Yesterday I posted an article on the intolerance in Canberra (Australia’s National Capital) to the opponents of same sex marriage.
It was in response to the tirade of vile and vicious “comments” which flooded into the CITY NEWS which ran a story last week on a local Christian couple who had threatened to divorce if same sex marriage laws were passed in Australia.
Included in this Editor’s note, published in CITY NEWS today are more blatant examples of the hypocrisy surrounding this debate over “tolerance”
EDITOR’S NOTEOUR cover story last week captured the imagination of national and international media and was read by millions of people around the world.
Nick and Sarah Jensen’s threat to divorce if the government were to amend the Marriage Act struck a raw nerve, especially with proponents of equal marriage, and the Christian couple’s protest became a viral sensation on social media.This paper has supported marriage equality for a long time. We have published, over recent years, many serious columns looking at the issue from political to social viewpoints by accomplished writers such as Michael Moore, Robert Macklin and, more recently, Marcus Paul.
But we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t have regard for those who oppose it and, as a Christian lobbyist, Nick Jensen, in particular, has had an occasional column to take a contrary stand.
We don’t agree with him, but we always respect all sides of the argument. It’s called a fair go or freedom of speech.
But it is a lack of respect that has saddened me deeply this past week as I cast an eye down the verbal sewers of posts on Facebook and Twitter as the menacing, mindless trolls dish out personal abuse on the Jensens and their innocent two kids. It is a sickening glimpse of a humanity I don’t recognise.
“CityNews” was also taken to task for, well, essentially doing its job and reflecting our community and its differing views through this magazine and its news website.
There was some fair criticism from sensible people and I accept and respect it; we’re not perfect. But much of the predictable caterwauling came from keyboard warriors in other places and I chose to ignore that.
However, a couple of the damaging conspiracy theories do need a reply. One is that we are a mouthpiece of the Australian Christian Lobby, a laughable accusation that is totally rejected (the theorists clearly don’t know me); another is that we were paid to run the story on the cover is also totally false. A third is that I am a personal friend of Nick Jensen. I’m not, but so what? He’s pleasant company and I’ve shared a beer with him at our office Christmas party. And so it goes.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a paper to put out.
Who is the true Christian?
THE photo of Dr Sarah Jensen and her husband Nick Jensen on your front cover in the last issue gives a false impression of a wholesome loving pair emanating goodwill to all, but reading Nick’s article quickly dispels that impression.
They are peddling a long since discredited version of Christianity, which equates intolerance of other people’s differences with piety.
I fully support the Jensen’s right to hold their views and have them published in “CityNews”, but the prominence you give to the photo (which is repeated on page 3) is out of proportion to the importance that should be attached to such superstition, which really belongs in a deep, dank hole.
Nick’s brother Soren wrote a very sensible, measured response to some of the nasty commentary which the original article inspired. I don’t believe that abuse is the best way to counter outmoded religious interference in people’s lives, but it is understandable that people who want nothing more than to be treated equally with others, would be frustrated at the prominence given to the views of such fanatics.
It was interesting that in the same issue an article about former sex worker Fiona Patten, now a member of the Victorian Upper House as a representative of the Sex Party, portrayed a tolerant, far-sighted individual who promotes eminently sensible policies that if adopted, would benefit all of us. I wonder which of these three people is the true Christian?
John Franze, Gowrie
We just don’t care
I’VE seen your post on Facebook that a couple threatens divorce if same-sex marriage is legalised.
How do those of us in the rest of the world get the word to this couple that we just don’t care, and that they are totally Irrelevant?
Please suggest to them that if they feel so strongly about it that there is another group of religious nuts fighting to set up their own State in Iraq and Syria, and this couple would fit right in! If they move there quickly, they might even be able to participate in the pleasure of beheading same-sex couples!
Duane Grindstaff, Kent, Washington, US
We don’t want you
AS a married couple of 40 years, we’re glad that you intend to get divorced when marriage equality is introduced. We don’t want our marriage associated with you and your perverse religious views. May your god forgive you.
Bernard and Kathy Walsh, Dunlop
Destroying the sanctity of divorce
I AM offended that Nick and Sarah Jensen plan to destroy the sanctity of divorce with their pathetic protest against marriage equality (CN, June 11).
The Jensens say they intend to “…continue to live together, have more kids, and refer to each other as husband and wife.”
How then will they meet the legal requirement of being separated for a period of at least 12 months before being able to apply for divorce? Are they planning to lie on their application?
How about the Jensens just get on with their own life and leave the rest of us to do similarly?
Julia Rollings, via email
Get me to the church…
I READ your article about Nick Jensen and his wife saying they will divorce if gay marriage becomes legal.
I have never married and I am not gay, but if Nick Jensen and his wife divorce because of gay marriage I will get married in Canberra, at the very church that the Jensens attend. Then I will have my wedding photos outside his house and invite the media.
That way one straight couple divorces, and another straight one marries.
Ken Thorpe, Mildura, Victoria
I HAVE to write to say that the actions that Nick and Sarah Jensen are contemplating if there is a change in the marriage law is ridiculous. Marriage is not as Nick says “a sacred institution ordained by God”. In the early days the church was against marriage believing that it would create an emphasis on looking after family at the expense of concentration and loyalty to the church. This changed over time as it suited society.
If Nick and Sarah believe in “God” and believe he made people in his image, then he made those people that are same-sex attracted. They are equally as good in his eyes, contribute equally as well as heterosexuals, they are as loving and caring to a family, and have a right to be married if they wish.
What a strange message they are giving their children.
Patti Wilkins, Ainslie
Divorce is divorce, of course, of course
Re “Gay law may force us to divorce” (with apologies to Wilbur and Mr. Ed.)
Divorce is divorce, of course, of course
And no force could make us divorce of course
That is of course unless the force
Is Australian gay marriage
Go right to the source and say of course
If gays can be married then we’ll divorce
Don’t knock us off our steady course
Australian gay marriage
Louis Desjardins. via email