Today, SBS begain their media promotion of the upcoming Living with the Enemy show that I filmed in January. News Limited got first bite of the cherry with the online news site news.com.au running an article entitled “Living with The Enemy on SBS puts gay couple, priest under same roof” (originally titled “Living with The Enemy is explosive TV”, also at the Melbourne Herald Sun):
A FUNDAMENTALIST Anglican priest vehemently opposed to same-sex marriage and an engaged gay couple have shacked up for 10 days in one of the most combustible TV series in Australia.
Now look, some of the article is great but doesn’t it rather make your eyes roll when you hve the word “fundamentalist” (CAPITALISED TOO!!!) and “vehemently” in the first sentence? Keep it together, because there’s actually a bunch of great stuff here:
Six of the most divisive social issues in the country are given the Wife Swaptreatment in Living With The Enemy , which starts on SBS next month. The first episode features conservative Anglican minister David Ould from Macquarie Fields in Sydney and atheist couple from Melbourne Gregory Storer andMichael Barnett. Each spent five days at the other’s home, similar to the hit series Wife Swap which takes diametric opposite strangers and installs the mother into the other’s family in a bid to promote tolerance and gratitude. “We got along really well with the guys,” said Ould, who is married with three children. “We had a fun time with them here in our home.” Except Ould didn’t let Storer and Barnett in his home … “Oh well we had them in the caravan. That was a particular decision that we had to make. But they spent a lot of their company in our home. With our children. Just sharing time us, and that was good productive time … We grew quite fond of them by the end of it.” Storer said he and Barnett really liked Ould, even if he didn’t let them stay in his home. “He’s very much a loving Christian type person,” he said. “He’s got a really nice persona around him … he’s a genuinely nice bloke.” But nobody’s attitudes were changed.
All good. But then this photo
Over the course of filming we stopped for photo shoots on a couple of occassions. And on each of those occassions we took every possible combination of photographs and emotions. By which I mean to say that there were plenty of me smiling. Plenty of them. And then a good set of photos were passed on to interested media. But here’s the thing – I’ve seen a few pictures used in the mainstream media so far and not one has me smiling. Not one. But then, we vehement FUNDAMENTALISTS don’t smile. Despite, as the people who were actually there noting that there’s “a really nice persona around him … he’s a genuinely nice bloke”.
But I shouldn’t complain too much, because they also printed this:
Ould says it’s a role of the Church to make sure there’s “proper, mature debate” about gay marriage (which can only be changed by government legislation.)
“One of our roles is to say look we believe that God made the world and the lord Jesus Christ is king of all things and he actually knows best.”
You know what, I’m happy to be portrayed with a grumpy face it I get to say that kind of thing in the public media. And here’s the thing. It’s controversial and so they will often publish it. Which is good news for any Christian prepared to speak up in the public sphere. This is a modern western democracy which (apparently) believes in free speech and everyone’s right to contribute to the national debate. Getting Jesus in there is, of course, vitally important if He really is who the Bible claims that He is.
Go read the article, it’s full of great stuff and also points to the other topics in the series which look incredibly engaging.
Here’s the link to the new trailer video. (remember, if you’re overseas then Hola plugin may help you watch stuff).
Now back to the photos and a little fun. Here’s the last one in the piece:
And yes, you guessed it, no smile from me. Now at this point maybe you’re wondering if I’m just not capable of it? Well let me put that doubt to rest. Same camera angle…
Now I expect that there will be a bunch more media like this coming up. Our episode is the first one to be screened and is the one SBS are using to promote the series. My question is whether anyone will have me smiling? Or would that spoil the story? As you follow along who will be the first one to spot even a grin from me?
Well done David. How did you go living with the guys?
hi Eddie. Went well – can’t really say much until the show has aired.
Good stuff David for making a stand in the wilderness. The biased manipulative media is also the enemy within with selective sensationalist journalism and the inability to tell the whole truth.
Forgot to mention, in the USA a Bishop recently announced his divorce from his same sex partner. Now where the heck is that in scripture??
By the way it might be 2.15am in Sydney, but it’s only 7.15pm here in Jerusalem ! Arrived today, what a place ! Awesome.
The first word (not a preposition) of every article is capitalised. The photo thing is disappointing because the photo is meant to capture the essence of the story. Usually headline and photos chosen by the subbies.
hi Mark. Yes, I’m aware it wasn’t intentional. I just noted the irony of it.
Hey David, can I ask why they didn’t stay in your house?
hi Sophie, we took the difficult decision that we didn’t want to normalise the relationship for our children in that way. It wasn’t something we came to lightly and we went out of our way to make the caravan as comfortable as possible and opened up our home to them in every other way.
I’m sure will not be happy with that, but I think it would be wrong of them to assume motive.
Why a caravan? Because the closet was full?
Rev Ould, I have to say that was an “own goal”. You sound like a decent bloke, the photos certainly were published with malice aforethought that you don’t deserve. They are unjust… but having your opponents in the yard not under your roof won’t be seen in a good light. But a just one, I think. Mene mene tekel upharsin.
Hi Zoe. Yes, as I already commented, it was a tough call for us and all about what we were signalling to our young children. Had the children been older and able to process it then it wouldn’t have been an issue. But they’re not that old and it was the decision that we made.
As I said, we made every effort to make the place as comfortable as possible, they were welcome in our house the whole day, and we didn’t withhold the family from them in any other way.
I guess some people will understand that, some won’t, and some won’t want to.
Zoë, just one more thing. I appreciate the desire for politeness which makes you address me as “Rev. Ould”. I understand it signals your intention to treat me with respect and I’m really appreciative of it.
But I’m more than happy to be addressed as “David”. We’re just 2 people having a discussion! Totally up to you. Just wanted to allow you to choose which you preferred.
Hi David, thanks for responding. I can understand your reasoning, but don’t really get why you went on the show if that’s how you felt? It sends a very clear message that gay people are “the enemy”, which I htink is the wrong message to be sending. The show was always going to set you up, that was never in doubt. Not sure why you took the bait. Having said that, will pray you come across better than you do in the promo, in the actual thing! 🙂
hi Sophie. I agree that the language of “enemy” isn’t helpful but I don’t agree that the show is there to “set me up”. I’ve been really impressed with the desire of the producers to faithfully represent the discussion.
The trailers are SBS’s choice and I fully understand why they chose to show the things that they did to generate interest. I’m confident the hour long episode will be far more “balanced” and representative.
As Christians we ought to expect to be misrepresented and also give thanks for opportunities to be listened to. I reckon this will be a measure of both.
That you did not permit them to sleep in your house lacks Christian charity. Were you afraid of catching gay? I'm a heterosexual grand father, married 32 years and I've been to marriage equality events with these two fine men. I mixed with thousands of homosexual people and I didn't catch gay.
no James, you can’t “catch gay”.
But you CAN misrepresent your opponents position to score points! Praise God for your work, Pastor Ould.
> That you did not permit them to sleep in your house lacks Christian charity
I don't recall Christian charity anywhere in Scripture stating to allow people to openly rebel against God's law under your roof.
> Were you afraid of catching gay?
Are YOU afraid of understanding Pastor Ould's position and accurately portraying him in return? THAT shows a lack of Christian charity.
> I mixed with thousands of homosexual people and I didn't catch gay.
Your simplistic reply seems to indicate that you're not interested in actually discussing the issues, just misrepresenting others. How tolerant of you.
Micah Burke god's law? I'll assume you're referring to Leviticus as we all know your lord and saviour never uttered a word on the subject. Of course you only pick and choose the parts that suit your bigoted agenda. Otherwise you'd kill your neighbour for mowing his lawn on a Sunday, you'd forgive rapists as long as they marry their victim, you'd never wear a poly cotton shirt, you'd never eat shellfish……do I need to go on? People who hide behind religion as an excuse for bigotry are the least credible people on this "big bang" created Earth.
And you know, he never said anything about climate change, sweat shops and a whole lot of other things that many Christians feel justice demands to be addressed.
Don't worry David, when I try to smile for the camera, people say 'why aren't you smiling'. Grrrr … that makes it harder to smile.
Was the housing issue about not having enough rooms to offer them separate rooms? That is the stand I have taken when an unmarried heterosexual couple comes to my home. Beside, isn't home defined as your realm of hospitality? Does the caravan really make any difference? What difference does adjoining roof tiles make? Looking forward to watching this.
Also, 'enemy' probably is the best language to use.
Should read 'enemy' probably is NOT the best language to use.
James, you can't "catch gay", but I think you already knew that. And knew that I knew that too.
Happy to have a conversation w you, but there will be zero point if you persist in deliberately misrepresenting me.
David, I’ve seen you on on TV before and you came across very well. I hope the show will be ‘balanced’. I look forward to it. Well done for the careful and thoughtful way you deal with these issues, on TV and here on the blog. Thank you for representing our Lord so peaceably.
Thanks for the kind words, Simon. Yes, “thoughtful” is something that I’d love to see characterise this discussion but (as even this brief thread demonstrates) there are sadly those who don’t want to engage in that way.
Keep praying that Jesus is glorified – my reputation is of little consequence.
David Ould what would be the point of a discussion? You justified your position to treat these blokes as lepers and banish them to a caravan by suggesting that it was to prevent your children seeing this as a "normal" relationship. You cannot accept that homosexuality is quite normal. It is as normal as being left handed or red headed ie a small portion of the population is born that way. I'll wait to see the show but the trailer makes it pretty clear that you view homosexuality as sinful.
You are not open to accepting medical science, that is that homosexuality is physiological. Instead you refer to some document that was written by an unknown person, thousands of years ago, that has been variously translated and altered over the millennia. Then on top of that you apply your own interpretation and ignore the parts that don't suit your agenda. Sadly you can't see how wrong that is. I'm an atheist and generally don't care who believes in what. But when they use their beliefs to incite hatred and bigotry I get very annoyed.
> your lord and saviour never uttered a word on the subject
Of course he did. It was YHWH who wrote the Law with his own finger, and thus, when he quotes it in the Gospels, he's quoting his own words. Thus, when he speaks of marriage, he points back to Genesis and the creation account therein, and speaking of the Divine intent for marriage. You might not believe it, but Jesus did in fact speak to marriage and the nature of marriage. Plus, as the Messiah, fulfilling the law in its entirety, he would not deny God's nature and decree regarding human sexuality.
> you only pick and choose the parts that suit your bigoted agenda
So you don't believe that there is context that needs to be taken into account? Shall I treat your own words the way you think of the Bible?
For example, YOU just said we should "kill your neighbour" and "never eat shellfish". Now of course there was a context to those words, but since you're ignoring the Bible's own context, we'll ignore yours.
If you have any intellectual integrity whatsoever, you might examine the contexts of those passages within the Christian worldview, rather than spouting off something you read on an atheist website. Of course, that would require you to actually use your mind.
For those who are interested, the context of the moral code differs from the context of the ceremonial code for the theocracy of Israel. The reason we don't stone our neighbors on Saturday (not Sunday, btw) is because we do not live under the theocractic institution of Israel. That doesn't mean we're free to murder, commit adultery, etc. because the moral code, those laws relating to ethics and morals, are part of the eternal nature of God and an expression of his desire for human kind.
We don't offer sacrifices, because Christ is our final sacrifice. We're free to eat any food because not only has Christ made all foods clean, but as Gentiles under a New Covenant we're not bound by dietary restrictions for worship in the non-existent tabernacle, etc. These things are easily explained from Scripture. As Christians, however, we still long to obey God as expressed in his moral law.
So while those with short-attention spans can claim we "pick-and-chose", there are actually contextual reasons behind the differences between laws Christians follow in thankfulness toward God and the civil and ceremonial code of the theocracy of Israel.
Of course, you have to want to accurately understand what we believe to pick up on that…
> what would be the point of a discussion?
Said the "tolerant" one.
Micah Burke you are the quintessential cherry picker. It is impossible to debate a topic with you, you lack logic. You ignore science. You ignore the field of medicine. And you quote Genesis. Even dear old George Pell accepts that the story of Adam and Eve is nought but mythology. Given he's a Catholic, and they pretty much invented this whole Jesus and Christianity thing, I'm inclined to believe you are completely and utterly brainwashed. You've got cult mentality.
> It is impossible to debate a topic with you, you lack logic.
It's impossible to debate with me because it is evident you really don't know what you're talking about.
> You ignore science.
I'm quite certain that I'm better versed in science than you are, sir. That said, I haven't mentioned the field in this entire discussion. You're simply making claims without any evidence whatsoever. And you say ~I lack logic~. You show none.
> And you quote Genesis.
No, I didn't quote Genesis, I mentioned it, It was Jesus who quoted it, in direct opposition to your claim.
> Given he's a Catholic, and they pretty much invented this whole Jesus and Christianity thing,
And now you display your ignorance of history. And we're the bigots? a
> I'm inclined to believe you are completely and utterly brainwashed. You've got cult mentality.
Which of us is the fundamentalist? The one who actually understands his opponents claims and answers them, or the one who ignorantly repeats things he's read on atheist websites and then goes on ad hominem attacks? You're correct, it is impossible to debate, but not because I "lack logic", but because you cannot form a single coherent argument without making a fallacious argument.
David Ould whilst we have differing views, I must thank you for allowing such views on your blog. Many organisations such as the ACL simply do not permit open and frank debate on their site. I respect you for that indeed.
Sir-James Best hi James, you're more than welcome. FWIW, I don't actually feel like you've made any attempt to actually fairly understand me; you came in with a flurry of soundbites and assumptions.
But I'm happy to have people come and comment here. My policy is normally to allow a longer leash for those with whom I disagree and my dream would be to have an actual discussion on the substantive issues rather than getting called names all the time. Again, if you're actually up for that then you know exactly where I am.
Freedom of speech. Yes, you're right, everyone is open to speak freely. But there's free speech and then there's hate speech. And then there's 'forcing' your belief systems onto other people through laws. How would you like it if the gay community banned straight men from wearing blue shirts? Because, quite frankly, it's quite a nice bright colour that appears on our rainbow flag, and a straight man should not be allowed to access our colours. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Don't force your fairytale on to me and we won't force our fairy-tails on to you.
David Ould you've yet to address any of the points I've made so far.
Sir-James Best in your discussion w Micah? I was just going to let you go for it. But since you ask I would simply refer you to this (and particularly pts 3&4):
"fairytale" – and here was me thinking people wanted to engage in honest and respectful debate. No thanks Nicole – more than happy to discuss the substantive issues but got little time for playground name-calling. Really up to you if you want to do it properly or not.
David Ould I was making a play on words but you obviously can't see that and jumped down it. "Playground name-calling"? Where? How?
However, it is my right to say that I believe the bible is fictional, just as you think it's okay to believe that my sexuality is "fictional", as well. I was being honest. What is "properly" to you?
David Ould they are very one sided, biased rules which do not permit open and frank discussion. They essentially insist that one accept the existence of god and accepts "his" laws as chosen by you.
Sir-James Best let's test this. Where do I "incite hatred"? Can you specifically point to somewhere where I say to anyone "you need to go hate these people" or anything in that vein?
That's all. I ask because it was your summing up in a response to me saying I don't want to be misrepresented. I take it as a massive misrepresentation of my position and I'd like you to justify yourself.
Sir-James Best where in the piece do I insist anyone accepts the existence of God? Please provide the quote
Nicole Goodfellow properly means with respect. Not using perjoratives like "fairytale" and the like. That's a word regularly used to deliberately mock what Christians (and others) believe – and let's not be foolish enough to claim otherwise. So when people set out to mock I assume they don't actually want a reasonable courteous discussion about the issue. That's their choice but I have no intention of being drawn into that kind of mud-slinging and gently suggest people go shout their soundbites somewhere else.
David Ould ok well I'll watch the show very carefully to see if you use any language that mocks the gay community. Thanks.
David Ould you preach that sex between two men is an abomination. You don't think that is inciting hatred? As for you requiring quotes, let's not deal in semantics let's get to the issues.
Sir-James Best believe it or not I don't spend my time doing that. Of course SBS picked one particular quote for a juicy trailer but the reality was that in the context it was delivered you'll understand that I wasn't hammering away at it at all.
Incitement to hatred is a strong claim. It means that you urge and encourage others to act in a hateful manner towards an individual or group of individuals. I take that charge seriously and I think you need to answer it seriously. You don't like that I think homosexual activity is immoral – I get that. But I have never in any way urged or even remotely encouraged others to act in hateful ways on this topic and I need you now to demonstrate otherwise or openly retract your statement. Simply pointing out that I am opposed to certain things is nothing like "incitement".
On the other hand if you want to throw around malicious statements then please do it somewhere else. But do also be careful about what you accuse others of in public. Lots of people will end up reading this and other threads and accusing others of a crime in the way you just did isn't a great step forward.
David Ould you seem to have a different definition of the word hatred to me. You agree that you consider two men having sex to be an abomination. In my opinion that is hatred and by encouraging your parishioners to follow that model, you are teaching them that homosexuals are an abomination. Abomination is about as strong an insult possible. It shows deep contempt and revulsion.
You state "Simply pointing out that I am opposed to certain things is nothing like "incitement". That is true, you can believe whatever you like. But, standing in front of a crowd of people, in a position of power and trust and preaching your thoughts to them is an entirely different thing. Furthermore you do not simply point out you are opposed, you describe it as sinful and an abomination.
This is the Victorian Law.
"On 1 January 2002, Victoria put into effect its Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 which makes religious vilification as well as racial vilification unlawful. Section 8(1) of the Act states:
A person must not, on the ground of the religious belief or activity of another person or class of persons, engage in conduct that incites hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, that other person or class of persons."
I contend that calling class of persons an abomination fits quite reasonably fits those guidelines. If you can explain why it does not to a my level of satisfaction I will happily withdraw the statement. You must also realise that is not an attack on you personally, it is an attack on the codes of your organisation of which you are the messenger. Mike and Greg assure me you are quite an affable chap and I trust their judgement. I would just prefer you didn't say nasty things about people because of they way they were born, it's out of their control.
I strongly refute any suggestion that I have accused you of a crime. That is a very strong statement.
Sir-James Best ok James, let me be abundantly clear. You can choose to make this assertion about me on the basis of one single line quoted briefly in a trailer for a show. You don't know the context (either verbal or tone) in which it was delivered. You can continue to make statements about what I believe without actually clarifying with me. You can do all manner of things. If you choose to do that, however, go play somewhere else. Either that or go to the police, put your money where your mouth is, and make an official complaint.
On the other hand, you could take what I assume to be statements about me made directly to you by Mike and Greg; that I am "affable". You could put that together with the fact that you don't actually know the context of the citation or in what manner it was made or what I actually think about it, and you could come to a more reasonable conclusion not only about me, but also about how to have a productive and helpful conversation rather than throwing stones.
I don't intend pursuing this conversation. My time is far too busy to be wasted on this nonsense. There are people out there who are keen to discuss this issue maturely by seeking to understand their conversation partners. They don't jump in with even the very first comment being an attack, and when someone points out that they may be barking up the wrong tree they don't bark louder. Those are the kind of people I'm happy to discuss this issue with at length. When you've worked out which one you want to be, let us all know.
David Ould we're dithering around the point. I would simply like you to explain why homosexuality is an abomination and it is you who have dragged this off into another sphere. I have also questioned you as to why you see a need to protect your children from what is now a very open and accepted part of society? Here's your opportunity to clarify.
Go to the police? Really, that is absurd. I'm simply challenging your thought process. I'm asking you to challenge your beliefs, scrutinise them and see if they make sense from another point of view and perhaps you may, or may not reconsider yours. I say this because I was as typically homophobic as any Australian bloke growing up and well into my adulthood. I'm almost 53 and this epiphany came about only reasonably recently but had been moderating over many years. Whilst I didn't realise it at the time I had said some quite hateful, spiteful things that I am sure inflicted pain. Have you given any thought that you may be unwittingly hurting people's feelings? Just a thought.
Anyway, up to you to clarify those points if you so choose.
Sir-James Best sorry James. You claimed I "incite hatred" which is very different to inadvertently offending people. Have a great evening.
I guess this says all there is to say: "A FUNDAMENTALIST Anglican priest vehemently opposed to same-sex marriage and an engaged gay couple have shacked up for 10 days in one of the most combustible TV series in Australia.". Thank God there are not too many 'fundamentalist ministers' in ACANZP
Ronnie, as always you work so hard to break down stereotypes and prejudices. 🙁