Thursday, 6 September 2012

Political Correctness and the PM: health effects of smoking vs homosexuality

I have to admit I was rather surprised that the Australian Christian Lobby had invited Prime Minister Julia Gillard to give an address to their upcoming conference, and even more surprised that she had accepted.  She is after all an unmarried atheist living at the Lodge with her partner, who supported a change in the Party's Platform to allow a conscience vote on same sex marriage...

So no surprise really that she has taken the excuse of comments by ACL boss Jim Wallace that pointed to the life expectancy of those who practice homosexuality compared to tobacco smokers as an excuse to pull out.

But Mr Wallace is surely right to suggest that this is a legitimate debate to have, and represents yet another case of bullying and distortion by the gay lobby.

Lifestyle affects health!

Mr Wallace made the point that the gay lobby often quotes statistics showing that homosexuals have a shorter life expectancy even than smokers.

The debate, it seems is over just why that is. 

The gay lobby claim it is all due to the effects of discrimination and lack of acceptance/validation by society - that would all be solved if only they could get married (always an implausible proposition given the many unhappy married heterosexuals, but never mind)!

Others, myself included, would suggest that a large part of the reason is a direct consequence of being a practicing homosexual.

Let me be blunt. 

I knew quite a few homosexuals at University.  As far as I know, every single one of them is now dead due to AIDS.

And aside from promiscuity and the consequent effects of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, the 'gay culture' as one can readily find by a simple websearch, actively promotes all sorts of other risky behaviours, such as excessive drinking and drug taking.

Affirmation and sin?

The more contestable issues go to the claim that condemnation of the practice of homosexuality, fear of gay bashing and other such factors cause depression and thus the high suicide rate amongst homosexuals.

Well, that is certainly one hypothesis.

The other hypothesis, of course, is that the person concerned instinctively knows that they are breaching the natural law and feels a natural sense of revulsion at their own actions.  Now if help was available to address these issues, and help them be celibate, they might be able to come value their sufferings and sacrifices and achieve a genuine sense of self-worth. 

Instead, of course, those with homosexual proclivities are told, just as everyone else is in that dire legacy of the sexual revolution of the 60s, to pursue pleasure rather than worry about either their own spiritual health or the common good. 

So far as I know, there is no good, objective, well-conducted research which tests either of these hypotheses.  But there are good reasons to favour the second view simply on the basis of measurable consequences and basic tests of plausibility.

A debate we need to have

It is the cult of the pursuit self-indulgent personal pleasure has brought us the horrors of the paedophilia epidemic; the sexualisation of children; children growing up without both biological parents due to divorce, IVF and sperm donation; an ageing of the population that will have dire consequences for our society in the not too distant future; and much more.

Mr Wallace is correct to suggest that there is a legitimate debate to be had on these issues.

And the Prime Minister is surely wrong to rollover so quickly to this vocal, bullying lobby group.

My local (Labor) MP Andrew Leigh claims that Labor is about defending free speech no matter how unpopular the idea involved.  A claim revealed as yet more empty rhetoric...


A Canberra Observer said...

I'm glad you picked this up.

Political correctness has dictated that cannot even comment on likely consequneces of homosexual activity that, as you point out, can be deduced and demonstrated from evidence.

PM said...

It is not a topic for the squeamish, but there are many health consequences of homosexuality other than AIDS, as anyone who has worked in a hospital emergency department could tell you if they weren't frightened of the PC thought police.

just sick of pathetic lies said...

You can't seriously defend Jim Wallace's efforts this week, whatever he reckons he 'really' said.

A quick internet search turns up a rather seedy side to the heterosexual community that goes for a vast number of pages in a google search. Why no critique of promiscuity and risky sex across this far larger population, for which there is also a very large body of research from which to quote? Is this not also a product of the sexual culture of the 1960s? Can you honestly say it has no health consequences? After all, statistically there are far many more heterosexuals who drink, smoke, view pornography, hold low views on the dignity of women, and take drugs. Jim Wallace has yet to get militant about these widespread risky behaviours among his own sexual community. Why?

Given your insistence that people get the facts right over the Bishop Finn case, perhaps you ought to apply the same critique to the ACL. It is the height of arrogant self-indulgence that you allow Jim Wallace to make up his own facts in the pursuit of defending his opinions.

Jim Wallace is basically saying that same-sex marriage is unacceptable because gay sex is risky. If this is so, then why are we not talking about doing away with marriage altogether, given that by sheer weight of numbers heterosexuals are statistically more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour. If the sins of a minority of a community are enough to warrant withholding of recognition for relationships, then surely we need to suspend marriage across the whole of society until everyone is sufficiently repentant.

So if there is a debate to be had, then there are plenty of objective issues to discuss around marriage for same-sex couples that have nothing to do with how they have sex, or begetting or raising children. It would be nice to see some engagement from the ACL and Catholic bloggers like yourself about them. To name just a few: how do you square the unequal treatment of gay couples in areas of medical treatment, hospital visitation rights, taxation, inheritance, joint asset ownership, or welfare payments. Why should long-term same-sex partnerships only ever be treated as de-facto relationships (or as a potential site of terrorist activity), without recourse to a more relevant body of laws?

More to the point, most people have reached a position of support for same-sex marriage by the 'quacks like a duck...' argument. It's not a matter of political correctness, and more a question of observing lived reality. Jim Wallace's comments are wrong because they fly in the face of realities people see in their own families, workplaces, and among their friends. Too many people now know gay people to take religiously-inspired homophobia seriously.

Ms Gillard might well have supported the change in her party's platform to favor marriage equality, but when push comes to shove she will never vote for it in parliament. Jim Wallace is doing everything he can to change her mind.

Kate Edwards said...

Actually 'Just sick' if you'd read my post you would have seen that I noted the effects of the 60s revolution on morality more generally, and on this blog I've frequently taken the Church to task for its failure to teach loudly on the consequences of living in sin and other forms of immorality more broadly.

And in terms of the other forms of alleged discrimination you cite, firstly if that was what the campaign was about, there are other ways of achieving the objective. And in any case in fact the law in Australia generally makes no distinction between same sex/de facto couples and married ones. A lot of legislation has in recent years to effect this on behalf of 3% or less of the population, with little or no justification in terms of pulbic policy.

Wallace was just calling it on the facts.

Peter said...

The power of the gay lobby to distort common sense and logic in many people's minds is awesome.

They would have us believe that homosexuals' far higher death rates are due to "gay hate" murders, suicides to to anti-gay bullying and scoeiety's anti-gay attitudes, and diseases which could be prevented cured except that anti-gay forces are conspiring to prevent gays getting enough condoms and medicines.

None of these claims holds up. The whole of human experience tells us that depression and suicide are in 99% of cases about how the person views HIMSELF, not about being bullied or discriminated against or at all about what OTHER people think of him. In fact most depressed people and suicides are surrounded by loving relatives and friends.

Millions of people suffer a lifetime of bullying, ridicule, and hatred but rather than depress them it has the opposite effect.

And despite the overwhelming media coverage given to every murder which is claimed to be caused by "anti-gay hatred" (and many of these are in fact due to other causes) they are a tiny fraction of the thousands of people murdered each year as a result of anti-Christian hatred (which attract not a murmur of comment from our media).

still sick of pathetic lies said...

I acknowledge your comments about a lack of consistent teaching from the Church regarding lax sexual mores. I would share in this, insofar as the Church really needs to apply the same moral framework to same-sex relationships as it does to opposite-sex ones. It would be a sensible and conservative response that would allow the Church to get on with teaching about social justice, etc.

But I am not *alleging* continued legal discrimination against same-sex relationships. I happen to have direct experience of these issues, and can assure you that there is nothing hypothetical about them, as you seem to suggest. Even treated as de-facto, same-sex couples are not regarded as each other's next-of-kin, as is almost universally the case for heterosexuals. This is an issue you might care to comment on.

The fact is that efforts to address these issues have reached the (philosophical and legislative) end of the road without addressing the root cause of the problem. Discrimination against same-sex couples is entrenched because there is no simple way for them to access the most basic (civil) benefits accorded to their heterosexual peers.

However, since you are probably wanting some evidence of my having engaged with your little opinion piece, let me suggest some ways of addressing the two hypotheses you advanced that you'd like to see tested.

1. ...causes of suicide among gay men.

Your first hypothesis can easily be answered by a very large body of research that can be accessed via Google Scholar. I think you would find plenty of testing of this hypothesis from a very large body of scholars from across the world.

It is well-established that gay men suicide at a far higher rate than their heterosexual peers. The reasons for this are complex, and have to do with social stigma and fears for personal safety. It is a scandal that lives and human potential are held so cheap for what should be such a minor thing as sexuality.

I think you might profitably widen your question about causes of death among gay men. There have been several high-profile cases where young gay men have been the victims of homicide, and their killers attempting to claim a 'gay panic' defense.

There is also no denying that mental health among gay people is especially fraught. There is a similarly broad range of literature accessible via Google Scholar that might serve as a useful starting point.

Enjoy your reading, and I look forward to seeing the evolution of your views.

2. That gay sex provokes a revulsion response, because "we know it's against natural law."

This is totally unverifiable, as it is not a testable hypothesis outside Catholic moral philosophy. You are basically saying that you disapprove of gay sex. That's fine, but it's not an objective view, and you should acknowledge it as such. Speaking for myself, I have never experienced any such cognitive dissonance.

The problem I perceive in your blog entry, and having carefully double-checked what Jim Wallace actually said, is that you both want to argue against any legal framework for same-sex couples because they have sex in ways of which you disapprove. Is this really best argument you and your fellow travelers in the ACL can find?

It really is contemptible.

Matthias said...

I wrote to Bandt and Sarah-Hanson young asking if they would protect the rights of those who believe in traditional marriage and their right to teach it to their children. I am still awaiting a response. i cnanot help thinking of that Bob Dylan song Slow train coming- which is about the Judgement of God -for him it was about America. but it can and will be us nationally and individually.
Sometimes I feel so low-down and disgusted
Can't help but wonder what's happening to my companions
Are they lost or are they found, have they counted the cost it'll take to bring down
All their earthly principles they're gonna have to abandon ?
There's slow, slow train coming up around the bend.

PM said...

All right, 'just sick', no more squeamishness. Are you seriously denying that the misuse of what is, by evolutionary adaptation,* a one-way valve doesn't lead to perforated bowels and related injuries,and in the long term to incontinence? Not to mention a range of infections aong with AIDS?

*Please note, no God-talk here.