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John Passant

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June 2012



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
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Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

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Homophobia, the Salvation Army and the school chaplain program

Here’s a link to a story and video in Truth Wins Out about Major Craibe from the Salvation Army defending the idea that gays deserve death.

The discussion was in part about a quote from Romans, a book of the Bible, which is cited in the Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine.  Here’s part of the transcript from the interview.

LGBT journalist Serena Ryan: “I do want to talk to you about the Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine. Are you still using the Salvation’s story as a way of coaching your soldiers and the people entering your membership?”

Major Andrew Craibe: “It may be one that some people use.”

LGBT journalist Serena Ryan: “Because it is really interesting, I had a little read last night, all one hundred and seventy pages of it and I came across a couple of chapters that kind of worried me. One of which is the problem of evil and it talks about human wickedness and it posing an enormous problem for Christians. And it refers to the Romans, which is book one, eighteen to thirty-two. And it talks about the evil of women engaging in natural sexual relations with other women and the same way that men are banned in natural relations with women [men, surely?] and how they were inflamed with lust for one another. Look, it kind of concerns me that although this says that they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death. That’s in Romans eighteen to thirty-two, and that’s in your book of doctrines. It is part of the handbook that you give out to your soldiers. Now, if I am a fledgling homosexual and I feel that I might need some religious dogma or guidance and I go to the Salvation (Army) and I haven’t declared my sexuality to myself so I am not going to declare it to you. If I go and I read that, and I connect with my sexuality Andrew, then that says according to the Salvation Army that I deserve death. How do you respond to that, as part of your doctrine?

Major Andrew Craibe: Well, that is a part of our belief system…

LGBT journalist Serena Ryan (interrupting): So we should die?

Major Andrew Craibe: You know we have an alignment to the scriptures but that’s our belief.

LGBT journalist Serena Ryan: Wow, so we should die. So this is on page twenty-eight of the Salvation story which you can download online. It’s wonderfully available, I love that. If we go a bit further into sin which is on page sixty-one and sixty-three again it’s going into Romans again. And look I accept that you’re out there wanting to help people. I don’t consider myself to be a part of the oppressed or the marginalised. I don’t accept that this sexuality that is a part of my DNA is a choice. I also don’t accept the support of any religion in a financial sense, and this is what the gay community is up in arms about: that you’re proposing in your religious doctrine and the way that you train — this is part of your training of your soldiers — that because we’re gay, that — we must die. If you go to Romans, book 1, 18-32, it’s all there, mate. I mean, how can you stand by that? How is that Christian?

Major Andrew Craibe: Well, well, because that is part of our Christian doctrine –

LGBT journalist Serena Ryan (interrupting): But how is that Christian? Shouldn’t it be about love?

Major Andrew Craibe: — that’s our understanding of that. Well, the love that we would show is about that: consideration for all human beings to come to know salvation –

LGBT journalist Serena Ryan: Or die. . .

Major Andrew Craibe: Well, yes.

But don’t worry, because it all a ‘misunderstanding’.  Here’s what the hierarchy say after this disaster.

This is a misunderstanding of the text referred to. The Scripture in question, viewed in its broader context, is not referring to physical death, nor is it specifically targeted at homosexual behaviour. The author is arguing that no human being is without sin, all sin leads to spiritual death (separation from God), and all people therefore need a Saviour.

The Salvationist handbook cites Romans 1:18-32.Let me quote the text ‘in context’ for you to make judgement on it.

For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. . .

They know God’s decree, that those who practise such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practise them.

Context does make it clearer doesn’t it? Those who practise ‘such things’ – ‘unnatural’ intercourse – deserve to die. That looks a pretty clear statement to me. All Major Craibe did was confirm Salvation Army teaching and homophobia, teaching and homophobia common to many Christian groups.

I know the devil can quote scripture. Here’s a wonderful section from West Wing which also raises questions about the relevance of socially determined rules from 2 millennia ago. 

From The West Wing, Season 2 (2000)

President Josiah Bartlet:I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.”
Right Wing Radio Personality:I don’t say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.”
President Josiah Bartlet:Yes, it does. Leviticus.”
Right Wing Radio Personality:18:22.”
President Josiah Bartlet:Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here.

I’m interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She’s a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?

While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it okay to call the police?

Here’s one that’s really important ’cause we’ve got a lot of sports fans in this town: Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?

Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side?

Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?

Think about those questions, would you?

One last thing: While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits.”

It doesn’t start and end with the Salvation Army. Well known coffee chain Gloria Jean’s gave $30000 last year to the Australian Christian Lobby, a group of Christians campaigning against equal love.

The two co-founders of Gloria Jean’s in Australia are members of the conservative Hillsong Church. The company claimed in 2009 to have severed links with Hillsong, but up until the recent ACL funding controversy the Hillsong website had Gloria Jean’s as a sponsor of its annual conference. It maybe back there now.

It looks as if Gloria Jean’s also gives money to the Salvation Army. Ah but that’s because of the good work they do, helping the homeless and addicted and the like.

Let’s nail this one.

The Salvation Army is a literalist group who are organised along hierarchical military lines to beat the truth into people.  They use ‘good works’ for the most vulnerable to do this.

It is no accident a major in their Church supports an interpretation of the Bible that  homosexuals deserve to die.

The Salvation Army was born in the mid 1800s out of the tension between a London of poverty and the idea of salvation through God. It was about saving bodies to save souls.

But the saving of souls, of sinners, recognises and is trapped in the contradictions of Christianity between the here and now and the hereafter and the essentially reformist role its good works faction attempts to play.

For Marx of course salvation is an earthly project, one born not of the underclass but of the working class and its capacity as the majority class and producer of wealth to set up democratic institutions to decide on production to satisfy human need.

In such a world the need for social do-gooders separate from and with anti-human aspects to their ideology will no longer exist.

We will begin to become human by overthrowing as a class the anti-human capitalist system and in doing that we lay the economic foundations for the overthrow of the system that produces the poor and the reserve army of the unemployed.

Now, the Salvation Army was an integral part of School Chaplaincy program. Liberal PM John Howard started the program, but Labor has continued it.

It is a  voluntary program to ‘assist school communities to support the spiritual, social and emotional well being of their students.’  Labor expanded it in 2012 to include a welfare worker as an option for schools. 89% of schools already on the scheme opted to keep the chaplain. Of the 1000 successful new applicants under the expanded scheme (covering remote and regional Australia) over 60% opted for a chaplain, and 30 percent for a social worker.

I suspect, although I don’t know, that the dominance of chaplains is explained at least in part because they are cheaper than welfare and social workers and untrained.

The Salvation Army participates in these chaplaincy and welfare programs, providing ‘support and guidance about ethics, values, relationships and spirituality; the provision of pastoral care…’ Other conservative and homophobic churches do  too.

One wonders if the Salvation Army chaplain advice includes offering counselling to gay and lesbian students.

If Major Craibe is to be taken as gospel, then they deserve to die. Sounds like just the sort of advice our young gay and lesbian school kids should receive, doesn’t it?

A major cause of death among young gays and lesbians is suicide. Societal rejection leads to individual rejection of the worst kind. here’s what samesame wrote in 2010:

According to Suicide Prevention Australia, 38% of gay people have experienced discrimination. 50% have experienced verbal abuse. And shockingly, 74% of this abuse happened at school. Around 30% of Australian gay teenagers will attempt suicide. In Australia, on average over 200 young people will suicide this year. Around 30% of Australia’s gay teenagers will attempt suicide. Gay teens are 14 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.

To have homophobic churches providing support in our schools is a crime against humanity.

The High Court undermined the program recently on a technicality which the current Labor Government will fix up.

One way to help gays and lesbians achieve equality would be to abolish the school chaplaincy program and introduce a real program in schools for addressing homophobia, whether religious or not.

That should include trained social and welfare workers. Labor won’t do that.

Another way to send a message that all Australian citizens are equal would be to legislate for gay marriage. Again, Labor won’t do that.

It is to busy pandering to the homophobic elements of society.

There is a reason for this. Labor thinks it will keep some of its heartland vote with a sop to homophobes and to the religious. The two are not necessarily connected since some churches do support gays and lesbians and recognise them.

Second, homophobia is a tool of division for the ruling class, like racism, to have workers fighting among themselves rather than uniting against the common enemy, the bosses.  

Labor is a party of the bosses so it reflects that consensus unless it is pushed by mass campaigns from below. The Equal Love campaign across Australia has begun to do that but in the face of fierce resistance from Gillard and other Labor troglodytes to equal love, the pressure needs to continue and increase.

The next demonstrations around Australia for equal love will be on 11 August.



Comment from Lorikeet
Time June 25, 2012 at 8:30 am

I agree with John that the current debate over same sex relationships is mostly about distracting us from more pressing issues.

Only around 22-25% of the population support the legalisation of homosexual unions. It can be successfully argued against on excellent social, medical and economic grounds.

We got a Carbon Tax even though 70% of the people were opposed to this assault on their wallets, living standards and the Australian economy.

I don’t believe minority groups should be allowed to drive the nation in any direction of their choosing.

I support the School Chaplaincy Program as it provides emotional support for children. To my knowledge, schools are also allowed to use people from the secular world in these roles if they so choose.

Most high schools have both Guidance Officers and Chaplains to support students, so the students and their parents have a choice as to who they wish to approach for counselling.

I also support Religious Education in schools. If the government is allowed to teach its financially punitive Carbon Religion across subject areas such as Science, Agriculture, Geography etc, it would be completely undemocratic to disallow other religious teachings.

However I am opposed to the use of religious workbooks which intrude much too far into children’s lives and personal problems without their parents’ consent. These were certainly in use in Queensland 10 years ago. I’m uncertain about the current status quo.

I am also concerned that schools may ask children to produce drawings which depict their current emotional status. Instead if a teacher thinks there is a problem with a particular student, the Principal should immediately contact the parents to discuss the issue to protect the individual student’s privacy from intrusion by other people.

Comment from John
Time June 25, 2012 at 8:46 am

Not what I said. I said it is about dividing the working class. Poll after poll shows majority support (55% or more) for same sex marriage. The School Chaplaincy program is not about support. It is about a cheap pretence at that and a recruiting drive by some religious organisations. It was Howard, and now Gillard, pandering to the religious right. It has nothing to do with helping kids if homophobic church representatives can ‘counsel’ gay and lesbian ids.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time June 25, 2012 at 8:54 am

The Chaplain employed by the local primary school where I live is also a qualified psychologist. Most chaplains I have ever known have been trained counsellors.

Men being banned in the bible from having “unnatural relationships with women” is a ban on anal sex.

I think we are all well aware that many homosexual and bisexual men and their various contacts have died from HIV/AIDS.
The last time I checked publicly available records, Australia had 30,000+ people suffering from this terrible sexually transmissible disease. Many have contracted it from blood transfusions.

The general message from the bible is that a man and woman should partner monogamously for life when they are young, and also refrain from engaging in practices likely to make them seriously ill, spread disease, give them anal tears or prevent the building of a strong Age Pyramid.

I think the use of words such as “homophobic” are an abuse of those who don’t agree with Same Sex Unions. In a democracy, we should all be entitled to express opinions without being called names.

My understanding is that Jesus was a man who was anti-banker/anti-capitalist. He supported people engaging in small business enterprises and redistribution of wealth to the poor.

However his teaching didn’t include any Pagan Carbon Religion or any dangerous or unnatural sexual practices which disrupt the social fabric of our society.

He supported the equal right of every person to find an opposite sex partner.

In my recent experience with teenagers and young people, I have found they are not particularly interested in anyone else’s sexuality. They have better things to do with their time than to be sticking their noses into each other’s bedrooms.

I think there is far more abuse directed at people with Christian values than anyone else.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time June 25, 2012 at 11:01 am

I think there should be a choice for parents as to who is able to educate school students in relation to sex.

Currently, the only sex educators in public schools are secular. When I asked them what kind of morality they were teaching, they said: “None, that has to come from the parents.”

At the parent night, they told us almost nothing about what they would be teaching, which effectively took away our opportunities in that regard.

I would prefer church educators to also come into the schools to offer a democratic alternative to parents and students.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time June 26, 2012 at 9:02 am

On the issue of polls, I have already asked my federal MP to introduce some kind of legislation to prohibit people voting more than once in a poll, which has the potential to skew the result.

It would also be nice if there was a method of stopping those under age 18 from participating.

I have only ever found that school counsellors (whether secular or religious) are very supportive of the school community.

With church attendances at an all-time low, the contention that religious educators and chaplains in schools are there to recruit converts would appear to lack evidence.

Some people send their children to private church schools for religious and disciplinary reasons, but the majority of parents simply wish to empower their kids over others in the Jobs Market.

Some church schools don’t teach religion at all, preferring to teach good principles for living, because a lot of the parents are atheists.

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