Just don’t mention John Cleese’s thoughts on marriage

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The Marriage Alliance, the secretive group behind the controversial iceberg advertisements and Father’s Day videos loaded with dubious statistics, have a new argument against marriage equality.

Now, stopping marriage equality is about battling political correctness and championing free speech. The meme generating lobby group has kicked into overdrive lately with commentary on a wide range of ways that marriage equality, which they describe as a product of too much political correctness, will change Australia.

Last week the group was criticised for publishing an image of a woman with a rainbow noose around her neck. The group said the noose was symbol of political correctness. The image was deleted by Facebook for being offensive but can still be seen on the group’s Twitter account.

Yesterday the group promoted a video by English comedian John Cleese. Last week the ‘Fawlty Towers’ creator featured in a video for ‘Big Think’ titled ‘Political Correctness Can Lead to an Orwellian Nightmare’

In the video Cleese said he was offended everyday, but he didn’t expect people to do anything about it. The comedian said some people expect that when they are offended by something, that thing should be stopped. John Cleese argues sometimes you should just be offended.

Cleese said that the idea of political correctness has gone too far in some parts of society and reached the point where any kind of criticism will not be tolerated.

The comedian added that humour by its very nature was critical and not inclusive, but if we are unable to appreciate humour we lose a sense of proportion – something which he compared to living in George Orwell’s dystopian society depicted in the novel ‘1984’.

A major theme of Orwell’s novel is censorship. The central character of the book Winston Smith works at The Ministry of Truth where fictional characters are created to espouse the political party’s message and reference to people who are critical of the party are removed from public record.

Yesterday some followers of the groups Facebook page responded by highlighting comments John Cleese has made where he was critical of churches perspective on marriage.

Reference was also made to the fact that Mr Cleese is currently enjoying his fourth marriage.

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The comments were quickly deleted from the Marriage Alliance’s Facebook page.

Five years ago, Cleese told a radio program that Christians who believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman were practicing a form of Christianity that he thought Jesus would struggle to recognise.

“I don’t think Christ said a lot about abortion or even about single sex marriage.

“I don’t know where all these Christian doctrines came from but that had nothing to do with what Christ ever said in the Bible.” Mr Cleese said back in 2011.

I posted to the page asking why comments about John Cleese’s support for marriage equality were being deleted. My comment was deleted.

Later, after a message was sent to the group’s page administrator, we were told that the deleted comments had been deemed as ‘trolling’.

The deletion of comments was not limited to the video from John Cleese, but across several posts on the group’s page.

An enigmatic organisation that shrouds its leaders and membership, the public face is created from stock images and voices that don’t match the party lined are deleted… the Marriage Alliance certainly shares some characteristics with 1984’s Big Brother.

So better not mention Cleese’s thoughts on marriage equality, I did once and I thought I got away with it.

But then my comment was deleted.

Maybe the Marriage Alliance could follow John Cleese’s advice. Sometimes you don’t have to stop the thing that offends you, sometime you just have to be offended.

Graeme Watson, [email protected] 

The Marriage Alliance has been offered many opportunities to respond to concerns about their campaigns and have been invited to outline their thoughts about marriage equality. They have not responded.



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