Junglist Speaks Out Against The Australian Christian Lobby

Junglist was the guest Editor over at Kotaku for a good couple of months, he's also a practising Christian. And a Christian that doesn't take too kindly to the ACL claiming to represent him and his beliefs in the public sphere. In this blog post over at The Punch, Junglist goes through his reasons for supporting an R18+ rating, but also skewers the kind of backward, fear-mongering tactics employed by the ACL.

It's a great read, and we salute Junglist for taking the time, as a Christian, to go through the reasons why the Australian Christian Lobby does not represent all Christians.

Here are a few select quotes, but we recommend you head over and read the whole thing.

Great Work Jung.

Gamers are not just kids, they’re also voting Australians. Some of them Christian. And games themselves are not all Halo - the medium is growing in artistic integrity every year.

By not realising this when you speak for us, you not only make yourself look backward, you vicariously make US look backward, and it pisses us off.

Let’s flip the script on the ACL. Let’s let the SCAG know the truth: gamers aren’t a vocal minority - the ACL is. Let’s let the government know the following:

I’m a Christian, and the ACL does not speak for me.

Let’s keep unseemly content away from minors with a consistent, logical classification scheme. Let’s keep religion away from government. And for God’s sake, let’s take the word “Christian” back.

Australian Christian Lobby... I disown thee [The Punch]


Comments

    Some good points made by Jung. I am in full support for R18 but I think we need to remember not to kid ourselves. When this rating does arrive it is not going to stop kids getting their hands on these games. Kids will be kids and there will always be parents lacking in being able to control or even care what their child is playing.
    I think if anyone uses the R18 argument to protect kids they are being a little naive. We really want it for ourselves so we can play what we want and I think that is a good nough reason.

      dean here is the difference between MA15 and R18 with parents giving it to kids

      if a parent knowingly buys an R18 game and gives it to a child, they are breaking a higher law that incurs major fines and in extreme cases imprisonment

      it would bring games into line with smokes and booze. MA15+ is still up to the parent and if they give it to their kids then yes they are a dumb parent but the law can't do anything.

      If a COB enforcement officer or police person (lets be politically correct!) sees this occuring they can arrest the person doing it (just like smokes and booze)

        Choc of course its against the law but tell me the last time a parent was arrested letting their child smoke or drink in the house? Or when the police have stopped to check if the person smoking on the side of the road is of legal age?
        DOCS has enough on their plate trying to keep up with the physical and sexual abuse happening in the home let alone chase bad parenting decisions on game choices.
        I often listen into students and join in the discussion on how they got to see/play the latest R18 MA15 movie/game. I often discuss are your parents aware and often it is the case they are usually watching or playing with them.
        It saddens me imensely to hear this kind of thing but law or not this is not going to change it.

        Actually that is not correct.

        R18+ is a classification of advise only in that the only enforcement is that under 18's are restricted from purchasing it or viewing it via paid performance like in a Movie Cinema

        It is not a crime for them to actually vie it in a private setting, nor is it unlawful for someone over 18 to knowingly allow them to view it.

        This would also apply to Games, in that gaming shops would need proof of age before supplying an R18+ title (they would also not be able to employ under 18's to sell the title either..but thats another story) and if they have an adult purchasing the title and then see that adult then hand it to another person who they suspect is under 18.. well there is NOTHING anyone can do about it other than maybe, and this is a maybe, report it to the state Child Welfare authority (ie:DoCS) though I can not see anything happening since it would not fall under the "significant harm" criteria.

        R18+ like MA15 for movies is an advisory classification that advises the viewer that it is in the eyes of the government classification system is only suitable for 18yr olds and over to view, allowing carers of children an informed viewpoint on what the norm thinks is and what isn't appropriate.

        Claiming that someone watching or playing an R18+ game is committing a crime is skewing the debate and adding to the falsehoods.

          In their house its ok yes but in public or being seen by people its not. and its not legal to give minors R18+ material. The R18+ exemption for in the home is to cover parents who are watching R18 when a little kid walks into the room, thats all, nothing more.

          Parents can't take a kid to the cinema and ask for an R18 film, the cinemas flat out refuse them. Why, because its not legal.

          interesting comment on the store staff. I could easily walk into Kmart tonight, buy an R18 film and be served by a 16 year old, so i dont' believe thats the case either. Maybe Kmart is breaking the law ?:|

            how many times do you go out into the public and play a game that could be classified as R rated, in fact how many times do you play a game in public, sure theres the stuff on the DS and PSP, but the DS has rules that nothing is allowed above 15+ anyway i believe.

            and btw im 21 it's illegal for me to drink in public unless im in a licensed venue

          I wonder though, with the recent push for adults allowing the consumption of alcohol by minors on private property to be charged, will this likely carry over to other restricted materials?

            my understanding with that though is that it's more that there letting children that are not their own drink on private property.

            though all these stupid drinking laws are ridiculous, the drunks are still gonna drink and those who are actually responsible have to put up with any new restriction's that get implemented

            like the recent lets change the limit to .02 for people under 25, so i'm allowed 1 beer instead of 2, yet the guy who get's behind the wheel and crashed with a .313 BAC i don't think he's gonna be thinking "oh the limit's lower better curb the drinking" hes gonna be like "Bloody no chance to stay under that why even try"

      I smoked and I got drunk before 15. I did HEAPS of stuff my parents didnt want me to do. Kids will find a way to get a hold of it no matter what. No classification system is going to change that. I dont think anyone is naive enough to think that.

      What the R18 rating will do is provide a clearer understanding to parents when choosing what to allow their children to play. This is the primary reason for the Classification scheme, to provide advice on what the material contains so YOU can make the decision on whether its appropriate for you and your family.

      I think far less parents are going to get an R18 game for their 12 year old kid, where the same parent may be OK with an MA15 rated game so I do think it will REDUCE(not prevent completely as nothing will) the exposure of kids to R18 material.

      As for wanting it for ourselves... sure I do. I dont want to be held to the same classification level as a teenager half my age. Its not fair and its no reasonable.

      Dean that's the thing you bring in the new laws, then you bring in a law stating that selling Content to non appropriatly aged kids is illegal and will bring the same fines as if you sold cigarettes or booze to them.

      I'm not a parent, but it's the parent's perogative to what they want there child to play, if they want to cave and buy there kid the R rated game that's fine it's better than them buying the MA game and not realising it should be rated R when they may not have bought their kid a R rated game

      the classification system is meant to be a guide to help parents and purchases make sense of what they are actually buying. It should't be used as a form of censorship.

      My parent's let me have alcohol before i was 18 because they rathered it was supervised than out on the street with my mates where who knows what could have happened.

      And if the argument that it will end up in children's hands was all so strong long ago we would have banned R rated Movies, we would have actual guards at the entrances of all the cinemas to make sure the kids don't buy a ticket for shrek so the can see the latest horror movie.

      People need to stop letting the govt take over the parenting for them, otherwise by the time i get to the point where i might consider kids, the kids will be taken put in a govt sponsored boarding school till their 21 and that'll be the end of it.

      keeping them in cotton wool is pointless they'll have no idea what the real world is like

      It's a valid point that savvy kids will be able to get their hands on the content no matter what. But before we even start asking questions about how much of the responsibility lies with parents and how much with the state, we need to acknowledge that the content is here anyway.

      And no matter what, it'll be harder for children to access the content if it's on the shelf as R18+ as opposed to MA15+. See it as the lesser of two evils if you will, it's still an improvement.

      It's possible (though unlikely due to our size) that the commercial benefits of having games rated lower than R18+ might nudge publishers towards less violence, instead of more.

    Nice piece, Jungy Jung.
    And again, in the comments section, always a fascinating read to see the opinions from the other side. Nothing like good ole Trev Adams (un/fortunately?), but I thought John from Canberra was, uh, interesting:
    "As a citizen I see no good in allowing snuff games and rape games to be freely available"
    Hm.

    Nice to see Junglist is still taking stabs at Halo.

    Also, whats the point of following the cult if you're not following the cult leaders?

    Good article. Read it.

    I have never seen a logical answer to this question:

    "As for the rest of them - the hundreds of games classified as MA15+ that the rest of the world recognises as R18 - we have two options: they can be on our shelves as MA15+, or they can be on our shelves as R18+. Which do you think better protects Australia’s youth?"

    But then again, when discussing this issue on Kotaku, we are all preaching to the choir really.

      There was a comment on Junglists article at The Punch which replied that quote.

      "If a game is rated MA15+ in Australia, that is because it meets the classification guidelines for that rating. How and why would such a game automatically migrate to the R18+ rating if it were introduced? Quite simply, it wouldn’t, because it costs time and money and gaming interests would oppose it, plus legally it can’t be changed unless the original decision is appealed by the Minister. MA15+ games cannot automatically become R18+ games without a complete overhaul of the classification guidelines, and nobody is suggesting that."

      I don't think they understand, gaming interest groups would NOT oppose it.

    Jung. Have my man babies.

    Fantastic article.

    Come on Jung, that was a cheap shot at Halo. Other games would have gotten the message across and made more sense to them (the ACL that is)

    Other than that, great.

      I'm glad you said it. We were all thinking it. Right guys?

      [awkward silence]

        Right.

        Halo may not be high art... but it's still better than Leisure Suit Larry, Meet the Fockers or the Twilight books.

      What other game? No other big blockbuster, multiplayer game has the same level of ubiquity as Halo, to make a counterpoint all the more poignant against the ACL.

      And not to stereotype (as I, myself play Halo from time to time), but the series does have a very 'unique' demographic. I think anyone who plays XBL can attest to the sheer numbers of angry, racist, homophobic and profane teens polluting the network.

        GTA, L4D, AVP are a few examples. Halo has a rather cartoony art style (not that there's anything wrong with that) that makes the violence in it less impactful.

        That's the reason Halo is not often brought up on these discussions.

    Silly me. I thought Christianinity was based on backward fear-mongering tactics, why shouldn't the ACL use these tactics in politics when religion itself is based around scaring stupid naive people to follow their beliefs.
    It's 2010 we should be banning religious hypocrites from government and life in general and not violent video games that are made for adults.
    And get over Halo already.

    Didn't Christians used to throw themselves to the Lions.

    They also say that if you are not a Christian your life is meaningless.

    I fully support an R18+ Catergory. They would eventually find a kid with a R games and use that but hey they dont ban alcohol when they find a kid drunk do they. Saying that do the christials still feed wine(alcohol) to minors wvery sunday. Oh sorry thats the blood of Christ - Hang on are they encouraging canabilism?? I am a little confused now about the message they are sending.

      Sorry Paul , i have NO idea what you are on about ?

      did you Read this Article ?

      the guy is saying , that he is a christain ( as myself ) and the ACL does not speak for him ( as they do not SPEAK for me ) about the R18+ rating on games

        And aparantly I hit a raw nerve with underage drinking santioned by religion (well only one that I know of)

        What I am saying. Is that any crackpot can say whatever they want. It just doesnt have to be true. Case in point when they claim to speak for all.

          Yes, because all churches still actually USE wine don't they? Most churches seem to be using Grape juice now.

    "let’s take the word “Christian” back"... What a trite remark to end on. Admittely I don't even know what it means.

    Perhaps someone could enlighten me.

      He's claiming that the ACL is not representative of modern christian values, and that rather than being represented by them, they should either speak as individuals, or have an organisation whose values parallel the modern christian's better.

      It means that we Christians we'd like to be able to wear such title without being associated with fear-mongering, backwards and narrowminded individuals that use religion simple as means to push their own agenda.

    Here is some legalese: The rating system helps to advise people, when buying/renting artistic materials, of the recommended level of maturity that people require, to enjoy the said material in the spirit it was created. So that people are not seeing a Family Guy or South Park DVD and buying for their primary school-age kids. Or buying Mad World or God of War for their nephew's 8th birthday. Or Lolita for their new stepdaughter, for that matter.

    It is not practical to STOP people having kids play CoD or Left4Dead, if they are so inclined, or they trust the kids maturity to view it as a fantasy separate from reality etc etc. But it will one the one hand, give a stronger message to parents on the content of such games and perhaps to influence their decision on exposing kids to them. On the other hand it will allow willing adults access to material that might otherwise need modification (ie censorship) to pass classification and hence be sellable in this country. Certainly there will still be submissions that do not make an R18 rating and as such would still be banned. Or in all likelihood, still not even be submitted. Yes Im looking at you RapeLay.

    But the games on the cusp in the current system, like L4D2, God of War, CoDs, Bayonetta, Mad World etc will find extra grace to fit under R18 rather than sweat over having to fit under our pretentious (and unnaturally large) MA15 banner.

    Frankly, I played Doom II when it released, and I was 12, and it's had virtually no impact on my upbringing.

    I don't see any of the comparisons between alcohol or other damaging vices and "mature" games to be even remotely accurate.

    These kinds of people only campaign against their own asinine assumptions, anyway. There isn't going to be some massive wave of pornographic games being sold in stores. Excluding the harsh reality that stores simply would not carry such material, Australia isn't even a large enough demographic to be worth creating a new industry to sustain that kind of market.

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