Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) chairman Tony McLellan (pictured) has come under fire from progressive Christians for comments he made on ABC’s Lateline program last night that implied marriage equality advocates were motivated by Satan.
“We’ve been attacked and I suppose I put it down to a group in the media who don’t like the influence that we’ve apparently had in this debate about gay marriage,” McLellan said, weighing in on the debate around the ACL’s waning influence.
“It’s against the kingdom of god by the devil,” he continued.
“I would say that people who are trying to change the definition of marriage, which has its roots in Christianity, are obviously trying to deconstruct Christians’ views of what marriage should be. And they may well be motivated by the evil one to do that.”
The comments follow weeks of concentrated attacks on the LGBTI community by the ACL, including general manager Jim Wallace’s claim that a gay “lifestyle” is more harmful to people’s health than smoking.
The ongoing media attention on the group has prompted other Australian Christians to reject the claim that the ACL speaks for them. Notably, new pro-marriage equality group A Progressive Christian Voice Australia (APCVA) have denounced the ACL as unrepresentative of the broader Christian community.
APCVA president and Dean of St Johns’s Cathedral Brisbane the Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt told the Star Observer McLellan’s comments represented a “caricature” of the devil.
“I think many people have what I would say is a more sophisticated view of how ‘Satan’, in inverted commas, works,” Catt said.
“There’s more of a sense that in mob behaviour or something like that where people sort of have a sense of being carried away by something that’s beyond themselves, that’s probably a better expression of how the devil works or what the devil looks like rather than using the devil as a way of dismissing people you disagree with.”
Catt suggested the ACL’s comments represented an unsophisticated view of Christian doctrine.
“I think the problem of evil is a very significant problem, and to simply tag those you disagree with as being instruments of the devil is really to not take the problem of evil seriously.”