5. All talk and no action
Let me tell you a true incident. Everything I write is true, but this little joke sounds like it's fabricated: It happened a few weeks ago in our family, somebody was all talk and no action.
One of my family members had taken to using a word, starting with sh... (not sugar. He was putting it in his mouth, when I would not even touch it with my hands. One day the same family member complained of feeling unwell. He had not been regular at the toilet and became constipated. I told him: “You're all talk and no action”.
This chapter, however, is meant to address a serious issue. On October 29th 04 I received an email with the subject line: “A cry for help”. Because I knew the sender, and the email didn’t look like a Spam, I took notice. It came from Rita, the person working tirelessly for the Family Standards Organisation, promoting Christian values in society. (I have mentioned her numerous times in previous chapters). Her email drew my attention to a potentially damaging law that was before State Parliament. Her email read in part:
“Two weeks ago I sent you an email about the Statutes Amendment (Relationships) Bill before the SA parliament. This bill would destroy the status of marriage - completely removing the word "spouse" from all laws (except adoption and reproductive technology, but these could change too if Labor wins the next state election). The bill would make marriage irrelevant.
Rita was very passionate in defending the status of marriage. She kept a watch on proceedings in Parliament, which the average citizen finds hard to do, even if there was an interest. When important legislation came up, she would rally a network of supporters, encouraging them to make their voices heard. Her cry for help in above email carried even more weight, by including all contact email addresses of the Members of both Houses of State Parliament.
The issue at hand was not simply blaspheming on a TV program. From the email I could sense a major battle to block bad legislation was looming. Her call for serious measures in this issue came as a surprise. I had thought that on August 13th 04 it was confirmed by Federal Parliament that a marriage in Australia is between a male and a female only (Mind, Chapter 44). But there were obviously some unhappy people around, who pushed the issue again at State level. Could the complexities of legislation and confusion about jurisdiction, as in this example, be the reason the average citizen finds politics ten times harder to follow than football?
On November 12th 04 Rita surprised everyone again with the following email (in part):
Some extraordinary things have been happening with the Relationships Bill. It was not pushed through the House of Assembly on Monday 8 November. Instead, without any further debate or vote in the House of Assembly, it was introduced in the Legislative Council on Tuesday 9 November!
I have tried to find out how this could have happened - it is contrary to the basic conventions of the Westminster system of government. Today I phoned the Attorney-General's Department, the office of Paul Holloway (the minister who introduced the bill in the Legislative Council) and the office of the Government Whip in the Legislative Council - all to no avail. I have been told to put a formal request in writing in order to get an answer to my simple question: how can a bill be sent to the Upper House while it is still being debated in the Lower House?
I never heard a proper explanation to Rita's valid concerns. My suspicious mind at this point started thinking, perhaps there is more behind this mysterious Relationships Bill? I found the practice of changing 80 laws with just one other law a bit strange. Didn't each law have to be dealt with separately? Because I could not make sense of the issue, I made fun instead. I emailed Rita on 26/11/04:
Subject: Gravity is the answer
It came to me, why they start now in the Upper House with legislation. Just like my learners - taking off downhill is easier than uphill.
They go from Upper House to lower House to make use of gravity. With the price of electricity any saving is worth exploring.
Dieter R. Fischer
PS Have you contacted the media on this issue? They ought to kick up a fuss, if things have not been followed as per protocol.
The media had been very quiet on this subject. The more public debate takes place on such a sensitive issue, the more likely the silent majority will wake out of their sleep. The Labor Government's tactic was to push the bill through very quickly and with minimum public debate. But God had other ideas. Why do I say God?
On a few occasions of my autobiography I hinted that God controls even the weather. (Sand, Chapter 18). I honestly believe that God again did just that, and right on time. The vital debate and final votes were coming up in Parliament. A last minute big rally, it was hoped, would sway any politician, still undecided on this touchy subject. The rally was arranged by a group of pro-gay rights supporters on the steps of Parliament House, Adelaide on Saint. Nicholas Day 2004.
If there were any god-fearing politicians around that morning, and I knew many that were, they could not ignore the mighty thunderstorm, the biggest in years, lashing Adelaide right at the time of the gay-rights protest rally.
Does anybody really believe the timing of the two events was co-incidental? Two rare events occurring at exactly the same time? That’s what I meant by God had other ideas. Many people, even so-called Christians, class me as crazy, by hinting at the possibility that God would personally, if that is the right word, sent a thunderstorm to disapprove of the law before parliament. HE long ago disapproved of the practice of same sex relationships in his word (Romans 1).
Anyone thinking my thinking is crazy please allow me to think crazy. Everybody has the right to believe what he or she wants to believe.
The following extracts from a long email sent by Rita to a group of supporters tells how passionate emotions had become, in this sensitive issue. Sadly, as you can read, truth and respect for other points of view, went out the window. The email was written in the afternoon after the thunderous gay-rights rally:
6 December 2004
I have received many messages from those who watched Friday night's ABC News and Stateline. Thank you for those who have sent encouragement after my "brave effort" in being the only person to provide pro-family arguments in a line up of:
1. A homosexual couple who urgently wanted the bill to pass.
2. Homosexual activist Matthew Loader who urgently wanted the bill to pass.
3. Liberal MP Mark Brindal who not only wanted the bill to pass but to go further and introduce a "civil unions" bill to enable same-sex couples to "marry" by the back door - and who vilified our organisation.
4. Linda Matthews, SA Equal Opportunity Commissioner, who accused FOL of potentially inciting people to breach anti-discrimination laws.
5. Myself (Rita P.) standing against the tide.
6. The homosexual couple having the last word.
This was, after all, a "balanced program" - ABC style!
But when Simon Royal interviewed me on Friday morning, he did not tell me that Mark Brindal would liken me to Adolf Hitler (Mr. Brindal also said that we see homosexuals as "nasty", "scum" and "undeserving of their place on the earth."). I did not know about these extreme, defamatory statements until Friday evening when I saw them on the ABC TV News and on Stateline.
Moreover some of my responses were edited out of the final program. I had explained that our article in June "Festival Focus" had quoted from the Olsson Report on the child sex abuse scandal in the Adelaide Anglican church, where most of the victims were boys - but no mention of these facts went to air. I have never said that most homosexuals are paedophiles. What I have said is that the number of cases of homosexual child molestation (40% of the total, from the Olsson report) is out of all proportion to the number of homosexual and bisexual men in the community (2.5% from the latest Australian study).
As a result, some people sent us some seriously abusive messages, including a photograph of me dressed as Adolf Hitler saying "Hate is fun!"
A homosexual man accosted me outside Parliament today and accused me of abusing him on the ABC News last Friday. I told him what our June "Focus" article had actually said, and he agreed that the ABC had misrepresented me. The trouble is, it is hard to reach everyone who was misled.
Rita’s email continues by telling who said what at the rally. It mentions the placards of the Greens, displaying their stance very clearly - Greens support Queers and Greens support lesbians. The Democrats also were strong supporters of gay rights, Rita writes, accusing her of hate and bigotry.
Her long email also pointed out a blatant deception, perpetrated by the gay lobby and, knowingly or inadvertently, carried on by the ABC’s TV Program she was interviewed on. It was reported that Homosexual activist Matthew Loader had delivered 24 000 letters to 22 Legislative Council Members (MLCs), in support of the bill. The truth was that Mr. Loader’s group had received 1107 letters, and sent copies to all 22 MLCs (1107 x 22 = 24,354).
The ABC program a week later interviewed Rita again. The journalist and Rita argued quite heavily on the risk factor and mathematical proof - If 2 ˝ % of people are responsible for 40 % of the crime, it is more risky to employ a person form those 2 ˝ % than the other 97 ˝. This is what Rita tried to get across, as I understand the issue.
The ABC program presenter didn’t give the impression of agreeing with her. At the end the reporter corrected the figures from the previous week’s edition. He stated, without further explanation, that the gay-support lobby only received 1100 letters and not 24 000.
What I found confusing was the differing views on the issue of members of my political party, the Liberals. Knowing our Prime Minister was strongly in favour of only recognizing traditional marriages. The answer lay in the Liberal Party’s practice to allow individual Members to vote by their conscience. A differing viewpoint within a party may be a healthy thing. Should not all Members of Parliament go to sleep a night, knowing they have a clear conscience, because they voted for what they felt was right, not put their hands up, when the party hierarchy forced them to?
On the Saturday, after seeing Rita the night before on the ABC TV program Stateline, I emailed one of my fellow Liberals, a Member of Parliament, who in this instance was clearly on the opposition’s side of the fence. Copies of this email went to all Labor Members in the Lower House, the House of Assembly:
Dear Mr. Brindal,
On the ABC TV News last evening (3/12/04) did you not go over the top to accuse Rita and her organisation of using Nazi-Germany tactics in the gay issue?
If you can't recall your German history lessons, the Kristall Nacht was a public violent act towards a hated group of people, the Jews. It was perpetrated by people wearing Uniforms, their crimes sanctioned by government. FOL members don't wear uniforms; they have no power, except what God gives them (and don't you underestimate it). Mrs. P. is an educated woman. She does a lot of research and speaks out, if things don't add up. We need more people who speak out fearlessly, when they can see that we are heading in the wrong direction in moral issues. We need less people who say what the people want to hear, because they want to be voted in again at the next election.
Rita’s family had their Kristall Nacht in the form of a home invasion. If it was connected to their outspokenness is hard to prove. No, it's not Christians the community has to fear, it is those who follow the evil one. If they keep on willfully disobeying God's laws, HIS judgment will be merciless. Thank God, there is still time make a U-Turn.
A lot of non-Christians agree that the homosexual lifestyle is wrong. Civilisations have fallen because of it. How many would like their child to have a school teacher, who lives openly gay? Show me one parent, who wishes for their son to live his life with another man. How many Christian Schools would keep enrolments, if they were not allowed to stipulate that teachers must be Christians and live a Christian lifestyle? Show me a child who prefers to go to a parent's night at school with two men as parents, unless that child has been brainwashed from an early age and knows no different.
Christianity certainly teaches love as its highest value. But there are different types of love. Sexual expression of love is reserved exclusively between a man and one woman, who are committed to each other. Affection you have for another man, your pet dog or your neighbour's wife is of a different nature. Sexual expression is definitely not appropriate here.
As a fellow Liberal Party Member I find your persistence and passion extra-ordinary. It is sad that it is pushing in the wrong direction, especially since your Prime Minister and both Houses of Federal Parliament, on August 13th this year, confirmed that a marriage is between a male and female only. Your stance could cause a split in the Liberals. I certainly will reconsider my membership, if your pro-gay push is not rejected by the party.
May all Members of the Labor Government realize that it was God, not Peter Lewis, gave them power on Feb. 13, 2002. Let each one examine their conscience and vote what their inner voice and common sense tells them. Just because all other states have gone in the wrong direction does not mean, we in South Australia have to. We can be a light to our nation.
Please let me urge you to stop your attacks on the FOL or any others who stand firm on Christian Teachings. They are the salt of the earth. God help Australia or anyone, who thinks they know better than the ONE who created us all.
Dieter R. Fischer
At the time of writing above email I must have been unaware that the Liberal Party allows a conscience vote on moral issues, which could not cause a split in the party. However, the next question comes to mind: “Why single out moral issues and treat them differently to economic or other political topics?
Another political paradigm had me puzzled long ago: The state and church separation, which some politicians defend, as if politics was their religion. I believe both can and must work together for the good of society. Is not the welfare of the people in economic, social and spiritual matters the ultimate aim of both? I once wrote to a senior Minister in the Federal Government on this point and asked him to explain, where in the constitution it says, that state and church must be separated. I think my question still is in his ‘too-hard-basket’.
As I see it, separation of church and state should only be necessary, if one of the two becomes corrupt. Sadly, this has occurred in the previous 50 years or so, as we have seen in the child molestation cases, many of which came to light only in recent years. The church has not only failed to give moral direction, but also violated the very standards of behaviour it was preaching. All talk and no action!
Campaigners in moral or social issues such as gay-rights or animal liberation etc. often lose perspective of what they are fighting about. In the end, winning an argument, being right becomes their ultimate aim to make them feel good and to stay in control.
As Christians we must remember that God has already won the war against the evil one. His death and resurrection guaranteed us victory and now He lives with us. We are called to be the light in the dark world, the salt of the earth. Darkness is not something we have to fight; darkness disappears automatically, when the light shines. That’s what Christ’s followers are called to be – lights that take away the darkness in the world.
Our ultimate aim is not to proof our way is the right one, it is to proclaim the Gospel, to win people for Jesus Christ. Love is the twin brother of power. I learned that lesson years ago, very graphically. God will have HIS ways in the end; of this we are confident. This does not mean concerned citizens should not speak out. It does not annul the work of Rita’s organisation. No one lights a lamp to place it under a table or chair. The world must see and hear us; not with hate or anger, but with concern for our nation and love for its people, all people.
After a few delays in taking the final vote in the Relationships Bill, on Wednesday December 8th 04, a vote was passed to send it back to a committee for more public consultation. This is what Rita’s supporters, including myself, had hoped for. More public debate was needed, more submissions from concerned groups (where is the voice of the bible-believing church?) before the politicians finally realize that the vast majority of voters is interested in such issues and does not want legislation contrary to God’s laws.
On October 9th 04 in Australia, and November 2nd in the US, voters have clearly demonstrated that moral values matter. They will choose brave leaders, who don’t bow to vocal minorities. If the Relationships Bill stays on the agenda long enough in 2005 in South Australia, it may become an election issue for 2006.Thank God that more Christians are heeding the call to stand up for truth and righteousness and are not ashamed to carry the Christian message of the cross into the political arena.