Pagan Streams, Van Morrison.
And we walked the pagan streams and searched for white horses on surrounding hills. We lived where dusk had meaning, and repaired to quiet sleep, where noise abated. In touch with the silence, on Honey Street, on Honey Street. What happened to a sense of wonder, On yonder hillside, getting dim. Why didn’t they leave us, alone, why couldn’t we just be ourselves. We could dream, and keep bees, and live on Honey Street.

This passage is from one of my favourite songs, and reminds me of an oasis in my childhood.  At a time in my life where of trauma, violence, and abuse could have overwhelmed me, I had a friend. Her name was Nicky and our mothers were sisters.  We would have spent most of our holidays together.  When we were together, we lived and slept and bathed together and had a thousand conversations, dreamed a thousand dreams. In that moment, in that reality of childhood we just were.  I remember long hot nights, unable to sleep, chatting side by side, laughing till we peed, fighting and bickering with boredom. We didn’t really need words to speak, and in the end that was good, because she didn’t have any. We dreamt of a future together that never came.  We dreamt of husbands, and families and orange pies and pasta salads, living side by side with no violence and no anger, and when I hear this song I think of Honey St as that place in our childhood dreams.  I married and had children, but Nicky never did, and that wasn’t just because she was a lesbian. She developed a chronic illness which came with many years of mental illness followed by a slow physical decline.

There was quite a hoo ha in the family when Nicky got her first female partner, the whispers reached me before she had the courage to tell me.  I don’t know if that is because a few years earlier I had become a paid up evangelical Christian. I guess it was similar to the first time I saw her after my conversion.  She had heard the whispers, I had joined a church, I had given up booze and dope and sex. The next time I saw her I dropped in to her place on the coast and she said “lets go out for a drink”. I drove to give myself an excuse to have just one, and stick to my newfound almost temperance. As we sat in the pub we chatted about the family and I made a characteristically sarcastic remark about a family member that I can’t remember now, except by her reaction.  She laughed disproportionate to the joke, with equal portions of joy and relief.  “Still the same Chris”, she said. And I knew we were ok. I hadn’t turned into a monster, we were, as we were before, more like sisters than cousins, and above that, solid friends and two people who loved each other deeply.

The time I saw her after she met Robyn she introduced her as her ‘friend’.  After some social chit chat Nicky and I got in the car together to run an errand.  As we drove over the Maroochy river I said to her, “Nick I know Robin is your partner. It’s OK I love you always, and will always support you.” Her relief was palpable. There was some tentative moments but no real fracture in our relationship.

When I think about the way our lives diverged I wonder if maybe the root of the offence of some of the LGBTIQ, is that children dream these dreams, and then puberty hits and as they come to terms with their same sex attraction, they face a life without marriage, without children, their dreams begin to diverge from possibilities.  Their request for rights to marriage, and reproductive technology and equal respect, don’t seem unreasonable. They want to build families in the way they want, and have them celebrated and respected, and to not have anyone say there is a better type of family, or they are lacking in any way.  To make things equal where culture, religion, society and biology have made them unequal. And to shield future children from this heartbreak to come, by telling them that they may not want to marry a man, but they will be ok, that children can come from two mummies. And somewhere here we seem to run smack bang into the social conflict we are negotiating now.

I believe that what is currently causing deep divides in our society is not intolerance of gay families and dreams but intolerance of diversity in values of human sexuality.  Christians and Gays are being pitted up against each other, unnecessarily in my view. Our society has come to accept same sex attracted people in our families, in our streets and workplaces. The problem is the push for LGBTIQ academia to promote cultural uniformity on sexuality, to unify everyone under a single correct understanding of human sexuality.  This understanding is ironically called ‘sexual diversity’, but does not accept other understanding of human sexuality and gender other than its own. I think we are all a bit sick of it. Let me address Safe Schools.

Programs like Safe Schools are ground in ‘Critical Theory’ and a derivative that is called queer theory[1]. Critical Theory is not Marxism but comes from that school, it is atheistic in nature and “maintains that ideology is the principal obstacle to human liberation”[2]. Going over the Safe Schools material you can see that it promotes the view of sexual practice as being legitimate in all it’s diversity, sexual practices of all types are ‘normalised’ and OK, as long as you are safe and comfortable.  But where it departs from critical theory, is where it becomes steeped in queer theory ideology, that promotes fluid sexuality.[3] This is social engineering driven agenda has come into conflict with Christians and the general community, not because of the morality, but it is ideologically opposed with the Judeo-Christian world view which many parents are still keen to present as an option to children. According to the last census 52% of the population still identify as Christian and only 30% don’t identify with a religion of any kind. People love their gay friends and family, many of whom identify with a religion, but don’t seem to be prepared to abandon their right to teach some kind of sexual morality to their own children.

The conflict between Christians and LGBTIQ academics, is largely tabled as conflict in ideologies of sexuality and family structure.  Although strangely Christians haven’t had a problem with single parent families, the sexually promiscuous, divorcees or those ‘living in sin’, who appear universally unaffected by conservative Christian values. My gay friends and family and I, also seem unaffected by each others sexual values, until recently.

According to Safe Schools architects, La Trobe University, the ‘Christian right’, (any Christian who opposes safe schools), are small minded, sexually repressive people who recognise no family types that vary from their narrow definition, they scorn single parent families, blended families and are most offended by same sex family structures. [4] Don’t we sound horrible? What’s worse we are led to believe that Christians have an overly moralistic view of sexuality, and are inherently prone to paedophilia in their own community.[5] Christian celibacy is widely regarded as a form of sexual deviancy and a risk factor in paedophilia[6]. Many wonder how evangelicals are still able to teach and promote their version of repressive sexuality in their own homes, let alone in their schools.  According to pretty much every gay activist, politician and academic, the expression of traditional values are a risk and offense to what they are calling ‘rainbow families’, but the continued vilification of the Christian family and sexuality goes unchecked.

Having lived in the evangelical Christian world for a long time I can tell you a few things about the ability of our community to manage our own sexuality and to raise children in a fit and proper way, but I won’t. Christian schools appear to be churning out remarkable humans and citizens of our society without help from La Trobe. These schools are consistently performing at the top academically, and they are frequently the preferred choice for many parents because of ‘values education’. There are currently no risk factors between church attendance and sexual deviancy or paedophilia, and the celibate people who I know, are remarkable humans and among my dearest friends, over represented in service, and intelligent hard-working people of faith. Why should I offend them by even addressing this twisted and distorted view of my people?

So what do the ‘Christian right’ like me believe about sex, and sex ed in schools? Christians schools generally teach sex ed free from issues of ‘sexually identity’, and leave the ideology around sexuality for the family.  Evangelical Christians like me don’t base their identity in sexuality at all.  For the Christian, sex is a physical act and a set of natural urges that God gave us. If we chose Christ in our life, we submit these to Him. Some of us marry, some stay celibate. But that is a free choice.  Christianity is a free choice religion, and as such is the basis of the principles of liberalism and individualism as we understand them today. We believe children are entrusted to the family that bore them or who is raising them.  A person must be given the opportunity to define their own sexuality as an adult.  Sexuality is a tenuous and dangerous thing to encourage young people to hang their identity on, and a divisive thing to define social groups by. Especially when it defines the child as separate from the family that bore them.

To add insult to insult to insult, the capability of Christian parents are being questioned in relation to bringing up children who will later identify as gay or become transgender. Kids are growing up in Christian families and identifying as gay and lesbian all by themselves. Their parents love them more than any other person in the world and Christians are consistently over represented in the charity sector, and in occupations that require indiscriminate compassion.  In regard to kids with Gender Dysphoria, Christian parents are perfectly capable of making medical decisions for their children in consultation with first class medical care available in this country. Their Christian brothers and sisters and extended family will love them their entire life.  In fact in my church, there are quite a large number of doctors, nurses and medical professionals, and most people I meet there are university educated. So I would think that these people are more than capable of making decisions in regard to their own children than most.  And one wonders why the good folk of La Trobe University don’t have more important social problems to study than evangelical Christians who I would assume are under-represented in most crime statistics.

The LGBTIQ sociologist have built a theoretical universe where biology is inconsequential to the family, and that sex is inconsequential to gender and that the expression of traditional ‘family values’ are discriminatory and hateful.  To execute this ideology in our society and societies overseas, they need a great deal of public sympathy on the back of same sex marriage campaigns, while claiming that SSM has nothing to do with the greater agenda to instil alternative sexual values into school children.  Timothy Jones from La Trobe, in defence of Safe Schools states that “The Christian Right are thus guilty of the very sin of which they accuse Safe Schools. They are promoting a “family values” sexual agenda which is trying to turn queer kids straight. But with 72% of Australians supporting same-sex marriage, Australia’s actual family values have changed.“[7]  So the authority for Safe Schools is directly linked to support for SSM. Timothy Jones also talks about the endemic nature of paedophilia in the Church. I am not sure Australian values have changed quite as much as Mr Jones would like.  Australians generally want to render respect on same sex relationships, but they are a long way from wanting to throw the traditional family model out altogether.

If LGBTIQ academia want to build their utopia without protest, they will need to wipe out the fundamental Christian religion, or re-define it as hateful. However, reports of the death of Christianity are grossly exaggerated. The reality is that an interesting and free society is built from a diverse range of cultures. Diversity exists in more than just sexual diversity but in diversity of sexual ideologies, in religions and cultures in races and in political opinions.   Our families reflect that glory of this true diversity, don’t believe the lies, Christians love gays, they are our community as well, even when we can’t agree on everything.  And in my case, I loved by cousin to her dying breath and beyond.  As I held Nicky last year in those last moments, there were no identities, we just were. She was my flesh and blood and she was safe with me, she was always safe with me, and I with her, and that day I handed her to God with great love and pride.

[1] http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/i-am-transgender-and-i-oppose-safe-schools/news-story/7e194d1cc3037b6966b9fdab59871bf9

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_theory

[3] Ros Ward the former head of Safe Scools claims that “40-50 per cent of young people .. are not ­exclusively attracted to the opposit­e sex….[t]hat’s how fluid sexuality is headed.”  http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/ward-departs-la-trobe-following-programs-scrapping/news-story/fbf7624b707d861b8a1bb3e9b16e903b

[4] Timothy Jones states that “Single parent families, blended families and, above all, same-sex parented families threaten conservative family values. The heart of this threat is their challenge to a hierarchical family model, structured by heterosexual gender difference, under male authority”. http://www.latrobe.edu.au/news/articles/2016/opinion/australia-needs-inclusive-sex-education

[5] https://theconversation.com/speaking-with-tim-jones-on-child-sexual-abuse-within-religious-institutions-37169

[6] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/11289629/Catholic-Church-in-Australia-links-celibacy-to-child-abuse.html

[7] http://www.latrobe.edu.au/news/articles/2016/opinion/australia-needs-inclusive-sex-education

1 Comment

  1. ChrissyAnne. on September 18, 2017 at 2:56 am

    I love this story about a beautiful friendship that could not be pulled apart simply by a divergence in the directions that these two lives took. This is the epitome of what relationship is all about. Yes, I agree that it is sad that this current debate is now pitting people against each other who have happily co-existed before this ever became a political hot potato. Us Christians may have relationship conflicts from time to time, and we certainly fail sometimes to keep our eyes on what is important, but we actually are very committed to loving the people in our lives, and even our enemies, without discrimination or prejudice. This is because that is how Jesus loved us. The LGBT academia out there certainly have a skewed view of us, but maybe it is convenient for their argument to vilify us. Thank you GF for pointing out the ideology behind Safe Schools and where this agenda is coming from. I think it is great too that you are clearly identifying what we evangelical Christians are about.

    I like this statement that Australians generally want to render respect on same sex relationships, but they are a long way from wanting to throw out the traditional family model all together. I’ll just add.. the whole last paragraph is brilliant . It is full of quotable quotes . Great article!