The problem with Margaret Court

When God came to visit Margaret Court as she scrubbed the dishes one night and told her to “go forth” and set up a church one could guess it would all end in tears one day.

A woman of incredulous beliefs, hypocrisy, charlatanism and greed she preaches a destructive supernatural creed that is considered heresy by mainstream Christendom. It is quite true that Margaret Court persecutes minority groups with the God given “love” she has for them.

Single mothers, drug users, Muslims, non Liberal voters and homosexuals all cop a holy spray. It’s no secret that protestors are at the Australian Open today to peacefully voice what is really long overdue opposition to one of Australia’s most legendary bigots. Although the claim is being made that she doesn’t cash in on her past life in tennis the truth is that she does.

One of the creepiest is messing with young school kids minds by handing out imitation Wimbledon trophy trays to those judged by the group of which she is patron, Creationist lobbyists, Drug Free Australia to have the most biblical anti-drug message. That they are anti-equality, anti-safe sex and safe drug use hence a threat to public health is a message students aren’t told.

Margaret’s journey from tennis “legend”, to psychological wreck to auditory hallucination as Jesus’ private interlocutor had been striking. Plunged to the depths of depression when adoring cheers were finally silenced Margaret could see no way forward. As psychosis lapped at the edges of her consciousness and she lay bedridden with a broken mind, Margaret made a life changing decision. She found a bible and read it from front to back, believing every word.

At about the same time Margaret was claiming she had a torn heart valve. She got hold of an anatomy book, opened it at the page depicting a heart and laid it on the hallway table. Every time she passed she willed herself with the healing power of God that this was her “perfect heart”. Not long after she reported a miraculously repaired heart valve.

Clearly, no longer in Kansas so to speak, Margaret needed help. Proper, long term clinical help. It never came. Exactly what role was played by husband Barry in creating the new Margaret Court is not clear. I have every sympathy for a chap who believed his wife was spiritually touched after such a gruesome ordeal. However the quality of associates she now chose to further her “instructions” left much to be desired.

Margaret knocked over her bible “studies” in about a year at Rhema Bible College, thus becomming a pastor. Next a hefty payment to Oral Roberts University provided her with a dodgy doctorate as a Word of Faith adherent. Word of Faith attracts extreme condemnation from mainstream Christians as it teaches accumulation of material goods and wealth is itself a path to enlightenment: Economic Materialism. Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin are well known Word of Faith profiteers.

It’s a blend of Christian Science, New Age Mysticism, Christianity and Gnosticism. Its basic foundation is that it deifies humans and diminishes God. Word of Faith practitioners believe they wield the power of God through speech – hence the name – and that God must serve them:

And they believe that they have the same power as God, to create and destroy by speaking using “the Word of Faith.” And with their prosperity doctrine, they believe that their pleasures should be filled and they should be served by God on earth (making them gods on earth).

Court herself has dangled this threat of speaking destruction to punish Australia for failing to re-elect John Howard through united prayer in 2007. In a rare moment of lucidity, Court graciously admitted it was just a reminder and when it came to unleashing Divine Power through speech, “He (God) is Sovereign”.

Yet by this time Court was a fierce Christian Zionist, enemy of Islam and close friend of Danny Nalliah from Catch The Fire Ministries. Danny is well known for blaming the February 2009 Black Saturday bush fires on divine punishment for the decriminalisation of abortion in Victoria, and for his personal visit from Jesus to confirm Howard would win the 2007 election.

She wrote on his website in December 2007:

This man stood up for the Body of Christ against the vilification law; he was persecuted by many in the Body of Christ for his stand, but he pushed through for you and me so that we still have that freedom to openly share Jesus Christ.

From the Prophetic office he gave direction to the Church for our Nation, but the church did not take heed to what he had said – that the Body of Christ unite in prayer and action.  (2 Chronicles 7:14)

I believe we are at a very pivotal time for our nation and for the church.

We had righteous leaders in Mr Howard and Mr Costello and how much easier it is for the church to fulfill the destiny spiritually when you have God fearing men at the top leading a Nation.  Now you have a Prime Minister who says, “that public servants will advise me, not God” to lead our Nation.  (Release:  Southern Cross Broadcasting in Melbourne, Nov 30 2007)

I was praying and God showed me we have allowed a religious spirit to come back over our Nation. God always gives me Numbers 14 for this Nation where Moses repented on behalf of the people; we need to repent on behalf of the church.  The government of this nation is on our shoulders (Isaiah 9:6) – we govern in the spirit; but a lot of the church is looking at man instead of God (Matthew 6:24-33)

I love the body of Christ; what a powerful army when we stand united together in prayer and Word. Let’s stand together for God to manifest Himself; believing and proclaiming that we are a righteous Nation, a God-fearing Nation and that His hand is on our Nation.

♠ – The “Body of Christ” is a term for collective Christians. ♣ – The “Prophetic Office” is the term used to describe a personal visit with Jesus or God.

Word of Faithers also deny a belief in The Trinity and the traditional story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Probably finalised by Kenneth Hagin their story of Jesus’ demise is that he was crucified and died. From there he went to hell and was tortured by demons. A bit of a whimp he yelled and screamed for help until the archangel Gabriel swooped into hell, defeated the demons and saved Jesus’ skin.

All offences together have earned them the dubious honour of being known as heretics throughout Christendom. Their misinterpretation of the bible is legendary. Court recently said that same sex marriage would, “legitimise what God calls abominable sexual practices”.

This is utter nonsense. She is referring to Leviticus, chapter 18 verse 22:

You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination

We know that the book of Leviticus could not have been “written by Moses” as the defence goes. And as a defence it is demonstrably absurd noting that Moses was big on genocide, slavery and the kidnapping of virgins. Whilst the origin of some material is lost in antiquity the notion of the book as “written by Moses” began sometime in the 1st century. Leviticus itself continued to be modified up until around 540-330 BCE.

This is the Persian Era and may offer some insight into why the final book is a strict book of complex rules, much like Sharia law. I’m not suggesting it is Islamic, merely that the notion of rules instructing humans in the manner of living was popular in the middle east for centuries. Leviticus is 27 chapters of rules on festivals, eating, sacrifice, sexual behaviour, cleanliness, judgement and more.

Scholars are quick to point out that the tribes-people who wrote chapter 18 on sexual behaviour were known to use male anal rape as a means in war and of civilised punishment. Homosexuality was also accepted and legal. Not only is the meaning of Leviticus 18:22 lost in translation and time, a glaring absence is that of reference to gay women.

Thus it is not an instruction forbidding homosexuality. The most widely accepted definition is that it pertains to procreation. The word “abomination” in this sense relies upon it’s meaning as a violation of law. A violation of the tribal rule (necessity) to procreate. This was the explanation I heard, with references, in a lecture from a real biblical scholar and I give it credence over that of a megalomaniac and bigot like Margaret Court.

Today Court runs Victory Life Centre in Perth piping TVangelism to over 30 South East Asian locations, making the proverbial fortune. Still patron of Drug Free Australia she may be proud that they have caused enormous damage to children, families, education, public health and illicit drug policy. There are many reasons why this disturbed ex-tennis player should be called out for the antisocial opportunist that she is.

Giving a legitimate face to archaic homophobic views based on ignorance is something Australians should resist.

Drawing from a child indoctrinated by Drug Free Australia. The knife handle reads, “John 10:10” – The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and life to the full. Be Drug Free And You Will Be With Me, says God (top right).

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Howard’s bigoted legacy is still with us

Yesterday was National Marriage Day, a celebration of homophobia, bigotry and fundamentalist clap trap held at Parliament House and organised by my old agents provocateur Warwick and Alison Marsh of The Fatherhood Foundation aka Dads4kids.

In recent years I spent a great deal of time in the immensely rewarding debunking and challenging of Christian Science and fundamentalism that had crept into illicit drug policy, leaving high numbers of vulnerable Aussies dead and/or abused in exorcisms. Young earth creationists, enemies of Darwin and “postmodernist science”, I remember one member writing on a public email list that I was “filled with hate” after I quoted from a Skeptic publication. I had begun to call family values “the F Word”.

Thanks to John Howard’s archaic views and federal health minister (no less) Tony Abbott’s short sightedness Australia fell away from being a world leader in harm reduction. In crept new terms like “harm prevention” (behaviour modification) and the argument amongst many that a family that eats together and goes to church together is “drug proofing” children, that jail was “compassionate”, even “love”. “I can’t help you if you can’t read (the bible)”, offered one opponent.

Debates on controlling lethal blood borne viruses flowed easily across the lines of discrimination and strident attempts were made to ban “addiction causing” needle exchanges, close injecting facilities and revive that old standard – condoms “cause” AIDS by promoting sexual promiscuity. We struggled to defend against well funded attacks from those who treated addiction not as a health problem, not just as a crime problem but as sin. Our problem, one Parliamentary Inquiry was told was that we suffered from “the disease sex, drugs and rock n roll”.

The epidemiological mechanisms of HIV spread are well known. Safe sex and safe injecting as components of harm reduction protect our entire community. Yet for some God fearing conservatives “beasts” and “self abusing sinners” just must not be. Worse, one only need read Andrew Bolt to see how easily is is to whip up support for all things “unnatural”. Drug policy critics, architects and representatives of the gay community and HIV educators were all targetted. Slowly but surely they drew their plans against us.

Yet, with reality being the undeniable thing it is, they gradually faded into the background. Although not until undermining 25 years of public health progress that is still years from being regained. To be sure the creatures from Drug Free Australia are still with us but are presently relegated primarily to preaching to Swedish and Scandinavian based human rights opponents. Where organised far right wing Christian fundamentalism against anything left leaning (that arguably bolsters dangerous minds like Anders Brevik) has it’s home.

A constant feature popping up and leaving you momentarily too stunned to move – like some moral horror from a Whack-a-Mole game designed by Stephen King – was Dads4Kids. Their delusion is simple. A Christian family “as God intended” is the answer to all social ills, whilst it’s absence is the cause.

So, it was with little surprise yesterday that I noticed Wazza and Aly playing much the same tune as on 18th September 2007 when John Howard took the podium at the National Strategic Summit on Marriage, Family and Fatherhood (see video below). John was also kind enough to open up Parliament House for the occasion. “Key leaders” in the “marriage, family and fatherhood movement” gathered along with whom Wazza and Aly claim were “academics and researchers”.

The “marriage manifesto” – A vision for the renewal of marriage in Australia today was born to these proud beaming parents. No doubt a phobic blueprint for discrimination against equality and same sex union, peppered with horrors that must befall the little ones, it’s success is mimicked in the fact that no-one has ever heard of it. They also released 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters (embedded below) which links homosexuality to drug abuse, crime and paedophilia. Speakers also included Senator John Holt, then Attorney General, Philip Ruddock, shadow Attorney General Joe Ludwick, minister for family and community, Mal Brough, minister for immigration, Kevin Andrews “and many others”. John Howard takes us back to Missouri circa 1950;

…. I am a strong believer that every child should have the opportunity of growing up with a mother and a father. I have that very strong view and you will be aware that I practiced what I preached in relation to policy issues on that, stretching way back to some stances I took in relation to IVF and er.. the like, some years ago. And of course the changes to the definition of marriage in the federal marriage legislation which I sponsored in 2004. I also happen to believe that a proper functioning family is the best social welfare system mankind’s ever devised [Applause]…. I wish you well and I think the goals of your coalition are first rate and I hope to keep in communication with you…

Oh my. How quickly we forget. How well Abbott has blinded us to the dysfunctional impact of conservatism. Given Abbott has no alternative policies and runs on the adrenalin of contrary attacks on Julia Gillard we would do well to remember this is the very dreck we so longed to have gone from federal office. In November 2009, Nicola Roxon dumped from her staff a “health ambassador” who was a co-author of 21 reasons why gender matters. At almost the same time, Abbott described himself as “the ideological love child of John Howard and Bronwyn Bishop”. Be afraid dear reader, be very afraid. The bigotry of the Coalition is alive and well.

So yesterday’s phobic fun fest was predictable. Always attention seeking and always unprofessional Warwick and Alison Marsh chose to channel Miranda Devine, who recently linked gay parents and Penny Wong to the London riots. It was no accident that Devine published her article in the lead up to National Marriage Day, and took a swipe at Labor’s upcoming national conference with same sex marriage on the agenda. Devine wrote in part;

The traditional heterosexual norm of a nuclear family and children is something to be kept in a closet like an embarrassment… No one can be a wife or husband any more. Everyone is a “partner”.

“You don’t have a child to make a political point, do you?” [Wong] says. But others are having a field day, cynically using the four-month pregnancy as a weapon in the relentless push for same-sex marriage.

You only had to see the burning streets of London last week to see the manifestation of a fatherless society. The collapse of family life in Britain has been laid bare, reported to have the highest proportion of single mothers in Europe and nearly half of all children suffering family breakdown by the age of 16.

Devine is still fighting criticism on Twitter almost three days later as I write. The Marsh couple, whose impact on kids who don’t fit their narrow views is all too clear and who use creepy terms like “father wound” to describe the absence of a father, also missed the primary flaw in this foul argument. Over one third of heterosexual marriages fail and one would expect these moral judges to get their own house in order before launching into single mums and gay couples. Nonetheless Wazza and Aly shine with their duo performance;

Warwick: Cultural elites many are whom are ultra-feminists have waged war on marriage and fatherhood in Britain for three decades. Last weeks riots are a prime example of their success.

Alison: Tragically exactly the same thing is happening here in Australia. Congratulations have flowed to the well known radical feminist Penny Wong, and her lesbian partner on the impending birth of her partners new baby.

Warwick:  But where are the tears for the child who will grow up without her father in the home? Or where are the tears for the fatherless children who will one day occupy over 70% of the capacity of our already overcrowded jails?

Alison: Where are the tears for the fatherless children who medicate their father wound through self destructive alcohol, drug, porn and sex addiction? And who will in many cases end up taking their own lives.

Bob Katter was there seeking to reclaim the word “gay”. “Nobody has the right to take that word off us… and that image off us”. No real comment other than an observation. The only other time I’ve heard this nonsense was during an awesome episode of The Infidel Guy in which Regi did battle with a hate filled and foul mouthed Tim Phelps. The son of Westboro Baptist founder Fred Phelps, Tim also had deep longings for this “beautiful word”. I imagine Fred Flintstone is similarly shattered.

Fortunately Peter Reith, Fran Kelly and Peter Lewis give this insult the swift disposal it deserves. “Disgraceful, shameful… a warping of the debate to talk about fatherless children as though they’re the children of gay couples… the most offensive thing I’ve heard on The Drum, including anything panelists have ever said”.

Now on with the show below. But I’ll stress this one more time. Just what do you think the science illiterate Tony Abbott has to offer Australians? Be afraid… be very afraid.

National Marriage Day Critiqued on The Drum

National Strategic Summit on Marriage, Family and Fatherhood 2007

Why Gender Matters