Keep It Light
A controversy recently erupted over Coopers Brewery cancelling a limited edition release of their Coopers Premium Light Beer. Coopers had planned to release 10,000 cases of beer cans emblazoned with different Bible verses to commemorate the 200th birthday of The Bible Society. In conjunction with the release, The Bible Society produced a video of Liberal Party MPs politely discussing the issue of Same-Sex Marriage, taking different sides without disagreement. The video exhorts Australians to ‘Keep It Light’.
Coopers cancelled the release following a boycott by pubs with a LGBT clientele.
Many Christians then expressed shock, outrage and disgust over Cooper’s decision to cancel the release of Bible Society cans saying that the Gay Lobby had bullied Coopers into their decision, that this was typical of the bullying tactics of the Gay Lobby and that free speech in Australia was dead. Examples are here, here and here.
In my view Coopers got what they deserved. Coopers are not neutral on the Marriage Equality question. They were just pretending to be. The LGBT community saw through the charade instantly and called Coopers out for being anti-Same Sex marriage, which they are.
I think Coopers got what they deserved.
The following is a fictional scenario designed to show how Christian groups have over-reacted to the Coopers decision:
Officeworks decide to assist The Australian Federation Of Islamic Councils celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of the first English language Qu’ran.
So Officeworks release a special edition of Copy Paper emblazoned with quotes from the Qu’ran on them such as
‘And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah’?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say).”
AFIC release a video with Liberal and Conservative Christians debating whether or not Jesus is God, while referring special edition Officeworks Qu’ranic Copy Paper.
The video participants all agree that a discussion about whether or not Jesus Is God is of vital importance to Australia.
Subsequently it emerges that Officeworks are long-time donors to Islamic Charities and to AFIC and most of the Officeworks board are Muslims.
1. Are Officeworks neutral on the Jesus issue ?
2. What are Officeworks trying to achieve by releasing Qu’ranic copy paper ?
3. Some churches boycott Officeworks. Are they justified in doing so ?
4. Are these churches enemies of free speech ?
5. Can we now say that free speech is dead as a result of the church boycott ?
Initially Coopers defended The Bible Society video, saying that the video debate was light-hearted, balanced and mature and that ‘its a debate we need to have’. This essentially endorsed The Bible Society’s line that the “national conversation” on Same-Sex marriage had become “fraught with shallowness and contempt for those who have a differing opinion”.
These different phrasings of the same sentiment are exactly how anti-Same Sex Marriage organisations voice their opinion that the Gay Lobby uses bullying and intimidation to achieve its goals. When anti-Same Sex organisations speak to each other or to their members they typically characterise LGBT advocates as intolerant, shouty bullies, as the three articles here, here and here demonstrate.
But when anti-Same Sex Marriage organisations or persons wish to talk with the general community they emphasise the need for balance, mutual respect and good manners as Coopers initially did, mirroring the language of Dr. Peter Jensen of the Anglican Church when he appeared on Q&A (See and Ye Shall Submit, 10 Sep, 2012) to discuss Gender and Marriage issues a couple of years ago.
PETER JENSEN: You’re speaking to me as though you respect me and I respect you, well I hope you do. Let’s have a respectful discussion on these matters not (AUDIENCE MEMBER SHOWN SNEERING). OK, I’m sorry.
The audience member sneered at Jensen because Jensen’s appeal to respect was transparently insincere and oily as a perusal of the video will show, the segment quoted above occurring about 90% of the way into the episode.
In short, the LGBT community recognised the language markers of their opponents in The Bible Society video and in Coopers defence of it. They saw through the charade and reacted to it. The entire campaign of Coopers was a pretence at impartiality by organisations that are already committed to an anti-Same Sex Marriage position.
The long history of Coopers with The Bible Society, their long history of donating to Christian charities is the behaviour which confirms the correct instincts of the LGBT community to the true attitude of Coopers to Same-Sex Marriage which is to reject it.
Which of course Coopers are entitled to do.
But Coopers should not be pretending that they are impartial on the issue.
And Christians should re-evaluate their over-reaction to Coopers decision.