Questions and mockery

Readers of The Australian are demonstrating a commitment to informed, polite and open-minded debate simply by opening these pages or clicking on our website. So we expect readers will share our concern at a disturbing, emerging intolerance towards pluralism in some sections of the public conversation.

Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen

This new censorship, through a muscular political correctness, is obvious in the sort of media that is driven more by fashion than reason and, sadly, is increasingly evident at the ABC. There was a time when the national broadcaster would show a certain amount of respect for the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, not out of deference or religious subservience, but to show proper regard for a significant, longstanding institution playing a constructive role in our nation. When Archbishop Peter Jensen appeared on the ABC’s Q&A on Monday night there was a sense he was not there as a representative of a valid strand of community thinking but rather as a curiosity to be mocked by a crude stand-up comedian. It signalled Q&A’s retreat from discussion towards crass confrontation, and a reluctance to reason with traditional views when they can be shouted down instead.

Discussing the use of the word “submit” in Anglican marriage ceremonies, the comedian (Catherine Deveny) offered this insight to the Archbishop: “Now you can choose to go to the Anglican Church and be married in a museum by a dinosaur.” This was the sneering tone she is renowned for and presumably what she was invited on to the show to deliver. Important social issues might deserve a little more intelligence and respect.


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