At first I was going to focus on yet another man-of-the-cloth being persecuted by his own for having the courage of his convictions.
This article in the Age talks of the plight of Matt Glover, in Lilydale, an outer suburb of Melbourne. It seems that Matt as raised the ire of the powers that be by voicing support for his same-sex marriage, and revealing that he had been ministering to gays and lesbians for 15 years (oh, the horror!). To his credit, he has spoken out at some of the more hysterical opposition to same-sex marriage, and is quoted as saying:
Salt Shakers and the Australian Christian Lobby were saying gay marriage would open the door to paedophilia. I couldn’t sit back and let Christian leaders say things like that, that are untrue.
Happily, the pressure from his congregation has forestalled any action by these pressure groups to remove him. Clearly, they see the value in his long-standing pastoral work for the community, as well as the community-based enterprises such as financial services, counselling, food bank, cafe and welfare assistance.
I’ve written about this syndrome before – no matter that an individual does good work for his flock – if they don’t toe the official party line, then get rid of them.
Anyway, well done Matt on your stance, and carry on the good work.
As I said, that was the original focus. But I decided I should find out who or what the ‘Salt Shakers’ are. And that’s the more interesting story.
A visit to their website reveals not a religious organisation, but a political action group of the type I would expect to see in the US (sorry guys, but you’re the epicenter of the whole right-wing religion thing, aren’t you?). It turns out that the SS (no Nazi slur intended here, but now that I mention it…) is a husband and wife team (executive director and research officer) who are supported by donations from the
Their mission is to impose their form of biblical values on the world, and it seems they are trying to do this by supporting every right-wing nut-job out there. For example, their primary sources are Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt, the HeraldSun, the Courier Mail etc. For those in other parts of the world, these are a selection of the shrill self-righteous right-wing denialists who all believe that their values are the final word. Unfortunately those values don’t include compassion for other people or anything that vaguely resembles socialsism. I’m sure you know the type.
Just look at their Home page. It’s just a summary of anti-government sentiment. This includes the factually incorrect statement that “….and is now pursuing the ‘Mining Tax’ under which the small miners will suffer“. This is just incorrect – small miners are exempt, but of course this inconvenient fact doesn’t suit their political agenda. This simply shows that SS is parroting the falsehoods being pedalled by those opposed to the government’s agenda – they have not done any analysis of their own.
They have a clearly anti-tax stance – not something jesus would have been too fussed about I’m sure. And exactly where in the bible does it say that tax is a bad thing? What about tithing? Oh, that’s not a tax, right? And why do religions accept tax-deductible status if the whole tax thing is so abhorrent – they should just refuse to be involved in anything so nasty.
In their About Us page, they remind us of their Resistance Thinking website which is supposedly intended to “help young people understand their Biblical worldview and engage effectively in discussion about the issues of our day‘. Based on that description, it should be called “Resistance To Thinking”.
But it’s in the Issues page where the rubber hits the road. Here you can see a list of their main marks – and of course their position on each is predictable – right-wing politics, fundamentalist religion and moral arbiter.
In fact what is striking about this Issues page is the number of issues on which they are advocating activism. Does is not occur to these people that since they have to prosecute their beliefs on so many fronts, that maybe their world view is a little, well, let’s say, flaky?
In the ‘Latest News’ section, they even pontificate on Climate Change – and you know what a potent mix religion and climate change is to rationalbrain. Here, they actually quote Piers Akerman as their source, and tell us that “on this issue the science really isn’t settled.” Really SS? On what do you base this? Have you any idea at all on this, or are you once again just parroting those famous non-climatologists Akerman and Bolt, and the two or three non-climate scientists swimming against the tide? And yet on this page, when Andrew Bolt interviews three well-known climate science deniers, all of a sudden “the scientists tell us the real story“. Clearly these people have no idea.
It’s strange really, because on this page, is a story about how it’s now a fact that homosexuals can change (presumably into heterosexuals), and that there is a peer-reviewed study supporting this. I haven’t looked for the study yet – suffice to say, that these people are monumentally inconsistent. In this case, when it suits their agenda, peer-reviewed studies are to be believed, while with climate change the thousands of peer-reviewed papers by leaders in the relevant field are to be dismissed based on a News Corporation article. Actually, I’m sure these people are not stupid. They’re just desperate to support their ridiculous world-view at any cost.
To be honest, I haven’t scratched the surface of this insidious little site, full of the language of intolerance and extremism, and party political rhetoric. I’ll close with the final line of a paper on climate change by one of the authors of the site, and leave you judge their motivations:
We cannot ‘save’ the planet. Only God can. This world will not be wiped out until Christ returns.
Well, that will be a happy day, won’t it!
Actually I feel a little nauseous so I’d better move onto something else.