This post originally appeared on my Current Affairs blog.
I decided to do a little searching around about the Australian Christian Lobby.
Where, I wondered, do they get their money from? Why are they so influential? What are their connections to the US anti-gay evangelical “family’ front organisations?
Australian Christian Lobby: The Chairman of the Board
I started with the Chairman, Tony Mclellan. And he has some very interesting connections indeed.
US EVANGELICAL FRONT ORGANISATIONS
McLellan lived and worked overseas for 25 years as President and CEO of a number of major international corporations, including L. J. Hooker in America and Barrick Gold.
While in the US he co-founded two Christian ministries: We Care America, and Citizens for Community Values, which he served as Chairman.
We Care America, which provided ‘faith based services’ to the state of Ohio, appears to have run into trouble in 2007 (after Mclellan returned to Australia) and now no longer exists.
What little I could find was rather interesting: even more interesting is that some of the web pages I originally linked to when I first posted this information have now been taken down.
On June 19, 2007, We Care America Inc. filed a voluntary petition for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7 liquidation with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria.
Citizens for Community Values still exists and campaigns vigorously against gay rights. It’s website proudly asserts that it is officially associated with our old friends, bastions of extreme Christian fundamentalism and anti-gay propaganda, the American Family Association, Focus on the Family, and the Family Research Council.
MINING & RESOURCE SECTOR
Since returning home, Mclellan has been appointed chairman of several public-company boards, principally in the resources area, including Felix Resources, Bemax Resources, and Norton Gold Fields.He is currently chairman of ASX-listed Elementos Limited, which has an active exploration program for gold and silver in Argentina.In other words, he has lots of very wealthy connections, and is not short of a dollar or two himself.
AUSTRALIAN LIBERAL PARTY
He has been a Director of the Liberal Party think-tank, the Menzies Research Centre since 2005.
Is it any wonder that the ACL finds it so easy to tap into rivers of cash, and has such political influence?
The rest of the ACL and their donors look interesting too .
ACL funders: the mysterious Neil Golding
I have already written about some of the Australian Christian Lobby’s sources of funding. While doing so I’ve come across a bizarre and surprisingly underbelly of what I can only call cult-like religious organisations, mostly based on imported American models. Especially in Queensland.
I was especially intrigued by the mysterious Neil Golding, who donated $100k to the ACL in August 2010. The electoral commission website offered no clues as to who this might be.
I thought he might be the son of the founder of the Golding construction company, a massive family business building huge infrastructure projects across Queensland and based in Gladstone. His father Cyril, who is over 90 yrs old and now retired, is a noted local philanthropist known as “Mr Gladstone.”
Of Neil, the Golding corporate website only says “In the 1970’s Neil Golding joined the business as an 18 year-old labourer” . He is never mentioned again.
But he turns up elsewhere in connection with community radio station Gladstone & District Christian Broadcasting Association. The Golding company for a time provided a demountable building for the stations use. And Neil Golding wrote a letter in support of their licence application. I think we can safely assume he is our man, and has an evangelical Christian bent.
So what does this little Gladstone radio station broadcast?
RHEMA FM 91.9
Broadcasting as 4RGL, Rhema FM 91.9 they play 100% Christian content, including British and US extremist evangelical propaganda – programs include
Focus on the Family with Dr James Dobson
Keys to Successful Living with Derek Prince
The Word for Today by Bob & Debbie Gass
A Different Perspective with Bernie Dymet
Family Life Today with Dr Rex & Susan Lee Campbell
We all know who James Dobson is, don’t we? The US-based source of a great deal of now-discredited anti-gay ‘research.’
Family Life Australia, producers of Family Life Today, another Aussie outgrowth of another extreme US evangelical organisation (the word Family is a dead giveaway, as usual), offers the following “ex-gay” gem:
Going to BattleThere’s no time to rest when you’re in the middle of a battle. Dennis Jernigan, a former homosexual, reflects on his relationship with his father when growing up and tells how he is doing things differently with his sons. To those struggling with same-sex attraction, Guest: Dennis Jernigan
Buy the CD of this program here for $15.00
Real masochists can also buy CDs of Dennis’s songs.
Family Life Australia is an offshoot of a US parent: “FamilyLife is one ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ Australia www.ccca.org.au which is part of Campus Crusade for Christ International; the largest Christian mission organisation world-wide. “May we safely assume that Neil has no problem with homophobic attitudes stemming from extremist evangelical beliefs?So, leaving broadcasting aside, what else would you imagine interests a former construction labourer from a wealthy family? How about motorbikes?
CHRISTIAN MOTORCYCLIST ASSOCIATION
A Neil Golding pops up again as the webmaster for the Queensland chapter of this Christian bikie gang Neil: Webmaster 0419 669 306 email@example.com Really Long Link
They’re a fairly broadminded bunch, as bikers go, with the encouraging motto Unity in Diversity.
They explain that this means “we will encourage membership without preference for sex, age, denomination or motorcycle type.” Oh well. Close, but no cigar.
Which is what you would expect if this Neil Golding is indeed the same one who gave $100,000 to Jim Wallace. I’m betting it is.
Graham Packer (third from left, with other family members in the family business) is the co-owner of Packer Leather, Brisbane, a leading Australian producer of tanned hides and skins.
CITIPOINTE CHURCH BRISBANE
Mr Packer has been a member of the Methodist/Uniting Church for over 25 years, and was a Director of Youth for Christ Really Long Link for over 25 years, but he’s closely associated with Citipointe.
He’s on the Committee of Management of Citipointe Christian Outreach Centre, Carindale, as well as being Board Chair of Citipointe Christian College, Carindale, and is Council Chairman of the Christian Heritage College.
He is also a Community Representative of Clayfield College, which is part of the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association which was established in 1918.
Christian Outreach College is a ministry of Citipointe Church Brisbane, mother church of the Christian Outreach Centre movement, an evangelical, charismatic church.
Australian Christian Outreach Centres are governed by one central committee, the Oversight Committee of Christian Outreach Centre, as described in the church’s constitution.
In short, Citipointe is one of those happy-clappy megachurches (Brisbane has seating for 5,000) with a full suite of lifetime indoctrination programs through its schools, colleges, the Red Frogs chaplaincy service, and churches.
Tim Kirk’s life has been spent immersed in two things: wine and Catholicism. He was born into a hermetically sealed Catholic world, and has never left it. Almost like the boy who never left home.
“Tim Kirk is the CEO and Chief Winemaker of Clonakilla Wines. He is a respected wine judge, having judged at over 40 regional and capital city wine shows over the last ten years.
“Mr Kirk has a Bachelor of Theology degree and completed a Diploma in Education at theCatholic University, Christ Campus, Melbourne in 1991. He taught Religious Education and New Testament studies at Xavier College, a Jesuit School in Kew, Melbourne, for a number of years.
“Mr Kirk currently serves on the council of St Mark’s National Theological Centre, Canberra, and on the Advisory Board of the Canberra chapter of the Australian Catholic University.
“Mr Kirk’s support for ACL stems from a conviction that it is essential that Christians engage with the political process if the values of the gospel are to have a lasting impact on society.”
Mr Kirk was one of six boys, saying he might not be the brightest or best looking of his brothers, who are all “very clever and successful people”, but his job is the most fun.
Until this year, the couple had opted to home school their five children.
In 2006 he was one of the speakers in a year-long program at St Thomas Moores Forum Really Long Link
Other speakers on the program that year included the usual suspects in the anti-gay pantheon:
Bill Muehlenberg National Vice President, Australian Family Association,
Paul Monagle ACT President, Australian Family Association,
Fr Frank Brennan S.J., A.O., Professor of Law, Australian Catholic University,
Dennis Shanahan Political Editor, The Australian Newspaper and
Angela Shanahan Columnist with the Canberra Times and the SundayTelegraph
Since he was 18 years old Kirk has been a member of The Disciples of Jesus, a charismatic Catholic community Really Long Link , with branches in Canberra, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Cairns, Darwin, Port Moresby, Siwai (Bougainville), and Manila.
“It now numbers about 1100 men, women and children. Since the early 1980’s the Community has been affiliated with other covenant communities throughout the world, and is a member of theCatholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships which is recognised as a Private Association of the Christian faithful of Pontifical right. The Community’s ministry and wide mission outreach of evangelisation is well known throughout Australia and in many other countries.
“Disciples of Jesus Community is a body of families, singles and priests who have come together under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to live a common life of prayer, sharing and service. The Missionaries of God’s Love, flowing from the grace of the Community, is a body of men and women who are dedicated to living the Gospel of Jesus by sharing a common life, and by consecrating themselves to the Lord in poverty, chastity and obedience. They are called to live this way of life either as Priests, Brothers or Sisters”
“We desire to live in deep unity and spirit with the Pope and Bishops, and to be loyal to the teachings of the Magisterium. We find authentic tradition in the lives and writings of the Saints and Fathers of the Church. Members have a strong sense of the Sacraments in their life.”
OUR LIFESTYLE CONSISTS OF:
Participating in the Celebration of Eucharist as often as possible;
Cluster Prayer (people living close by come together once a week);
A Celebration Meal (each Saturday night we have a special meal in small groups to welcome the Lord’s Day);
A General Community Gathering (the whole Branch meets together once a week, usually Sunday afternoon, for paise and worship of the Lord and teaching about some aspect of our lives);
Formation Teaching (regular talks on all aspects of Community life);
Brotherhood and Sisterhood nights (once a month to engender a unity of spirit in one another); and
Other special events and occasions (you have to be there)
Mr. Terry R. Winters, FAICD was the Founder of Optus Communications Pty Ltd and served as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr Winters serves as Chairman of Australian Home Care Services Pty Limited, Intelledox Pty Ltd. and Converge International. Mr. Winters has more than 30 years experience in the telecommunications industry.
He serves as the Non-Executive Chairman of Opportunity International Limited, The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Victoria Limited, and Protocom Developments Pty Ltd. He served as Chairman of Netcomm Ltd. until December 13, 2011. He has been a Non-Executive Director of Commander Communications Ltd. since May 2002.
He serves as a Director of Pracom Limited and Future Fibre Technologies Pty Ltd. He served as Director of Netcomm Ltd. until December 13, 2011. Mr. Winters is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
[Source: Intellidox Pty Ltd]
So far so good.
But from 1992 – 2000 he was also a Director of Focus on the Family Australia (FoFA)
Our old friend and rabidly anti-gay fulminator, Bill Muehlenberg, was formerly the National Research Coordinator at FoFA, and National Vice President of the Australian Family Association.
FoFA is the Australian subsidiary of Focus on the Family, an American evangelical Christian tax-exempt non-profit organization founded in 1977 by disgraced ‘psychologist’ James Dobson.
[Dobson has since left the organisation. He founded the Family Research Council in 1981.]
To quote Wikipedia: “Focus on the Family has been accused, on several occasions, of misrepresenting research.Judith Stacey, one researcher whose work FotF used to claim that gays and lesbians did not make good parents, said that the claim was “a direct misrepresentation of the research.”
“Whenever you hear Focus on the Family, legislators or lawyers say, ‘Studies prove that children do better in families with a mother and a father,’ they are referring to studies which compare two-parent heterosexual households to single-parent households. The studies they are talking about do not cite research on families headed by gay and lesbian couples.”
After her research on teen suicide was used by Focus on the Family to promote “conversion therapy”, Elizabeth Saewyc said that “the research has been hijacked for somebody’s political purposes or ideological purposes and that’s worrisome”, and that research in fact linked the suicide rate among LGBT teens to harassment, discrimination, and closeting.”
All these false claims have been repeated at one time or another by the Australian Christian Lobby and FoF Australia Really Long Link
FoFA provides a ‘character-based’ sex-education program for teens called No Apologies: by which they mean heterosexual, abstinence-based religious sex-ed. It appears to be a cover for converting kids in schools.
I think one could justifiably infer a good deal about Mr Winters from his previous lengthy stint in a leading role at this organisation.
The one thing it is pretty well impossible to discover is where the ACL get their money, but as you can see, they are very well connected. Let me know if you have any more information.