Don’t be a fucking dickhead.
That’s usually my go-to response when I hear people (usually white, middle-aged Australians) proselytise about the ‘horrors’ that same-sex marriage will bring to the ‘righteousness’ of Australian culture. (Seriously, what righteousness? We have Pauline Hanson sitting in our Parliament. Righteousness has left the building and is running away to Mexico).
How exhausting it must be to be so ignorant and so ridiculously stupid? Do people’s brains hurt from all that emptiness? Like, does it feel like a missing limb? That there should be a brain or more brain, but you can’t seem to access it?
If you live in Australia at the moment, then you will know that currently, Australia is undergoing a postal vote to gauge whether the Australian public would want to change our marriage laws to include same-sex marriage in the legal definition of what constitutes ‘marriage’. As a result of having a government that runs more so on the side of conservative and stupid, instead of just plainly legislating marriage equality, Turnball’s Liberal government didn’t want to have anything to do with the possibility of being actual decent human beings. Why I have such a problem with this is quite simple: People need to stop using religion to forward a message of hate and discrimination, especially in Australia. Australia is a secular country, with no official religion. We pride ourselves on our multiculturalism; the abundance of languages, of foods, of dress, of beliefs and of cultures is something that I find so much pride in. Considering that Australia was historically meant as a place to plonk British convicts, and has subsequently been built off of the backs of migrants – Australia is a prosperous and bloody awesome country to live in.
Now, seeing as how we have no official religion, yet we utilise the tenets of Christianity to justify why we should not allow for marriage equality, it gets my blood boiling. (Now, I focus on Christianity, because it seems to be the majority religion when dealing with the Australian government) I come from a family of Greek and Italian migrants. My dad came here when he was 4 years old from Sicily and my mum is first-generation born Greek-Australian, with English as her second language (something that yells from the rooftops with pride). My dad was a non-practising Catholic; so when my brother and I came along, he didn’t care that my mum would have rather christened us Greek Orthodox – since, hey, it wasn’t any skin off his back.
Saying that though, I have never been a practicing Greek Orthodox. Yes, I would go on Easter and light the candle and then burn the architraves of our front and back doors with my mum, yiayia, and uncle; as it was our family tradition. I found Orthodox Churchs to be magnificent and peaceful, but as a grew older, I found the institution of religion hypocritical, greedy and at times, corrupt. I went to Catholic schools and found the spoon-feeding of religion exhausting at times. So, I was lucky that my mum was more spiritual than religious, where her notion of God was quite personal, and I respected that and I respected her for her ways of dealing with the unknown. But I was always the opposite. I wanted to know about what makes up a religion, why people believed, how people believed and how the bloody hell did the Catholic Church get so bloody rich?
I did my Bachelor of Arts with a double major in History and Religion and Theology, and then my Honours degree, where I focused on how religious rhetoric created the conditions of violence that led to the slaughter of heretics in the Albigensian Crusade; and now, I am doing my Masters in Teaching – my methods focusing on history and religious education. Now, you might think that I am highly cynical of the religious institution, and you are right, but I have nothing against believing in something – just don’t be a racist, homophobic, sexist religious nut in front of me, and we’ll get along great. As someone who tries to absorb as much information as I possibly can about theology and religion and mysticism – I don’t understand why people are trying so hard to hold onto ideas that were written by men thousands of years ago, in different political, social and cultural contexts. It makes no sense. For instance, the Hebrew Scriptures of the Christian Bible, approve and condone the use of slavery. Does that mean it’s right? Hell no! It just means that it was written in a time where it was accepted. There is a historical context that people must be aware of when studying or reading the Bible. For every narrative and every parable; there is a hidden agenda, be that to forward a political message, or to perpetuate social stereotypes. justificationYou can be faithful but still acknowledge the fact that the Bible was written by men, not by God. Men are not flawless; actually, history has shown us how flawed we truly can be.
I am so frustrated by people – namely our government and the Pauline Hanson’s of this world – expressing their putrid beliefs as freedom of speech or protected under the rights and privileges of their religious principles. First of all, that is a bunch of bullshit. Why? Let me break it down for you folks. If you spew hate and claim that you do so because you are Christian, you are going against the very foundation of your religion. The number one tenet of Christianity is love. JESUS CHRIST WAS A REBELLIOUS PALESTINIAN JEW WHO SAW BEAUTY IN EVERYONE – read the bloody bible for Christ’s sake. For people who use religion as an excuse, they don’t really seem to understand it. I come from an academic point of view, not a spiritual one so I may come across as highly cynical, but this sort of ignorance is why Australia will forever be a backwards nation – unless we unite and SAY YES.
Say Yes. If not for you, for your son, your daughter, your future grandchildren. For your neighbour, or your cousin. For the random dude you see in Coles every Saturday at 10:30am buying Oreos and Cheetos. Say Yes for every single man, woman and young person who have felt less than because of their sexuality. Our LGBTQIA+ community are strong, powerful, courageous, brave and beautiful people and we need to support them in this fight for equality. It is more than just being able to marry the person you love. It is about whether or not the government views our LGBTQIA+ friends as people with fundamental rights.
Say Yes, because if you don’t. Well, that’s just bloody un-Australian.
* Sorry guys, if this seemed too much of a rant that spewed nonsense, but I am just unbearably frustrated by Australia’s lack of progress and the hate that I have seen for our LGBTQIA community, has affected me. I can’t believe people just don’t stop talking shit.