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Progressive Christians Call for 'No Plebiscite'

Progressive Christians call for 'No Plebiscite'

A Progressive Christian Voice (APCVA) has today called on the federal parliament to not proceeded with the plebiscite on marriage equality.

President of APCVA, Dean Peter Catt, said  'the high level of angst we have observed over the past few weeks regarding the decision to proceed or not should stand as a warning of how divisive a plebiscite campaign would be.

'APCVA, which supports marriage equality, is deeply concerned about the effect the campaign would have on LGBTI people, particularly the young.

'There is a very real amount of hatred in some quarters towards LGBTI people. This hatred will get expressed in the campaign.

'The Rev'd Tiffany Sparks, a member of APCVA, has written a separate piece on the reality of the hatred based on her experience following an appearance on Q & A.

'Simon Tinkler, a gay church member of the Anglican Church, member of APCVA and former Senior Pastor of an Assemblies of God church, has also written a personal piece.

'If the plebiscite should go ahead the parliament needs to fund counselling services to deal with the negative effects of the campaign.

'They should require that every ad have the spoken and/or written advice that people who have been negatively impacted can call for support.

'The money allocated to the yes and no campaigns would be better spent on providing this support, Dr Catt said.

The pieces by Tiffany Sparks and Simon Tinkler are below.

The Very Rev'd Dr Peter Catt


A Progressive Christian Voice (Australia)


Simon Tinkler writes:

'Why is it that gay people have so little say when it comes to something that directly effects our lives ?  I remember well how Campbell Newman - former LNP Queensland Premier - boasted that he consulted with the Australian "Christian" Lobby about matters concerning gay people.  Now, in the name of democracy, everyone can express their opinion.

'At face value, a plebiscite would ask, “Do you approve of marriage between two people of the same sex” but at a far deeper level, the government is asking if people approve of gay people themselves.  Those people who do not like gay people or who believe gays are evil or depraved can have their moment in the sunshine.

'Many concerned will feel that they are acting out of love based upon their religious belief that homosexuality is a sin and therefore gay people must be treated as sinners deserving of punishment at best or discrimination at worst. As a committed Christian myself, it will be painful for me to call myself a believer during this time.

'So what are gay people to do ? In the name of democracy, we are being asked to endure bigotry and hatred as a minority group.  As I see events progressing I often find myself wondering whether I need to leave Australia altogether.  I work as a Travel Agent and each day I find myself looking at the price of flights to Auckland.  Only 3 hours flight away is a country where gay people are welcomed with open arms and where our relationships are treated with respect.  After all there will be those who would prefer I did leave the country.

'If I as a middle aged man in a happy relationship with a wonderful life feel this vulnerable I hate to think how younger gay people must be feeling at the moment.  They are very much in my thoughts and prayers at this time.

'Remove the facade of democracy and you are left with a Prime Minister forced to put in place measures that will hurt gay people in order to keep his job.

'If a plebiscite takes place I am certain that the lead up will be one of the most painful and damaging times in recent Australian history for the LGBTIQ community with some taking their lives and others bearing lifelong scars.'

The Rev'd Tiffany Sparks writes:

'The hate is real. It is really happening.  It is part of people's lives and is affecting the lives and 

feelings of so many wonderful people.  The plebiscite on marriage equality will be an avenue for 

further persecution and hate speech towards members of our society who have seen enough of 

that already. 

'My name is Rev Tiffany Sparks, I am a Christian leader but not a member of the LGBTIQ 

community. I need to say that upfront because I don’t know what it feels to be a member of their 

community or to have experienced this kind of bigotry in my life.  In that regard I humbly ask you 

to be generous in reading what I have to say.  I am not saying it because I am an authority but 

because I am a human being who is outraged and ashamed. 

'Since my appearance last April on the ABC’s QandA program I’ve had a personal glimpse, a 

small but horrifying insight, into what is being said by “Christians” about LGBTIQ people. After 

my appearance on national TV I received many tweets, messages, emails and phone calls 

saying the most appalling things that can’t be read other than as vile hatred hiding behind the 

“respectable” mask of supposed Christian belief. As I read through these messages my blood 

went cold, my stomach turned, I felt nauseous. No words can adequately describe the feelings 

going through my head as I tried to grasp what these people were saying, but I will try.  

'I felt revulsion. I felt anger. I felt sadness and a broken heart, but most of all shame.  

'Revulsion because of the language used in the portrayal of LGBTIQ people as pedophiles, 

rapists, people who deliberately spread disease. A picture of a gay man burning in hell from 

someone trying to “correct” my Christian beliefs by showing me the evil of sexualities and 

gender identities that don’t conform with their own ideas. There is no arguing or debate with 

bigotry like this. Government funding allowing wider broadcast of twisted and angry ideologies is 

not “equal support” for anyone.  If you have seen this for yourself, as I have, then you’ll already 

know that we can only end up with “state-sponsored' hate speech” and not a “democratic 

debate” as is supposed. 

'Anger, not just in witnessing hate from people professing to be Christians like me, but also the 

 that this is the message people in the LGBTI community are hearing from us. Anger 

that so many Christian leaders who believe in equality don’t stand up and say something out of 

fear that this hatred will turn on them. Anger because this message has already caused 

depression, anxiety and even suicide and will continue to devastate the lives of our fellow 

Australians until we put a stop to it.

'Sadness....and heartbreak. Everyone has the right to live, love and to be loved. To find 

happiness and love in their lives. I have been heartbroken by this, and in my broken heart I see 

my own shame. Shame in not speaking up sooner and using my voice. Shame that this is what 

people are saying in the name of my God. Shame that I wanted to believe that this level of 

hatred and bigotry no longer existed in our society and so I kept quiet with my head in the sand. 

I have seen for myself that it does exist, and I am truly sorry.  It is wrong for us to allow basic 

human rights like freedom to love and social equality to be subjected to a “popular” vote and it is 

a shame upon us to do anything other than to proceed with haste to ensure that right 


'I would like us to celebrate everyone being allowed to find love in their lives and respect and 

equality in their relationships.'

14th of September 2016