Frustration abounded in my heart after hearing Maurice Williamson speak in Parliament last week during the so-called “debate” preceding the vote which legalised same-sex marriage in New Zealand. I haven’t wanted to go there. His jeering at anyone who opposed the Bill which he and the majority of his colleagues, who supposedly have the citizens of the country’s best interests at heart, upset me too deeply. Thankfully Andre van Heerden has written an amazing analysis of the speech of the new “gay icon”, showing it up for what it really was. I have reposted this from the NZ Catholic.
MP Maurice Williamson dances to nihilist beat
by ANDRE VAN HEERDEN
From the cheering headlines to the clamour on the social media, one could easily have suspected that a new Martin Luther King had arrived, and that the “I have a Dream” oration had been eclipsed.
Maurice Williamson’s speech to the New Zealand Parliament during the third reading of the bill to redefine marriage prompted a cacophony of ululating, and the unlikely hero was instantly elevated to a celebrity status normally reserved for intellectual heavyweights like Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber.
Yahoo News Canada praised Maurice’s “intelligence and wit”, the New York Times called the speech “rip-roaring and impassioned”, and Ellen DeGeneres asked the National Party’s Demosthenes to appear on her show. Gay Rights bloggers gloated that the dashing knight errant had skewered the otherwise inconsequential arguments of their opponents on his lance.
To be sure, Williamson was by turns impassioned, indignant, and ingratiating, but the lasting impression he left on any rational listener would have been one of unmitigated inanity. The speech was fallacious nonsense from beginning to end.
Let’s take it point by point.
In opening, he immediately set about assailing that favourite target of political hacks — the straw man. Maurice tried ham-handedly to imply that a major part of the opposition to the bill was made up of fundamentalist extremists. It isn’t. Among the many people opposed to a redefinition of marriage, both theist and atheist, are those from different faiths naturally against a move that is contrary to their moral standards, and threatens to involve them in future conflict with the law of the land.
The soft-soaping of this issue by politicians like Williamson simply doesn’t wash after so many of them reneged on the assurances made at the time of the Civil Union legislation several years ago. The recent scandal of 11-year-old girls prostituting themselves in south Auckland reminds one of other false assurances given by politicians like Mr Williamson.
The principal arguments against the redefinition of marriage are not religious at all, and they are the only rational arguments that have been put forward in this debate. All the emotional drivel and demonisation of opponents have come from the proponents of the legislation, and I am not here referring to the inevitable lunatic fringe to be found on both sides.
Alas, Sir Maurice would appear to be part of that inauspicious group of misanthropes. To imply, with snide pleasure, that a Catholic priest is guilty of an unnatural act by virtue of his vow of celibacy, is to betray the lack of even a rudimentary understanding of natural law or the meaning of celibacy. The MP’s embarrassing inability to even pronounce the word correctly, and his admission that “I don’t know what it’s about”, demonstrated that the honourable member is happy to spread calumny regardless of his poverty of understanding.
His putative science lesson merely revealed a laughable deficit of knowledge about science, metaphysics, and theology, but given his audience of post-modern nihilists, why should he be concerned about an inconsequential concept like truth?
The non sequitur he introduced relating to adoption was bizarre, unless one understood it as yet another attempt to defame opponents of the bill. Whatever the law may say, having two parents of the same sex is not the same as having a mother and a father, and there is a wealth of reputable research that indicates distinct advantages for children within the traditional arrangement.
His subsequent rueful reflection on the “evil” of bullying was rather comical for anyone who has watched him in action at a public meeting.
With his emotions now zipping around like pinballs, Maurice was unable to maintain the brief moment of restraint and empathy he contrived to conjure up to appease what he admitted were a huge number of genuinely concerned moderates. Barely into his conciliatory stride, he suddenly slid back into mocking them with the familiar patronising tone that plays so well with his libertarian social policy constituency. Of course, he used the same old “the sun will still come up tomorrow” argument when he supported the decriminalisation of prostitution, overlooking the fact that it also rose over Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. Another non sequitur.
The vacuous, emotional argument about “allowing two people who love each other to have that love recognised by way of marriage” is simply fallacious, holding up as a conclusion the very question that is under discussion.
Apart from its logical inadequacies, Williamson’s poignant plea tried to sweep under the rug essential facts like the glaringly obvious biological realities, socioeconomic statistics linking traditional family breakdown with burgeoning welfare payments, and the truth affirmed by all parties a few years back that civil unions gave homosexual couples all the legal recognition they needed.
After returning, predictably, to kick the straw man one last time as he prepared to deliver his would-be coup de grace, mellifluous Maurice forgot yet again to check whether he knew what he was talking about. Rustling through his notes, he triumphantly quoted the Bible, pausing briefly to lampoon the very source he was appealing to — “I thought Deuteronomy was a cat out of Cats”.
Poor Maurice, apparently, neither believes nor understands the treasure he had stolen from. And that includes the social treasure of marriage, whose meaning, he has clearly admitted, he does not understand.
Read the text of Maurice Williamson’s speech at NZ Catholic.