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Christian lobby ‘is not representative’
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has come under fire from the Victorian Council of Churches (VCC) for misrepresenting the views of Australian Christians.
“The VCC expresses deep concern that media portrayal of statements from an established and narrowly focused lobby group is presented as being representative of the entire Christian Community,” VCC general secretary Theo Mackaay said.
“The community needs to know that there is a range of views held on many topics in the Christian tradition, just as there are numerous views in all areas of human endeavour.
“Some groups adopt a threatening stance in their commentary, seemingly to declare ‘debate closed’ when our nation needs as wide an engagement as possible to honour the diversity in our community.
“Australian Christian Lobby Pty Ltd is a voice … that presents a particular Christian view on a range of issues, usually based on a fundamentally conservative view of the Christian faith.”
The VCC executive expressed concern that journalists rarely sought the views of Christians beyond the ACL following the ALP National Conference where the ACL was almost the only Christian voice heard in coverage of the same-sex marriage debate.
Mackaay said the VCC’s member churches held a diversity of views and therefore the VCC would never try to articulate a single position on the issue.
“We don’t have a position on the issue of same-sex marriage,” he said.
“If you asked that question at one of our executive meetings you would find there would be some who would be horrified at the thought that same-sex marriage is possibly to be legislated, others who would think that every Member of Parliament, whichever party they come from, should have a conscience vote, and others still who would leave that entirely up to the parties.”
An ACL spokeswoman denied that the group presented itself as representing Australian Christianity.
“The ACL never claims to represent all Christians,” she said. “However … we know of a number of supposed VCC church supporters which have complained to VCC executive about the statement because they weren’t consulted or aware of the media release being put out by VCC criticising the ACL.”
The VCC has 30 member churches, including Anglicans, the Salvation Army, Churches of Christ, Roman Catholics, Wesleyan Methodists, the Uniting Church, the Quakers, and Orthodox churches serving migrant communities.