By Michael Byrne
I belong to that class of people who, in this age of luvvie-duvvie politics, is regarded as the cause of social inequity, the obstacle to equality and with nothing to offer in the debates of the new age -- yes, an aged white man at 67 years, but not angry.
There is very little I can do to channel the way the world of western thought and civilisation is going - a platform of extraordinary change laid down by the most blessed and materialistic generation of all time - we baby-boomers. 50 years, in which the Christian faith has been pushed aside as a pathetic aid for emotional cripples, and irrelevant to every day life; 50 years in which the light of Reason of the Enlightenment has been dimmed, or atomised, to be the property of the individual for his/her subjective application.
But, I have acted. I played for the Rabbitohs in 1972-73, the era of the greats and I had the thrill for a few games of placing my head between the rumps of Bob McCarthy and Gary Stevens; as a Lock Forward. It was the age when Surry Hills was a run down inner city workers' suburb - who would want to live there? It was an age when clubs were run by a few employed people and volunteers to carry the colours for the people. Now forty five years later I see the NRL waltz into the political campaign for same-sex marriage as a corporate entity without reference to the people of the game it manages. There was no use writing to them to enquire of the NRL Board decision process involved, of any Board debate to reference back to the "people's Clubs, of the Clubs seeking reference back to their members. Yet I had to respond on principle; so I did by resigning my membership of the South Sydney Football Club, with explanation provided. A response was necessary to challenge the corporate mentality behind the action of the NRL. Greenberg et al cannot assume that the management of the people's game involves speaking on behalf of the people in the social/political sphere. It can certainly support, as it does, the charitable arm of social causes as a corporate relations exercise. But it cannot ever assume to be charitable in itself, nor to be a political agent in itself. The NRL (and AFL et al..) act in trust for the people of the game (its origins, its history, its spirit, the source of its players). I found that my only "peoples" link to the corporate NRL was my Rabbitoh membership.
Of course all of this flows from a well sold misrepresentation of the political activism to redefine marriage; that it is one of justice; one of equality; a defined human right. As they would have said in Surry Hills 50 years ago - "come in spinner" ... you have been duped. Yes, it is all politics.
Human Rights are revealed and fought for through politics; they should not be manufactured by politics. Sexual Preference and Gender Identity are constructs of a world whose moral compass centres, not on true north, but on where ever the individual is at in their own understanding. Our western civilisation has formed through the inherited truths of natural law (we humans know" in our bones" that killing and stealing is wrong - it precedes encoded laws) as well as those of Judeo/Christian inspired revelation over the millennia.
United Nations proclamations, such as the Yogyakarta Principles (2007) are the work of secular humanist activists. Its title is: ‘The Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’. The UN activist tactic is to harness the desire of people, already detached from any sense of human flourishing sourced and energised through religious belief, to be seen in solidarity via fashion to a cause. People herded to engage in festive events such as the mantra of "love is love" and all that flows from it. This is a safe place for personal commitment.
Yet it is a real and active danger to established foundational human rights. Principle 21 states:
"The Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. These rights may not be invoked by the State to justify laws, policies or practices which deny equal protection of the law, or discriminate, on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity".
The last sentence revokes the "freedom of thought, conscience and religion" claimed by Principle 21 of which it is a part.
Almost 70 years ago in 1948 we had the UN pass the magnificent Universal Declaration of Human Rights; coming up is the 50 year mark from the explosion of the Student Riots starting in France to see politics rise eventually to be individual "purpose and meaning" rather than a means in solidarity for a just and peaceful world.
The move to re-define marriage is a classic expression of this new politics; it is not justice at work; rather the "fashion" and "festive" (Charles Taylor's A Secular Age) being engaged by well-meaning people exhibiting their good deeds in the staged public domain. The old Commies would regard them as "dupes". Indeed it is the soft communist "long march through the institutions" at work.
None of these comments negate the reality of homosexual relationships nor their right for legal acknowledgement or Church membership. Truly committed loving relationships are to be celebrated, as love is at work. Yet different; not the same as man and woman whose conjugal relations are open to new life as an expression of hope in the future. Such hope cannot be carried via technology. It is in us as we observe new life from a couple.
Our laws have changed without contest to acknowledge and provide for the "legal rights and privileges" required in life management matters of gay relationships as in man/woman de facto relationships.
The current activist politics of marriage has advanced through erosion of the good. It has no merit.