A mainstream group representing the major churches in the Australian state of Victoria has attacked misrepresentation of Christian views by right-wing ‘Christianists‘.
The Executive of the Victorian Council of Churches said:
“There are well-organised and well-financed lobby groups who routinely present their views as ‘the’ Christian position. The community needs to know that there is a range of views held on many topics in the Christian tradition, just as there are numerous views in all areas of human endeavour. It is important that no one view captures the attention of the community, of the media and of government.”
“Some groups adopt a threatening stance in their commentary, seemingly to declare ‘debate closed’ when our nation needs as wide an engagement as possible to honour the diversity in our community.”
VCC general secretary Theo Mackaay told The Star Observer that they acted when The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) was the only voice quoted in the media during the debate on marriage equality at the Australian Labor Party conference last month.
“We don’t have a position on the issue of same-sex marriage,” he said.
“If you asked that question at one of our executive meetings you would find there would be some who would be horrified at the thought that same-sex marriage is possibly to be legislated, others who would think that every Member of Parliament, whichever party they come from, should have a conscience vote, and others still who would leave that entirely up to the parties.”
VCC described the lobby group as “based on a fundamentally conservative view of the Christian faith.” Others have described it as belonging to the dominionist strand of Christian activism, originating from the US with ACL having its roots with Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition of America.
The VCC say that they enable a “safe environment to prayerfully discuss and discern theologically differing viewpoints” and “consider carefully all matters before it without the need to threaten or admonish.”
ACL deny that the group presents itself as representing Australian Christianity.
VCC member churches: Anglican; Antiochian Orthodox; Armenian Apostolic; Bulgarian Orthodox; Churches of Christ; Coptic Orthodox; Greek Orthodox; Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East; Lutheran, Malankara Orthodox Syrian; Mar Thoma Syrian, Religious Society of Friends; Roman Catholic, Melkite Catholic and Ukrainian Catholic Eparchies; St George Jacobite Syrian Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox; Salvation Army; Syrian Orthodox; Uniting Church, Welsh Church, Wesleyan Methodist.
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