THE Australian Christian Lobby’s (ACL) managing director Lyle Shelton has defended a blog post in which he compared the growing support for same-sex marriage and the Safe Schools program to Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
In the highly contested blog post, Shelton stated that by moving towards same-sex marriage, Safe Schools Australia’s ‘gatekeepers’ were causing “unthinkable” things to happen, just as Germany’s ‘gatekeepers’ did during the Holocaust.
this whole nazi business would all be a huge spectacle if pathological reactionary @LyleShelton had any credibility to lose
— thomas violence (@thomas_violence) May 31, 2016
@LyleShelton But institutionalized sexual abuse of children for decades within churches and their schools is ok with you though right Lyle?
— Stephanie McCarthy (@tallpunksteph) May 30, 2016
.@LyleShelton How dare you belittle the suffering and loss my family experienced in the Holocaust to further your own agenda. Appalling.
— Margot Fink (@margot_fink) June 1, 2016
The thought came to Lyle after reading the recent obituary of a German expatriate, Fritz Stern, who had said that Hitler’s rise was owed less to his personality and more to the “weakness” of those who opposed him.
Speaking to the Star Observer, Shelton said he was disappointed that people on Twitter were quick to conflate outrage.
“If people are thinking that I think same-sex marriage is going to cause a Holocaust, that’s ridiculous,” he said.
“What I’m saying is that when you’ve got harmful ideologies there are consequences, and future generations will think how did this happen, why are children being taught that gender is fluid in schools?
“When people don’t speak out and oppose harmful ideologies there are bad consequences.”
Lyle added that it was the silence of Germany’s ‘gatekeepers’ he was drawing a comparison to, not the atrocities that occurred in Nazi Germany.
“I was making the point about people being silent when bad ideologies are given airplay in society – of course gay marriage isn’t like the Holocaust, but what is similar is the silence in 1930s Germany and the inability of good people to confront bad ideologies,” he said.
“How did good people go along with something as extreme as Nazism when it resulted in such a catastrophe?
“Right now, future generations will ask where the ‘gatekeepers’ were to stand and say [same-sex marriage and Safe Schools] aren’t actually based on science, it’s not true.”
With an upcoming federal election and potential $160 million plebiscite on marriage equality this year, the rights of LGBTI people around the country will increasingly become a matter of public debate.
This will include the future of Safe Schools in Australia, with state governments at odds over whether or not it should be mandatory in the classroom.
After his blog post was published, a number of community advocates called Shelton out for the damaging effect his language could have on younger LGBTI people in Australia, particularly in the lead up to the federal election.
Heartening to know @LyleShelton's hate will not win. Marriage equality is inevitable. But the damage he'll do along the way is terrifying.
— Jill Stark (@jillastark) May 31, 2016
@LyleShelton m8, you compared marriage equality to the holocaust. You don't leg to stand on when it comes to discussing rhetoric.
— Rob Stott (@Rob_Stott) May 31, 2016
@LyleShelton But it IS fluid. Like… It is. 100%. You don't get to say it isn't. Because it is. Lyle. LYLE.
— Brendan Maclean (@macleanbrendan) May 31, 2016