An Open Letter to Peter Madden (CDP)

Dear Peter

How big is that hole you are digging for yourself at the Christian Democratic Party headquarters?
Your YouTube video “Heal Our Land - Stand for Righteousness”, calling for a shutdown of Mardi Gras ‘anarchy’, as you call it, has caused quite a stir. I am sure you were unaware of the backlash this would create. 20 likes and 700 dislikes, on YouTube, possibly give you some indication of the success of your campaign.
The mindset and language in the video reflects a culture of over 20 years ago (1989) when The Rev. Fred Nile, with several hundred Christians, walked up Oxford Street in a ‘cleansing’ march. Far from that being an act of cleansing Oxford Street from the homosexual menace, Australian society has become more accepting of diversity and many of the inequalities experienced by gay and lesbian people have been addressed. This is not so in some areas of the Christian Church however. History tells us the church rarely leads positive change but in fact often opposes it. Equality for people of colour, interracial marriages and the role of women in the church are just some examples. To enter the political arena you will need to be more in touch with relevant issues.
Like many people who criticise the Mardi Gras parade, you seem to lack understanding of its significance, history and positive impact on the City of Sydney. Far from being a celebration of G-strings, sex toys and debauchery, as you’ve said, it’s a celebration of pride and acceptance for a group of people who have suffered for decades because of their own and society’s ignorance about sexual orientation and gender diversity. Homosexuality is not a sin, it’s an orientation.
Your heterosexuality is celebrated every single day with weddings, engagements, anniversaries, baby showers, christenings etc., so surely it’s not too much to ask that we celebrate who we are once a year.
Summarising your initial video the words, ‘sensationalist’, ‘fear-mongering’ and ‘stereotyping’ come to mind.
I am referring to statements such as:
·         “100,000’s of drunken youth will come to Sydney streets and be incited to all kind of lust, filth and moral depravity”
·         “Mardi Gras is Sydney’s high day of sexual immorality”
·         “Hyde Park will be strewn with the bodies of drunken teenagers. 13, 14 and 15 year old children, celebrating watching and participating in forms of sex they can’t understand.
·         “Mardi Gras is a parade of live porn”
·         “There will be beatings, drugs, alcohol, violence and debauchery"
·         “This is not an attack on bruised and confused individuals”
Am I to assume the last comment is about gay and lesbian individuals or are you referring to the 100,000’s of drunken youth? I don’t think that that the majority of the LGBT community or well respected figures such as Olympian, Matthew Mitcham, political leaders like Penny Wong and Bob Brown or former High Court Judge Michael Kirby see ourselves as bruised and broken. This is not only untrue it is highly offensive. I will resist the temptation of returning the favour by labelling you.
If you intend developing a career as a politician, can I suggest that you will have to stop talking like a militant,  emotional, preacher behind a pulpit and begin talking facts and act more like a normal, informed person.
As if you hadn’t done enough damage…… then you post another video; A Response to Comments on Stand For Righteousness. Wasn’t the hole big enough?
I think most people struggle with the truth of your protests of “not being homophobic”, “you don’t hate homosexuals but that you actually love them”. The fact that you, like Fred Nile, refuse to use the term gay or even our increasingly cumbersome acronym, the LGBT community, is a reflection of your lack of respect for us. Your statement the other day that you “love the sinner but hate the sin” is nothing more than a tired, hackneyed cliché and a cover up. We hear the hate but we don’t see the love.

BTW… I do have something to thank you for.
Your video has incensed a number of ministers, feeling that our community might think you represent the Christian church, and they have contacted me, asking if they can march with Freedom 2 b[e] in this year’s parade. This happened in 2008 when 100 (The 100 Revs) Evangelical and Pentecostal ministers signed an apology and marched in the parade to say sorry for the way the church had treated so many of us. The ministers were moved to tears that day by the ovation of the crowd and the hospitality shown to them by our community.
I think an apology from you is also in order for the misrepresentation of our community and parade.
Peter, I don’t see you as the enemy. The enemy is ignorance. The kind of ignorance demonstrated in your videos and shows that your understanding of sexual orientation, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and LGBT people as a whole is sadly lacking.
Anthony Venn-Brown 
LGBT community leader, author of A Life of Unlearning: a journey to find the truth and Co-founder of Freedom 2 b[e]

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