Brisbane Vigil Against H8

Protesters stood in silence at all entrances to the venue

Brisbane Protestors stage Silent Vigil against Homophobic Hate

The entries to Brisbane’s Citipointe Christian College were lined with candles last Thursday night as protestors staged a silent vigil against American evangelical speaker and author, Eric Metaxas.

Metaxas is in Australia to speak at the Australian Christian Lobby’s National Conference in Sydney, on Saturday, 23 April. At the conference, themed “Cultivating Courage”, Metaxas was expected to enjoin evangelicals to be ‘fearless’ in opposing LGBTIQ rights.

Psychologists agree that discrimination and exclusion are the key causal factors of the alarmingly high incidence of LGBTIQ mental ill-health issues and suicidality. Yet, perversely, Metaxas argues it is gay rights activists who are persecuting Christians.

Metaxas equates his crusade against LGBTIQ rights and marriage equality to German theologian and Friedrich Bonhoeffer’s anti-Nazi dissidence. For Metaxas, religious institutions which are loving and accepting of their LGBTIQ parishioners are as odious as the German churches which aligned themselves with Hitler’s brutal regime. In Metaxas’ topsy-turvy view, it is Christians who are the victims in the LGBTIQ fight for a more inclusive society.

Metaxas is also an advocate for gay reparative therapy. Against all evidence to the contrary,  he refers to homosexuality as a ‘disease’ for which his own brand of evangelical, fundamentalist Christianity is the only ‘cure’.

Metaxas’ views fit well with his hosts, the Australian Christian Lobby.  A recent analysis of the organisation’s 2015-2016 press releases by high school student, Anna M, shows the organisation’s obsession with LGBTIQ issues.

ACLobsessions

Writer and researcher, Chrys Stevenson, made a six hour round trip to be at last week’s protest. Stevenson has written extensively on the Australian Christian Lobby and it’s connections with fundamentalist extremists in the USA.

“If the Australian Christian Lobby were in America,” says Stevenson, “they’d be classified as a gay hate group.”

Protest organiser, Gary Dodkins, says,

“The event came to my notice quite late. But, as soon as I realised Metaxas was scheduled to speak in Brisbane, I knew someone had to organise a protest. Then I thought, ‘Well, it might as well be me!’” Dodkins quotes the maxim, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

But Dodkins and his fellow-protestors were determined not to do anything to feed Metaxas’ anti-gay propaganda. He said:

We didn’t want him to be able to point to us as a noisy rabble and say, ‘See, they’ve proven my point!

So, we planned a peaceful protest; a candlelight vigil to honour those who have suffered and died because of the homophobic, biphobic and transphobic culture fostered by right-wing religious extremists like Metaxas and the Australian Christian Lobby.

Chrys Stevenson added:

I was particularly touched and proud to carry a banner reading ‘Bigotry has a body count.’ That said it all for me.

The protest was attended by a range of interested individuals and groups including a representative from DIGS (Diversity in Gender and Sexuality) and Robin Bristow from the Queensland branch of the Australian Sex Party.

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years.

“Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe.” (Daniel Witthaus, “Beyond Priscilla”, Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)