16 September 2010

Good riddance to religious rubbish

Sometimes the system works. Australians who don’t care much for religious beliefs playing a role in policy-making have refused to reelect senator Steve Fielding of the Family First Party to the Senate. After serving only one term, Fielding failed to garner enough voter preferences in the recent federal election and thus lost his seat to the Democratic Labor Party’s John Madigan. Since senators serve fixed six-year terms, Fielding will remain in the Senate until June 30 next year.

A self-proclaimed creationist, Fielding is the leader of the Family First Party, a Christian right party that displays a gift for self-contradiction. On the issues of homosexuality and LGBT rights, Family First states that “all co-dependents should not be discriminated against – whether homosexual or not”, yet it opposes LGBT adoption, IVF treatment for lesbians and same-sex marriages and civil unions. Fielding himself has sagely opined that same-sex marriage is sort of like incest. Party members have claimed that Family First is not a Christian party, but that it is “socially conservative, with family values based on Christian ethics.”

So here we have a non-discriminating party with discriminatory views, a non-Christian party based on Christian values. Shocking lack of self-awareness, or Orwellian Newspeak? You decide.

Unsurprisingly, Family First also supports internet censorship, ostensibly for the protection of children. Nevermind that imposing an internet filter on all Australians will clearly not protect children from real threats like cyber bullying and online sexual predators. Call me irreverent, but I suspect that catching a glimpse of tits and cock on the glowing screen is going to have a less negative impact on kids than being subjected to constant online taunts, death threats and encouragements to commit suicide.

While the star of the progressive Greens is waxing, especially in the state of Victoria, reactionary politicians like Steve Fielding and his Family First ilk (who share his knack for making idiotic comments) are losing power and influence. Come the end of June 2011, there will be one less religiously motivated member of Parliament involved in passing Australian laws, which is something worth celebrating. God forbid that we turn out like the Americans.


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