News & Comment
The religious right's narrative of victimhood just gets siller.
It's been a day since Loree Rudd, sister of Kevin, was reported as labelling marriage equality advocates "the global gay Gestapo" (for a look at the kind of despicable people she's talking about, click here).
But despite calls for an apology from groups like Australian Marriage Equality, and supporters of equality affected by the Holocaust, Ms Rudd has not responded.
Worse, she is being defended by the very groups that should be distancing themselves from her unjust and hurtful comparison.
According to Jim Wallace from the Australian Christian Lobby,
“We would believe most people would view Ms Rudd’s use of the term ‘Gestapo’ as referring to attempts to use fear and intimidation to silence dissent.”
And wearing crisp well-fitting uniforms, and perfect goose-stepping, and excellent record-keeping, and anything but mass murder of innocent people.
Apart from sheer bile, Loree Rudd's attitude seems to be informed by the association often made on the far right make between Nazism and homosexuality (it's the same kind association made between Nazism and Obama because both are somehow an over-turning of the natural order and therefore tend to tyranny).
But she's in the Labor Party, I hear you cry.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of haters in the ALP, as much as Labor's left faction tries to convince us otherwise.
Perhaps if Loree's famous brother had included LGBTI people in his Christ-based political program it would have sent a message to people like her that Labor values embrace us too.
Instead, we were conspicuously absent from Rudd #1's manifesto, allowing Rudd #2 to treat us with the contempt she seems to reserve for all things unLabor (if her comments about Tony Abbott are anything to go by).
In comparison, Jim Wallace's defence of Loree Rudd is informed by something different; a tactical decision to play the martyr.
The ACL has been pressing this button for months now.
Instead of arguing about the issue, it complains that opponents of reform are being bullied.
The same sentiment takes different forms.
Frank Ferudi calls it "elitist sanctimony". Janet Albrechtsen calls it left-wing "authoritarianism". David van Gend calls it anti-Christian "slurring".
This defensive rhetoric comes straight from the US where Jon Stewart has labelled it "a narrative of conservative victimisation".
I've come up against this several times in recent months.
For example, following a public debate about marriage equality in Hobart in May, where one equality supporter scoffed once, an indignant letter to the editor appeared complained about freedom of speech being hindered by disrespectful, angry homosexuals.
It didn't matter that the scoff was prompted by a statement about same-sex marriage leading to the legitimisation of things like incest.
It didn't matter that the speaker concerned, despite his protestations at the meeting about respecting homosexuals, actually believes same-sex relationships are unnatural and marriage equality will lead to "forced sexual re-education of children in state schools".
In fact, that's the point.
Those who hold prejudiced views are claiming persecution at the hands of homosexuals to avoid public scrutiny of their prejudices.
What better way to divert attention from their discrimination against LGBTI people than to claim they are the ones being discriminated against.
But wait, there's an even more cynical aspect to all this.
When legislators finally move on LGBTI human rights, including marriage equality, the religious right's victimhood narrative sets it up to demand and receive religious exemptions from whatever the reform might be, to preserve its "freedoms" from being trampled by angry, disrespectful and ever-litigious homosexuals.
The religious right has taken more from LGBTI people than it cares to admit.
It took identity politics, turning churches into self-contained faith-communities where Christianity becomes a lifestyle.
As a logical extension, it has also taking the language of persecution and victimhood.
But try as it might, it can never take our dignity and will not succeed in taking our rights for much longer.
The other interesting point about the ACL media release is that it signals the return of Jim Wallace after a several-month absence from public life.
JW disappeared from the scene not long after his ANZAC Day tweet about servicemen and women not dying for gay marriage and Muslims sparked a storm of protest.
In all the commentary against that tweet an important point was missed.
Voices of authority had already conflated ANZAC Day with Christianity, and not just because the former happened to fall at Easter.
Two days before Wallace's tweet, an editorial in the Australian (23-24.4.11) seemed to suggest the sacrifice made at ANZAC and the sacrifice made by Jesus were linked.
It said the Judeo-Christian tradition has shaped Australia, including our military "contribution towards a safer, more peaceful world", and this tradition continues to bind the nation together (is this a post-racial version of the old opinion that Australia's Anglo-Celtic traditions and values performed the same functions?).
Given these sentiments, it is easier to understand why Wallace felt it was permissible to tweet what he did.
If Australia's military engagements fall within the category of "the Judeo Christian tradition", it stands to reason that what he believes falls outside that tradition is not what our troops fought and died for.
Is it any wonder some haters within the military feel they can get away with this.
In other conservative-commentary-on-marriage-equality news, thank goodness for some non-ideolgical, empirically-based common sense.
In other religion-and-marriage-equality news, the fact the Baptist Church feels it has to distance itself from the pro-equality comments of Rev Nathan Nettleton on the recent Compass marriage equality dinner-table debate shows these comments have wider appeal than the Church likes.
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