First up tonight we are going to tackle the whole debate about redefining marriage to include same sex couples. And one of the things that has disappointed me in this whole debate has been the suggestion that Christians are haters. I can’t remember a contemporary comment from an Australian Christian leader that I think has been hateful. And yet time and time again I have heard Faith leaders and others who have opposed Same Sex Marriage accused of that.
Last Sunday night when we interviewed Tasmanian Archbishop Julian Porteous - who was taken to Discrimination Tribunal about a brochure that the Roman Catholic Church produced on this issue - he was gentle, sensitive and pastoral. And really was just arguing Orthodox Christian teaching. The kind of things you would expect an Archbishop to say. And my friends who heard him interviewed at a Conference at St Andrews Cathedral in Sydney a few weeks ago said much the same thing.
I don’t know if you heard the Canberra Anglican Minister Ian Powell approach Opposition
Leader Bill Shorten earlier in the week? Now, Ian Powell is a friend of mine. And before he moved to Canberra he was a member of our church, Village Church in Annandale.
He is much loved. He was obviously nervous in that exchange. And he told me later that he hadn’t gone to church that morning planning to speak to the Opposition Leader. But just privately wanted to ask Mr Shorten to stop calling people like him ‘haters.’ Because he thinks that is unfair.
And look I believe Ian Powell is right. And I believe Bill Shorten has been unfair. Of course there will be extreme mavericks on either side of any debate. But the leaders of the nation, and the leaders of various sides will do well to speak calmly, moderately, politely, kindly, thinking the best of the other, and attributing the best motives to the other.
We have on the line the National Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Lyle Shelton.
Lyle I want to get to the Ian Powell/Bill Shorten exchange in a moment. But first, if I could start off with the claim that if you change marriage, you do change the society. In what way does the society change by a redefinition of marriage?