MP Maurice Williamson Dances to Nihilist Beat
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.
Maurice Williamson’s speech at the third reading of the bill to redefine marriage
Sir, I want to first of all congratulate Louisa Walls for this bill, and I want to say, Sir, that the good news about the years in this parliament is that you learn to deflect all of the dreadful sort of fire and brimstone accusations that are going to happen, sir.
I’ve had a reverend in my local electorate call the Gay Onslaught will start the day after you pass this bill. Sir, we’re really struggling to know what the Gay Onslaught will look like — we don’t know if it will come down the Pakuranga Highway as a series of troops, or whether it will be a gas that flows in over the electorate and slots us all in.
I also had a Catholic priest tell me that I was supporting an unnatural act. I found that quite interesting coming from someone who has taken an oath of celibacy (mispronounced) for his whole life. Celibacy — okay, we’ll go with celibacy. I haven’t got it, so I don’t know what it’s about.
I also had a letter telling me I would burn in the fires of Hell for eternity — and that was a bad mistake, because I’ve got a degree in physics. I knew the thermodynamic laws of physics — I put in my body weight and my humidity and so on . . . I assumed the furnace to be at 5000 degrees, and I will last for just on 2.1 seconds. It’s hardly eternity — what do you think?
And some more disgusting claims of what would adoption be . . . well, sir, I’ve got three fantastic adopted kids — I know how good adoption is and I found some of this just disgraceful. I found some of the bullying tactics really evil. And, sir, I (something) bullies when I was at primary school.
However, a huge amount of the opposition was from moderates — from people who were concerned who were seriously worried about what this might do to the fabric of our society. I respect their concern. I respect their worries — they were worried about what it may do to their families and so on.
Let me repeat to them now, sir. All we are doing now, sir, with this bill is allowing two people who love each other to have that love recognised by way of marriage. That is all we are doing. We are not declaring nuclear war on a foreign state; we are not bringing a virus in that could wipe out our agriculture sector forever.
We are allowing two people who love each other to have that recognised, and I can’t see what’s wrong with that for love nor money, sir. I cannot understand why someone would be opposed. I can understand why people don’t like what it is that others do — that’s fine, we’re all in that category.
But I give a promise to those people who are opposed to this bill, right now — I give you a watertight guarantee/promise — the sun will still rise tomorrow. Your teenage daughter will still argue back with you as if she knows everything. Your mortgage will not grow. You will not have skin diseases or rashes or toes in your bed, sir, the world will just carry on.
So don’t make this into a big deal — this is fantastic for the people it affects, but for the rest of us, life will go on. And finally can I say, sir, one of the messages I had was that this bill was the cause of our drought (repeat).
Well, if any of you follow my Twitter account, you will see that in the Pakuranga electorate this morning it was pouring with rain — we had the most enormous big gay rainbow across my electorate. It has to be a sign, sir. It has to be a sign, if you’re a believer, it’s certainly a sign.
And can I finish for all those who are concerned about this with a quote from the Bible. It’s from Deuteronomy . . . I thought Deuteronomy was a cat out of Cats . . . but never mind, it’s Deuteronomy 1: 29 — “Be you not afraid”.