Yet another Order of Australia honour has handed back because of Margaret Court‘s homophobia/transphobia/general bigotry, and this time it’s from Uniting Church Minister Alistair Macrae.
Macrae was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2017 for his contribution to the church and his community.
While his advocacy for queer people within the church wasn’t explicitly mentioned, Macrae played an important part in the discussions which led the Uniting Church to accept everyone as members and even as leaders, regardless of their sexuality.
He said that when he heard about Court being upgraded to Australia’s highest honour (Companion of the Order of Australia), he felt “compelled” to hand his own award back.
“Her public comments in relation to LGBTI people – I won’t repeat them here – are damaging to significant parts of our community, and by no means represent the views of many Christians,” Macrae wrote in an opinion piece for The Age.
“I wonder what prompted the move to upgrade her and I wonder at the naivete (at best) of the committee who seem to be able to make this separation, apparently unaware of the hurt it will cause. Religious faith has private as well as public ethical dimensions.”
Macrae went on to call out Court for misusing religion as an excuse to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bi and trans people.
He also made what could be interpreted as subtle references to her comparison of gay activists to Hitler and her praise of apartheid South Africa.
“As a minister and theologian, I am aware that bad theology kills people. Bad theology underpinned the racist apartheid regime in South Africa. Bad theology supported Hitler’s racist ideology and the evil it produced,” he said.
“Bad theology underpinned or failed to recognise the racist assumptions behind the destructive program of colonisation not least in this land. Bad theology continues to alienate and oppress sexual minorities.
“The upgrading of Mrs Court’s award will rub salt into these wounds.”
Macrae is the latest in a series of high-profile Order of Australia recipients to snub the honours in protest over Court.
The fourth domino has fallen. Let’s see how many more it takes for the awards panel to wake up.