Bishops ‘hinder tolerence of gays’
November 26, 2007
From the Australian:
HIGH Court judge Michael Kirby says only some of his colleagues have accepted his homosexuality, and that he is unhappy with the way relations between them have developed.
And Justice Kirby accused the Anglican and Catholic archbishops of Sydney, Peter Jensen and George Pell, of making it hard for people to adopt a more tolerant attitude to gays.
I’m not terribly familiar with Peter Jensen, but George Pell has never been shy about his conservative religious beliefs, or his opinion that such beliefs should be actively pushed by Catholic politicians onto a non-catholic public.
Justice Kirby says he understands the discomfort of some people around gays.
“Often, it has to be said, it comes from religion,” he said. “It comes from people’s religious upbringing, reinforced even to this day by religious instruction, and it has to be said, religious instruction from the two archbishops of Sydney.
You know, I have never been presented with a moral argument against homosexuality that was not rooted in religious scripture, and could not be reduced to “homosexuality is wrong because god-said-so”. Well, the christian god allegedly made quite a few moral judgments in the Bible, many of which are today ignored by modern moderate christians as being ridiculously anachronistic, including (but not limited to): slavery, polygamy, genocide, assorted acts of rampant misogyny and putting people to death for just about any stupid reason you can think of.
Sometimes I think that people just hang on to the to same sex thing because of fear and intolerance of people who are different.
“My partner, Johan, is not a believer and he constantly says to me, ‘I don’t understand how one of the most intelligent people in this country can take any of this stuff seriously’.”
The judge, who must retire in March 2009 when he turns 70, says he is a “Christian Anglican” and that he has “hung in there” despite his partner’s advice to “get out of it”.
Kirby outed himself in 1999. He has often spoken publicly in support of gay rights including same sex marriage and the rights of same sex parents with children. He (unsuccessfully) lobbied the then Attourney General Phillip Ruddock for a change to the law that denied his partner of nearly 40 years, Johan van Vloten, entitlement to a spousal pension if he outlived him. His judgments have been described as liberal, compassionate intelligent and thoughtful.
I find it difficult to consider a church or god who would condemn such a laudable figure on the basis of the sex of the person he chooses to love, as worthy of the charitable compassion with which thy label themselves.