Christian prize for ‘marriage mechanic’

Christian prize for ‘marriage mechanic’

Meet Kevin Andrews and his wife Margaret. Andrews is Australia’s Federal Social Services Minister, and has just been named ‘Natural Family Man of the Year‘ by the World Congress of Families.

The dotty WCF gave an equivalent for women to the Nigerian activist Theresa Okafor, a vocal supporter of that country’s tough anti-gay laws.

The organisation says it aims to:

Affirm, defend and promote the natural family as the lifelong union of man and woman through marriage, bound by faith and tradition, for the purposes of sharing love and joy [and] having children.

Its members have campaigned against childcare centres, euthanasia, divorce, gambling, gay rights and legalised abortion, among other “pro-family” issues.

We guess that Andrews – a devout Catholic – was singled out for this accolade because a while back he had A Big Idea: to fix ailing relationships with a programme that offers a A$200 counselling voucher to 100,000 couples. The $20 million pilot scheme launched in July will allow the couples to take that voucher to an approved provider, “a marital mechanic”, for a service.

What puzzles us is that Andrews doesn’t appear to fulfill all of the WFC’s criteria in that his programme applies to couples “of all persuasions – those about to be married, the already married, the unmarried, same-sex couples,  and those hoping to soup up a sagging sex life”.

That said, it’s just been reported that Andrews has booked the main committee room of Parliament House on behalf of an anti-gay marriage organisation which is linked to the WCF, the Australian Families Association, but he won’t be attending the upcoming event.

Stephanie Convery, writing today for the Guardian, points out that Andrews’ “Tune Up Your Relationship” scheme has fallen flat on its face, with most of his vouchers remaining unclaimed. Meanwhile, popular support for marriage equality in Australia has reached an all-time high, with over 70 oercent of people in favour.

She quotes the WCF as saying:

For the past 3,000 years, in every culture, this definition of the family (a man and women united by faith and tradition, raising their children in a loving environment) has been considered beyond dispute.

This, says Convery:

Is simply untrue. Marriage, an institution that is at least 4,000 years old in general terms, has only been about “love” for little more than a couple of centuries. There is nothing natural about this current morphology, or its accompanying family structure. The institution has been in flux as long as it’s been in existence. If anything is natural, it’s that such social constructs should continue to change and develop along with the needs of the society, and this society demands better.

Hat tip: Ivan Bailey

13 responses to “Christian prize for ‘marriage mechanic’”

  1. Norman Paterson says:

    Andrews’ “Big Idea” doesn’t sound unreasonable. (Assuming the approved counsellors are reasonable of course, and not selected to promote some weird agenda.) Not so sure he’ll be happy about the WCF accolade though – they sound like a bunch of sexual extremists.

  2. Paul Cook says:

    I believe the Romans had some ideas about this bit from the WCF:
    “For the past 3,000 years, in every culture, this definition of the family (a man and women united by faith and tradition, raising their children in a loving environment) ”

    Namely lots of sex with their slaves, and the killing of their little boys. Roman cemeteries are quite full of boys aged under ten or so – beaten to death by their fathers.

    [WCF – they do wrestling too don’t they? ]

  3. L.Long says:

    Might as well be happy with these types, dotty people will be enabled as long as there is bigotry, fear, hate, intolerance for difference, and a batschite crazy BS religion to support them.

  4. Broga says:

    Romantic love is recent and an invention. Many marry just to breed e.g.the royals and aristocrats and are cynical about the reason for the relationship. Arranged marriages are the norm in many societies. And where couples are forced to endure marriage, many in Victorian times, the wife often suffers degradation and physical and mental abuse.

    Romantic love is, by its nature, ephemeral as the idealistic projection on to the loved one cannot be sustained against the experience of real married life. Thus serial marriages and relationships where people seek the chimera of the ideal partner. What you can you hope and work for is lasting deep affection.

    We attended a Christian marriage decades ago where, after much religious bullshit, we heard that the marriage was blessed and would be happy as they had been chosen by Jesus. They met at a Church bazaar! After two years they split up because of the violence of the husband.

  5. Matt Westwood says:

    “childcare centres”? Explain, someone?

  6. jay says:

    Not to mention that many cultures at one time or another had one man and several women in a marriage.

  7. tony e says:

    Does this mean (as a ‘natural family man’) that he forgages for food, builds shelters for his mate and can provide fire?

  8. Robster says:

    I was lucky(?) enough to be seated one seat away from Andrews on a flight between Sydney and Cairns back in February. He really should have been a priest/minister/pastor/televangelist or something similar. He has that priestly nature about him, soft, non-confronting, nonthreatening, when he talks to you he sort of focuses on something over your shoulder while presenting that famed, slightly confused look that christian people get while attempting to explain some of their absurd dogma to someone with more than two functioning brain cells.

  9. Robster says:

    Mr. Westwood, “childcare centres” are what preschools/kindies are called in Australia.

  10. Matt Westwood says:

    So what’s his beef with childcare centres? What makes them so specifically idolatrously satanically anti-Christian that he should take issue with them?

  11. Baruch says:

    The tradition argument brought down in ruthless style by a Republican judge….very interesting and funny…

  12. barriejohn says:

    “Family Values” – coded language that stands for misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and hatred of anything that they don’t understand and which cannot be neatly pigeonholed in their theocratic little world.

    How appropriate!

  13. Stephen Turner says:

    tony e: maybe a ‘natural family man’ is one whose family uses the rhythm method, which as a “devout Catholic”, he certainly must do!

    As for childcare centres, presumably the objection is that the mothers are out working!