One of the most difficult areas to address in Australia’s revitalised debate on same-sex marriage (coming ahead of a plebiscite to be held later this year) is the thorny issue of what the facts actually are. As just one example Murray Campbell raises some very pertinent questions about the Safe Schools programme which seeks to indoctrinate our children in the new sexual ethic protect children from bullying. Just so we’re all abundantly clear I wholeheartedly agree with Murray when he writes,

I have read some of the stories being recounted in the media of teenagers being bullied and abused because of their sexuality. I would not wish such experiences upon anyone. It is because bullying is so detrimental to children (and adults too) that it is vital for schools to have in place effective and fair programs.

Nevertheless, Murray observes that the stats being banded about aren’t really accurate:

8. Why does the Safe Schools Coalition website cite statistics that lack scientific credibility?

Safe Schools

These statistics are offered as assumed facts, however according to recent studies, the numbers are significantly lower than those suggested on the website.

I understand that gauging accurate numbers for sexuality and gender is near impossible given difficulties over definitions and categories, as well as social and cultural stigmas, and other reasons that may prevent some people from aligning with LGBTIQ. On top of that, other people find that with age and experience their self-understanding and lifestyle may change. Keeping all those variables in mind, the statistics presented by Safe Schools differs significantly to the major studies conducted around the world.

Safe Schools want us to believe that 10% of the population have same-sex attraction, whereas most scientific studies put the figure under 4% (and that includes bisexual people), and other research suggests even lower.

While the Safe Schools material states with confidence that 1.7% of people are intersex. 

The American Psychological Association suggests the figure to be about 1 in 1,500, not the 1 in 60 which Safe Schools would have us accept as scientific fact.

And this research directly contests the 1.7% figure:

“Anne Fausto‐Sterling’s suggestion that the prevalence of intersex might be as high as 1.7% has attracted wide attention in both the scholarly press and the popular media…If the term intersex is to retain any meaning, the term should be restricted to those conditions in which chromosomal sex is inconsistent with phenotypic sex, or in which the phenotype is not classifiable as either male or female. Applying this more precise definition, the true prevalence of intersex is seen to be about 0.018%, almost 100 times lower than Fausto‐Sterling’s estimate of 1.7%.” 

This kind of misrepresentation of facts and science straight away raises questions about the legitimacy of this program. It is analogous to a political party taking 10 polls, publishing the one that is favourable and deleting the 9 which are less supportive. Or it’s like coming home after a cricket match and telling everyone I scored 185 runs, when in fact it was 42.

Smaller numbers does not of course reduce the value of people who find themselves in these categories, nor does it excuse us from providing care and support for children struggling with identity questions.

Indeed.

Misleading statistics can be portrayed in any number of ways. So the following advert has been screening in Australia over the past few days:

We offer cover better suited to every kind of family.

Now that in itself is a sentiment that we can all applaud. There is no reason whatsoever why insurance providers can’t be flexible in their product offerings to adapt to the requirements of all sorts of households. Again, let’s just be abundantly clear on that in case someone thinks I’m arguing anything different.

But, having said that, now consider with me the message being communicated by the images you just saw. There were, on a rough count, 10 various households with children in them represented in that short advertisement. Of the ten families three were clearly same-sex (and there was another couple were I had to stop the video and look hard before I was sure whether one of the individuals was male (and I’m still not 100% sure) – whichever professional made this video thought long and hard about every image we saw and I don’t think it’s cynical to suggest that the vague androgyny was deliberate).

So we have Medibank communicating in a subtle way to us that 30% of households with children are same-sex households (and a gentle push upwards on that figure with the uncertain identification of another).

“So what?” you ask. Well they certainly have the right to make whatever video they want and if the intent is to communicate that every type of household is catered for then surely you do have to display a variety of types. But 30%?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported in the 2011 census that 33,714 out of a total of 4,684,700 Australian household couples who reported their status were same-sex. That’s 0.7% of couples. Further the ABS notes that in 2011 there were just over 6,000 children (defined as under the age of 25) in households which reported as being same-sex couples. Of those, 4,750 were dependents under the age of 15 (i.e. like those represented in the Medibank video. That’s out of a total Australian population of children of about 10,800,000. Or 0.044% of children are in same-sex families or less than 1 in 2,000.

At this point it’s worth noting that these figures are probably under-reported but nevertheless the utter lack of congruity between the media representation of the prevalence of such households and the reality that the statistics report is staggering. If we are generous and assume that the proportion of kids in same-sex families is under-reported by a factor of 10 (which is sufficient to compensate for the valid caveats that the ABS brings up) then you still have a proportion of children in same-sex families of 0.44% as opposed to the 30% in the advert.

Which means that Medibank have over-represented the actual reality of children in same-sex households by a factor of (being conservative) almost 70 and probably much more than that.

Just chew on that for a moment: at least 70 times over-represented.

There comes a point, doesn’t there, where you realise that we’re being sold a lie. Yes, there are same-sex households with children in them. Yes, they have a right to health care and insurance just like the rest of us. But that’s not what the point of this advert is. There is a deliberate decision here to enter into the political debate on same-sex marriage by flagrantly distorting the reality of the variety of Australian families.

And at the same time single-parent families, who make up about a quarter of Australian families with children, only got one clear representative in the video. Under-represented by a factor of 2.5. Now there is an massive group that needs enormous resources and support. They tend to be more likely to be disadvantaged with lower incomes and reduced access to opportunities. But they’re not a trendy way of demonstrating that you’re progressive so Medibank chose a different means to show how modern they are.

Don’t get sucked in by this and so many other attempts to portray same-sex households as a large and important part of our community. Yes they exist, yes they have a right to all the same protections and benefits that every other member of society receives. But at the end of the day they are a small part of our community; it is entirely right that they receive protection where that’s necessary but entirely ridiculous that we should be changing our social structures to such an enormous extent. There are plenty of people in the media who understand this, hence the deliberate strategy of such blatant over-representation.

Our entire society deserves truth and clarity in this difficult debate, not manipulation of perception. We should do so much better.

 

Comments

comments

52 comments on “Statistics? What Statistics? Or why image is everything in the same-sex “debate”

  1. David, if accuracy of numbers is so important, when Noah herded all the animals onto the ark, how exactly did he convince all the whales, sharks and other fish to jump on board, together with all the other land and sky creatures, and not have them all eat each other. There are a lot of creatures on this planet and as we are told there were two of each on the ark. It’s hard to know just how Noah got two of exactly every single animal onto his ark.

      • You nicely avoided the issue over claims of numerical accuracy in the bible (of which I’m sure the “2 by 2” of the Noah’s ark parable is not the only one). If you want to take the high moral ground, you really ought to have some integrity in your own house.

          • “14they and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds. 15So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life. 16Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the LORD closed it behind him”

            Every beast? Every creeping thing? Every bird? Two of all of these????

            There are millions of species of creatures on this planet. How on earth did Noah get the kangaroos, the orange-bellied parrots, the sea eagles, the spotted marmosets, the giant centipedes (they’d be tricky to convince to come on board), the termites – yes, the termites, on a wooden ship! – but two just, a male and a female – on birth control I hope) and the T-Rex, all aboard. Apparently there were TWO of each: “male and female of all flesh”. A numerical fact, according to Genesis 7:16. The literal word of god. Did god get it wrong? Perhaps not two? Or perhaps not two of every species? Or maybe more than two? How can we be so sure, considering there are so many species, some look so much like another, it could get confusing.

            Point is, you want to argue about the accuracy of someone else’s figures. I claim the figures you live and breath by are wrong to start with, and if they’re wrong, the whole bible may as well be wrong. In which case, you have no basis to your argument, because it just evaporated in a cloud of impossibility.

        • In which case, you have no basis to your argument, because it just evaporated in a cloud of impossibility.

          Hardly. The argument made in this post has no basis in the Bible’s use of numbers. The fact that I’m a Christian and that the Bible has some numerical claims that you don’t understand and therefore reject has nothing to do with the argument being made in this piece.

          What would you say if exactly the same argument about this Medibank video were made by somebody who had no religious belief at all? Does the argument stand or fall on its own merits or not?

          • And yet you deftly avoid the observation that the bible makes impossible numerical claims, whilst trying to point the finger at someone else’s numerical claims.

            You want it all on your own terms. You can’t have your cake and eat it because it shows up your hypocrisy.

            Before you attack Safe Schools you really ought to get the facts straight about what happened in the bible.

            There were clearly no “two of every creature” on this alleged boat. How could there be?

            • except that,
              1. The Bible never claims that “two of every creature” was on the boat. It’s far more precise in the language that it uses.
              2. Even if the Bible is utterly wrong on numbers, the validity of the OP is not dependant upon it – a point you have stubbornly resisted addressing throughout.

          • “Even if the Bible is utterly wrong on numbers…”

            You’re positing that it could be utterly wrong on numbers? But it’s the inerrant word of god, apparently. So either it is correct on numbers or it isn’t. And if it isn’t correct on numbers, then what else is it incorrect on? Perhaps the passages on homosexuality? They could be just as incorrect. Maybe god didn’t want to call sex between two men a sin. Maybe he was just having another bad day, coz it’s hard working being a deity – I should know – and didn’t mean to use those words. And if god was wrong on homosexuality, then you’d have no basis for making it your mission to attack Safe Schools and relationships between homosexual people, even if there were some numbers you didn’t agree with.

            • You’re positing that it could be utterly wrong on numbers?

              No. And the clue was in the word “if”. It introduces a conditional phrase. My point, as the comment makes clear, is that any discussion of statistics when it comes to Safe Schools is entirely independent of any alleged errancy in the Bible over numbers. This is a simple concept but one that you appear either unable to understand (and I hardly think you are that stupid) or simply unwilling to engage with (which would make you, sadly, not much more than an angry troll).

              I’ve added you to the manual moderation list, Martin. If you want to actually engage in some proper discussion where you read what others write and respond to that, rather than your preconceived decision on what they are really saying (and restrain yourself from the regular insults too) you are more than welcome to continue.

              But it’s the inerrant word of god, apparently. So either it is correct on numbers or it isn’t. And if it isn’t correct on numbers, then what else is it incorrect on? Perhaps the passages on homosexuality? They could be just as incorrect. Maybe god didn’t want to call sex between two men a sin. Maybe he was just having another bad day, coz it’s hard working being a deity – I should know – and didn’t mean to use those words. And if god was wrong on homosexuality, then you’d have no basis for making it your mission to attack Safe Schools and relationships between homosexual people, even if there were some numbers you didn’t agree with.

    • Genesis is perfectly clear that the whales, sharks and their other fishy friends weren’t invited to the ark party. If you’re going to question the numerical accuracy of the Bible I’d recommend reading it at least once first.

    • Not to be pedantic, but I am an engineer, it was not 2 of every animal, grabbing a quick quote:

      Instructions recorded in Genesis 6:19 that God gave to Noah: “And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female” (Genesis 6:19, emp. added; cf. 7:15). It seems that fewer people, however, are aware that God also instructed Noah, saying, “You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth” (Genesis 7:2-3.)

      Now I can go to bed and dream engineering dreams.

  2. Dr Whitehead’s website here – http://mygenes.co.nz – contains a wealth of research which covers this subject as well as many others relating to this debate. Most relevant here, he quotes a major Australian/NZ study of students which found that reported orientation changes drastically between 16 – 25, the vast majority of young people moving away from SS identifications over time.

    This is why it is so important to leave young people free from these kind of labels rather than co-opt them into a minority group identity at a young age.

  3. Yes they exist, yes they have a right to all the same protections and benefits that every other member of society receives.

    YAAAAAAAAAY! Thanks for your vote in the plebiscite!

    • It’s just that I’ve heard same-sex marriage opponents make this point all the time… “Well gay people can get married if they want to… they just need to marry someone of the same gender.”

      At the same time, however, they claim that marriage is a sacred institution, not to be tampered with, the bedrock of a stable society and the foundation of the next generation.

      Don’t you think it’s a little disingenuous to claim that marriage is a vital institution for the raising of children on the one hand, at the same time allowing two people to enter that vital institution who aren’t at all sexually compatible and will cheat on each other before they even cut the cake?

      It’s nothing more than a cheap debating trick, and if I were gay, I think I’d find it a little insulting.

      • I think it’s just a simple matter of defining terms. It’s a legal right. The argument that “a gay man can marry a woman” is a simple statement of fact – it’s true under our current law but not at all wise.

        Making the argument is not an endorsement of the idea, just a simple logical argument.

        Can they and should they are two separate things.

          • I don’t follow the point you’re trying to make. Same-sex couples can’t currently marry because they don’t fit within the long-received definition of marriage.

            I had simply pointed out that just because someone can do something doesn’t mean they should. Whereas a same-sex couple don’t even pass the can hurdle (at least not with each other) so the point is moot.

          • Sorry mate… not trying to be obtuse.

            You’re saying that a marriage between a gay man and a lesbian is allowable from a legal point of view. But that doesn’t mean that you’re happy if it happens.

            I’m saying that if you’re going to make that argument, why can’t you apply the same thinking to same-sex marriage?

            If the definition is changed, you’re in the same situation. Marriage between two gay men would be allowable from a legal point of you. But you would be free to just not be happy about it.

          • You’re saying that a marriage between a gay man and a lesbian is allowable from a legal point of view. But that doesn’t mean that you’re happy if it happens.

            No, not quite. I said that it is clearly an unwise choice. Whether I’m happy or not with it is a different matter. My argument was that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should (because it may not be a wise choice). I was responding to the initial silly notion that I was suggesting that gay men should marry women.

            What I’m more interested in is the OP. What do you think about the very obvious attempt to misportray the reality of the proportion in our country of same-sex households with children?

          • Thanks Tim. I’m more than happy to concede that perhaps the count on some of the family types is out a little bit. I don’t think that this actually undermines the general point of gross over-representation of same-sex families which you end up not actually addressing.

            Well, you sort of do. You write this:

            Or maybe, just maybe, we could stop for moment, relax, and recognise that there are people out there who want to end their lives because our society has told them that being themselves isn’t good enough. And maybe there are a few things we could do to help. Like give them a little recognition, in a single, 30 second commercial, in amongst the millions of commercials that have completely ignored their existence. Because maybe, just maybe, that will give a few people a better chance at being happy.

            I refer you to the OP where I wrote:

            Don’t get sucked in by this and so many other attempts to portray same-sex households as a large and important part of our community. Yes they exist, yes they have a right to all the same protections and benefits that every other member of society receives. But at the end of the day they are a small part of our community; it is entirely right that they receive protection where that’s necessary but entirely ridiculous that we should be changing our social structures to such an enormous extent. There are plenty of people in the media who understand this, hence the deliberate strategy of such blatant over-representation.

            The issue here is not simple acknowledgement; I agree with you that simply pretending they don’t exist achieves nothing. The issue I raised was vast over-representation. That’s also what I asked if you would address and you didn’t. Oh well, that’s your choice.

            And, for the record (and I think it would be helpful and fair for you to acknowledge this in your piece), I have no time for much of the way that Senator Bernadi communicates himself. I don’t appreciate being lumped in together with him in what, effectively, communicates to your readers that I’m just like him (when you know that I’m not). I think this is particularly unfair of you since, as you acknowledge, we have met and you have a very good sense of who I am and who I am not (we’ve even spoken about that exact issue).
            Also, in terms of the comments from the youtube video, I hope you will gladly acknowledge that they do not in any way represent my position.

            Finally, in terms of the tragic rates of suicide and mental illness amongst those who experience same-sex attraction, I note again that the research we have shows no statistically significant difference in rates where there is far less social stigma. I’m afraid I don’t have links to hand at this moment but I do recall that the work I saw looked at rates in San Francisco and the urban Netherlands. For clarity, there is no disagreement about the problem itself and the correlation with homosexual attraction – what is still up for debate is the cause. (and this is not me saying there is no bullying going on – just that the issue of health outcomes is much wider than that and dependent upon a large number of things). Let’s get rid of the bullying. And also let’s have an honest conversation about what the actual health risks are and where they come from, free of ideology.

          • Ah these nested comments get confusing!

            Firstly, apologies for lumping you in with Cory. That was not my intent, and I have edited my post.

            And yes, I acknowledge your views don’t match those of the YouTube crowd. That was certainly not my point, as I’m sure you can see.

            As for this:

            I don’t think that this actually undermines the general point of gross over-representation of same-sex families which you end up not actually addressing.

            It does, and I did address it, right here:

            That’s probably not fair though, is it? I’ve based that off only one of David’s blog posts, and one is hardly ever a good sample size. In fact, pretty much the only time that a sample size of one has any kind of statistical significance is when you survey yourself to find out what you want for dinner. To get a better indication of the true state of affairs, you should probably take the largest sample size you can. Like, perhaps, every television commercial and print ad from the last 100 years.

            1
            You can’t make the point you’re making with a single commercial. If you had analysed every commercial that had ever portrayed a family,or even just a random sample from the last ten years, and found that 30% of them were same-sex families, you may have a point.

            2
            What you have instead is a single commercial, showing one gay family, and one lesbian family. And a few single parent families, and a few heterosexual familes, and a few singles. And a few families that apparently have no children at all.

            Surely you can see that the point of the commercial is that they cater to every type of family? You did say that “they certainly have the right to make whatever video they want and if the intent is to communicate that every type of household is catered for then surely you do have to display a variety of types”. Surely that means that they are going to have to over- and under-represent some family types?

            Otherwise, what would you propose? if you say that the proportion is 0.44%, and you want them represented fairly, and we have to show at least one, are you saying Medibank needs to show 227 families in the commercial? Do you really want a commercial to go on that long, especially for an insurance company?

            3
            If you truly believe that Medibank is trying to convince us that 30% of familes are same-sex families, then you must also think it’s reasonable for me to conclude that they are saying that 22% of children are living without any parents at all. Does that make sense you?

            4
            It’s entirely possible that the ad has been timed to coincide with the lead-up to Mardi Gras. Again, extrapolating that to conclude a massive over-representation is a little much.
            ___

            Whether or not you have a point, your analysis doesn’t do anything to help your cause. I’m sorry, but your whole complaint comes across a bit, well, silly.

          • hi Tim. Let me get to what I think is the essence of your challenge (and do correct me if I’m incorrect in that assessment – but I think having read it and re-read it that this encapsulates it):

            Otherwise, what would you propose? if you say that the proportion is 0.44%, and you want them represented fairly, and we have to show at least one, are you saying Medibank needs to show 227 families in the commercial? Do you really want a commercial to go on that long, especially for an insurance company?

            No, I’m saying that given that the proportion is so low that one family was enough.

            Look, I’m not stupid; I recognise that this is a buzz topic at the moment and that Medibank would be crazy not to find a way to acknowledge it given their desire to not disenfranchise themselves. So by all means show a homosexual household with children in it, even though there are so very few of them around. But two, with additional gay couples portrayed as well? I don’t actually think you’re that naïve – I think you know exactly what is going on here. There is a deliberate choice to over-represent. You don’t need to show 227 families. You can show just the ten.

            The irony of this all, as I note before, is that by massively over-representing one very small portion of the population it means that other more significant segments don’t get represented at all.

            And yes, I do think that just one advert is enough to make the case. This isn’t a bit of detailed research which requires representative samples randomly selected. This is a short clip of media designed to move the view in a certain direction. So no-one is demanding that it be treated like a University research programme. But I think you already knew that and are more than capable of discerning the difference which means that my complaint is really not so silly at all. 🙂

          • Shouldn’t you also be complaining, then, about the over-representation of single parent families, and families with no children at all? Or any commercial that only shows heterosexual families?

            And do you think those commenters over on YouTube would be less upset if there had only been one same-sex family? And would lesbians have a right to complain if it that one family was a gay family, and vice versa?

            • 1. No, since they’re actually under-represented! (As I point out in my OP).
              2. Only if (as you yourself point out) the number of total families is so great as to demand the representation of such a small minority.
              3. No, I think those commenters would say all sorts of horrible things no matter what.
              4. I refer you to answer 2.

          • 1
            Did you read my post carefully? There are actually three single parent families. Removing the “families” with no parents at all, that’s 3 out of 7.

            2
            How should it be then? What’s the minimum number of families required to show at least one same-sex family? How many do you think there would have to be to show two? (one lesbian and one gay) With all due respect, can you believe that these asinine questions are the inevitable result of your complaint?

            3
            Exactly. While you are complaining that there is one more same-sex family than is apparently reasonable, a large number of your fellow citizens detest the fact that they are there at all. If you did feel the need to say only one thing about this ad, isn’t that the greater concern?

            4
            You said it was OK to show the different types of family. That’s all it’s doing. One lesbian with kids, one gay with kids. That’s all. Other ads don’t show them at all. Your sample size is still one. And your point is still a bit silly.

          • Tim,

            1
            Did you read my post carefully? There are actually three single parent families. Removing the “families” with no parents at all, that’s 3 out of 7.

            Yes, yes I did. I understand your count of the families. Given that the proportion of single-parent families (according to the ABS) is roughly 25% that would mean that the Medibank count of 43% while not wholly accurate is not even anywhere close to being as overstated as same-sex households with children.

            2
            How should it be then? What’s the minimum number of families required to show at least one same-sex family? How many do you think there would have to be to show two? (one lesbian and one gay) With all due respect, can you believe that these asinine questions are the inevitable result of your complaint?

            The minimum number required is 1. That would also be a far more accurate representation of the actual numbers in our community, or at least the most accurate we could have since the proportion of same-sex households with children in our community is so very small.

            I can’t speak for why asinine questions come about. To borrow from the great Gump; asinine is as asinine does.

            3
            Exactly. While you are complaining that there is one more same-sex family than is apparently reasonable, a large number of your fellow citizens detest the fact that they are there at all. If you did feel the need to say only one thing about this ad, isn’t that the greater concern?

            I didn’t say that it wasn’t a concern. I’ve already shared with you on this post and a good number of times before my revulsion at such responses. But this post is about the visual-rherotical device (I’ve coined a new phrase) used by the ad makers to communicate someone about our community that simply isn’t true.

            4
            You said it was OK to show the different types of family. That’s all it’s doing. One lesbian with kids, one gay with kids. That’s all. Other ads don’t show them at all. Your sample size is still one. And your point is still a bit silly.

            Says you. But I say that the ad makers knew exactly what they’re doing and I think they’re very very good at their job. And, again, I don’t actually think you’re that naïve at all.

  4. A bigger concern for me than made up statistics is that the real statistics actually change when people run programs designed to indoctrinate. If enough questionable programs were run, then the statistics in the safe schools program might actually become true.

  5. I mean no disrespect, but this is an odd article and argument. You are equating a commercial TV advert selling a product with the rigours applied to scientific representative studies. This is a massive logical fallacy on your part (or a deliberate and weak attempt to muddy the waters on this issue).
    You also say;
    ‘Don’t get sucked in by this and so many other attempts to portray same-sex households as a large and important part of our community’
    I understand from your article the background as to why you are saying they shouldn’t be portrayed as a large part of the community, but to say they shouldn’t be portrayed as an important part?? Are you really so petty and blinded by your religion that you deliberately want families (who are caring for others in the community, volunteering, paying taxes, obeying laws, and contributing as much as opposite sex families) to be treated by society as ‘unimportant’ – what does this mean exactly? They should be made to feel invisible, not be able to access supports and services other families can? And should other types of families who are equally contributing not be treated as if they are an important part of Australian society? If so, which ones?

    • Thanks for writing Scott. I fear you have read much too quickly and nowhere near carefully enough.

      I mean no disrespect, but this is an odd article and argument. You are equating a commercial TV advert selling a product with the rigours applied to scientific representative studies. This is a massive logical fallacy on your part (or a deliberate and weak attempt to muddy the waters on this issue).

      I do not “equate” the two. I pointed out that miscommunication of statistics comes in various ways. There is the simple use of erroneous statistics (which I point to in Murray’s argument) but there is also the “image” of statistics that can be portrayed in the media. As I stated:

      Misleading statistics can be portrayed in any number of ways.

      The “equating” is purely in terms of the fact that they are misleading, but the point of the piece is (of course) to demonstrate that this can be done in any number of ways. The use of media is quite clearly very different to the simple assertion of numbers. That was the point of my piece which you appear to have missed.

      You also say;
      ‘Don’t get sucked in by this and so many other attempts to portray same-sex households as a large and important part of our community’
      I understand from your article the background as to why you are saying they shouldn’t be portrayed as a large part of the community, but to say they shouldn’t be portrayed as an important part?? Are you really so petty and blinded by your religion that you deliberately want families (who are caring for others in the community, volunteering, paying taxes, obeying laws, and contributing as much as opposite sex families) to be treated by society as ‘unimportant’ – what does this mean exactly?

      I don’t know. Are you really so petty and blinded by your own viewpoint that you deliberately choose not to read the piece fairly?

      You go on to ask,

      They should be made to feel invisible, not be able to access supports and services other families can? And should other types of families who are equally contributing not be treated as if they are an important part of Australian society? If so, which ones?

      to which I refer you to the original piece which you claim to be responding to:

      Yes they exist, yes they have a right to all the same protections and benefits that every other member of society receives. But at the end of the day they are a small part of our community; it is entirely right that they receive protection where that’s necessary but entirely ridiculous that we should be changing our social structures to such an enormous extent.

      There is, in the original piece, an answer to your question.

      Q: Should they not be able to access supports and services?
      A: yes they have a right to all the same protections and benefits that every other member of society receives. … it is entirely right that they receive protection where that’s necessary (verbatim from the OP)

      Q: what does this mean exactly?
      A: [given their very small proportions as part of our general population it is] entirely ridiculous that we should be changing our social structures to such an enormous extent. (again, verbatim from the OP).

      The answers to your questions were right there. Had you stopped to actually read the piece fairly, rather than jump to uncharitable conclusions, you would have got them.

  6. ‘’Because the Bible’s always right.’’ That is your reason to object to others having the same rights as you. The rest is just commentary!

    To use one of your arguments as an example, why should a community that doesn’t believe in your god or the fundamentalist version you do, allow your sect (7 to 9% of AU population to be generous) to impose its will on the community at large or a segment who’s practices you object to? After all the bible is not the basis of or inspiration for common law.

    Evangelical Family Units are nearly as infrequent as Gay Family Units and have higher domestic violence rates because women get trapped in cycles of abuse inspired by headship. So why should we maintain your privilege and deny others with better social outcomes the same. Why should the community at large put up with your sect’s views that justify misogyny, homophobia and sex negativity by claiming its a religious belief that should be respected regardless of the people it hurts or its basis in fact?

    No your version of Marriage is not traditional marriage either. Marriage traditionally was about property and social status not the romanticised fiction you now claim as your own. Love and voluntary entry into the institution are only a recent evolution as the history of the common law clearly shows.

    Your Commentary just doesn’t stand up to critical evaluation and you only use science and or empirical research when it agrees with your preconceived view.

    ‘’Because the Bible’s always right.’’ That’s why you have the position you have.

    Display some integrity/courage and stand on that alone, or do you feel the bible is not the ultimate authority and needs the additional justifications? You know you cannot win the community over with “the Bible says…” so you spin or misconstrue for jesus. You are motivated by ‘Dominionism’ and the desire to reclaim your lost cultural significance.

    Take some advice from John Dickson and learn how to lose gracefully. After all one day your sect may need the grace and tolerance from the rest of the community you don’t display to the LBGTI community.

    • ‘’Because the Bible’s always right.’’ That is your reason to object to others having the same rights as you. The rest is just commentary!

      Oh Adrian. I always love comments like this that communicate not so much what I actually wrote but, rather, your own prejudices about people like me.

      To use one of your arguments as an example, why should a community that doesn’t believe in your god or the fundamentalist version you do, allow your sect (7 to 9% of AU population to be generous) to impose its will on the community at large or a segment who’s practices you object to? After all the bible is not the basis of or inspiration for common law.

      Who is imposing their will? We’re just one voice amongst many taking part in our liberal democracy. Are you suggesting that small segments of our community ought not be allowed to speak freely?

      As for the rest of your claims, I’m happy to let them simply stand. Back them up with some actual evidence and then perhaps we can talk about them.

  7. You said “I always love comments like this that communicate not so much what I actually wrote but, rather, your own prejudices about people like me.”

    Nice diversion! Prejudice no, fundamental objection to misogyny, homophobia and sex negativity and the damage it causes yes. There is a lady who is known to John Dickson (Sydney Anglican) who shelters and works to restore the lives of victims of your “male headship” and its abuses, some of which come from very exclusive suburbs and are married to “pillars of your church”. Ladies who thought they were being obedient to god by staying in abusive situations inspired by your churches teachings. Don’t take my word for it she posted all the details on Julia Baird’s Facebook page. That is an example of what informs my view. I have many more.

    You believe the bible is right? Don’t you? Why are you not able to stand on that and that alone?

    Are you denying you would like to see AU become predominantly your version of Xianity?

    Yes you are allowed to speak freely as long as its lawful just as the LBGTI community is doing. Free speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism.

    Anyway you are avoiding the question. Yes my points do stand. Why can’t you just be honest and say the bible says this and I believe it and that forms my views? Don’t you have confidence in your book? Is there a reason you cannot admit that?

    • You said “I always love comments like this that communicate not so much what I actually wrote but, rather, your own prejudices about people like me.”

      Nice diversion! Prejudice no, fundamental objection to misogyny, homophobia and sex negativity and the damage it causes yes.

      Again, you read far into my comment than I actually wrote. But, as you wish.

      There is a lady who is known to John Dickson (Sydney Anglican) who shelters and works to restore the lives of victims of your “male headship” and its abuses, some of which come from very exclusive suburbs and are married to “pillars of your church”. Ladies who thought they were being obedient to god by staying in abusive situations inspired by your churches teachings. Don’t take my word for it she posted all the details on Julia Baird’s Facebook page. That is an example of what informs my view. I have many more.

      I’m sure you do. Thank you for sharing. The reality is that you have next to zero idea of the work that I do in the field of DV. But then that would rub up against your assumptions.

      Anyway you are avoiding the question.

      Well spotted. I tend to do that when the questions are entirely rhetorical. The moment you ask a genuine question that seeks to find out more, rather than just reflect your own prejudice, I’d be delighted to engage in conversation. But until then you can keep spouting your monologue. It’s instructive for all watching.

  8. I’m not persuaded, David, but perhaps from an unlikely direction. I think it is worth first asking what Medibank’s interest is in the advertisement you have described. Medibank, on behalf of it’s shareholders, is seeking to move product. As you yourself note, single-parent families are more likely to be financially disadvantaged; and it is equally true that same-sex couples tend to have above-average household incomes. This ad, therefore, is not marketed to Australia, but to a very particular demographic: one with high disposable incomes who are likely to respond well to being portrayed as ‘mainstream’.

    • Good point, Mike. No doubt that’s part of it.

      Maybe I’m cynical from watching this debate for far too long but I don’t think that’s the whole explanation.

  9. You said ” The reality is that you have next to zero idea of the work that I do in the field of DV. ” Umm I get the feeling you think everything is about you. This is not about any work you do with respect to DV or your motivations which I have no reason to doubt. I was a residential youth worker in my early 20’s and still give of my time but maybe that rubs up against your assumptions? What’s more I don’t need a book or a god to tell me its worth doing for its own sake and for that of my fellow man.

    You have made your view clear on headship and women after all like on the MP3 attached to this blog at 20.03, 20.25 and 20.50. Your rant included headship, women clergy/bishops, damnation and gay sex, gay clergy and a few other topics. You made it clear your views are based on biblical and sectarian dogma. Can you not admit some men use your headship doctrine to stand over women and trap them in abusive relationships? Considering the problems and harm it causes you should be working to restore people damaged as a result.

    I have to keep bringing you back to the point you don’t want to face which is misogyny, homophobia and sex negativity and the damage it causes resulting from your sect and its doctrines and my main point, which is, why can’t you just be honest and say the bible says this and I believe it and that forms my views? You did on the MP3! Don’t you have confidence in your book? Is there a reason you cannot admit that? Its an actual not a rhetorical question. I am surprised… most of your evangelical sect are happy to say “if the bibles says it I believe it and that ends it”.

    • Can you not admit some men use your headship doctrine to stand over women and trap them in abusive relationships?

      I don’t ever recall denying it or giving any suggestion that I denied it. Thanks for your time on this thread Adrian. As with others, you are now on manual moderation since you appear unable to comment without ascribing opinions and motives to others that they have not themselves expressed. Your call on whether we can actually have a proper conversation.

  10. Thank you David for pointing this out. I think your comparisons are quite valid. Mass media (especially the visual – a picture is worth a thousand words) can be and is used as a form of indoctrination. Especially on this issue (so-called marriage equality/gay marriage) there has been massive indoctrination. We see the same thing in movies which can be used to push an agenda, some good – some bad. The use of half truths and emotional appeals based on external appearances and sentimentality rather than basic truths of life are common ploys.

    IMO (formed from my religious teachings), human marriage is essentially about the interplay of love and wisdom. God created two human creatures – male and female (Genesis 1:27,28; Matthew 19:6). Male and female both have love and wisdom (God’s gifts) but the essence/predominant characteristic of the male is wisdom/the thinking side of the mind (don’t confuse wisdom with intellect) and the essence/predominant characteristic of the female is love/the feeling side. Male and female love and wisdom are gender unique just as their biologies are. God flows into/animates/inspires/all people but differently with men and women who are of a complementary design that, ideally (when selfishness and evil does not get in the way and lead astray), can cooperate so closely that they ‘become one’ spiritually (Genesis 2:24) – just as true love and true wisdom are opposite sides of the one coin.

    Many marriages do not reach this potential but the potential is there for all male/female relationships that are developed in a loving and committed way where the partners are both looking outwards to something higher than themselves. Love without wisdom is directionless and easily led astray. Wisdom without love is cold and self-centred.

    In contrast, same-sex relationships are partnerships lacking the necessary gender complementary to form a marriage. Calling them ‘marriage’ legally will just be words with no real content behind them (other than seeing them solely in social and political terms). A good SSR may be a far better partnership (in social and worldly terms – maybe externally even more loving in some ways) than many ‘marriages’ but that doesn’t make it marriage or give it marriage potential. IMO, we need to recognise this in law but not by usurping the term marriage and pretending that the two distinct types of relationship, (we should be tolerant and understanding of those who are adversely affected by same-sex attraction), are ‘equal’ or the same.

    Presenting false images and false scenarios to children is, I believe, a form of indoctrination. My concept of marriage, as said above, is based on religious truths which many do not accept or even know about. However, I believe common-sense and reason (men and women are so obviously different and so obviously meant for each other) present a similar conclusion if one is not already locked into pursuing/pushing a different agenda.

  11. Thanks David, It would be really interesting to ‘hear’ what the perception is in our community, ie what they perceive the proportion of homosexuality, homosexual “families” is. I think the US did a study and the general population perceived it to be 30%. Far from the reality.

  12. Hi David

    Just wondering who stole all the ‘i’s from your comments. Pretty sure they were there when I posted a few days ago.

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