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Get Fact: do gays have more health problems than smokers?

Yesterday, Australian Christian Lobby boss Jim Wallace told an audience debating gay marriage at the University of Tasmania that taking up smoking was a comparatively better lifestyle choice than engaging in the salacious activity associated with same-sex marriage.

I think we’re going to owe smokers a big apology when the homosexual community’s own statistics for its health — which it presents when it wants more money for health — are that is has higher rates of drug-taking, of suicide, it has the life of a male reduced by up to 20 years,” he said. Smoking, by contrast, led to a reduced life expectancy of between seven and 10 years.

This morning, Prime Minister Julia Gillard pulled out of next month’s ACL conference in Canberra, condemning Wallace’s comments as “heartless and wrong”. How wrong? In another instalment of Crikey’s Get Fact series, we put Wallace’s claims to the truth test.

There are a mountain of studies reporting poorer health outcomes among the gay community — gays are more likely to be smokers, to use and abuse drugs and to attempt suicide. In a follow-up ACL press release this morning, Wallace pointed to Canadian data sent to that country’s human rights commission showing troubling rates of alcohol use, depression, a lack of access to care, higher cancer risk and violence.

But what about life expectancy? Smokers may go to the grave a decade earlier but is a same-sex attracted person really likely to have their lives cut short simply because of their sexual preference?

Wallace’s claim about mortality  — which he previously trotted out in The Australian last year — is repeatedly used by American anti-gay groups to ratchet up political support for the sanctity of marriage. But the foundation for the statement is dubious and contested.

Much of the “data” supporting that claim relates to gay men in an urban HIV subset (as opposed to say, lesbians in a civil union), and is at least 20 years old.

Wallace’s life expectancy claims could stem from a 1997 study in the International Journal of Epidemiology which concluded that “in a major Canadian centre (Vancouver), life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bis-xual men is eight to 20 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday.

Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871,” the study said.

But the data in that study was collected between 1987 and 1992, well before advanced treatments for HIV were developed. In 2001, its authors published a follow-up study blasting “select groups in US and Finland” for exploiting the research to “suggest that gay and bis-xual men live an unhealthy lifestyle that is destructive to themselves and to others”. They wrote:

If we were to repeat this analysis today the life expectancy of gay and bis-xual men would be greatly improved. Deaths from HIV infection have declined dramatically in this population since 1996 …

It is essential to note that the life expectancy of any population is a descriptive and not a prescriptive measure. Death is a product of the way a person lives and what physical and environmental hazards he or she faces every day. It cannot be attributed solely to their s-xual orientation or any other ethnic or social factor.”

A 2009 Danish study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that while death rates among same-sex married couples was a third higher than the general population from1989 to 2004, after 1996 the mortality rate among gay men in same-sex marriages was similar to heterosexuals.

Another source favoured by gay marriage opponents is Cameron, Playfair and Wellum’s widely debunkedgay obituary” study published in 1994 in the Omega Journal of Death and Dying. It concluded gay men have an average lifespan of 43 years. The study involved researchers consulting the death notices — mostly AIDS-related — in the urban gay community press.

The problem was the study suffered from what statisticians call a “non response bias” — that is, the sample was corrupted by the non-inclusion of gay men who were still alive. According to statisticians from Columbia University, the average age of AIDS victims is about 40. But even before new treatments became widely available, only about 20% of gay men were likely to die of AIDS.

Cameron, the founder of recognised hate group Family Research Institute, followed that up with this pseudo 1998 study, “Does Homosexual Activity Shorten Life”. That was again based on surveys of gay obituaries and other “random surveys” and found the “medium age of death” for homosexuals was less than 50 years. The evidence was “consistent with previous findings suggesting that homosexual activity may be associated with a lifespan shortened by 20 to 30 years”.

Even excusing its dodgy methodology, treatment advances have rendered the conclusions defunct. As Andrew Carr, director of the HIV, immunology and infectious diseases unit at St Vincent’s Hospital, told The Sydney Morning Herald in July: ”Once upon a time the average person who got HIV had a life expectancy of about 10 years. Now, if you get HIV and go on treatment your life is still probably shorter than if you had never had the virus, but maybe only five to 10 years less.”

Carr said that when groups prone to HIV are stripped out, notably injecting drug users, then the difference becomes even smaller. And in the US, the death rate from HIV was nine times higher in 1990 than two years ago.

One of the other studies cited by Wallace in the past — a 2003 Dutch study  — found on average gay relationships only last 18 months. Those findings, published in the journal AIDS, were based on a cohort of young Dutch gays aged 18-21 residing in the middle of Amsterdam.

In fact, other research, including a study in the US state of Vermont — the first state to legalise same-sex civil unions — showed civil union households seemed to mirror that of the general population. Crucially, the data did not require “participants” or volunteers that skewed the result — it was a simple reading of the information collected by state bureaucrats.

Peversely, it is likely that media interventions like Wallace’s may in fact perpetuate many the health problems he is himself referring to. A recent study from the University of Queensland, The Psychology of Same-Sex Marriage Opposition, showed that individuals exposed to media articles bagging same-sex marriage were more likely to report feeling negative and depresseda nd more likely to feel distressed, upset, guilty, scared, afraid, ashamed and nervous. They were more likely to report loneliness, more likely to report they felt weak and powerless — and less likely to report feeling happy or positive.

A recent Psychologists for Marriage Equality submission to the Senate inquiry into the gay marriage bill cited a 2007 study showing the phenomenon of “minority stress” means “social prejudice, discrimination, and violence against lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals play a significant role in the mental health outcomes” of these groups.

So, while the gay population does appear to experience a disproportionate prevalence of negative health effects brought on by others, the evidence that gays die earlier than straights is tenuous at best. Accordingly, we rate Wallace’s claims mostly rubbish.

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  • 1
    cairns50
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    im sure this is the same guy ex sas who was always being interviewed by kerry o’brien when the iraq war was on, apparently because he was some sort of expert on warfare tactics etc

    seems now hes changed his job to became a right wing releigious gay hater

    nut case, how come these people keep getting public exposure ?

  • 2
    gautillard dellron
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    nut case, how come these people keep getting public exposure ?” - cairns50

    we need to make copy for tomorrow. quick, say something controversial” - everyone in the media.

  • 3
    Holden Back
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Just heard him on ABC radio talking about it being misleading to ‘package the gay lifestyle the same as the heterosexual lifestyle’ , and claiming to have no idea why this was offensive.

  • 4
    SusieQ
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Gillard should never have been going to the ACL conference in the first place - that really would have made them feel more important than they really are - just because Howard did it and Abbott does…..
    These American-style ‘family groups’ that peddle hatred, intolerance and bigotry need to held accountable by the rest of us for all the rubbish they spout. This article helps.

  • 5
    AaronH
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    A decent analysis, but the sub-editors really took a break in the third-last paragraph.

  • 6
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Without a condom, he is probably right

  • 7
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Actually many believe that Jesus was probably gay - is that so? In my view Jesus he did seem to hang out mostly with his male desciples and for a very long time. Sort of un-natural isn’t it? What would Jim Wallace’s views be on this matter? Take up smoking…?

  • 8
    Scott
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Anyone interested in a 2008 literature study to make up their own minds on what is a serious subject (though you wouldn’t know it from Jim and Andrew’s contributions)

    http://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1095&context=jhdrp

  • 9
    Al
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    The relationship between poor health outcomes and disempowerment is well researched and recognised in the public health and epidemiology communities. An end to homophobia and opposition to marriage equality will therefore improve the health and wellbeing of the GLBT community.

    The bigotry of Jim Wallace and his dodgy mates at the ACL will cause harm, particularly to those thousands of young Australians struggling with their sexuality in an often hostile world. Christians? Not bloody likely!

  • 10
    secondsoprano
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    @” the foundation for the statement is dubious and contested”

    That’s putting it very generously. A more accurate assesment might be “the foundation for the statement is unmitigated bollocks”

    @Cairns50 “seems now hes changed his job to became a right wing releigious gay hater”

    He’s been that for quite a while. This is just the latest in a long string of bizarre offensive rubbish.

  • 11
    Michael
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    @BILL HALLOGEN

    I think you’ve nailed it mate!

    JC must have been gay, didn’t he cark it at 33?

    If we don’t take into account the alleged resurrection I think you’ve proven your theory.

    Good work!

  • 12
    Michael
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Never mess with the Gay Lobby - they come armed with more studies than hairs on their arse.

    Psychologists for Marriage Equality submission
    The Psychology of Same-Sex Marriage Opposition
    Study in the US state of Vermont 
    A 2003 Dutch study
    Cameron, Playfair and Wellum’s widely debunked “gay obituary”
    Pseudo 1998 study, “Does Homosexual Activity Shorten Life”
    A 2009 Danish study published in the American Journal of Public Health
    1997 study in the International Journal of Epidemiology
    Canadian data sent to that country’s human rights commission

  • 13
    Hugh (Charlie) McColl
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    For me the serious question is, what was the Prime Minister doing cosying up to the Christian lobby, this one in particular - knowing they would manipulate and wedge her around the gay marriage question? Many, many of these people (the activists in the Lobby) are creationists, pure and simple. We know how they work. They are bent coins in the same way as those Intelligent Design locos in America are/were (on Earth as it is in Heaven?) - once exposed they had to be dragged kicking and screaming through the entire Earthbound, secular godless court/legal system until incontrovertibly proven guilty of lies, fraud and deception. Of making stuff up, for Christ’s sake! With Christian fundamentalists we don’t need any (more) evidence - they should be avoided like the stupid windbag cultists they are. Why, oh why is PM Gillard so attracted to them?

  • 14
    Dylan Nicholson
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Even if his comments were completely true, it’s irrelevant. If there was a particular activity (e.g., unprotected anal sex with multiple partners) that caused higher rates of mortality than smoking, then by all means you could mount a case that there should be similar health campaigns around unprotected anal sex as there have been around smoking (noting some important differences: e.g. that smoking affects a much greater percentage of the population, and that many smoking affects many people, including children, would have little choice but to inhale the second hand smoke of others). But nobody could claim with a straight face that the act of choosing to be in a homosexual relationship is in itself likely to increase mortality. Further, there’s no evidence I’m aware of that legalizing gay marriage would increase the risk factors involved in homosexual relationships, and good reason to suppose the opposite - with a culture of publicly recognised lifelong committed relationships among homosexuals established within society, it would be reasonable to hope more care and thought would go into choosing potential sexual partners.

    Anyhow - who are we to say that a same-sex couple should be denied what may well be the thing that would give them the happiest possible lives: judgement-free public and official recognition of their devotion to each other, even if you could show that such recognition would somehow potentially shorten said lives. And yes, I’d apply basically the same logic to smokers - who are we say to that they should denied what may well bring them the happiest possible lives, even if it shortens them in the process. It’s only a problem when their habit starts being a significant cost on the health and finances of other people, which is hard to see how could be the case with same-sex couples.

  • 15
    Captain Planet
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    @ Cairns50

    nut case, how come these people keep getting public exposure ?

    Sadly, because there are a lot of people out there who think just like they do.

  • 16
    Tony Hancock
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Att: Mr Bill Hilliger

    I am a gay man and I don’t care what anyone thinks about it. But just because I am, does n’t mean I have to accept rubbish comments like you made.

    To say that Jesus was gay indicates that you have not researched the matter at all and are using him for a political toe hold for some other agenda.

    If you are serious and I doubt you are, then why don’t you begin your quest by studying the texts to see what Jesus said about himself before making rediculous comments that only a moron would make. You do us no service. Grab a brain.

  • 17
    Peel Brad
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    bill that’s why JC died young

  • 18
    Helen Cameron
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    My hairdresser is gay, my choir master is gay my dance teacher is gay: they all lead lives mirroring heterosexuals, with all its rich tapestry, except in bed (and that last comment may be a grossly inaccurate statement on my part). I doubt any of them woke up one morning and shouted “Yipee I’m a homosexual”. In fact from conversations with gays over the years they all tried to live the heterosexual role initially. The recurring theme is “I accept these gay haters for who they are, why can’t they do the same for me?” Simple things such as waiting at a bus stop can be dangerous for these guys who have developed an antennae for gratuitous violence that we heterosexuals never have to contemplate. Perhaps if these gay bigots got a life then the lifestyle issues which bigots claim shorten homosexual lives such as depression, smoking and alcohol habits would be substantially reduced. If I had such bigotry directed at me on a regular basis I would be a depressive, nicotine addicted drunk, just a heterosexual one.

  • 19
    secondsoprano
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    @Peel Brad - do we know if He smoked?

  • 20
    Hugh (Charlie) McColl
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Tony Hancock, I’m not as interested in Bill Hilliger’s dubious view of whether Jesus was gay as I am of his experimental method - that because Jesus “seemed to hang out mostly with his male desciples (sic) and for a very long time. Sort of un-natural isn’t it?” He seems to mean that ‘…therefore Jesus was a poofter’.
    Not well put, Bill but maybe that’s exactly what you meant?

  • 21
    Tim Macknay
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    It’s worth remembering that H!tler sent a lot of gay people to the g@s ch@mbers. Wallace and the rest of the ACL are separated by only the thinnest of veneers from the N@z!s. They certainly have very little to do with what is normally thought of as Christian ethics.

  • 22
    floorer
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Gillard not supporting gay marriage is one thing ( I’ve read elsewhere she’s hamstrung by catholics in the party) but going to talk to this hateful mob would’ve been bloody stupid.

  • 23
    Sharkie
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    “nut case, how come these people keep getting public exposure ?”

    News limited hacks phil Hudson and Malcolm Farr wrote the ACL is “a major christian group”.

    Just like the Australian Family Association, the ACL consists of half a dozen angry cranks at best. The reason Wallace keeps getting public exposure is because our journos are either incredibly thick or want to give fringe conservative groups credibility.

    Seriously, it’s like this wallace fool is on speed dial a quote for lazy journalists.

    If gillard wants to drag public debate back into the real world, she should just start mocking and then ignoring the cranks like Wallace, Gina, Palmer, and Jones.

  • 24
    Harry1951
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Wallace has form with these sort of comments and then tries to claim he was taken out of context. I write more out of sadness rather than anger that he and his nut jobs at the ACL get any sort of attention at all. And why did the PM even fleetingly contemplate addressing the ACL’s conference ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????/

  • 25
    Harry Rogers
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    We’re all dying just some quicker than others …what’s the relevance?

  • 26
    beachcomber
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    It’s ironic that the ACL reckon homosexuality is a health hazard, yet want to penalise people eager to commit to a long term monogamous relationship aka marriage. Then there’s the ACL line about homosexulaity and eternal damnation, but you get that if you get a haircut, eat ham or where cotton/poly blend socks, so we’re all doomed anyway.

  • 27
    Stevo the Working Twistie
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    The root cause of homosexual depression, drug-dependency, suicide and other self-harming behaviour is having to deal with people like Wallace. To have it drummed into you from a young age that your very identity is dirty, evil, sinful, wrong. I am not gay, but I was a very insecure teenager and young adult, and I can well imagine how it must feel to hear this sh1t from sections of society, or even your own family, every single day. Hand me a crack pipe and a razor blade please Reverend.

  • 28
    Garmonbozia
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    On the subject of Christ and homosexuality, there are some very excellent theological studies of homoeroticism in his life and teachings; and no, it’s a little more sophisticated than just observing that he hung around with a lot of dudes. J. J. Kripal’s “The Serpent’s Gift” includes one of my favourites short studies of the possibility that Christ’s teaching was a sexual one, and that it was tacitly inclusive of homosexuals. Accept or reject it, it’s still a sensitive and inspiring reading of Scripture (at least for this non-believer.)

    Of course, the reality is that Jesus couldn’t have been “gay” as we know it because our understanding of homosexuality is very different to that of the time. Which also means that the endless quoting of Paul, the OT, etc. is irrelevant in today’s debate about homosexuality (and much else), but that’ll never stop the fundamentalists.

  • 29
    Zed Nik
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Wallace hmmm hate to say it but he appears to be just another Duntroon educated thug. He starred quite well in the military environment until his religious prejudices became public knowledge. He then sought alternative employment.

  • 30
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    These creatures like Wallace continue the ghastly falsehoods about a ‘gay lifestyle’ and then everyone wonders why gay kids in the country, with nil support, ponder suicide.

    It also confirms I made the right decision not to subscribe to News Ltd’s pathetic flagship newspaper when it runs complete tosh like Wallace’s.

    Suzanne Blake : the same applies to everyone.

  • 31
    Harry Rogers
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    I was a very insecure teenager and young adult, “

    Well Stevo you’ve made it this far so congratulations .

    Your problems probably amount to millions of others so youre definitely not alone.

    Hey…but dont worry its worth the fight …remember thatswhy we are here!

  • 32
    Styles Veronica
    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Interesting that an institution based on unverifiable myths should resort to “facts” as a way of bolstering their homophobia.
    Given that the Catholic arm of this fantasy has actively dissuaded the use of condoms, to stem AIDS in Africa. It’s breathtaking that anyone could take their opinion seriously.

  • 33
    Rab Zen
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Posted Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink - you begin your quest by studying the texts to see what Jesus said about himself .

    I can’t stand any religious nonsense and it should never enter the political arena. I agree that the spiritual meaning is taken out of context by most lukewarm christian leaning politicians for political and secular gain. There’s a name for it but it’s probably not worth repeating.

    So lets see what did Jesus, if that’s what you want to call him, actually say about himself and settle the account.

    ” I and the Father are One “

    ” He who has seen me has seen the Father ”

    ” I have come out of the Father and now I have arrived here ”

    ” no one shall come by the Father except by the Son “

    There’s much more and it’s time to stop, but this is a Kabbalist’s dream. The apostle Paul said he is the radiance of the glory of the Father and the express image of his being brought forth from before the foundation of the universe to be the Kapparah and Korban for the whole world. Paul also says he is the fulcrum point of all creation and all things were created through him and for him.

    Oh the science, or was he on drugs? Either way this is getting to much. But from the above it seems he seems to think he’s a bit more than your average hippy good bloke. If you believe him that is.

    PS note the mother/female aspect is missing from the above references. But that is a mystery solved when you dip your feet in the deeper end of the pool.

    Rab Zen

  • 34
    silentmajority
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Some of these people should take note of what Jesus actually said and not what was argued about by those that came after him.
    Specifically “I come to save, not to condemn” Look that one up first. Far too much condemnation comes from “Christians” whose favorite pastime is dictating to others.

    Another oft overlooked passage in the NT is Mathew 19:12 where Jesus specifically acknowledges men who do not marry (women) because they are homosexual. Look it up.
    He does NOT condem them.

    Getting the picture?

    You can’t be more Christian than Christ.

  • 35
    Apollo
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Rab Zen

    ” no one shall come by the Father except by the Son”

    The Son is the manifestation of the Light.

    Jesus said something like “whoever does good or the will of the Father is my brother, my mother, my father”.

    One gets to the father by manifesting the Light through sacrifice, selfless actions, give up the ego.

  • 36
    alfred venison
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Bill Hilliger! keep it up - jesus is fair game - they brought him into it. and like Tim Macknay said.
    a.v.

  • 37
    Hugh (Charlie) McColl
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Silent Majority, you claim to know what Jesus said, even though you know that Biblical references to him were not written until many decades after his death. In other words, at best it’s oral history.
    Furthermore, your reference to Matthew 19:12 introduces a completely new element: eunuchs.
    “12. For there were some eunuchs which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”
    You seem to think that eunuch=homosexual. If you look at a dictionary you will learn something. My Oxford says: eunuch - castrated man, especially one employed in harem, or as court official (esp. in the Orient or under Roman Empire). I wasn’t around all those years ago when eunuchs were a commonplace in society but I doubt that Biblical references to eunuchs ever meant anything about homosexuality. Wherever did you get that idea?

  • 38
    alfred venison
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    people should look at what jesus is actually said to have said? yes. and how about listening to what desmond tutu actually said re. war crimes trials for the self righteous oh so supposedly christian iraq war perps? a.v.

  • 39
    Rab Zen
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Yes, Apollo. The light has come into the world and manifested in garments of flesh.

    Interesting comments from the others as well.

    Rab Zen

  • 40
    fredex
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    And now for something completely different -just to stir the pot a little.

    Will we see a swag of Crikey articles on the transparent leadership struggle in the Liberal Party?
    Will we see ‘informed insider titbit analysis gossip from anonymous senior sources ’ about who has how many votes when it comes to the crunch next week, or before Xmas, or the next meeting or whenever?
    Will we see wild speculation on a daily basis of all the possible variants in the leadership disunity, with just the occasional daily beat-up?

    Just askin’.

  • 41
    fredex
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Moderated.
    Fair enough, somebody read the post in a millisecond and decided it was off topic.

  • 42
    silentmajority
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Hugh(Charlie),
    I do believe the four gospels are a fair representation of Jesus life and sayings, but that’s another argument.

    My point is Jesus condemned no one, not eunuch, homosexual, harlot or otherwise.

    That’s the bit that some “Christians” forget.

  • 43
    oldskool
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Charlie;
    “12. For there were some eunuchs which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

    I love the fact that religion is all about the metaphor and allegory, unless that metaphor and allegory doesn’t help the cause.

    So you are suggesting that there was some form of genetic illness, where a large enough proportion of the male community were born without the required parts (to be mentioned), yet has to all intents and purposes vanished from todays society without mention?

    Or may be it is a metaphor…

  • 44
    fredex
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    If you google secret gospel of mark and end up at wiki you will find a text discovered by a christian scholar in the back of forgotten ancient letters held in the monastery of Mar Saba.
    The text is supposed to have been a part of the original gospel of Mark relating to the scene in the garden where a young man flees naked.
    The text contains these lines [more at wiki]:

    ” But the youth, looking upon him [JC], loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him …….. And he [the naked young man] remained with him [JC] that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the kingdom of God. …..And the sister of the youth whom Jesus loved …”

    Hmmm.

    Don’t blame me. I’m just the messenger.

    Oh and BTW, my moderated post of a couple of hours ago was way off topic, it was just wondering if we would see a barrage of Turnbull vs Abbott/disunity in Libs ranks articles in the immediate future.

  • 45
    jeebus
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a graph that compiles the topics of ACL press releases and self reported media mentions in the first half of 2012.

    http://technicallyimpartial.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/acl-concerns.jpg

    They are fixated on lobbying against gays at the expense of the poor and needy.

    Is this the public and political face of Australian Christianity nowadays? If not, other Australian Christian organisations have a responsibility to speak up.

  • 46
    oldskool
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Fredex-
    I actually was looking for that quote, but I lost interest…

  • 47
    Rab Zen
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Wikipedia at times can not be trusted. In this matter they love putting up tired old arguments as “gospel ” be very careful with wikipedia, it’s a short cut to nowhere sometimes.

    @Old school

    (((For there were some eunuchs which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”)))

    Ok, there some predestined from the womb to be asexual, there were some who were for what ever reason made that way, a common practice at that time, by men, and there were some who did it to themselves on purpose for the kingdom of Heaven’s sake. Jesus is refering to the “asexuality ” of the eunuchs, nothing else. If you will receive it.

    @Fredex

    You might need to get yourself a more accurate translation. That text you refer to is about John, “the one that Jesus loved. ” There are many Johns during that time, but that particular “John ” is the author of the Book of John the last of the 4 gospels. He was later banished to the island of Patmos and wrote the Book of Revelation while living in a cave.

    Jesus favoured him because he had the gift of understanding and knowing beyond normal human capacity and without much teaching. But even this was due to John recognizing Jesus’s true identity and pre-eminence immediately. The others stumbled and were slow to come on but John remembered his previous existence with Jesus in the heavenly realms before incarnation to the earth realm. I would n’t read too much into it from an “earthy ‘perspective.

    Rab Zen

  • 48
    fredex
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Rab Zen

    I take, from the above, that you are not familiar with the ‘secret gospel of mark’ and the controversy surrounding it.

    The wiki article is a reasonable place to start [but not stop] if you wish to familarise yourself.
    Just the title alone might suggest to you its not about John the alleged ‘beloved disciple’.

    Anyway I’m sure others find the topic boring.

  • 49
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Epidemiologist and author Elizabeth Pisani “The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the business of AIDS” states that unless injected drugs are involved, lesbians are virtually free of AIDS. Which seems to contradict a large percentage of the unadulterated garbage uttered by fundamentalist, religious creatures, such as Jim Wallace.

    Furthermore, why do Christians hark back to a two thousand year old prophet, rather than having the guts to say they personally hate gays, before blaming and dragging the unfortunate Jesus into the act?

  • 50
    Posted Friday, 7 September 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    HUGH (CHARLIE): cheer up, Julia G only gives these self-important Christian fundamentalists space because she knows large sections of the electorate actually believe these cretins. However, think of people like Kevin Andrews, Tony Abbot, and John Winston Howard, who probably were, and are, due to be guest speakers at this tawdry hoe-down.

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