In the marriage debate, the concept of freedom is used and abused. The LGBTI lobby and their advocates seek the “freedom to marry”, while simultaneously restricting freedom of speech for those who disagree. Conscientious objection – such as refusing to issue a same-sex marriage licence – is seen as attacking the freedoms of the same-sex couple, rather expressing the legitimate freedoms of the objector.
A Tasmanian author and historian has pointed out the intolerance that has emerged in the pursuit of tolerance and personal freedom in Australia. In an op-ed piece for The Mercury, Reg Watson wrote that laws aiming at tolerance and preventing discrimination are having the opposite effect: they are fostering discrimination and cementing intolerance.
Watson cited the example of Bishop Julian Porteous of Tasmania, whose pamphlet on the Catholic Church’s policy on marriage was deemed offensive. Despite the fact that the document was distributed to his congregation, Porteous was the target of complaints the wider community after Australian Marriage Equality called on its supporters to complain, and only avoided legal prosecution after the complainant discontinued the matter, likely cognisant that the action was showing the true hand of the “tolerance” brigade.
This is the dilemma; in endeavouring to protect sections of the community, it can be used to victimise others.
Watson wrote that our society is taking radical steps to demonise people whose views they deem “offensive” – ie, dissenting opinions. A proper response would be to “counter it with adult argument”, but debate is instead silenced. He argues that those at the upper echelons of society have not stood up to the tide of political correctness enveloping the country.
Just being offended because of the subject matter does not give anyone the right to prevent the opposing view being aired or the right to use legislation to ban it.
This word “offended” can be used to stifle debate and freedom of expression.
The problem is that there is a complete lack of leadership on this issue from the Prime Minister downwards.
Our governments and Parliamentarians (excluding the few) shy away from the subject.
Our universities which should be in the forefront of defending differing points of view do nothing to counter this intolerance.
The 20th century saw freedom of speech advance in various Western democracies. Are we now in retreat?
What makes a country a free country as opposed to an oppressive dictatorship is a free media and the guarantee of individual freedom together with the ability to be able to tolerate another’s point of view.
What has happened to Voltaire’s “I disagree with every word you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it”?
Freedom of speech is an important right for all Australian citizens, no matter where you stand on the marriage debate. Extreme tolerance is another name for the tyrannical political correctness. By preaching “acceptance” yet practicing extreme discrimination, tolerance directly attacks the basic rights and freedoms of all Australians.
At Marriage Alliance, we stand up in the face of people who are trying to eliminate your rights to free speech and conscientious objection. Stand with us and make your voice heard!