to the protecting civil rights, we urge ACL director Lyle Shelton to apologize for maligning advocates for the safe schools program and for marriage equality.
“We also hope that he refrains from invoking Holocaust imagery in the future.
“I also call on all political and religious leaders to publicly repudiate such hurtful statements, and to make it clear that such analogies are totally unacceptable and coarsen public debate.”