Monday, September 10, 2012

Transcript of ABC's Q & A...featuring Peter Jensen in...Seek and Ye Shall Submit...part of the debate

TONY JONES: Okay, we’re going to move along. Thank you very much. You're watching Q&A. The next question comes from Elizabeth Anne Smith. MARRIAGE AND SUBMISSION00:23:09
ELIZABETH ANNE SMITH: As a young woman and feminist living in the 21st century, where everyone is entitled to equal rights, I would like to know what valid reason the Church has to request a wife submit to her husband in marriage.
TONY JONES: Peter Jensen, let’s start with you since you started this debate.
PETER JENSEN: I thought it might be me. Yes. Thank you very much. Thank you for the question. Really I mean that, because at long last we're beginning to have a conversation which sounds as though it's going to be a rational and serious conversation about the nature of marriage and I have to say, from my point of view and perhaps some others as well, the whole question of marriage and family is one in our community that needs careful thought. Now, when I say the Church, by the way, we have put forward a possible service for use. It's not mandatory. It's an alternative. Let me say that. What we're seeing, I think, is a clash of world views between what I’d call individualism and what you may call family or, in a sense, community. It's a clash of world views which is going on all around us and it has drastic consequences one way or another. If you agree with me that a man is a man and a woman is a woman and although they are we are absolutely equal, equal in the sight of God, both made in the image of God, both with the same destiny, both with the same value, all those things are inherent in the Christian gospel and they must remain in the Christian gospel, agree with that and yet, on the other hand, I would say there are differences between men and women which both sides bring to a marriage and we have not been good recently at working out what it is that men bring to marriage and women bring to marriage.
PETER JENSEN: Okay. Let's just get to the heart of the matter and to the question. Now, you’ve said biblical teaching is that the bride can make a voluntary promise to submit to her husband. So what exactly does the word “submit” mean to you.
PETER JENSEN: Well, it is a biblical word.
TONY JONES: Well, it's an English word, actually. It would have been in Hebrew in the Bible. PETER JENSEN: I don't know quite how to tell you this, but it was Greek actually, if that’s all right but don’t worry
TONY JONES: It's all Greek to me.
PETER JENSEN: Yes. Yes. Yes.
TONY JONES: The most common definition in English of this world is to yield or surrender one's self to the will or authority of another. Is that your definition?
PETER JENSEN: Well, am I submitting to you?
TONY JONES: I have no idea.
PETER JENSEN: Well, I am. You're the boss. I'm submitting to you but I'm still equal with you, I believe. Submission is a word with a - like all words, it’s got a range of meanings but, look, you've got to put it into context. If submission is in view, it is because a husband has made certain key promises. This is more about men than it is about women and it is about a concern that men are not being men in the community. What men bring to marriage, what men bring to anything, is that sort of physical strength, if you like, a certain degree of arrogance, a certain degree of determination to be bossy, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. What men are being asked - they were asked something before the women say anything. What men are being asked is will you live towards your wife like Jesus Christ who gave his life for his bride. Will you do that? And if the man says yes to that and only then, otherwise I would not recommend it, if a man says yes to that and so commits himself, then I believe it's right for a woman, if she chooses to, to say I submit to that in the sense that I recognise it, I respect it, and I'm going to give you space in our marriage - I'm going to give you space in our marriage to be a man.
TONY JONES: Okay. All right. I'm going to bring in Catherine Deveny and our other women panellists because the question came from a woman. I think we’ve heard it spelled out now. CATHERINE DEVENY: I think we have...
PETER JENSEN: Now, you believe in marriage.
PETER JENSEN: That's an important first point.
CATHERINE DEVENY: I don't believe in marriage.
PETER JENSEN: You don’t believe in marriage.
CATHERINE DEVENY: I've never been married but I'm a very big supporter of same-sex marriage because I believe that marriage is a mistake that everyone has the right to make. I have never been married but I would like to congratulate you on your decision to proudly fly the misogynist and medieval colours of your religion and I do support your right to discriminate within your religion. And what I think is great is that you can choose to go to Las Vegas and be married by an Elvis or now you can choose to go to the Anglican Church and be married in a museum by a dinosaur. So that's great. I congratulate you, well done. And you know what is really interesting is that keep in mind that these days, in Australia, only 30% of marriages actually occur in the Church. Seventy per cent are non religious marriages, let alone the two million people who are de factos. So I think it's interesting that you guys are going for a niche market there. I mean you guys could have gone for the Gloria Jeans, the corporate rock, the Hillsong, the ‘Be awesome for Jesus’ but you’re going, ‘No. No. Men are in charge because of the mumbo jumbo.’ So congratulations.
TONY JONES: I think you ought to be able to respond to that but briefly I just want to hear the... PETER JENSEN: Where would you start to respond to that? I'm looking for a respectful and serious discussion of very important issues.
CATHERINE DEVENY: That is respectful.
PETER JENSEN: And we get dinosaurs and this sort of stuff. Interestingly, in the churches for years now we have not been using this language and we've gone down to 30% of the market.
CATHERINE DEVENY: Mm, the market.
PETER JENSEN: I’m saying, no, I think there's a clash of - I think it was your word. I think it's a clash of cultures here, very important. I may be wrong about all this. I'm only human. I think it’s important.
TONY JONES: Can I just interrupt you, yes, because you have called for a respectful debate on marriage. Here's a quote from you on the issue though: “Secular views of marriage are driven by destructive individualism and libertarianism.” Now, is that respectful of different forms of marriage? PETER JENSEN: Yes, it is.
PETER JENSEN: I believe it - I'm not saying other forms of marriage are hopeless, by any means or anything like that, but I'm saying that there is in the culture these, what I believe are destructive forces, which have an impact on family life and an impact on our children.
TONY JONES: Let's hear from the other panellists. Anna Krien?
ANNA KRIEN: I find that comment highly disrespectful, this idea that a secular partnership or a relationship doesn't know how to commit or how to sacrifice or how to submit to one another and I think there is room for submission in a partnership but I don't think it has anything to do with gender. I think it has a lot to do with a situation. You know, for example, you know when your partner's under pressure so you go easy on them. The other day we had to work out which car we had to give up and my Holden panel van won because my car is better so he submitted to me and I do tend to like it that way. But, you know, it's a give and take partnership and I do find it a bit disrespectful, I think, this idea that, you know, a secular relationship is therefore completely Hedonistic and based on individualism and I just think that's a ridiculous sort of that’s a ridiculous thing to say because you can't I think it's really hard to comment on anyone's relationship but to start having these rules that the woman must submit to the man and only if he does his duty by her, which is kind of psycho alert for me which is I'm doing this because I love you, dear, and before you know you know, I just think it's a - I think...
TONY JONES: Let's hear from Concetta. Now, I mean you're married. C
TONY JONES: So give us your perspective.
CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Well, this is what I like about - just in response to Catherine, you know, I love the chattering classes. Never tried it themselves but always ready to comment from the sidelines.
CATHERINE DEVENY: No. No. I’ve had a 17 year relationship and I’m a two - that’s, hey listen, marriage was invented, love wasn’t.
CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Well for me, Tony, I married 22 years ago in a traditional naval ceremony at HMAS WATSON so, for me, marriage was not just marrying my husband, John, but also the naval tradition that went with that marriage. I believe that marriage is...
TONY JONES: Is there a naval command structure in your marriage?
CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Yes, I have to say that. Yes, there is. When it's not 1pm it's 1300 hours, Tony. But, for me, it is about the public vows that people make and whether you make them in an Anglican faith or a Catholic faith or any other faith, people submit and submit to those promises in a public forum because they love the person and they want to do it in that religion. So for me it's not a matter of what anyone thinks, it's really a matter of what the Anglican Church thinks and what Archbishop Jensen's flock believe is appropriate for them when they want to marry in the Anglican faith. It's really not for us to come along here and criticise the Anglican faith because that's what they want to do when they marry somebody or what Archbishop Jensen wants to do when he marries somebody.
TONY JONES: Okay. I just want to quickly hear from Chris Evans there.
CHRIS EVANS: Well, just to make sure we're not splitting along gender lines, as a married man I don't think I have any trouble being a man in the marriage, whatever that means.
CATHERINE DEVENY: Do you submit?
CHRIS EVANS: And my wife, my partner, drafted our wedding vows and submission wasn't in them, I might add, and after my input it still wasn't in there and nor should it be. Nor should it be. I think that's a really I respect people in the Church making their own views about these things but quite frankly I don't think there's a place in a modern Australia with equality and anti-discriminatory revisions that we ought to have the concept of submission in a marriage ceremony.
TONY JONES: All right. We've got one more question on that.
ANNA KRIEN: Can I just say...
TONY JONES: We’ve just got another question on this so we'll go to that first. It's from Bronwyn Fraser. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE00:33:33
BRONWYN FRASER: Hi. I work with Christian cultures - women in Christian cultures overseas who do have this biblical wife submission approach to marriage and they also report some of the highest levels of domestic violence and sexually-based violence. Up to 60% of the women have experienced this. Could it be that this sort of inequality in marriage can lead to domestic and sexually-based violence and, as a Christian, how does this actually represent what Jesus stood for?
TONY JONES: Peter Jensen?
PETER JENSEN: Yep. I believe this, again, gets to the heart of issues that are very important and can I say I utterly abominate the whole idea of domestic violence. I think it's a wicked thing and any person - particularly any man who lays his hand on his wife is, to my mind, committing a grave sin. So that is what I believe. Now, is my view contributing to that end? I trust not because, properly understood, my view is saying that no man could ever do that, that it's really he is to behave towards his wife as Jesus Christ behaved towards the Church. In other words laying down his life for his wife. Now, that is how it is - that is his promise. If domestic violence occurs, it is because a man has broken his own vows, in my opinion. So I take your point. It is certainly a discussion we need to have but I don't think that it's a true understanding of what people are promising under these circumstances.
TONY JONES: Anna Krien?
ANNA KRIEN: I’m just thinking about the market thing. If you do want to sort of attract a market and broaden the Anglican Church's sort of bringing more people in, there's a huge market out there busting to get married. It's called the pink market.
CATHERINE DEVENY: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, the same-sex people.
ANNA KRIEN: They’re busting for it.
CATHERINE DEVENY: They would love to come along.
ANNA KRIEN: Yeah. You should leave us out of it.
TONY JONES: Perhaps, well, you might as well respond to that. I mean why is marriage okay for men and women but not men and men or women and women if you have the same ideas of respect and love built into them? Perhaps even Christianity?
PETER JENSEN: Yeah. Yeah. And again there's an argument for this and it's one that we ought to conduct in the right spirit, I believe, and with give and take and listening to the whole matter. I do... TONY JONES: So you have an open mind about gay marriage?
PETER JENSEN: Well, I have the same open mind most people have about most things. Namely, with a good argument you may change your mind but for the moment you keep going down one track.
CATHERINE DEVENY: Really? That's interesting. For me rights are rights. It doesn't need an argument. People are people and nobody should be able to stand in the way of how people want to celebrate their love. You know, I said I'm against marriage but I believe that same-sex couples have the right to be married and I can't wait until it happens because it's not a matter of if but when. This is happening all over the world. I mean Iceland even has a lesbian Prime Minister with a wife. So I can't wait until I can be at the weddings of my and the divorces of my same-sex couples and, you know, and hold their babies and be able to explain to my children - my sons just always ask, "Why would anyone care if someone was gay? Why can't they get married?" I don't have an answer for them. TONY JONES: Okay. I'm going to keep going on because we've got quite a lot of questions in the audience. This is Q&A. It’s live and interactive. Our next question comes from Peter Keegan. WALLACE OFFENCE00:36:55
PETER KEEGAN: The Australian Christian Lobby has again made the headlines for offensive remarks made by its director, Jim Wallace. As a Christian, I continually find that the ACL does not speak for me and does not represent the kind of faith that I see reflected in the teaching and ministry of Jesus. Archbishop, will you publically say that contributions like those we heard from the ACL pose a greater risk to the health of our public discourse and the integrity of our faith than the presence of lifestyles or beliefs that may differ from our own?
PETER JENSEN: Again, thanks for the question. No, I won't say that. I am generally supportive of ACL, I have to say. I don't support everything that's said by its leaders.
TONY JONES: What about this very specific statement where Jim Wallace suggests that homosexuality poses the same kind of health risk to the community as smoking does?
PETER JENSEN: It needs to be observed that he has been somewhat quoted out of context in some reports. I'm not sure about that one but in some reports he's been somewhat quoted out of context. But what he has done for us, rightly or wrongly, what he has done is given us an opportunity to talk about something significant, namely the question of health risks. Now, I think it is true to say - I think it is true to say - it's very hard to get all the facts here because we don't want to talk about it and in this country censorship is alive and well, believe me. So what I'm about to say, I don't want to say because I know I'm going to be hit over the head for the next 100 years about it so - and it's a virulent censorship. Now, I will still go ahead. What I want to say is that as far as I can see by trying to get to the facts, the lifespan of practising gays is significantly shorter than the ordinary, so called, heterosexual man. I think that seems to be the case. Now what we need to do is to look at why this may be the case and we need to do it in a compassionate and objective way. Some people say it's because of the things I say and the position I take and that creates, for example, a spate of suicides. That may be true but how can we get at the facts if we're never willing to talk about it? Now, there may be other things as well.
TONY JONES: I’ll just bring you up there because we actually do have a video question along these lines and it's from Alistair...
PETER JENSEN: Well, I would like to finish when the moment arrives because it's so important. TONY JONES: But you’ll be able to finish because it’s very specifically on that. PETER JENSEN: Okay. Thank you.
TONY JONES: And we'll come back to it. It's from Alistair Cornell in Payneham, South Australia. GAY REJECTION00:39:35
ALISTAIR CORNELL: My question is for Peter Jensen. I was born and bred Anglican but at the age of 15 I tried to take my own life. What advice would he give to a 15 year old suffering almost to the point of death from the rejection of his community about being gay?
PETER JENSEN: Thank you and thank you for the courage of coming on and telling us that story. You see, one of the difficulties is to get that story, to get it to someone like me and to give me the chance to assess it for what it is, to offer whatever pastoral advice I may be able to offer, to listen to what's being said, but to recognise that we're dealing with very, very complex issues here. It may be that the things I say are having such an effect but it may be something quite different all together and... TONY JONES: Such as what, for example?
PETER JENSEN: Well a 15 year old sorry, I need to be careful here. We don't want to talk about this particular young man with his courage. But clearly a teenager is going through a period in their lives, exciting as it is, in which they're seeking to find themselves. A person who feels in themselves same-sex attraction and I might add, a lot of such folk have talked to me over the years, is seeking, I think, to find themselves, to find an identity and in our sort of society, with its emphasis on sexual activity as an identity finding activity, there is therefore the opportunity to think that that is the way to do things and yet here you have this frowned upon same-sex feeling.
TONY JONES: Okay, I’ve just to interrupt because we do need to hear other panellists on this subject but put simply are you saying or repeating, in a way, or making, you know, a sort of more complex argument about what Jim Wallace said, which is homosexuality is bad for your health? Are you seriously trying to make that argument tonight?
PETER JENSEN: I would like to know see, people tell me that it is and they produce literature on the subject. I can't get a discussion going on this because it's a forbidden subject. Now, I'm open on this. I hope it's not true, Tony. I don't want to see my friends dying and I've seen my friends dying. I don’t want to see that. I don't want to hear stories like that. But, dear friends, sorry, when do we get to the point where we can talk about this without shouting at each other and hurting each other?
TONY JONES: All right. Okay.
PETER JENSEN: That's what I want to know.
TONY JONES: All right. Let's go across the panel. Catherine Deveny, keep it brief?
CATHERINE DEVENY: No one needs to be explained to them, do they, homosexuality is not a health risk? Homophobia is a health risk. Hate kills. Hate causes suicide. Hate causes self-harm and hate causes depression. It's not homosexuality, it's homophobia.
TONY JONES: Chris Evans.
CHRIS EVANS: Well I thought the comments were very uncalled for and wrong. I think the evidence some of these groups rely on that claim statistics are bogus and I don't think there's any great link that I've seen between homosexuality and life outcomes and I think, quite frankly, it was pretty poor taste.
TONY JONES: Do you want to respond to what the Archbishop is saying, because he's raising it as a debate tonight?
CHRIS EVANS: Well, it's a debate some people want to have. I would like to see that based on fact but I don't think it was raised for the purpose of having an intelligent debate. I don't think that was the purpose at all.
TONY JONES: Anna Krien.
ANNA KRIEN: I just think that, in response to your comments, I think that you have great influence and your words do have power and I think if you do make a certain community feel ostracised and not on par with the heterosexual community then you're bound to be creating a situation where people feel worthless and lonely and, you know, subject to self-destruction. So I think, in answer to the conversation that you want to have, I think you do have a lot of power and a lot of influence and you could choose to wield that however you want.
TONY JONES: Concetta Fierravanti-Wells?
TONY JONES: I mean, well, bear in mind here that you're the Shadow Spokesperson for Mental Health. CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Yes.
TONY JONES: And that young man clearly says he tried to take his own life.
TONY JONES: We've seen many other cases where this has happened.
CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: And I think on World Suicide Prevention Day it was a very timely question. I mean 1 in 40 people take their lives every day. There’s the statistics in relation to people who attempt suicide and in particular youth suicide. I mean we're talking about 23% of young people between the ages of 15 and 24, the main cause of death is suicide.
TONY JONES: And would you accept that certainly that was raised in the question, but is homophobia one of the issues for young people in Australia?
CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Can I just make a couple of points in relation to it? Look, I don’t want to and I'm not here to defend Jim Wallace. As a former SAS officer I think he can defend himself but what I do want to say is that in the literature, and there is literature when you look at some of the medical journals and there is a comparison with life expectancy of people who are HIV positive as opposed to people who are not HIV positive and I think that's probably, if we put it on that health basis and we look at it from that health perspective, look at the health complications that people that do have HIV that are HIV positive as opposed to those who aren't and I think that's really where...
TONY JONES: There’s someone with their hand just sort of jumped up in the air there.
CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: ...where, perhaps, Jim was coming from and perhaps has been misquoted.
TONY JONES: All right. I'm sorry to interrupt you but someone just raised their hand very smartly there.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: There's so much going on here that I don't even quite know where to start. For starters the rates of HIV among the heterosexual community is actually raising faster than the rates of HIV within the homosexual community. Also, your statements about the death rates among the homosexual community that we have a lower life expectancy of some I just don't even comprehend. Our Indigenous population, unfortunately, also has a lower life expectancy so is then a correlation there that perhaps there's something wrong with them and not non-Indigenous people? And just a final I just - my mind is absolutely blown. I'm really sorry about that but I'm also a youth worker that works with tremendous same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people and if you would like to have a conversation with me, I'm more than happy to sit down with you and have a beer and give you the research and give you the quotes and give you the comments of the pain and suffering that does occur because of things like what you and what the ACL say. I can say it from the bottom of my heart: really, are you serious?
TONY JONES: Peter Jensen.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Beer, if you’d like to.
PETER JENSEN: Sorry. Yes, I am really serious but I would like to know in a dispassionate way, in an objective way, what the facts are. I think it's very, very...
CATHERINE DEVENY: I think she's got the facts for you.
PETER JENSEN: I think she says she has the facts.
TONY JONES: Well, hang on. Sorry, we're not going to make a giant debate within the audience. PETER JENSEN: But these are very complex matters and it's all very well to say what I say causes this. That, to my mind, is already facile.
TONY JONES: Well, can I just ask, presumably you've looked at some of the science around the health statistics, have you actually looked at the science about the gay gene which suggests that it is intrinsic in a person their sexuality and if you've looked at that, I would ask you this: if God actually created homosexuals, would you not then have to turn around and change your mind on all of these issues?
PETER JENSEN: Thank you, Tony. God did create homosexuals. I don't need the gene to tell me that. God created homosexuals. God created every person and loves every person, without doubt. TONY JONES: No, I mean he created if there is a gay gene, would you say the creator was responsible for creating that?
PETER JENSEN: Well, I would say that that that may be the case but we're not talking about same-sex attraction, we're talking about the acting out of same-sex attraction. We're talking about well, I realise that we're living in a very, very different world from the one I'm talking about but I'm living in a world where a number of my friends have life long committed themselves to no sexual relations. TONY JONES: All right, I'm just going to interrupt because there are several people with their hands up. We'll take this gentleman here.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes, Peter, I'm 100% gay and I'm HIV negative and I'm not going to die any time sooner than anybody else.
PETER JENSEN: I’m glad to hear it.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: If we're going to talk about the facts, we're going to talk about something in between homosexuality and illness which is basically condom use. If you're looking at the rates of HIV necessarily with the whole gay physiology thing, it's that if you're going to talk blatantly about it, the anus is much more a problem area with HIV than the vagina, okay? So really we're talking about condom use and people not using condoms when they should. So really you can condemn an HIV positive man for not using a condom as much as you can condemn a teenage mother and really one gets life and the other gets death in a way so there appears to be a greater condemnation of gay men (indistinct)...
TONY JONES: Okay, I’m sorry. I’m going to - we’ve got a few people with their hands up so I'm going to take yours as a comment. I’ll just go to that young woman down there.
PETER JENSEN: But can I say that is the sort of...
TONY JONES: Yep, you can.
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.
TONY JONES: The young lady down the front.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'd like to know whether Peter thinks that his comments on gay marriage as well as the submission of women in marriages might contribute might have contributed to the rise of atheism within our society?
TONY JONES: Go ahead.
PETER JENSEN: No, I don't think so. These things, I think, are disconnected in actual fact. Do you want to talk about atheism?
TONY JONES: Well you have said your ideas are unfashionable, let's put it that way. So if they're unfashionable will there be a fashion leading a lot of people away from the church?
PETER JENSEN: Not on atheism. No, I think these things will become - I think they clarify where people stand and I think there's been a lot of clarification in the last decade about atheism and about religion. I'm not sure the number of atheists has grown an inch in the last decade.
TONY JONES: I'm going to go to a question on that subject. It's from Liz Hooper. ATHEISM AND OPEN MINDS00:50:50
LIZ HOOPER: With the seeming rise of noisy atheism, I'm wondering, Catherine, how are you sure that there is no God and is there anything that would convince you either to give up on atheism and become an agnostic or a theist or even a Christian?
CATHERINE DEVENY: That's a really good question. I couldn't be a Christian because I'm intolerant of intolerance but I don't think anyone could call themselves a 100% atheist. I believe that there could be a God in the same way that I believe that there could be a Tooth Fairy, a Father Christmas or an Easter Bunny so it’s all - there's no proof to it but it’s not only...
CHRIS EVANS: So there's not an Easter Bunny?
CATHERINE DEVENY: I'm sorry. Chris.
CATHERINE DEVENY: For me, I mean, you can took about proof and there’s no proof. I mean one of the things that I always think about is like if God exists why doesn't he show himself? But when you actually look at the Bible, which is - that's the only text that I’m - like, religious text that I'm really familiar with, it is basically social engineering embedded in fairytales and horror stories which is just chock full of homophobia, misogyny, discrimination and division and most people haven’t even read it. It has been written by 44 - you know, 60 people, I think, 44 chapters, you know, three different languages over thousands of years, thousands of different interpretations and despite all of those different interpretations, the only thing they can all agree on is homophobia, misogyny, discrimination and division. So, I'm sorry, the way that I see it, it’s just been a very, very handy way to keep people in their place, particularly women, homosexuals and people who don't believe what they believe. TONY JONES: Okay. All right. Let's hear from the rest of the panel and I'll come back to Peter Jensen. Do you believe in God, Senator?
CHRIS EVANS: No, I don't but I don't actually think it matters. I think you ought to live your life according to your own values, treat people the way you want to be treated and live by those values and if there's a God then they will work it out if it's a problem for me. But some people need spirituality. Some people need belief. That's fine. It comforts people. That's their decision. Mine is I don't feel I need it and I try and live my life according to my own values and I think that's all that matters.
TONY JONES: Concetta?
CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Thank you. Well, I do believe in God and I'm very proud to believe in God and, indeed, I know that there are millions of people around Australia who share my belief and perhaps, you know, believing in God and in Christianity and the values and beliefs that come with it for those, as I call, the chattering classes, may not be very fashionable but can I say that I believe that there is a silent majority in this country that believes in the traditions that go with Christianity, that go with the tradition of marriage that is opposed to same-sex marriage and they are the silent majority in this country and it really irks me the way that, you know, people come along and just always rubbish God and Christianity. You know, do we hear you rubbishing, you know, Allah or Buddha or anybody like that? You know, give the Christians a break because there's millions of them in this country.
CATHERINE DEVENY: Because they’re so oppressed. I'm sorry I really need to say homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice. Religion is. Keep that in mind.
TONY JONES: Anna Krien? Sorry. Anna Krien? It's a tough one. Start with the basic question: do you believe in God?
ANNA KRIEN: I'm pretty happy with a mystery. I think people who belong to a certain religion desire certainty and I don't sort of disagree with that desire. People do want to have they want to know - you know, want to know some of the rules and they want to have an idea of what's going to happen to them after and what's going to happen to them before and I think that's fine but I'm quite pleasantly happy with uncertainty and a mystery.
TONY JONES: Mystery, Peter Jensen.
TONY JONES: Well, let me just pick up on something that Catherine Deveny said earlier. Why are there no more miracles? Why is it that only in biblical days people got the proof they required to become Christians?
CATHERINE DEVENY: Yeah. I'd like to see an arm grow back on or a head grow back on, you know. One of the things that always amazes...
TONY JONES: No. No. No. This is...
PETER JENSEN: But this is really interesting.
CATHERINE DEVENY: No, but I really would.
TONY JONES: Come on, she is an interesting person.
CATHERINE DEVENY: That would answer my question, if I saw that.
TONY JONES: Catherine. Catherine. I’d like to - we're going to give the last word to Peter Jensen on this subject.
CATHERINE DEVENY: Go. Go on. Go on, Pete.
PETER JENSEN: Okay. Has God shown himself? Yes, I believe he has and I believe he's shown himself in Jesus Christ. I believe if you want to know examine his life, examine what he said, examine his miracles and that's where the big issue is. Come back to Jesus Christ and examine his life, examine what he said, examine what's around him. I have to say that Catherine's account of the Bible is as fanciful as a tooth fairy. It's got no bearing on the reality of the Bible.
CATHERINE DEVENY: You mustn’t have read it.
PETER JENSEN: Yeah, I've read it a bit. And really the big look, I tell you what, the big story of the Bible is just as simple as anything. Jesus Christ came into the world to save us and he is God amongst us. What more could we ask? I tell you what, it's the most gracious I'm so sorry you've got your view of it.
CATHERINE DEVENY: You said, “What more could we ask?” Equality, that would be good. PETER JENSEN: Well, we've got it because every man and woman...
CATHERINE DEVENY: I'm sorry, a white middle class man like you does have it. Try being disabled, try being an asylum seeker, try being gay, try being a woman, you’ll find it's not there. TONY JONES: Okay. All right, Catherine. No. No. No. No. Okay. All right. Sorry, I said we’d give him the last word. I didn’t mean...
CATHERINE DEVENY: Yeah, I think he said plenty of words.
PETER JENSEN: Well, the last word is that in Jesus Christ we have that equality and in Jesus Christ was have that salvation and all I can say is the most wonder that the love of God for everyone, no matter who they are, no matter how they've lived or whatever, is the greatest reality in the world. TONY JONES: Okay. We're ending tonight with a kind of blessing. We thank our panel: Chris Evans, Catherine Deveny, Peter Jensen, Anna Krien and Concetta Fierravanti Wells. Next week on Q&A Israeli born historian Ilan Pappe, who is visiting Australia for the Edward Sayed Lecture and the Festival of Dangerous Ideas to argue for a cultural boycott of Israel; prominent Australian barrister and passionate supporter of Israel Irving Wallach; the newly re-elected Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore; The Australian's foreign editor Greg Sheridan; the celebrated Author of Tracks, Robyn Davidson. Until next week's Q&A, good night.

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