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Christianity tarred with provocation defence

A stance calling for a provocation defence advocating sentences of murder be downgraded to manslaughter in cases of infidelity and unwanted sexual advances has struck again – this time from a Christian group.

Firstly, it assumes murder is justifiable if someone becomes enraged by the sexual actions of someone else. While a line needs to be drawn with unwanted sexual advances, there is a wide gap between this and sexual abuse – an even wider one to justifying murder. Note, the provocation defence is not the same as a self-defence defence – which could be used in cases of sexual or other types of abuse.

Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania have abolished legal ‘justifications’ of provocation used in situations of homosexual approaches or finding a partner in a sexual situation with someone else. This ‘partial’ defence is still supported by NSW law bodies and could see a murder charge reduced to one of man slaughter.

Where else does outrage justify murder? How different is the concept of this justification to ‘honour’ killings in militant cultures?

The second prejudice is that support of this partial defence is coming from a Christian group. Automatically the word ‘Christian’ denotes all Christians – at least that is the generalised supposition in media headlines.

This raises the point that the Victorian Council of Churches began rallying against last year after the Australian Christian Lobby group asserted positions which were at odds with other Christian groups, including the Uniting Church.

Whenever the word ‘Christian’ is used in the media it is commonplace, unless otherwise clarified, for the intimation to suggest all Christian groups. While even the Uniting Church’s ‘united by diversity’ breadth includes many different and sometimes dissenting opinions, the variety of Christian viewpoints is often unknown in wider, secular circles.

How easy is it then for Christianity to be tarred with the same brush of comments which can be seen by many Christians as bigoted, prejudiced and unenlightened?

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