It’s not easy being an ‘expert’ commentator about both Christianity and all things military. Former commander of Australia’s SAS (Special Air Services) and the current managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby discovered the pitfalls this week. His tweet during the 25 April national ANZAC Day commemoration is certainly causing a storm:
(Thanks to @MariekeHardy for the screen shot.)
The original tweet, ‘Just hope that as we remember Servicemen and women today we remember the Australia they fought for – wasn’t gay marriage and Islamic!‘, has been deleted.
John Richardson at Your Democracy, ‘democracy is not a spectator sport’, couldn’t resist the religious pun in his post title when attacking Wallace for using his father in his explanation:
What kind of low-life, mealy-mouthed hypocrite would seek to justify his behaviour by dragging his 96 year-old father into the situation …. Wallace may be a former member of the SAS but my Uncles, both of whom fought in Tobruk & on the Kokoda Trail, would view his actions as an act of cowardice.
One thing that Wallace senior would be familiar with, that has never gone away, is our propensity for racism & bigotry. That people like his ‘christian son’ think that this is what they fought for simply demonstrates what a senseless waste war really is.
christian soldiers …..
Ross's Right Angle sees no need for the backdown:
Aussies should be grateful for that guy who’s getting abused by all the worst elements in Australia. Just a pity he didn’t stick to his guns. He has nothing to say sorry for.
… He should never have apologised. He told the truth about how those who sacrificed so much would feel.
ANZAC Day, NOT ANZAC ‘GAY!’ Keep Australia Worth Fighting For!
Senthorun Raj, Senior Policy Advisor for the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSW) and NSW Vice-President of Amnesty International Australia, posted at The Punch. He takes issue with Wallace’s reference to gay marriage:
As we commemorate ANZAC Day, we not only reflect upon the events of World War I, we also remember what it means to be Australian. An Australia built on mateship, equality and fairness should not allow for any one group of people to be discriminated or marginalised on the basis of their identity.
So why does equality for all, regardless of sex, sexuality or gender identity still cause great anxiety for some?
Christian lobby chief violates the true Anzac spirit
A common defence to twitter indiscretions is that the writer is new to the medium. Wallace claims that he has only a week’s real experience with twitter. However, many tweeters claim otherwise:
GrogsGamut Greg Jericho
Jim Wallace says he's been on Twitter “seriously” for “one week”. When was his first tweet? 2 Feb 2010… http://bit.ly/eWuxsv
Sophist In Training, ‘Thoughts of a Melbourne law student’, ponders where conservatives stand on the issue of gay marriage:
Sparked by @JimWallaceACL ‘s little Twitter fail today and the inevitable cyber-lynching by the ‘gaystapo’ (cheers to Bill Muehlenberg for that gem ) which followed, I started to wonder whether the divide between ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ gay marriage has been wrongly perceived as a left/right issue.
… I’m struggling to think why a self-declared ‘right-winger’ would (in light of modern politics) would necessarily have an opinion on gay marriage in Australia.
Are Australia’s Right Against Gay Marriage?
At Culture Watch, Bill Muehlenberg is not afraid of what he sees as PC:
Jim Wallace, who now heads up the Australian Christian Lobby, was 100 per cent correct in making his remarks.
Instead of living in a democracy where various points of view can be freely heard, we are instead living in a PC state where it is becoming increasingly risky to dare say anything that will rock the PC agendas. The homosexual lobby is clearly the most Stalinist in this regard. They will tolerate absolutely no dissent from their radical agenda.
Anzacs and Political Correctness
The Conscience Vote, ‘Politics for the Human’, is unimpressed by Wallace’s apology:
Notice that Wallace is not apologising for the sentiment, only the timing. So, on any other day, Wallace thinks it would be perfectly fine for him to link Australian deaths in war to his organisation’s ongoing campaign against same-sex marriage (and queer people in general) – not to mention his preoccupation with some imagined creeping ‘Arab menace’. Just not today.
Lest we forget – Anzac Day’s not for politics
The blogosphere and twitterati have been exceptionally active with their comments. Please click any of the above links or search twitter at JimWallace for strong comments from both sides.
This seems to have been another example of that viral cyber disease: not thinking before you tweet.
(Personal note: I have been known to take issue with Jim Wallace about similar issues through my blogs and on twitter.)