On Monday night several related events were happening.
In Hollywood the Academy awards were ramping up, in Rome Cardinal Pell was preparing to appear before the Royal Commission into the Institutional Response To Sexual Abuse, and in Melbourne Q And A was being filmed.
You may be wondering how these things in different parts of the world were linked. They are linked by what is being termed the “sexualisation of children”.
In Melbourne the head of the Australian Christian Lobby Lyle Shelton telling the audience of Q&A how he knows what’s best for Australia’s children when it comes to dealing with tricky issues based around sexual orientation. Lyle seems to consider himself an expert in the needs of LGBTI kids in particular, and Lyle reckons we should get rid of the “Safe Schools” programme which was designed and is used to help kids that are struggling with their identity, many of them dealing with suicidal tendencies and depression, often brought on by bullying.
Lyle makes a good point though. He claims that a website that is referred to in the programme, but not part of the programme, may lead to the early sexualisation of children, so therefore it’s best they not be made aware of this site, and others it links to. This may be worth a thought?
Well, I gave it all the thought it deserves and I don’t agree with Lyle and I think what he describes is mild compared to what I saw as a kid, and we had scripture classes when I was at school.
One piece of advice I will give Lyle is that if you don’t want kids to know about a website, call it a hunch but it’s probably best if you don’t refer to it in your literature, on your website, in your interviews, and on national TV. I also don’t know if Lyle remembers much about being a kid, but I tend to think if you tell kids not to look at something, listen to something, or not to do something, then the odds are better than average that is exactly what the child will go to enormous lengths to do.
I find it ironic in the cruelest of fashions that we have a Christian lobby group telling us about the perils of sexualising kids too early.
In Hollywood on Monday, the Academy were preparing to give the Oscar for Best Picture to Spotlight, a movie about the real life exposure of scores of paedophile priests in Boston.
In Rome we had Cardinal Pell, Australia’s highest ranking Catholic, and now one of the Vatican’s highest ranking Cardinals preparing to give testimony about how he was the only one not to know about all these paedophiles running rampant in schools and churches all over the country.
One of these paedophiles was Pell’s friend and housemate Gerald Risdale. Someone whom Pell assisted to move all over the countryside from town to town, or crime scene to crime scene, although apparently blissfully unaware of why. A friend whom Pell was aware there were rumours about, but when it came to his friend brutally raping young children everywhere he went, Pell said that this didn’t interest him. Pell however did develop an interest later when his child raping buddy had to appear before court for his crimes.
Now I don’t pretend to be a child psychologist or councillor, but I think that anally raping children, sexually fondling children, forcing children to perform oral sex acts and other such atrocities may come under the banner of “early sexualisation of a child”. I certainly think these acts will do more harm to a child than the remote possibility of them visiting a website.
The gall and hide of any Christian lobby group to talk about sexualisation of children when as a country we are still discovering the sheer scale and the immense damage done from the decades of sexual abuse of minors at the hands of the worlds largest Christian organisation.
When it comes to educating children the Royal Commission is showing us all how the Australian Christian Lobby’s membership go about it and it’s fair to say we are less than impressed. Homicidal may be a more apt description of how many feel.
However, despite Lyle’s warped view of the world and his judgement of everyone in it, I am of the opinion that it is wrong to call him a homophobe, and I’ll tell you why.
A phobia is something you are scared of. Being a homophobe means that you are scared of homosexuality and homosexuals.
I don’t think Lyle is crippled with fear at the sight of a homosexual or the thought of one. I don’t think he runs at the sight of a drag queen like I do if I see a spider.
Instead I think the man who preaches “Love Thy Neighbour” and “Judge not, lest ye be judged yourself” is overflowing with judgement and hatred of a lifestyle and life choices that don’t blend seamlessly with his interpretation of a book written thousands of years ago by a bunch of old blokes.
This in my humble opinion means he is not a homophobe. However it does make him a bigot and a judgemental prick in my books.
Now I’m not going to claim that I don’t have a judgemental bone in my body, I do. However when I judge the religious bodies that make up the Australian Christian Lobby, I won’t be basing my judgement on what websites they may visit, I base it on their hypocrisy, their greed, and the heinous crimes they have been covering up and committing for decades.
These are the things that make you deservedly despised.