Chinese Christian churches across Sydney are warning that same-sex marriage could pave the way for legalised polygamy and radical gender theory classes in schools as they seek to mobilise their followers to vote in the plebiscite.
The Sydney Chinese Christian Churches Association has written to around 50 member churches across the city, urging them to use their Sunday sermons to preach opposition to same-sex marriage.
Topping its list of concerns is the potential for marriage to be redefined “however people want it to be defined — polygamy, transgender marriage — the permutations are endless”, according to the letter headed ‘Five Reasons to vote NO in the SSM Survey’.
“If same-sex marriage is legalised this will open the door for a radical and dangerous understanding of gender to be promoted and taught throughout our school systems from preschool through to high school and beyond,” it says.
West Sydney Chinese Christian Church Reverend Frankie Law dedicated 40 minutes of his Sunday sermon to the issue and has called for a greater recognition of the impact of same-sex marriage on broader society.
Reverend Law, who also chairs the SCCCA, told The Australian that he held grave fears for the ability of religious ministers like himself to preach the Biblical view of marriage as being between a man and a womanwithout facing ramifications under anti-discrimination laws.
“Can a same-sex couple sue me because I stand in the pulpit and make a comment in line with what the Bible says about marriage? It’s is already happening,” he said, referring to the case of Tasmania’s Catholic Archbishop, Julian Porteous, who recently faced legal action over the distribution of a brochure to Catholic schools outlining the Church’s support of traditional marriage.
Mr Law said that the debate around the issue had so far ignored the consequences of legalising same-sex marriage.
He said the Chinese community were generally “quite softly spoken” on the issue, but held serious concerns regardless.
“We are disappointed the debate has been very one-sided and biased to the Yes vote,” he said.
“We are trying to explain to our congregations, to our members, why they should vote no. It’s not just about saying no because. It’s about saying there are irreversible consequences.
“Once you change [marriage], you can’t bring it back.”
The SCCCA letter to churches also argues that the same-sex marriage push would change the way society understands the family, which had traditionally been built around the marriage of a man and a woman. It also talks about the rights of children to know both their mother and father in cases where same-sex couples have children.
“Any changes to this sociological aspect will being irrecoverable long term instability to human society,” it says.
The SCCCA’s entry into the debate comes as other religious groups and conservative politicians have ramped up their lobbying on issues of religious freedom.
Church leaders, faith groups and legal scholars last week backed John Howard’s call for the government to outline protections for religious freedoms ahead of the same-sex marriage vote, while criticising debate around the issue for being shallow, driven by slogans and shortsighted.
By REBECCA URBAN