Australian Christian Lobby director Lyle Shelton has been condemned for likening LGBTI issues to “unthinkable” Nazi atrocities.
In a blog post this week, Mr Shelton (pictured) compared the “unthinkable” progress of marriage equality and the Safe Schools program in Australia to what happened under Germany’s Nazi regime and blamed the “cowardice and weakness” of Australian “gatekeepers”.
He appeared on Channel Ten’s The Project on Wednesday night to deny the comparison, saying he was making a parallel “between speaking up or not speaking up when bad ideas are put forward in public policy”.
But his comments have outraged members of the Australian Jewish community.
Dvir Abramovich, academic and chair of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, said the remarks were “profoundly offensive” and called on him to apologise.
“No matter how strong one’s objections to marriage equality or to the Safe Schools program is, cynically debasing, twisting and abusing the Holocaust in order to advance any agenda and to attack opponents is repugnant,” he said.
“It insults the memory of the victims, which included gay people, as well as survivors and all those who fought valiantly against the Nazis in WWII.”
Australian Marriage Equality has called for the national conversation on the issue to stay “respectful, positive and inclusive.”
“Everyone is entitled to their point of view and to have their voices heard in our national conversation about marriage equality,” AME spokesperson Shirleene Robinson said.
“We must however remember that as we discuss marriage equality that we are talking about real people, members of our families, our friends and neighbours and our tone and language must respect their dignity.
“Words can inflict terrible harm sometimes and we would ask that people of all opinions remember that. The use of intemperate language can cause deep hurt among LGBTI people and their families.”