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Image for Obsessed: 69% of Lyle Shelton's tweets are about LGBTI issues

Obsessed: 69% of LyleShelton's tweets are aboutLGBTI issues

Confession time.

I attended church every single week from my birth until I was about 16 years-old. My mum was the Sunday school teacher and I went every week until I was around thirteen. Once I was in high school I was brainwashed by one of those youth groups, where young super religious people make you think its cool to be conservative. I therefore have a pretty thorough understanding of the Bible and what it means to be a conservative Christian.

I understand the differences between Presbyterians (the church I’m christened in) and other Protestants and Catholics and the complex framework in which they each view the Bible. This is the context for my discussion of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), so please don’t write in bemoaning my lack of understanding of the Bible/faith.

I’m not some clueless lefty leso who hates God, although full disclosure; I’m an atheist now.

There is, without a doubt, anti-gay sentiment peppered throughout the Bible. This is just a fact. (Christians tend to pick and choose from the Bible anyway, so that’s why the majority of Christians are actually pro marriage equality.) It therefore makes perfect sense that a lobby group for conservative Christians should be against marriage equality.

It’s obviously fine that Christians having a lobby group. It’s even fine that a much smaller group of conservative Christians having a lobby group. Good for them.

So what’s the problem? Well, the ACL does not represent Conservative Christian ideals in any kind of proportional or sensical fashion.

How do I know this? Well I’m a statistician by trade so I did what I do: collected data and analysed it. I looked at two weeks’ worth of Lyle Shelton tweets. I went in with the idea of looking at three months’ worth of tweets. However, it turns out that he’s quite a prolific tweeter, so I got a large sample very quickly.

This sample includes everything Shelton tweeted from the 23rd of September going back two weeks (10th-23rd of September).

Of the 148 consecutive tweets I looked at, 62% were around safe schools or marriage equality. A further 10 tweets were non-specific anti-gay type rhetoric. In total 69% of Shelton’s tweets were about gay people, and not in a positive way, obviously. That’s a lot. I knew he was and opponent of marriage equality and he was against safe school but I don’t think I realised how obsessed with these two things he was.

Christianity is a broad church (lol) and even if we say, “okay the ACL represents a smallish percentage of conservative Christians” – this group would surely be worried about other things in addition to Safe Schools and marriage equality. Conservative Christians are against a whole host of things: euthanasia, abortions, porn, brothels etc. etc. In addition, we can’t forget the 10 commandments; don’t kill people, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal stuff etc.

I honestly thought the ACL and Mr. Shelton would be into those topics as well. I mean, fair’s fair.

In his defence there were two anti abortion tweets, three condemning violence, one each about brothels and euthanasia and three about problem gambling. I counted a total of 8% of his tweets as being about other (i.e. non LGBTI related) issues that conservative Christians might be interested in.

I wouldn’t expect the lobby group of conservative Christianity to embrace marriage equality, but I also wouldn’t expect it to be the main issue that they care about and lobby on. Shouldn’t they be out there lobbying against domestic violence or working with charities to support the homeless and elderly?

Shouldn’t even the most conservative Christians demand more than just anti-gay rhetoric from the people representing them? Don’t they want to be seen as helping people? Isn’t that what Jesus was about?

Yes, there is some pretty bad stuff about gay people in the Bible, but it definitely doesn’t make up 69% of the Bible. Most of the new testament focuses on being a good person and being awesome like Jesus. If you believe in Jesus and read the New Testament, you have to admit that Jesus would not be losing his freaking mind about marriage equality – and he definitely wouldn’t be getting his stomach in a knot over Safe Schools.

He MIGHT (maybe!) have been like, “meh, don’t love the idea of two dudes getting married” – but then he’d get on with turning water into wine, or healing some blind people or hanging out with Mary Magdalene (who was a prostitute by the way).

We need to call out the ACL for what they really are. They are an anti-LGBTI group.

They spend the majority of their time campaigning on issues that relate to the LGBTI community. Its not unexpected that a group like this exists. There have been straight people hating gay people for a long time.

They just shouldn’t be allowed to hide behind the guise of Christianity, even the highly conservative variety.

Comments

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wannie1956

wannie1956 said on the 19th Oct, 2016

Hi Victoria. Has anyone really taken an in depth look at Lyle and his cohorts past history ? Jim Wallace would be a great start to actually find out what other organisations especially in USA he worked for. Lyle himself is another to investigate why he " left " his journo job and why he failed in his venture into Parliament !! There is also the $5 million that the ACL have in their kitty without the latest money grab from their supporters . Why is so much money being accumulated and no guarantee where the money will be spent. They have stated that it will go to such and such without any guarantee that it will ! To me it's exactly like Tammy Fae and Jim Bakker all over again !! Show me the Money !!

TheOldie

TheOldie said on the 19th Oct, 2016

well I cant read the article SS wont let me................

but yeah the $ gets the grubs in ...............this one will be caught with his hand in the till and/or on his knees blowing a guy.

mikeybear

mikeybear said on the 20th Oct, 2016

Whilst I appreciate and broadly agree with the analysis the author of this article has performed, I feel it unfair to single out the anti-gay tweets from Lyle Shelton *during* a period where marriage equality (and the "package deal" with same-sex parenting and safe schools that exists in Lyle's head alone) is on the political radar.

An analysis of a 12-month period (or longer) would be far more enlightening, to reveal any long-term trends that arise. It would also show if he is permanently tweeting anti-gay rhetoric at levels exceeding other issues, even when there is nothing significant on the political radar.

vicpye

vicpye said on the 20th Oct, 2016

@Mikeybear. I totally agree that this is a biased sample (there was a long time between analysis and publication unfortunately). However, I also think that the ACL themselves are part of the reason that this is on the political radar. Its a self fulfilling prophecy, the ACL jump up and down about safe school, so a petition gets signed, so its put on the radar , so the ACL jump up and down etc etc. This is not totally the case with ME, but i think they do whip themselves into a frenzy. I think domestic violence is also very much on the political radar and they don't tweet about that!

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do a year long analysis. Unfortunately I just don't have the time at the moment. My inclination is that even over a 12 month period anti-lgbti tweets would be more than 50% - but i'd love to find out for sure!

topcatch

topcatch said on the 21st Oct, 2016

My Confession, I'm a Gay Christian! Now I've come out about that, I have to agree about Mikeybear said about the period of your statistical research. Now, I'm no statistician, but I have in fact in the last week being some research into the ACL, having looked back at articles, id have to agree that your last statement is probably close over even a 2 year period. My concern about the ACL is the title of their lobby, which gives them access to some VIPs, but in truth they represent only a small proportion of the 60% of people that identified as Christians in the 2011 Census. Have you heard of "The Macquarie Institute"? There is another place called "The Lachlan Macquarie Institute", that happens to have 4 of the 6 board members from the ACL. Name sleight of hand? One thing that Lyall Shelton does extremely well, is to be calm, seemingly non aggressive and never raises his voice in any debate. Some of these skills we in our community should aspire to, as hard as it is with these issues so close to us. We will never change the minds of Lyall and his ACL and political cronies. Its the middle Australia we have to win. Disagree of course! How couldn't we? But remain respectful, at least in Public spaces.

Dissily Mordentroge

Dissily Mordentroge said on the 21st Oct, 2016

Whilst I appreciate and broadly agree with the analysis the author of this article has performed, I feel it unfair to single out the anti-gay tweets from Lyle Shelton *during* a period where marriage equality (and the "package deal" with same-sex parenting and safe schools that exists in Lyle's head alone) is on the political radar.

An analysis of a 12-month period (or longer) would be far more enlightening, to reveal any long-term trends that arise. It would also show if he is permanently tweeting anti-gay rhetoric at levels exceeding other issues, even when there is nothing significant on the political radar.
*****

topcatch

topcatch said on the 24th Oct, 2016

Both the term 'christian' and 'respectful' have many shifting meanings. Instance I can be polite towards fools like Lyall but he'd have to work hard at changing his narrow fundamentalist views before I can respect him.
As to never changing the minds of Lyal, ACL and his political cronies I wouldn't be so sure. If we were wildly optimistic we might anticipate they've sufficient intelligence to catch up with the last hundred or so years of biblical studies. But maybe 2nd Thessalonians: Ch:2.V:11 applies?
We can't be sure but there's more than a hint of entrenched neuroticism and repression evident in people like Lyall so maybe, short of them entering long term psychotherapy, expecting them to moderate their view of theology, let alone 'perverts' such as us, is being overly optimistic?

I'm not saying to agree with him, or respect him, but being respectful is more beneficial in argument always IMHO

topcatch

topcatch said on the 24th Oct, 2016

Sadly political correctness has taken 'respect' to have a far wider meaning than it ever did.
We are told over it's politicaly incorrect to criticise the contents of so called holy books and the interpretations given them by fundamentalists. So, let's put it another way, we could, if we're being absurdly generous respect Lyall and his kind, but why that should imply we are to leave alone their narrow, bigoted and monstrously distorted theology is beyond me.
This isn't just a battle between believers and non-believers, it's a battle that's been going on within christianity and other religions since The Enlightenment.

NO NO NO!! You have me wrong!! In a democratic western world, A great and constructive debate means we are welcome to challenge peoples ideas and Interpretations!! For example, the Bible is Holy to me, but not to you, that's fine! To me the Bible actually is a living book, written about 2000 years ago, and written in a world that was smaller and simpler than ours. We have moved on from things, like slavery, stoning women etc etc. The extremeists, like the Lyall Shelton, view the book much more literally (and selectively). We will never sway their opinion, just as they cant ours. We have to work on the middle ground, the "swinging voter". The respect I'm talking about is like the Clinton/Trump debate now! Do we want the world to view us as trump?? hes happy to slag people off! Like a spoilt child! Now, Hilary doenst respect Donald, but she always tries to be dignified, in the face of much abuse and arrogance. That is respectful. Polite. We all know what she thinks, but she is the better person because she doesn't play into his hand :)