(Pastor Margaret Court AO, MBE, OAM photo courtesy Victory Life Centre, Perth WA)
By Spencer D Gear PhD
This article was first published in the Australian e-journal, On Line Opinion, When will bigots quit bullying Margaret Court? 27 January 2021.
It has hit the fan again in pronouncing Australian grand slam singles’ tennis champion, Margaret Court, “a bigot” for her views on homosexuality and gay marriage. The yelling has come because she has received the highest civilian honour of the level of the Order of Australia, “The Companion of the Order of Australia,” on Australia Day, 26 January 2021.
I’m using bigot according to the customary English definition, as referring to “a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion” (dictionary.com 2021. s.v. “bigot”). The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) gives a more detailed definition as referring to “a person who is obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, especially one who is prejudiced against or antagonistic towards a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group” (lexico.com 2021. s.v. “bigot”).
How is Margaret Court a bigot?
Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, slammed “the decision to honour Mrs Margaret Court, saying he didn’t want to give her “disgraceful, bigoted views any oxygen. “I think calling out bigotry is always important,” he said. He then later reiterated his disapproval of the honour on Twitter: “Grand Slam wins don’t give you some right to spew hatred and create division. Nothing does,” he wrote.
He spoke of the proposed granting of the Order of Australia (OAM) to Margaret Court on 26 January 2021. Why is the winner of 24 grand slam, singles, tennis championships a bigot according to Daniel Andrews? His claim is her stand on the Bible’s view of homosexuality and marriage is the practice of bigotry. He wouldn’t use the language of the Bible’s view but the media are happy to label her a fundamentalist Christian.
Let’s get it straight Premier Daniel Andrews.
Who is being the bigot? Is it Margaret Court who promotes the Bible’s view on sex and the marriage relationship or is it Daniel Andrews who is so enamored with the LGBTQ agenda that he can’t see the trees for the mulga? Does he need their views for votes at the next election?
Let’s get something straight. From the mouth of Margaret Court: She does not discriminate against homosexuals. She ‘loves’ them: “She insists although the bible stands against homosexuality she ‘loves’ and supports gay people through her church.”
The media and Premier Andrews regularly have a vendetta against Margaret, forgetting to tell the people that this was Jesus’ view of the marriage relationship: “God said, ‘That is why a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. And the two people will become one’” (Matthew 19:5, citing Genesis 2:24).
Jesus did not need to say: “Homosexuals should not marry.” That was contained by inference in his statement that “a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.” Wives were female in the time of Jesus. Jesus did not support the view that “a man will leave his father and mother and be joined (in sex) with another male.”
Was Jesus also being a bigot against homosexuals like Margaret Court is being accused of? Surely the media and Daniel Andrews would place Jesus also in the category of a bigot!
Bigotry is a serious Australian issue.
Daniel Andrews’ believes “calling out bigotry is always important. I don’t seek to quarrel with people but I’m asked a question and I’ve answered it.” This is one point on which I agree with Mr Andrews. It’s important to identify bigotry. Why can’t Mr Andrews see that his calling Margaret Court a bigot has caused much harm to her personally and the evangelical Christian community – those who take the Bible seriously?
The Honourable Daniel Andrews in 2018
Mr Andrews can’t get a handle on his own bigotry of being “utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.” His bigotry opposes an eminent Australian sportswoman who promotes a biblical world view on marriage and sexuality. It has been endorsed by the Christian Church for two millennia. But Mr Andrews considers it’s suitable for him to label Margaret Court the bigot and not call himself out as a bigoted, left-wing Labor Premier.
Mr Premier, it’s time for you to own up to your own opposition to Margaret Court’s world view and call your opposition for what it is – bigotry.
I’m a bigot when it comes to going to the doctor when blood is seeping through my urine. I discriminate at elections. I vote for the party whose values most consistently harmonise with my Christian world view. I will not support a party that murders unborn children and calls it a mother’s choice and does not make this a criminal offense.
In Australia, it is now illegal to kill, trap, poison or interfere with wedge-tailed eagles in any way. “In Queensland waters all whales, dolphins, dugong, seals, sea lions, marine turtles and threatened sharks are protected under the provisions of the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld) and relevant subordinate legislation.”
Aren’t these bigoted, discriminatory actions against this wildlife? Of course it is in order to protect these animals. However, it’s not a criminal offence to slaughter unborn children in the womb. When will Australian governments grapple with the legalised murder they endorse?
Since a bigot is one who “is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion,” by definition that makes Dan Andrews a bigot towards someone who is an outspoken supporter of the Bible’s view. For 2,000 years this has been taught by the Christian church but when Margaret Court dares to be faithful to her God-given commission, she is called out as a bigot by Daniel Andrews.
When will Dan Andrews also get a handle on how discriminatory his words are towards Margaret Court that should be considered persecution or bullying of Mrs Court? 7Sport (23 Jan 2021) had the headline, “Margaret Court says she’s being ‘bullied’ and it’s time for critics to stop.”
“Bullying” refers to a “person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable” (OED 2021. s.v. “bully”). The OED gives synonyms of bully as persecutor, oppressor, tyrant, tormentor, browbeater, intimidator, coercer, and subjugator. Margaret Court considers she is being bullied and persecuted. By these definitions, that’s the truth. The media, some tennis players, and a Premier such as Daniel Andrews have bullied, persecuted and browbeaten Margaret Court. It is time for these people to own up to their bullying and persecution tactics and quit doing them immediately.
Let’s black mail Margaret Court!
Two factors need to be noted before I comment on this example. “She” is a transgender person and “she” is an activist who could not tolerate a person who supported a biblical Christian’s view of sexuality and marriage. “She” did not use the language of anything to do with a Christian world view.
How would you react to the title of this article? “Canberra doctor hands back OAM in protest against Margaret Court’s Australia Day honour” (SBS News, 24 January 2021)?
The essence of the story relates to Dr Clara Tuck Meng Soo AO, who was recognised in 2016 for her work as a medical practitioner with LGBTIQ+ and HIV positive communities. The issue that is causing the furore in 2021 is that Dr Soo is handing back her AO because the decision to award Australia’s highest honour to Margaret Court is made to a person who has made comments that are “disparaging of same-sex relationships and transgender people” and that has been “very distressing.” For a photograph of Dr Soo, see: https://www.news.com.au/sport/tennis/australian-open/doctor-hands-back-oam-amid-margaret-court-controversy/news-story/17b1183ec9e0f3ce4cf698b13bdf61f6
Dr Soo continued:
If the honour awards people like Margaret Court, it is sending a message to the community that is okay to make hateful, derogatory comments about disadvantaged segments of the community…. And I felt that if I actually retained my award, I would be condoning that system.
It must be noted that Dr Soo is discriminatory towards Margaret Court’s Christian world view. Dr Soo let us peer into her agenda. She told SBS News, “I may also add that I have spent most of my adult life as a gay man before my gender transition to a woman in 2018. Therefore, have both professional experience as well as lived experience of the communities that Mrs Margaret Court makes these derogatory and hurtful remarks about.”
Leading ABC commentator, Kerry O’Brien, has done the same thing. He has refused to accept the AO medal on Australia Day 2021.
Mr O’Brien had earlier agreed to accept his appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in Tuesday’s official honours [26 Jan 2021]. But on Saturday, he wrote to reverse his decision in protest against Mrs Court’s elevation in an awards system that had already recognised her achievements as the winner of 24 Grand Slam singles tennis titles, and her charity work, with an Order of Australia in 2007 (The Sydney Morning Herald, Kerry O’Brien refuses Order of Australia after Margaret Court honour, 25 January 2021).
Getting honest definitions
There are some queer statements made by those who are anti- the homosexual agenda and those who are pro- the Christian perspective. I’m using “queer” in the sense of strange or odd (OED 2021. s.v. “queer”).
This queer definition places homosexuality outside the purview of being able to criticise it and present a different view. That makes the pro-homosexual position one of bigotry or discriminatory.
This queer definition makes Christianity’s biblical views of homosexuality into bigotry when compared with the politically correct perspectives promoting gays as a viable lifestyle supported by the general populace.
ABC News (21 Jan 2021) reported Margaret Court’s views of her statements about homosexuality and marriage:
I am a minister of the Gospel, I have been a pastor for 30 years,” she said.
I teach the bible, what God says in the Bible and I think that is my right and my privilege to be able to bring that forth.
I’m not going to change my opinions and views, and I think it’s very important for freedom of speech that we can say our beliefs….
I think it’s very sad people hold on to that and still want to bully, and I think it’s time to move on.
Pastor Margaret Court said she was “honoured” to learn of her new award for tennis on the court and her work off the court.
I still represent my nation, I pray for my nation, I pray for the LGBT, I pray for the premiers in this nation and the Prime Minister,” she said.
When asked about the hurt her views on homosexuality may cause to LGBT people, Ms Court said she never turned people away.
“I have them come in here, I have them into community services from every different background, I never turn them away,” she said.
“And I was never really pointing the finger at them as an individual. I love all people, I have nothing against people, but I’m just saying what the bible says.”
The 78-year-old said she was disappointed about how her views had been portrayed in the media and feels she was singled out due to her “high profile” (ABC News, 23 January 2021).
The facts are:
(1) The Christian world view and its view on sex, including homosexuality, will always be a country mile from the secular (godless) view. It will be labelled as bigotry or discrimination, without bothering to check that the secular, pro-LGBTIQ view is just as bigoted and discriminatory.
(2) Those who call Margaret Court’s Christian view on marriage to be bigoted and discriminatory are blind to the fact that their opposition to Court’s view presents another – but different – bigoted approach to reality.
(3) Margaret Court promotes Jesus’ vies that marriage is between a man and his female wife in first century culture, customs and biblical Christianity.
How can this be resolved?
- Get journalists, Premiers, doctors and other people in the media to be more careful with their words. I can’t see that happening.
- Examine the presuppositions underlying a person’s statements. The likelihood of Daniel Andrews agreeing with Margaret Court’s world view is zero. He needs to admit that up front: “I have an agenda and it is not Christian. In fact, it is anti-Christian and I won’t change my mind.”
- Margaret Court has already admitted, “I should always be able to say my views biblically, being a pastor and helping people with marriages and family. And I’ll never change those views.”
Remember the safety against religious bigotry in the Australian Constitution:
The starting point in any discussion about religious freedom in Australia is section 116 of the Australian Constitution:
The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.
There are four prohibitions on the Commonwealth in this section:
- establishing any religion
- imposing any religious observation
- prohibiting the free exercise of any religion
- requiring a religious test as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.
Therefore, for Daniel Andrews to prevent Margaret Court from the free exercise of the teachings on Christianity, he violates one of the prohibitions, “the free exercise of any religion,” guaranteed by the Australian Constitution.
Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 27 January 2021.