Australian Christian Lulz misses the point

Australian Christian Lulz misses the point

Summary: The australianchristianlobby.org domain has been snapped up by a group that doesn't share the organisation's values, but there is another ACL website that we should be more concerned about.

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A feminist group calling itself the Australian Cat Ladies has managed to buy up the australianchristianlobby.org domain name, but in the ensuing media frenzy, all have missed that the Australian Christian Lobby owns a domain name that is downright misleading.

The Australian Christian Lobby group is arguably the most influential religious-based lobbying group in Australia. The organisation claims to represent Christian values, but does not disclose member numbers, and indeed, many Christians disavow the actions of the group, particularly after the organisation's leader, Jim Wallace, has said that being gay was more hazardous to a person's health than smoking. The group claims it is bipartisan, but frequently criticises the Greens, and has recently shifted support towards the Coalition after Labor changed its party platform to endorse same-sex marriage.

The group has recently been lobbying the Coalition to reaffirm that it will not change its party platform to allow a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, which could potentially lead to a change of the law that would follow in the footsteps of New Zealand and the United Kingdom in allowing same-sex marriages.

Given the organisation's divisive influence on politics, it is unsurprising that people would find a way to go and buy up a domain name related to the organisation for their own purposes. While the Australian Christian Lobby has the .org.au address, which redirects to acl.org.au, the organisation neglected to purchase the .org address, meaning it is now host to the Australian Cat Ladies.

Buying up related domain names is not all that unique or new. Most large companies buy up almost every conceivable domain name that could be related to their brand as defensive purchases just to prevent this sort of thing happening. One of the complaints from the Australian government around the move to generic top-level domain names was that for domains such as .suck and .fail, companies would need to buy out all their own domains to ensure that commonwealthbank.fail or telstra.suck isn't snapped up by angry customers.

One domain I would like to have seen taken away from the Australian Christian Lobby is the AustraliaVotes.org.au address. Apart from an ACL logo in the top corner, it is not immediately obvious that the site is seeking to push the lobby group's values rather than being a hub for information about the election. The content hasn't been updated since 2010, but as we near the 2013 election in September, I wouldn't be surprised if the lobby group sought to use this to push its agenda again. Especially if there ends up being a referendum on same-sex marriage.

That domain is much more misleading than a site about cat ladies.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Government, Government AU

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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11 comments
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  • Christian values

    God never destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because the residents practiced bad habits, these cities were destroyed because the residents were sinning in the eyes of the Lord, sins which included homosexuality. The comments by Jim Wallace reflects this basic Christian premise, at least Jim had the gal to stand up and oppose this abominable sin rather than to follow mainstream opinion in this regard.
    LenzRulz
    • Religious nut!

      There is no god you delusional fool! Someone else being homosexual will have no affect on you at all. Do the world a favour and keep your ignorance and hatred confined to your church with the rest of the weak minded loonies.
      Woody Skates
    • Word of warning

      You're clearly worried that God is going to come and destroy cities because there are homosexuals in them, so if I were you I'd move out into a remote rural home, because I can guarantee to you there are men being the bottom all over the country.
      karl_w_w
    • Which "Gal"

      ...did he have stand up? And was she cute? Ignore that last question. I could never find a raging homophobe attractive.

      BTW, maybe try actually reading the Bible and doing research. There is no clear explanation for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (just that the inhabitants are "wicked"), and the homosexuality angle is a baseless interpretation entirely predicated upon the highly ambiguous use of the word "know" in a scene that takes place AFTER the cities have already been condemend to destruction. To intrepret the Hebrew word for "know" in that scene as "have sex with" is inconsistent with that word's use 99% of the time. Given the context (suspicious townspeople demanding to know these strange visitors), I would think the more prosaic interpretation of the word "know" is more likely the correct one. Jewish scholars actually relate the cities' sins to issues of property and economic crimes. Others note the story's more explicit depiction of the inhabitants as inhospitable, suspicious and violent.
      hmmm,
      • PS

        ...considering all of this, I would be wary about expressing hostility, suspicion and inhospitality against homosexuals, all acts more likely the cause of the cities' destruction than gay sex. And, BTW, even if they meant "know" in the sexual manner, I think most people have enough sense to judge the difference between mobs threatening rape and a loving, consensual act, and the ability to figure out which one is wrong, and which is harmless.
        hmmm,
      • Strange responses

        It's amazing what responses are drawn from the simple statement made by the first poster. The first is abusive - a typical response of someone who has no answers. The second draws totally inappropriate conclusions about the statement. Now this one is a bit more thoughtful but still misses some of the story. In it the inhabitants demand to "know" (Hebrew) the visitors. In response the homeowner Lot offers them his two daughters, using the same word "know". The word is used in the Bible (about 15 times) to refer to sexual intercourse. Some scholars suggest however that the inhabitants just wanted to check out the visitor's credentials. Do they also think Lot was offering his daughters so they could have their credentials checked? Homosexuality was not the core problem with the city. It was the totality of their depravity which culminated in their violent actions and utter disregard for the life of the visitors (particularly grave in ancient cultures). Typically of Bible stories it doesn't spell out every detail. Lot's offer of course wasn't much better but probably he had no intention of pursuing it.
        ksarkies
        • excuse me?

          The article is about a guy who says homosexuality is dangerous, the comment says god destroyed cities due to gay sex. I don't see how a reply which highlights the fact that god has not destroyed any cities because of gay people in the past however many years is supposed to have past since then.
          karl_w_w
          • ... is inappropriate

            typo
            karl_w_w
  • tech

    Stick to technology. You do better there.
    ttremeth
  • Zdnet isn't any better.

    Since when did Zdnet take on the habit of publishing its own political propaganda? Your article shows a non-professional bias towards the ACL.

    Stick to the facts. Stopping using your "news" as a means to broadcast your personal opinion.
    LukeFranklin
    • ACL bias is well deserved

      Anything under "Gen Y" is my personal opinion, and is a blog post rather than a news story.

      I'm actually pretty restrained in this given some of the outlandish things the ACL has said lately. A new stolen generation anyone?
      Josh Taylor