Why make a fuss about a little thing like a baker who won’t make cakes for lesbian weddings? Because it’s not just a slice of cake, it’s the thin end of a wedge.
Pour yourself a cuppa. Have a slice of cake. And please, stay with me a while. Because although you may think the issue of poor sad holy bakers and florists a trivial matter not worth making a fuss over, it’s actually hugely important. We mustn’t let them off the hook.
It looks like the Marriage Equality Bill currently being prepared by Senator Dean Smith will be stuffed with ‘religious’ compromises, creating a ‘separate but equal’ version of marriage for LGBTI.
Not Marriage Equality: Marriage Apartheid.
We cannot under any circumstances support an Equal Marriage Bill that writes discrimination into law. It would be the thin end of a wedge that can and will be used to promote more and more special rights for religions. It’s Christian Shariah, one little piece at a time.
You think I exaggerate? It’s already happening in the USA . And it’s no good saying “but that’s different, it can’t happen here”. The very same organisations promoting ‘creeping Christian shariah’ in the USA already have affiliates here (and the rest of the world) into which they are pouring money and advice. They helped ACL set up an offshoot specifically to fight LGBTI rights in the courts, should equal marriage come to pass.
The same people are also training and infiltrating committed Christians of their stripe into political parties and businesses: again, the ACL has an Australian clone known as the Lachlan Macquarie Institute for exactly this purpose. It’s part of a strategy to capture what they call the Seven Mountains – the seven peak groups that control and influence society (I will return to the subject of Christian Dominionists**, their Australian tentacles, and their organisations in another post).
I know some of you will be groaning at this point and turning off. “What does it matter if some bigot doesn’t want to bake us a cake?” you say, “I wouldn’t want one of their cakes. They’d probably spit in it anyway.”
You might say it all seems pretty trivial. You might say that religious exemptions already exist, so what’s the big deal about a few more?
It’s a big deal because it undermines the fundamental principle that everyone is equal before the law. All the law. The law is the same no matter who you are (well, unless you’re rich, but that’s another post). You can’t let people pick and choose which laws they will obey, and which laws they won’t. You can’t get a ‘fair go’ when you have to obey a law that your neighbour doesn’t.
Organised religions and businesses already have privileges which disadvantage the rest of us. Especially LGBTI. They can fire a church gardener, or a school caretaker, or a care nurse, or an outreach worker, solely because they are a single mother, or belong to a different faith, or are LGBTI. There is no appeal, and no redress. And they have an unfair commercial advantage over secular businesses: they don’t have to pay rates and taxes, which increases the tax burden on the rest of us by an estimated $30 billion a year.
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and their fellow travellers want to expand those exemptions still further if Marriage Equality – the right of any two adults to marry, regardless of sex or gender – becomes law.
When Marriage Equality becomes law, nothing changes for religion. Clergy retain the freedom they already have to refuse to marry anyone – for example, divorced people, same-sex couples – if it goes against their beliefs. But the ACL and their friends, like the Catholic and Evangelical Protestant churches, want more. Much more.
They want to do away with the concept of “religious exemptions” – more properly called “religious privileges”. They want “religious protections” from the consequences of breaking a law – in this case, anti-discrimination law – if it goes against their faith to obey. Yet more: they want the same “protections” expanded to anyone who claims it would go against their conscience to obey the law.
And if none of that worries you, think on this. If it is becomes a ‘right’ for Christians to be exempt from some laws because those laws offend against their religion, then how long before a religious ‘right’ is claimed by, say, Native Australians, Buddhists or Muslims. How long before someone argues that it goes against their conscience to pay taxes that fund, say, war, or the dole, or Aboriginal programs?
We need to be taking religion out of law and politics, not trying to cram more in. Let them bake the goddam cakes.
And God blessed [Adam and Eve], and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.Genesis 1:28
Regular Christians say this means that God gave mankind responsibility for the Earth. Dominionists say it means Christians, and only Christians, should rule the planet. Unless and until they do so, the Messiah cannot return.
Exciting news! I just heard I’ve been nominated for LGBTI Journalist of the Year 2017, which is great, as I haven’t won any of these things for years! If you want to nominate me too – the more the merrier – you can do it here http://www.australianlgbtiawards.com.au/public-nominations.html