Rudd on QandA: transcript

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Last night, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appeared on the ABC’s Q&A Programme by himself after Abbott declined to join him. During the programme, Matt Prater, a pastor from Queensland posed a question about Rudd’s changed view on same sex marriage. Eternity has interviewed Matt Prater and his response will be posted later today. Make sure you check back.

Here is the transcript from last night’s show:

MATT PRATER: I’m a pastor of a local church and work for a national Christian radio network. Most of the listeners and callers we have had on our radio station have been saying they won’t be voting for you because they are disillusioned because you seem to keep chopping and changing your beliefs just to get a popular vote with regards to things like marriage. Why should we vote for you?

QandAKEVIN RUDD: Well on the question of marriage equality, you are right. I took a position, I think about, three, four, five months ago—well before coming back to the Prime Ministership—because I concluded in my conscience, through an informed conscience, and a Christian conscience—it was the right thing to do. And let me tell you why.

Number one: I do not believe people when they are born choose their sexuality. They are gay if they are born gay. You don’t decide at some later stage in life to be one thing or the other. It is how people are built. And therefore the idea that this is somehow an abnormal condition, that I think is just wrong. I don’t get that. I think that is just a completely ill-founded view.

Secondly: If you accept that it is natural and normal for someone to be gay because that is the way they are, then it follows from that, that I don’t think it is right to say that if these two folk here who are in love with each other, and are of the same gender, should be denied the opportunity for legal recognition of the duration of their relationship by having marriage equality. If your starting point is that homosexuality is abnormal [gestures to Prater]… I just need to know.

TONY JONES: Well we will go back to our questioner.

KEVIN RUDD: I just need to know.

TONY JONES: We need to ask: what it is you believe Christians in particular are upset about?

MATT PRATER: I think the thing is, that, you know, every pastor- we do marriages between husbands and wives, and Jesus said, “A man shall leave his father and mother” and be married and that is the Biblical definition. I just believe in what the Bible says. And I am just curious for you, Kevin, if you call yourself a Christian, why don’t you believe the words a Jesus in the Bible.? Thank you.

KEVIN RUDD: Well, mate if I was going to have that view, the Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition.

[Audience applauds]

Because St Paul said in the New Testament ‘Slaves be obedient to your masters’, and therefore we should have all fought for the confederacy in the US Civil War. For goodness sake, the human condition and social conditions change. What is the fundamental principle of the New Testament? It is one of universal love. Loving your fellow man. And if we get obsessed with a particular definition of that through a form of sexuality, then I think we are missing the centrality of what the gospel—whether you call it a social gospel, a personal gospel, a spiritual gospel—is all about.

And therefore I go back to my question. If you think homosexuality is an unnatural condition, then frankly I cannot agree with you based on any element of the science. And therefore if a person’s sexuality is as they are made, then you have got to ask the second question. Should therefore their loving relationships be legally recognised? And the conclusion I have reached is that they should.

And on the question of chopping and changing, I wrote a 2,000 or 3,000 word essay, stuck it online, months and months and months ago before returning to the Prime Ministership, so everyone would know why I had changed my position and the reasons for it. And it was the product of many many months and years of reflection. In good Christian conscience.