I have written to the Australian Governor-General to express my concern about the leaked of the proposed Companion of the Order of Australia award to Rev. Dr. Margaret Court AO, MBE, Australia’s highest civilian award.
The following is a copy of my email to the Governor General sent this afternoon requesting that he reconsider and revoke the award.
My Dear Governor-General
I write to express my sincere concerns about Rev Margaret Court AO’s proposed appointment as a Companion of the Order of Australia.
I understand that she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2007 for her services to tennis. There is no doubt that she was and continues to be the most successful women’s tennis player globally, even to this point of time, so that award then (apart from being rather late) is entirely appropriate. Rev Courts was also a Centenary Medal recipient in 2001 and received an MBE in 1967 for her involvement in sport. Let’s also recall that she has a significant stadium named after her and was recognised at the Australian Open in 2020 being 50 years from her success. (I do note that it appears it was something that she demanded rather than was humbled to participate in).
Whilst we don’t have the privilege of being aware of the reasons for her being upgraded to the Companion, it cannot be for tennis, so the question is for what?
We know that Rev Court has been one of the most divisive people in Australia in the last 9 – 10 years.
A person who has used their platform as a tennis player to spread hatred towards the LGBTIQ community in Australia and misinformation about LGBTIQ people.
I write this letter as an active Christian within the Uniting Church of Australia, and a member of the LGBTIQ community and an advocate for the community. For clarity, I am writing in my own capacity and not on behalf of any organisations I have an association.
I think it is vital that we review some of the commentary of Rev. Court over the recent years.
From a background perspective even before her engagement with her anti-LGBTIQ crusade, there are real concerns about her thoughts towards non-white people.
Rev Court’s public commentary condemning the LGBTIQ community and marriage equality goes back to at least 1990 in the public domain.
In 1990 in the UK on the front page of one of the large daily newspapers, she attacked members of the LGBTIQ in professional sport. She was falsely stating that Lesbians players would turn other tennis players gay.
December 2011 (which reference commentary back to 2002)
“Court, who is the founder and senior pastor at Victory Life Church in Perth, has urged Australians to make a stand against same-sex marriage, saying no human law could ever change God’s divine laws.”
“Court said society was best served by strong family units that comprised a mum, dad and children and that there was no reason to put forward “alternative, unhealthy, unnatural unions” as a substitute.
“Court has had a history of anti-gay comments, accusing lesbians of ruining women’s tennis and calling Navratilova a bad example to young players.”
“In 2002 she said Damir Dokic’s concern about daughter Jelena being exposed to lesbians on the circuit was “understandable” and campaigned against Western Australian laws that gave gay couples equal legal rights as de facto couples.”
“To dismantle this sole definition of marriage and try to legitimise what God calls abominable sexual practices that include sodomy, reveals our ignorance as to the ills that come when society is forced to accept law that violates their very own God-given nature of what is right and what is wrong,” the newspaper quoted her as saying.
When looking at families, it is essential to recognise that children within LGBTIQ families perform as well, if not better than their peers in heteronormative families. “We identified 79 scholarly studies that met our criteria for adding to knowledge about the well-being of children with gay or lesbian parents. Of those studies, 75 concluded that children of gay or lesbian parents fare no worse than other children. ….. Taken together, this research forms an overwhelming scholarly consensus, based on over three decades of peer-reviewed research, that having a gay or lesbian parent does not harm children.”
2019 Marriage Equality
Court’s engagement in the Marriage Equality campaign was very destructive and also very ignorant. During her commentary, she stated that “lust for the flesh” and that LGBT tendencies in young people were “all the devil”. “That’s what Hitler did. That’s what communism did,” Court said, “get in the minds of the children. There’s a whole plot in our nation and in the nations of the world to get in the minds of the children.”
Her suggestion that LGBTIQ advocates where like Hitler were unacceptable. Like many Australians, they knew of the history of Hitler’s atrocities to the Jews; unfortunately, our education system has failed. Most people are unaware of what Hitler also did to the homosexuals, disabled, Gypsies and others.
In particular, all the homosexuals were rounded up. The gay rights movement symbol of the Pink Triangle came from the concentration camps as that was a patch on the clothes of the homosexuals. It was much larger than for other groups, and they were hoping that they would be bashed in the concentration camps. Further, they were subject to medical experiments, and it is estimated that 15000 were killed in the gas chambers.
“Hatred of homosexuals was determined by both party ideology and the personal obsessions of the leaders, and especially of Heinrich Himmler, the main originator of the plan to exterminate homosexuals. For Himmler and other Nazi ideologues, homosexuals—like Jews—were the incarnation of degeneracy. They saw Jews and homosexuals as outsiders and inferior human beings who threatened the purity of der Volk.”
“Those who wore the pink triangle were brutally treated by camp guards and other categories of inmates, particularly those who wore the green (criminals), red (political criminals) and black (asocials) triangles.”
Further, it is important to recall that one of the first acts that Hitler’s regime undertook was the destruction of the “Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, a German name that roughly translates to the Institute of Sexology.” This library was considered the most extensive LGBTQ library globally and probably the most important around transgender people.
Would you allow a person with similar sentiments towards Jewish people to receive the top honour in the Australian system?
There are so many other examples around Rev Court’s comments, but I will leave those here, and I am sure with some very quick Google searches (if we still have that capability) you will be able to find even more.
Translational Issues of the English Bible
One of the challenges is that many Christians use the Bible to condemn the LGBTIQ community. One of the critical issues is that until 1946 the word homosexual didn’t appear in any English translations of the Bible. It was introduced into the 1946 RSV version by error. When people look into the context and culture, the translation to homosexuality does not make sense. When you look at translations into other traditional languages, you don’t see the equivalent of homosexual. So, I contend, just like with Biblical justification of racism and slavery, the Biblical rationale for rejection of LGBTIQ people is not sustainable within the Christian thinking.
There are Consequences of these types of Comments
During the Israel Folau matter, I have been aware of some youth/young adult suicides/suicide attempts, some through my Church network and one through an article in the public domain such as this quote. “Julie rang me late yesterday. Matt [12 years old] is in hospital after a suicide attempt. He’s twelve. He’s a great kid who has been terribly distressed by everything that is happening right now about Israel Folau’s fight with Rugby Australia over Folau’s right to freedom of speech, and about Matt’s idol’s continued stance on homosexuality as a sin against God.”
I therefore earnestly urge you to reconsider the awarding to Rev Dr Margaret Court the honour of the Companion of the Order of Australia and withdraw the award.
I look forward to your correspondence in response to my request.