Sorry Steve, just one more

Hillsong megachurch pastor says church should be more understanding of gays

GSN can reveal that the founder of Australia’s most successful Pentecostal ‘megachurch’ has sent a message to all of his church campuses around the world saying that gays and lesbians should feel welcome there and implying things like same-sex marriage may be things Christians just have to live with.

Hillsong church senior pastor Brian Houson’s message was broadcast to his churches on 18 August and had been recorded only a few weeks earlier at Hillsong London.

‘The one elephant in the room for churches around the world at the moment is the gay situation,’ Houston says in the message.

‘What would Jesus do? You need to pray for church pastors and leaders around the world because whichever way you turn the [gay issue] is there. You can turn one way and you can tell there would be a great scandal amongst the Christian Church.

‘You can turn another way and you would just cut off so many people. There’s lots of hatred out there but in the middle of it all you know there are three things: the world of the times we live in; the weight we live with; and the word we live by.’

Houston said that Christians had to live with the fact that societies were choosing to embrace things that were outside church teaching when it came to same-sex relationships.

‘The world has changed quickly,’ Houston said.

‘The world has changed and so I’m not saying that the church ever should be ruled by the way of the world but the reality is we are in a world which is changing fast. Here in Great Britain the laws have passed. … We’ve got the world we live in to consider.

Houston said that Christians also had to consider the consequences of how they treated gays and lesbians.

‘We’ve got the weight we live with,’ Houston said.

‘You say what’s that? Well it’s the weight when a young person growing up in a church feels like they are confused in their sexuality. They feel like “maybe I’m gay” and they go to a youth leader and they are rejected.

‘At that moment a great hatred comes in. At that moment some of them have gone so far with the rejection and gone to parents who didn’t understand and ended up committing suicide – That’s the weight we live with.’

Houston also recognized that there were now a variety of views on the morality of homosexuality within the Christian church.

‘There’s the world we live in. There’s the weight we live with and there’s the word we live by,’ Houston said.

‘And they don’t all necessary align. With the word we live by, many people have various convictions. In the middle of it all know that Jesus when it comes to people would let nothing stop Him from breaking through a divide to help hurting, broken, everyday normal people like you and I.’

Sydney gay Christian and Freedom2be vice-president Ben Gresham told GSN that this was the strongest statement from within Hillsong on LGBT issues in recent years from a church which had until quite recently held the view that homosexuals could be fixed through prayer and therapy.

‘I think what he was saying is that the message of Jesus is for all people and that that message should be available no matter who they are or what they do,’ Gresham said.

However he said he would not go so far as to say that Houston was actively encouraging gays and lesbians to get involved in Hillsong church life.

‘I think this is an attempt by Hillsong to try to start a dialogue or discussion within their own church about this,’ Gresham said.

‘This is one of the very few instances that I can think of where they’ve actually mentioned the words “gay” or “homosexuality.’ At Hillsong the attitude has been one of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Everyone is ok so long as you don’t mention the word but as soon as you do they then have to deal with that, and if you’re gay that may mean you may no longer be allowed to be a leader at church or serve at church and if you are employed by the church that may mean you could lose your job.’

Gresham said that he thought that Houston’s comments indicated more of a change in tone than a change in policy for his church.

‘This signifies the internal battles that I think most churches are dealing with at the moment in terms of the need and desire of many people in the church to love gay and lesbian people and yet at the same time they are conflicted over the traditional view of the bible which they believe says that homosexuality is a sin. But this is definitely a step forward for Hillsong,’ Gresham said.

GSN attempted to contact Houston directly but Hillsong Australia said the pastor is currently traveling.

Outside of Australia, Hillsong has churches in South Africa, the Ukraine, Sweden, the US, and also holds services in Germany, Holland and Russia.

43 thoughts on “Sorry Steve, just one more

  1. Brian spoke to the money and he doesn’t care if the money comes from gays or straights. It can still be used to buy a new BMW.

  2. Don’t apologise to me. Not my church. Don’t even listen to their music anymore.

    The good news is that God and His Word are established in the heavens and never change.

  3. If you are still a Jew under the Old Covenant, yes. Personally, I am a Christian under the New Covenant, so I can enjoy prawns whenever I like.

    Talking to you folk about the Word is like bashing your head against a brick wall.

    Because you don’t believe the Word or accept its authenticity, you’re absolutely clueless about how it works.

    And now here we go into your circumlocutive ramblings about the Old and New Testaments.

    Please spare us.

  4. Well Jews, like everyone, have a choice between remaining in their sin and receiving Jesus as Lord.

    If you live under the Old Covenant you have to do the whole thing. Clearly, practicing Jews do not these days, but they consider themselves to be under the Torah to this day.

    Peter was given the revelation that all foods that were considered unclean under the Old Covenant were no longer unclean, but this was also a metaphor for receiving the Gentiles into the New Covenant.

    Gentiles were never under the Law. They were excluded.

    Christ brought all together in Himself under the New Covenant and ended the Law for those who believe.

    The thing is, he never changed his mind about sin. it still separates us from God. The israelites could be atoned for by the blood of animals. The blood of Christ shed once and for all is a propitiation for all who receive him as Lord.

    We are all, Jew or Gentile, saved by the blood o Jesus through faith in his propitiation.

    And we can eat prawns too, but we still can’t sin.

  5. I dunno. Maybe Brian doesn’t teach this anymore. Maybe sin has gone out the window down at Balkam Hills.

  6. Well if he’s saying we need to be inclusive of gay people, d try our best to understand things from their perspective, I agree. No issue with that. If he’s saying we need to live with the fact that gay marriage is being gradually legitimised in the West, so we’ll have to be open to gay couples coming into the churches after marrying, I agree, it is a difficult issue, but one we will have to embrace and come to terms with. We will have to rely on God’s grace to lead us into how we deal with each situation as it arises without being judgmental.

    But if he is saying we need to endorse either homosexual sex or homosexual marriage, to the extent of promoting either, I would say it goes against the New Testament teaching on marriage.

    Is he saying this?

    At first reading I think he is hinting at the fist paragraph, not the second.

  7. I think he is voicing the first as well…and I would agree with that as well. I think the church has to be true to itself, but I also think it needs to take a long hard look (and it is doing that) at what is really meant by sin in light of the world we live in.

  8. Homosexuality is no longer an abomination, says Penrith Christian School

    The pentecostal Christian school chosen by Tony Abbott as the site of his education policy launch has decided to review its policy declaring homosexuality an abomination just hours after the Coalition visit.

    The language that they’ve used in that statement comes from an older translation of the Bible, it’s not in step with modern language and doesn’t reflect the attitude that the school has to the treatment of people who identify as homosexual

    Read more:

  9. Just be cause we don’t like the words “sin” or “abomination”, doesn’t mean these words don’t apply to various actions, attitudes, and areas of neglect in our lives. Just because the bible states that homosexual acts are sinful, doesn’t mean Christianity singles out homosexuals as sinners (Even if some misguided christians single out homosexuals as especially bad sinners). Part of the purpose of scripture is to help us see that without Christ, we have no righteousness, we can not justify ourselves, and we can not improve our spiritual state through our own efforts. So Greg, no matter how hard the church looks at “what it means by sin in light of the world we live in” it won’t change the basic scriptural truths that all are sinners, all need Christ, all need to be born again, and that Christ will through the power of the holy spirit transform us into his likeness. The church needs to continue holding up the scriptural standard of righteousness, so we can see how and why we need Christ. It would do no good to anyone if the church failed call people to repent, and by that I mean all people, heterosexual, homosexual, the self righteous, the greedy, idolaters, the proud, ect. So in saying all this I agree with Hustons idea, extend love to everyone, but hopefully he’ll not fail to call all to repent.

  10. The Biblical words usually translated as “abomination” do not always convey the same sense of moral exceptionalism as the English term does today, as it often may signify that which is forbidden or unclean according to the religion (especially sheqets). Linguistically in this case, it may be closer in meaning to the Polynesian term taboo or tapu, signifying that which is forbidden, and should not be eaten, and or not touched, and which sometimes was a capital crime.

    Eating seafood or eagles is an abomination. Remarrying your former wife is an abomination (Deut 24:1-4) As is cross-dressing and cheating in your business.

  11. I believe that eating certain foods WAS an abomination.

    “Really? Bummer.”

    Yes Virginia, really. But the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
    That’s not a bummer.

    1. Singles are better able to cope with troubles (7:25-28). In these first four verses, Paul suggests that being single isn’t nearly as bad as some think. Rather, in the midst of a difficult period of time, Paul recommends that engaged couples consider remaining single. Paul unpacks his topic sentence. “Now concerning virgins [engaged women]2 I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion3 as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy.”4 The phrase “Now concerning…” harkens back to 7:1 where Paul begins answering the Corinthians’ questions. In this section, he is focusing on those who are engaged to be married. Paul makes it clear that he is giving an “opinion” on the matter of singleness. He even brackets off his remarks by reminding his readers again in 7:40 that he is expressing his opinion. This should caution us not to mandate what Paul has graciously and humbly suggested.

    In 7:26-28, Paul now launches into the first advantage of singleness: “I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound [betrothed] to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.” It seems clear that Paul was not providing advice to be used in all situations, but one that was applicable during that particular period of time. In these three verses, Paul recommends singleness in light of challenging circumstances in Corinth. In 7:26 he speaks of “the present distress” while in 7:28 he refers to “trouble in this life.” Most likely, the phrase “the present distress” is a reference to a famine.5 Corinth and much of the rest of the Roman world was suffering from famines. This is corroborated by secular history, and by the fact that in 1 Cor 16:1-4 Paul was taking up the famine relief collection for Jerusalem.6 These were challenging days, particularly for married couples.

    But, you might ask, “How does this apply to me? I am not in the midst of a famine.” I can appreciate this. However, there are many other situations that might qualify as a “present distress.” Temptation, stress, financial difficulty, busyness, materialism, even peer pressure to marry or not to marry, are all modern stresses that could render Paul’s opinions here every bit as practical today as when they were first offered. Paul is not against marriage. Far from it! He is pro-marriage; however, he recognizes that marriage is not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, single-minded singleness has its advantages.

    The second crisis is described in 7:28 by the phrase “trouble in this life.”7 These troubles are not specified, but may refer to Paul’s conviction that Christians are called to suffer and will likely have more trials than others.8 The word “trouble” or “tribulation” means “pressed together under pressure,” which is an interesting description of the marriage relationship. You have two people who are pressed together in the closest possible way: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. They are two very distinct individuals with different personalities, different temperaments, different wills, different histories, different struggles and difficulties that they have brought as baggage into the relationship. And even believers in Jesus Christ are still subject to the limitations and weaknesses of the flesh. So you have two angry, selfish, dishonest, proud, forgetful, thoughtless people. And that’s true even in the best marriages. It’s hard enough for a sinner to live alone with himself, let alone with another sinner. You put those two separate constellations of problems together when two people are bound together in marriage, and the problems of sinful human nature are multiplied.

    Again, Paul makes it clear that marriage is a legitimate option for single people, but he wants to spare us unnecessary grief. Hence, it is good to thoughtfully consider the option of singleness. Single-minded singleness has its advantages. So…

    Don’t think that marriage will make you happy.

    Don’t think that marriage will solve your problems.

    Don’t think that marriage will bring you closer to God.

    Don’t think that marriage will make you a better person.

    Don’t think that marriage will fulfill your dreams.

    It won’t because it can’t.

    Marriage is good and noble and holy and honorable (Heb 13:4), but it’s not the be all and end all of life. If you are miserable being single, how can you be sure you’ll suddenly be happy being married? The happiest married people are generally those who were also happy while being single. Changing your marital status doesn’t guarantee a change in your happiness or your contentment or your satisfaction with life. Discontented singles aren’t usually the best candidates for a happy marriage.9

    [Singles are better able to cope with tribulations. Paul will now go on to share a second advantage.]

    2. Singles are better able to maintain spiritual priorities (7:29-31). In light of the transitory nature of the world, Paul challenges us to live with the end in mind. Looking at these three verses, notice the two key phrases that bracket 7:29-31: 1) “The time has been shortened” (7:29). 2) “This world is passing away” (7:31). The first phrase “the time has been shortened” reminds us of the brevity of life. No one lives forever on planet earth. You may live 30 or 40 or 50 years. Who knows? You may live 80 or 90 years, but sooner or later you’re going to die. And no matter how long you live, you’re going to be dead a lot longer than you’re going to be alive. If you doubt that, just check out the nearest cemetery. Every grave is proof that the time is short.

    The second phrase “this world is passing away” comes from a Greek expression that means something like “this world is but a shadow of reality.” Everything we see is fleeting and insubstantial. The metaphor perhaps is drawn from the shifting scenes in a theater.10 The idea is that this life is here one moment and gone the next. It is similar to our sitcoms and movies that must change scenes every couple of seconds. This life is not all there is; therefore, single-minded singleness has its advantages.

    So the time is short and the world is passing away. What follows from this truth? Matthew Henry says that we should live with “holy indifference” to the things of this world. Verses 29-31 flesh this out in five different ways:11

    1. With regard to our intimate relationships: “from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none” (7:29). Now there’s a verse you don’t hear quoted at many weddings. It simply means, enjoy your marriage but don’t make your marriage the most important thing in your life.

    2. With regard to afflictions: “those who weep, as though they did not weep” (7:30a). Do not be so overcome with grief that you act as if God doesn’t have the final word.

    3. With regard to pleasure: “those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice” (7:30b). Do not get so caught up in joy that you forget suffering is right around the corner. In everything you do, don’t forget about eternal realities.

    4. With regard to purchases: “those who buy, as though they did not possess” (7:30c). When you do make purchases, be a wise steward. Don’t spend carelessly on the world’s toys and trinkets. And what you do purchase, hold loosely. Be careful, lest the things you possess end up possessing you. Acknowledge that you are a steward and the Master may call for what He has given you.

    5. With regard to all earthly concerns: “those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world” (7:31a). Use the world, enjoy the world, live in the world, work in the world, buy and sell in the world, but do not let the world rule your life. The message is clear and unmistakable. You won’t be here forever. Enjoy life, live it to the fullest, take advantage of every moment, but don’t indulge yourself so much that you lose your focus on what really matters.

    [Singles have the potential to maintain spiritual priorities. One of the reasons that this is the case is because of Paul’s third advantage.]

    3. Singles have fewer distractions (7:32-35). Paul expresses the reality that marriage requires being absorbed in the “concerns” of one’s spouse and encourages singles in their devotion to Christ. “But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” Paul acknowledges that married people are concerned about their spouse, and rightly so! If they are not, they will not find themselves in a happy marriage. Marriage requires immense sacrifice, time, and energy. Thus, Paul’s point is that the marriage relationship can keep us from devoting ourselves more fully to Christ. For example, we must balance our devotion to our spouse, children, and God. Yet, at the same time be so consumed with God that every area of our lives is well balanced. Remember, single-minded singleness has its advantages.

    Dr. John Murray was once a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, who because of creeping liberalism in that institution joined with a number of other fine scholars to found Westminster Theological Seminary. John Murray served on the faculty there for many decades as Professor of Theology, writing many excellent books that have served the church well for decades. A life-long bachelor, he finally retired at age 75, moved back to his homeland of Scotland, and married a woman about half his age. Less than two years later they had a child. I think he felt that he had given God the best 75 years of his life; now it was time to have a little fun. Unfortunately, his heart couldn’t take all that excitement, and a few years later he died.12

    Granted, this is a most unusual case, but it demonstrates that it is possible to honor God with singleness if you have the gift, and then marry at a later time. Single-minded singleness has its advantages.

    [Paul’s final words draw out an important principle…]

    4. Singles have the option of marriage (7:36-40). This is a particularly difficult paragraph because the Greek is ambiguous and it’s impossible to know for sure whether he’s talking about a marriage arranged by a parent or a voluntary one between a man and his fiancée. I believe the man in view is the fiancé of the virgin, who is considering the possibility of marriage with her. These verses then summarize what Paul has already taught. In my estimation, the best English translations of these verses are found in the ESV, NRSV, and NLT. I will provide the NRSV rendering of 7:36-38: “If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his fiancee,13 if his passions are strong, and so it has to be, let him marry as he wishes; it is no sin. Let them marry. But if someone stands firm in his resolve, being under no necessity but having his own desire under control, and has determined in his own mind to keep her as his fiancee, he will do well. So then, he who marries his fiancee does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.” Paul’s point is that an engaged couple is free to decide whether to marry or remain single. Everyone likes to have the freedom to choose, so here Paul leaves the choice up to believers. Both options are viable and permissible.

    In 7:39-40, Paul concludes this chapter and his section on marriage and singleness with these words:

    “A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.” Paul wants to leave the topic of marriage, divorce, and remarriage with an emphasis on his two most important thoughts: marriage is for life and Christians should only marry Christians. Married people and singles both need to come to grips with these points. Of course, he isn’t here dealing with the two biblical exceptions: sexual immorality (Matt 5:32; 19:9) and desertion (1 Cor 7:12-16). He is envisioning the ideal circumstances—death is the only condition that frees a person for remarriage. Even then the freedom is not total, for a believer is to marry only another believer, whether it’s a first marriage or a second. That doesn’t mean simply that one must marry a person who believes in God; rather, it means the potential marriage partner must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I would also urge every widow (or widower) to only remarry a spouse that is at least a spiritual equal.

    The truth is there are many excellent reasons to not marry. It is better not to marry…

    than to marry a nonbeliever.14

    than to marry someone who will hinder your relationship with Christ or your service for Him.

    than to marry someone without the commitment to give completely of yourself to that person.

    than to marry for the wrong motive.

    than to marry at all, if you have the gift of celibacy.

    Paul’s last comment is a unique one: “and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.” This doesn’t mean Paul wonders whether he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, for he knew that; rather, he believes he has the illumination of the Spirit on this topic. I like that because it shows Paul’s humility and honesty. He was never arrogant about God’s truth. When he had a word directly from the Lord (as in 7:10 of this chapter), he made no qualms about sharing it and enforcing it. When he had opinions that were apostolic (as in 7:12 and 25), he gave them with conviction. But when he wasn’t sure whether his ideas conformed to that which the Spirit of God taught, he was willing to say so. Unfortunately, there are many in the ministry today who would never admit what Paul says here, and they aren’t even close to being apostles. Yet they always claim to be right, always have a word from the Lord, and are usually dogmatic about it. They may be wrong, but they’re never in doubt. Beware of teachers who claim to have a direct pipeline to God.

    This past week, I came across a book by a number of doctors who have discovered numerous advantages to being short: First, shorter people of the same proportions as taller people have many physical advantages based on the laws of physics, and these advantages are supported by many researchers. Shorter people have faster reaction times, greater ability to accelerate body movements, stronger muscles in proportion to body weight, greater endurance, and the ability to rotate the body faster. They are also less likely to break bones in falling.

    Second, shorter people tend to live longer. A few years ago, a comprehensive study of about 300 height and cancer papers, concluded that taller people had a 20 to 60% higher incidence of cancer compared to shorter people. More recently, breast, testicular, and prostate cancer studies found taller women and men suffered from substantially higher cancer rates.

    Third, shorter people have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

    Finally, shorter people have a reduced negative impact on the environment, water needs, and resource consumption. A population of 6 billion people averaging 6’ and 190 pounds can impact human survival by creating more pollution and depletion of resources, such as water, energy, minerals, farm land, and oil. The reason for this is that a 6’ person weighing 190 pounds is 73% heavier and has 44% more surface area than a 5’ person weighing 110 pounds. (The weight difference is based on tall and short people having the same proportions.)15

    Obviously, being short in stature certainly does have its advantages. It can be a blessing in disguise. In the same manner, being single also has numerous advantages: the potential ability to cope with troubles, maintain spiritual priorities, and remain undistracted and utterly devoted to Christ. Single-minded singleness has its advantages.

  13. Get married if you want!
    Be single if you want!

    It Rains on the Righteous as well as the wicked.;

    Ecclesiastes 8:8 NIV
    No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.

  14. The divorce and remarriage/adultery thing is really interesting and I don’t know all the answers.

    Wazza, do you think Jesus is saying that if a person remarried that they would be perpetually in state of adultery and therefore sinning?
    So, those who remarry should be told to divorce, or stay married but have no sexual relations to avoid adultery?

    The not remarrying the former wife is an interesting thing. From what I understand a famous charismatic Pastor in Queensland went had some quite public problems…… remarried (may have been twice but I’m not sure, so let’s say once), but several years ago came back to his wife and from what I understand am living happily ever after.

    Eyes, I know lots of singles – esp women who may as well get married because though they are single all they think about is the singleness/should I get married/who is the right one/ when will God bring the right one/ should I wait for God to lead or should I just go all out hunting etc etc.

    A happily married couple seem to be rare. Did you all see the youtube thingy about the guy who lost his wife after over 40 years and entered a song-writing comp.

    See if you can watch that without shedding a tear.

    (or maybe I really am a girly man…!!?!??!) . or going through male menopause.

  15. Thanks Eyes for this post which I think is worthy of being made into an article.

    I am not the only one I know who gets fed up with Christians going on and on and on about marriage and family life as if it is the be all and end all for Christians, and there is no alternative, forgetting the advice we are given.

    IMHO It is not very nice for people who are single, or have remained single all their life – some who have remained single as Christians all their life – who I’ve seen can feel just a little bit put out by that type of thang. As if you ought to be married or else you are not receiving the blessings of God or something.

    I have wondered if some of the way that some Christians do go on about their wonderful spouses and children ad nauseam – and perhaps being just a little bit insensitive to those who have remained single, childless, or who have been widowed – isn’t the boastful pride of life?

  16. You are quite right – TiR, the whole world it seems is geared toward the expectation that you will mary (or at least partner up), have kids and live happily ever after. People have gone so far as to cal the voluntary celibacy of the RC priesthood an evil thing adn the root of child abuse in the church! Nothing could be further from the truth. Paul viewed single life and voluntary celibacy as a holy and noble choice in life. In singlehood lies the ability to give yourself over totally to whatever God has called you to in life. The monks, nuns, friars, and hermits of old had something we, as married people, living with the worries of paying the bills and getting the kids through college, will never know.

  17. Q, I think Jesus was using strong language against divorce, a prohibition which was applicable to his time. In that era women were usually totally financially dependent on their husbands, and their husbands could also divorce them essentially at will. A woman could not initiate a divorce from her husband.

    So you would think there would be a fair bit of trading up to a newer model going on. Jesus was saying that this was essentially adultery. It was to protect the rights of the woman.

    In our era the situation is quite different. It would be silly to apply this rule inflexibly to our societies. For the most part women today have the right of divorce and have more financial options once they are single, so prohibiting divorce may have the opposite effect to what was intended. It may actually oppress women rather than protect them.

  18. Either my post got deleted or it got lost in i0s7 land…?

    But, I wanted to say that the three above posts – TIR, Greg and Wazza’s make a lot of sense to me.

    What’s happening here………?

  19. There’s a good video I saw on that’s funny at the end.
    Steve Fry and gay reparative therapy.

    (See, I am reading and listening to all this).

  20. “I am not the only one I know who gets fed up with Christians going on and on and on about marriage and family life as if it is the be all and end all for Christians, and there is no alternative, forgetting the advice we are given.”

    Well having children is the perfect contraceptive.

    Sounds like Eyes and Alice should meet up.

  21. In my inbox

    Dear Friends,

    Emotion can and does play an important part in political debate.
    There were scenes of emotional outpouring as the ACT Legislative Assembly passed a so called marriage equality bill this week.
    It is very difficult to argue counter positions against emotionalism without appearing heartless.
    The federal government is asking the High Court to hear its request to overturn the ACT law before anyone gets “married” when eligibility kicks in early December. A directions hearing is expected tomorrow afternoon in the High Court.
    The reality is that the ACT law, passed by just nine people in a 17 member assembly, undermines the Commonwealth’s constitutional power over marriage.
    Sadly the ACT Government is prepared to use a deeply emotional issue for a small number of people as part of a broader political campaign to change Australia’s definition of marriage.
    The talk in the assembly this week of transforming Canberra into a “rainbow city of love” where we had dismissed the “outdated legal institution” of man+woman marriage may all be short lived and a small number of people will be hurt.
    As Canberra’s Catholic Monsignor John Woods wrote this week, marriage is about difference, not sameness.
    The voiceless in this debate – children – intuitively have a deep longing for the difference that each of their biological parents brings to their lives.
    Wherever possible, public policy should uphold this basic human right even in the face of strong emotional claims from adults.
    Marriage has never been just about the love of two adults. It also exists to protect the deep emotional needs of a child and is the only institution that does this.
    We should all get emotional about this.

    Lyle Shelton
    Managing Director

  22. I think it’s nearly game over on this one as well.

    Would you abort a baby for having a gay gene?

    Male sexual orientation influenced by genes, study shows

    Ian Sample, science correspondent
    The Guardian, Friday 14 February 2014

    Genes examined in study are not sufficient or necessary to make men gay but do play some role in sexuality, say US researchers

    A study of gay men in the US has found fresh evidence that male sexual orientation is influenced by genes. Scientists tested the DNA of 400 gay men and found that genes on at least two chromosomes affected whether a man was gay or straight.

    A region of the X chromosome called Xq28 had some impact on men’s sexual behaviour – though scientists have no idea which of the many genes in the region are involved, nor how many lie elsewhere in the genome.

    Another stretch of DNA on chromosome 8 also played a role in male sexual orientation – though again the precise mechanism is unclear.

    Researchers have speculated in the past that genes linked to homosexuality in men may have survived evolution because they happened to make women who carried them more fertile. This may be the case for genes in the Xq28 region, as the X chromosome is passed down to men exclusively from their mothers.

    Michael Bailey, a psychologist at Northwestern University in Illinois, set out the findings at a discussion event held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago on Thursday. “The study shows that there are genes involved in male sexual orientation,” he said. The work has yet to be published, but confirms the findings of a smaller study that sparked widespread controversy in 1993, when Dean Hamer, a scientist at the US National Cancer Institute, investigated the family histories of more than 100 gay men and found homosexuality tended to be inherited. More than 10% of brothers of gay men were gay themselves, compared to around 3% of the general population. Uncles and male cousins on the mother’s side had a greater than average chance of being gay, too.

    The link with the mother’s side of the family led Hamer to look more closely at the X chromosome. In follow-up work, he found that 33 out of 40 gay brothers inherited similar genetic markers on the Xq28 region of the X chromosome, suggesting key genes resided there.

    Hamer faced a firestorm when his study was published. The fuss centred on the influences of nature and nurture on sexual orientation. But the work also raised the more dubious prospect of a prenatal test for sexual orientation. The Daily Mail headlined the story “Abortion hope after ‘gay genes findings’ “. Hamer warned that any attempt to develop a test for homosexuality would be “wrong, unethical and a terrible abuse of research”.

    The gene or genes in the Xq28 region that influence sexual orientation have a limited and variable impact. Not all of the gay men in Bailey’s study inherited the same Xq28 region. The genes were neither sufficient, nor necessary, to make any of the men gay.

    The flawed thinking behind a genetic test for sexual orientation is clear from studies of twins, which show that the identical twin of a gay man, who carries an exact replica of his brother’s DNA, is more likely to be straight than gay. That means even a perfect genetic test that picked up every gene linked to sexual orientation would still be less effective than flipping a coin.

    While genes do contribute to sexual orientation, other multiple factors play a greater role, perhaps including the levels of hormones a baby is exposed to in the womb. “Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice,” said Bailey. “We found evidence for two sets [of genes] that affect whether a man is gay or straight. But it is not completely determinative; there are certainly other environmental factors involved.”

    Last year, before the latest results were made public, one of Bailey’s colleagues, Alan Sanders, said the findings could not and should not be used to develop a test for sexual orientation.

    “When people say there’s a gay gene, it’s an oversimplification,” Sanders said. “There’s more than one gene, and genetics is not the whole story. Whatever gene contributes to sexual orientation, you can think of it as much as contributing to heterosexuality as much as you can think of it contributing to homosexuality. It contributes to a variation in the trait.”

    Qazi Rahman, a psychologist at King’s College London, said the results were valuable for further understanding the biology of sexual orientation. “This is not controversial or surprising and is nothing people should worry about. All human psychological traits are heritable, that is, they have a genetic component,” he said. “Genetic factors explain 30 to 40% of the variation between people’s sexual orientation. However, we don’t know where these genetic factors are located in the genome. So we need to do ‘gene finding’ studies, like this one by Sanders, Bailey and others, to have a better idea where potential genes for sexual orientation may lie.”

    Rahman rejected the idea that genetics research could be used to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation. “I don’t see how genetics would contribute more to the persecution, discrimination and stigmatisation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people any more than social, cultural or learning explanations. Historically, the persecution and awful treatment of LGBT groups has been because politicians, religious leaders and societies have viewed sexual orientation as ‘choice’ or due to poor upbringing.”

    Steven Rose, of the Open University, said: “What worries me is not the extent, if at all, to which our genetic, epigenetic or neural constitution and development affect our sexual preferences, but the huge moral panic and religious and political agenda which surrounds the question.”

  23. Would you abort a baby for having a conservative gene, Bones? I mean, do people actually give money to these research institutes?

  24. Wonder what the point of Murdoch’s headline was then?.

    On 16 July 1993 the Mail ran the headline “Abortion hope after ‘gay genes’ finding”;[64] this headline has been widely criticised in subsequent years, for example as “perhaps the most infamous and disturbing headline of all” (of headlines from tabloid newspapers commenting on the Xq28 gene).

  25. Thing is only one side of the left/right debate is at war (your words), condemning the other to the role of antiChrist and eternal judgement.

    The other just thinks their opposition is mad.

    The Daily Mail would be echoing what a lot of conservatives are thinking.

  26. I mean, do people actually give money to these research institutes?

    NIH is headed by Dr Francis Collins, a Christian and head of research into the human genome.

    The NIH is the USA’s medical research agency—supporting scientific studies that turn discovery into health.

    2013 NIH Research Highlights
    A sampling of research accomplishments made by NIH-supported scientists in 2013.

    Malaria Vaccine Found Safe and Protective
    Gene Variants Predict Response to Breast Cancer Drugs
    Urine Test Detects Kidney Transplant Rejection
    Technique Directs Immune Cells to Target Leukemia
    Medical Management Best to Prevent Second Stroke
    Genetic Testing Doesn’t Improve Warfarin Dosing
    Eye Contact Declines in Young Infants with Autism
    Duration of Obesity May Affect Heart Disease
    Common Genetic Factors Found in 5 Mental Disorders
    Vaccine Clears Away Monkey AIDS Virus
    Strategy May Improve Survival after Shock
    Method Quickly Assesses Antibiotics
    How Sleep Clears the Brain
    Scientists Recode Organism’s Genome
    Technique Forms Working Inner Ear Cells
    Structure of a Potential Diabetes Drug Target
    Genomic Analysis of Endometrial Tumors
    Stem Cells Coaxed To Create Working Blood Vessels
    Insights into Brain Injury

    Discoveries which brought 3 Nobel Peace Prizes to scientists in the institute.

    So I gather they get government funding.

    But it could be a leftist plot.

  27. Yes, and all worthwhile, vital even, but what the blathering heck are you actually going on about, Bones? You’ve become so extreme that I don’t think you even know what your argument is any more.

    I can understand the research into most of these things, but what on earth do we need to speculate a supposed gay gene for?

    And you mention the Daily Mail? Conservative? Representing conservative views? A gossip and innuendo rag on the same level as the Sun, Mirror and Star? At the same intellectual level as ninemsn. Why would anyone in their right mind even want to buy such crud? Even the sports pages are treated as a joke in UK. Murdoch’s money-making mind numbing muckraking mammary modelling meaningless media miss-mash.

    ‘Thing is only one side of the left/right debate is at war (your words), condemning the other to the role of antiChrist and eternal judgement.’

    What does that even mean?

    ‘My words’? I don’t think so. ‘The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.’ Those are my words, ‘strongholds’ meaning reasonings and logic which oppose the Word of Christ. Nothing to do with politics, media or a left/right debate, except where Christ is denounced, or His Word defamed.

    Antichrist is what it is and self-evident.

    But what choice do I have, if I am to obey the Word of God, but to test every spirit whether it is of Christ or not?

    1 John 4
    1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
    2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
    3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
    4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
    5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.
    6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

    Well, then, there is our warfare. It is spiritual, not physical.

    Ephesians 6
    12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
    13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

    If you’re going to attempt to quote me, at least get it right.

  28. Good to see intolerance in the name of religion being legislated.

    Arizona approves bill allowing religious people to refuse service to gays


    The Associated Press

    Arizona’s legislature approved a bill Thursday that allows business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays and others. Democrats called the proposal “state-sanctioned discrimination” and an embarrassment.

    The 33-27 vote by the House sends the bill to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.

    The legislation prompted a heated debate on the floor of the Republican-dominated House, touching on issues such as religious freedom, constitutional protections and civil rights.

    It comes as an increasing number of conservative U.S. states grapple with ways to counter the increasing legality of gay marriage.

    Seventeen states, plus the Washington capital district, allow gay marriage, most of them in the Northeast. The movement toward legalizing gay marriage especially gained momentum after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year to strike down part of a federal law that prevented the government from recognizing same-sex marriages. On Thursday, Oregon’s attorney general announced she will not defend that state’s ban on gay marriage, joining the top lawyers in at least five other U.S. states who have made similar decisions.

    Republicans said Arizona’s bill is about protecting religious freedom and not discrimination. They cited the case of a New Mexico photographer who was sued after refusing to take wedding pictures of a gay couple and said Arizona needs a law to protect people in the state from what they called heavy-handed actions by courts and law enforcement.

    Opponents raised scenarios in which gay people in Arizona could be denied service at a restaurant or refused medical treatment if a business owner thought homosexuality was not in accordance with his religion. One lawmaker held up a sign that read “NO GAYS ALLOWED” in arguing what could happen if the law took effect, drawing a rebuke for violating House rules.

    Similar religious protection legislation has been introduced in Ohio, Mississippi, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee and Oklahoma, but Arizona’s plan is the only one that has passed.

    The bill is backed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a social conservative group that opposes abortion and gay marriage. “We see a growing hostility toward religion,” said Josh Kredit, legal counsel for the group.

    All but three Republicans in the House backed the bill Thursday evening. The Senate passed the bill a day earlier on a straight party-line vote of 17-13.

    Brewer doesn’t comment on pending legislation, but she vetoed a similar measure last year. That action, however, came during an unrelated political standoff, and it’s not clear whether she would support or reject this plan.

    Arizona’s voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage as a state constitutional amendment in 2008. It’s one of 29 states with such prohibitions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Federal judges have recently struck down bans in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, but those decisions are under appeal.

    Maybe we need to refuse services to bigoted arseholes on religious grounds.

  29. Yep well done. Good work. God would be pleased.

    After anti-gay law is signed, Uganda tabloid publishes list of the country’s ‘top’ homosexuals

    A Ugandan newspaper published a list Tuesday of what it called the country’s “200 top” homosexuals, outing some Ugandans who previously had not identified themselves as gay one day after the president enacted a harsh anti-gay law.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday’s signing of the bill by President Yoweri Museveni marked “a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights” and warned that Washington could cut aid to the government of the East African nation.

    “Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values,” Kerry said in a statement.

    The Red Pepper tabloid published the names — and some pictures — in a front-page story under the headline: “EXPOSED!”

    The list included prominent Ugandan gay activists such as Pepe Julian Onziema, who has repeatedly warned that Uganda’s new anti-gay law could spark violence against homosexuals. There was a popular Ugandan hip-hop star as well as a Catholic priest.

    Few Ugandans identify themselves as gay, and the tabloid’s publication of alleged homosexuals recalled a similar list published in 2011 by a now-defunct tabloid that called for the execution of gays. A Ugandan judge later condemned the outing of homosexuals in a country where gays face severe discrimination, saying it amounted to an invasion of privacy. A prominent Ugandan gay activist was killed after that list came out, and activists said at the time that they believed David Kato was targeted because of his work promoting gay rights in Uganda.

    The new law punishes gay sex with up to life in jail — a measure criticized as draconian in a country where homosexuality already had been criminalized. The bill originally proposed the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” defined as repeated gay sex between consenting adults and acts involving a minor, a disabled person or where one partner is infected with HIV. The law also calls for first-time offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in jail.

    In signing the bill, Museveni said the measure is needed because the West is promoting homosexuality in Africa, rejecting international criticism of the law as interference in Uganda’s internal affairs. Museveni accused “arrogant and careless Western groups” of trying to recruit Ugandan children into homosexuality, but he did not name these purported groups.

    Ugandan police spokesman Patrick Onyango said on Tuesday thatno homosexuals have been arrested since Museveni signed the bill but that at least two had been taken into custody since lawmakers passed the bill last December.

    Onziema, the gay activist, said he had counted up to six arrests and that more than a dozen Ugandan homosexuals had fled the country since December over safety concerns.

    Homosexuality has long been criminalized in Uganda under a colonial-era law that outlawed sex acts “against the order of nature.”

    Some Ugandan lawyers and activists have said they will challenge the law in court as unconstitutional and impossible to implement.

    Nicholas Opiyo, a Ugandan lawyer who runs a rights watchdog group called Chapter Four, predicted Tuesday that it make life worse for Ugandan gays.

    “The enactment of the anti-homosexuality bill has only emboldened the … population in their rejection of anybody perceived to be gay or even friendly to gays,” he said. “These things are going to continue. They are going to get more frequent.”

    The Ugandan law — which came just over a month after Nigeria passed a similar measure against gays — has been condemned around the world, although it is widely popular among Ugandans.

    U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned that the law would institutionalize discrimination and could encourage harassment and violence against gays.

Comments are closed.