The Australian Christian Lobby Responds

In the last 30 minutes, Lyle Shelton, who we interviewed last week has posted a blog on the ABC website in response to the Federal Government's support of an R18+ rating.

This is interesting stuff.

It is unbelievable to see this debate being twisted by spin to such an extent that having an R18+ classification is now being promoted as something that will benefit children.

How does introducing new violent media into Australia benefit children especially when we know that these games will inevitably find their way into the hands of children?

The Australian Christian Lobby seems happy to cling to arguments that have been debunked by legitimate research, and claim to represent citizens who have already made it abundantly clear that an R18+ rating will help protect their children. There comes a time when you have to accept that you are wrong on an issue and, Mr Lyle Shelton, this is one of those times.

Australian Christian Lobby: Against R18+ Classification



      *facepalm* Agreed. Misinformed, living in fear, and hiding behind a fantasy (or, 'religious beliefs') instead of constructing an intelligent argument. ACL is the equivalent of everything and everything that was wrong of the Dark Ages. Why don't they first fix everything wrong with themselves, before they go poking at others.

        Having a stab at their beliefs is just as bad as what they're doing here you realise... you may not agree with them but you can be respectful and reasonable about it. Which is what they should be doing here as well. Taking a swipe at them for their religious beliefs is just ignorant dude.

          Agree 100% up until the point they try to enforce their beliefs on me

            Ok thats a few over zealous people. As a christian i see more atheists and such dissing me for being so than people trying to "bible bash" as it happens I find it no different to a gamer talking about a game they are passionate about. Regardless as a future father I support r18.

            It's like kids with santa claus, you can't just try and take it away from them, you've got to just let them come to the truth on their own.

            Sure it's been over 2000 years, but we're making progress.

      Agreed. *headdesk* When a facepalm, especially a Tommy Lee Jones Facepalm just isn't enough...

        I went with EPIC FACEPALM

    Instead of wasting their breath on this, the ACL should instead invest in education programs for parents. I'm sick of ACL dictating what people can/cannot view/do.
    It's always up to the parents to look after their kids, and not allow them to play these games.
    I hope the R18 goes through and games get rated appropriately.

    oh snap ACL oh snap

      This takes on a painful new meaning when you realise ACL is also anterior cruciate ligament. My knee hurts in sympathy.

    His hyperbole would be comical if it weren't so transparent.

    How is it 'inevitable' that children will access R18+ games? Shelton either grossly underestimates the ability of parents to control what their children see, or else genuinely believes that the existence of adult material is tantamount to handing it to children - as though they'd absorb it by osmosis. Neither is true.

    With respect to Mr Shelton's position, the article amounts to shrill postulating about child safety without addressing any of the valid concerns regarding the rights of consenting adults to access R18+ classified material.

    The counter-arguments he proposes seem more beholden to his puritan ideological agenda than any legitimate examination of the issues involved. We can only hope the Attorneys-General disregard this sort of moral pontificating.

      "‘inevitable’ that children will access R18+ games"...

      that made me laugh..


        Your word mining is ridiculous; anyone with year 7 comprehension abilities can clearly see that it relates to children getting access, most likely through their parents, before the age of 18 not at 18.

        Anyone who argues that children won't have access to these games have their head in the sand. Children in primary school are already playing COD, CS:S and other games that the MA15+ rating states they shouldn't have access to. Now I am making no value judgement on whether kids should have access to these games or not, however stating that they won't gain access is stupid.

          They won't have access to it any more than they already do to R rated films, cigarettes, alcohol and anything else that society deems only appropriate for adults and thus puts age restrictions on.

          There is no logical case for not having an R rating for games unless you're also going to ban all those other things that are not suitable for children.

        Well, since apparently everyone that views any kind of violence that it under 18 will grow up to murder small fullufy animals I suppose i better go sharpen my knife.

        I so sick of all the retards in the world today though. Just focusing on these idiots first do they not relise that the dark ages ended around the same time as the seperation of state and religion? Perhaps they think that we should go back to the dark ages cause they think it is like what they see in Disney movies?

        I have got to say thouogh, something wierd is happing with every christian I know this year. I just graduated from a lutheran school that when i arived there they were spiritual but farly no domoninational. This year though, they have gotten hell of fundametl, (also they didn't teach me how to spell properly). I mean serious repent now or go to hell! And just every other christian place is going f****ng nuts. I was raised a farly traditional catholic but am now an athiast. I know this was a bit of a rant but I am just sick of people telling me how to live. Time to have another renisance I think.

        Nunquam subsisto Bellator
        (It's Latin)

    This is why I didn't start writing my article on this issue yet. This stuff is golden. I won't have to write a word, just copy/paste.

    Will the ACL help ensure that R18+ games reach the hands of children should the classification be added?

    How stubborn can that guy be? seriously! He should get out from under that conservative rock and try to make the most out of the situation. Why not aim for making sure that retailers that fail to enforce the restrictions are slapped with an increased fine or that adults are clearly made aware that the product they are buying has an R18+ rating? which will be the bloody case with that big R18+ sticker on the front back and side of the thing....

      Well there are already fines ect in place for retailers that sell r18+ ect stuff to under aged people they just need to make it apliciable to the games as well and problem solved. But wont someone think of the children XD

    As soon as I read the headline I was like *Facepalm*

    Violence in games < violence in the Bible.

    ..I'm just saying...


      Imagine playing Assassins' Creed -1, set a few thousand years' earlier, only you are invisible, invincible, can pass through walls, and your objective is to kill only babies of a certain color skin tone. There are no repercussions or consequence, and you murder tens of thousands of children before the mission is over.

      What would you rate that particular plague of egypt?

    I'm confused: exactly WHICH OFFICIAL FIGURE was it that has IN ANY WAY suggested that introducing an R rating will relax the guidelines of RC?

    IIRC, the official gov rep actually WENT OUT OF HIS WAY to say that this would NOT BE THE CASE!

    now, of course, I personally WANT it to be the case! but I don't think anyone in the debate recently has actually been suggesting that??

    I tell you, one thing I will miss about the R18 debate is the comical mumblings of the ACL... honestly, THE BIBLE makes more sense than the ACL!

    Ah man I just saw this...

    lolololol! XD

    I swear, these people are the very DEFINITION of stubborn!

    yeah lets stick a E18 rating on the 'Holy Bible' and see how they like it...that has more violence and other adult things than any other video game ever and its been around for thousands of years in which children were/are forced to read it.

    Christianity: Full of hypocrits.

      Dont lump me in that group please. ACL doesn't represent me in one bit. I am an adult gamer with christian beliefs.

      Any political ACL propaganda doesn't even remotely resemble anything Christ-Like.

        I've heard a lot of this throughout this debate. Mark, perhaps this would be an interesting angle: the 'moderate' (for lack of a better word) Christian view on this stuff?

        I'm not very religious myself, so I admit total ignorance on this subject. Other than the general feeling that the ACL are radical/fundamentalist, and that they probably don't speak for real-world Christian people. Some details and real examples might be worth hearing about.

          I think it's a great angle - there are a couple of high profile christians in games journalism, and they were telling me how angry they were that the ACL were attempting to speak for all Christians.

            Any chance of getting an interview with one of them (or even a round-table discussion with a few of them) to balance out the rubbish being spewed forth by the ACL?

            Maybe try and get an interview with a few Catholic bishops, since they supported the R18+ rating? While they only represent a certain section of Christianity (but of course, so does the ACL), at the very least they are an effective conservative counter to the ACL's line. And hopefully it will go some way to fighting off the ad hominem attacks against Christianity (unfortunately seen in the comments here) to make our argument look more measured and mature. Win-win?

    The funny thing is that only last week, a radio show on 2UE interviewed Craig Anderson, the researcher that the ACL keep parroting, and his position was that children should not be exposed to violent games and that it is up to the parents to control what their children are playing.

    When asked about his stance on the R18 his response was that it should be a decision for the australian people and not his place to comment.

    Way to go ACL, keep spouting a reseacher that doesn't share your views

    Why are we even lending an ear to this hypocritical group? Perhaps we should ban the bible and its stories about violence, incest, prostitution and bodily fluids! Kids don't need to learn about that yet it's freely available in schools and libraries! :P

    Hey Lyle! I don't believe in God. You have no authority over me, so stop trying to exert it.

      Funnily enough, even God doesn't believe in the ban on the R18+ category for games. There's nothing in the bible that mentions it, so that's the only assumption that I can make.

    I cannot judge "legitimate research" I have not seen. However, sale of cigarettes and alcohol to children under 18 is illegal. Does any research claim to tell us there is no smoking and drinking problem amongst under 18's? The age of consent for sex is 16. Does anyone think that under 16s are so well protected by this law that 99% of them are virgins?
    Certainly an 18+ classification may protect a few youngsters but please let's be adult about this "research." Who paid for the research? What did the researchers WANT to find? These two factors often have strong influence on research findings.

      Fair enough- You have to look at where research comes from and whether it's biased one way or another, and the personal/political/financial roots of it all. I'm in the health sector myself, love gaming, and think parents just need to sack up, and the ACL needs to take a less conservative approach to... well, everything.

    I pray this gets passed, and that this might prove a turning point in ACL's unreasonable influence on politics...

    PRO TIP: Violence is already here.


      Remember when religion was kept out of politics? yeah i don't either.

        Remember the days when computer keyboards were made with caps lock off by default?

      Actually, this stance by the ACL has little to do with religion. They're just acting as a platform for conservatives who believe heavily in protectionism of minors. The same stance could be taken by a family lobby group. You couldn't blame religion in that case.

      Of course, we believe they've got it wrong. Their whole argument is that the R18+ game category would be detrimental to children. Considering that we are the only western country with this restriction, I'm sure it should be easy enough to check those children and how they've been affected by the presence of an R18+ category. I'm guessing they're no different to children here in OZ, other than cultural differences of course.

    Dring the whole of the games classification debate there has indeed been much spin on both sides of this argument.

    The gamer's spin has OFTEN suggested that many games in the MA15+ bracket have been mis-classified, given that in overseas markets (edited or no) they fall into a R18 category. It suggests that because the classification system is BROKEN it has become CORRUPT. Because that MA15+ category doesn't have the clout that that black R rating diamond does foolhardy parents are not aware of the content and still permit their children to play. All of this is spin.The real issue is that games aren't just for kids and should fall under the same rating system as the rest of our media. Not only does it make sense, but it would alleviate these 'perceived' problems as a side effect.

    Christian lobbyists should be applauded for their convictions. Unfortunately there is just as much spin on the other side. Xtians don't want violent or sexual material in the country, that opinion doesn't hold weight with libertarians, so lets make this about kids. If this desire for censorship is supported by a broken system they will support that system to outwork said desire. The truth is that many parents allow their children to play whichever game they desire, if you deny that COD (or similar mature title) never falls into the hands of 11 year olds, try having your arse handed to you online any night of the week. Xtians don't trust the OFLC, and why would they? Even gamers have been pushing corruption as one of their arguments. Parents have already proven themselves to be incompetent media filters, why would they trust them either?
    Will a sensible in-line rating system get through thick parental skulls that the content of games is unfit for kids? We are soon to find out!

    There are several issues here, none of them are isolated, all of them systemic. Both sides have put their spin into the system, often with the same media friendly objective (protecting children). But really, REALLY, we just want more sex and violence, and the Xtians want none... I mean freedom of media and censorship.

      Well some people want more sex/violence "less censorship in the media" quite frankly theres plenty there to keep my black little heart quite happy thanks XD what i would like to see tho is some middle ground for the censorship rules basicaly that every thing in the media has a general viewing to restricted to 18+ rating because the current system is simply misinforming parents at the moment as ive seen others coment.
      Now i know this isnt a complete fix to keep all the good little kiddys away from the latest zombi chainsaw gore fest games ect but at least the parents will be able to see whats what a lot more easily.

    You reap what you sow. Have any of you people who are denigrating the ACL had a good look at what is going on around you. I am a retired copper who happens to be a Christian and I can guarantee that you will live to regret your attitude and words on this subject. We are on a steep descent into hell, a living hell where elderly and handicapped people are treatd as targets by the younger set. Have a look at the disgustingly immoral bills put up in our parliaments, self murder, baby murder and encouraging homosexuality and you can get an idea where we are headed. I now speak to the readers who are becoming aware and disturbed by this, turn to Jesus Christ, accept His sacrifice, repent and turn from your evil ways and be absolutely amazed at the peace He will bring into your lives. To the rest who regard this as utter rubbish, on the day you are thrown into hell for eternity remember that you were told today. You have no-one to blame but yourselves.

      Seriously ?

      As a Christian I am appalled that you should behave in such a manner. You have obviously seen the worst of humanity in your previous profession and now continue to spew hatred and condemnation on others.

      We as Christians are supposed to lead by example, and remember the Golden Rule "Treat others the way you want to be treated."

      Nowhere did Jesus preach to act like the Romans did in his day with oppressive tactics and lording his "values" over others.

      You also need to remember that your Lord God Almighty gave humanity the most important gift of all. Free Will. It is free will that we choose our path in life and what we believe in.

      If God gave man this right who are you to beat someone into submission with your false Christian attitude. Maybe a read of Gods rebuke of Job might be in order mate.

      I am pretty sure you didn't find Jesus at the end of a brow beating.

        Very well said.

      Good for you. Live by your beliefs all you want. Just dont try to ram it into other's peoples throats.

      Please take note, plenty of people do not share your beliefs. We have as much right to live by ours as you have to live by yours.

      @Trev Adams
      You're the type of christian the world could do without. Retired copper or not, instead of telling people they are going to burn in hell for having different beliefs than you, you should learn to show a little more respect and maybe keep yours to yourself.

      Bahahah *nom nom nom* feed the troll.

      I'm sorry buddy... homosexuality (as much as it's not for me) is what you're spouting on about here? Related to this how?! Damn you devout Christians are so naive. I have lived all over Australia with work, and in all my travels, the most biggoted and selfish people I've met have been Christians - so racist and look down upon anyone who is not of their frame of mind. You're even so proud (isn't that a deadly sin?) that you are telling people that you are the one trying to turn them from hell.

      Don't get me wrong, I believe in God, but I also am smart enough to realise a bit of logic.

      The ACL are selfish and are just using their banner to gain what suits them. All Organised religions are. You don't need to go to a special house to pray or worship God. Why is the Catholic church adorned in gold? Organised religion makes me sick.

      Rape (even WITHIN the church), murder, adultery, stealing, cheating... all these things are millenia old. Playing them in a game if anything is a release so that people don't have to do it for real.

      Pretty sure that you won't live to regret your attitude and words on this subject.

      Words cannot describe how offensive this post is.

      You have no right to come in here and shove warnings of "Hell" down our throats simply because others have provided logical arguments that refute the claims of the ACL.

      In exactly the same way as you have the right to believe in God, we have the right to decide what level of _virtual_ "violence" or "sex" is acceptable in games that we -- as individuals -- play.

      Hey, Trev. Quick question.
      Do you think that kids are easily able to get their hands on films like Pulp Fiction, Three Kings, and Romper Stomper?
      No. They aren't. Because they are specifically for adults.
      Something like this in Australia would work wonders:

        hm. I watched pulp fiction when I was 14. It's called the internet. (no I'm not one of the 1 in 4 accidental pirates in australia- i'm part of the 3 in 4 who are intentionals)

        yeah crazy theres ways around there meant for adult's the point is more that my parents had pulp fiction and i watched it before i was 18.

        there already are penalties for selling MA games to minors but i don't think there enforced all that often

        the irony here is that saying no matter the rating kids will get there hands on it kinda also says well theres no point having a ratings system because people will see what they want to see because they can

        the whole point of the classification system is to guide not restrict, the purchase in their decision though we will still have a RC rating to ban the stupidity games like rapelay(i hate using it as an example but it's something everyone by now knows about) even though such a game would never be submitted to that australian classification board

      Before you bask in your own aura of righteousness, please consider how proud the Pharisees were when they tried to correct Jesus who tried to show them a better way.

      Remember, he was the greatest Liberal and progressive that ever lived!

      As my good friend Wikipedia is fond of saying [CITATION NEEDED]

      In the 35 years I've been alive, the world hasn't changed for the worse (other than the invention of reality tv). The major thing thats changed is that people are more honest. Things are no longer swept under the rug, no longer hidden for the sake of keeping up apperances.

      Oh and vastly improved tolerance for people who are different from ourselves, thats a bonus

      Jesus didn't preach a religion, christianity has twisted his words, luckily you wont go to hell for it. Jesus wanted everyone to love everyone and be good people. He never said be "christian, catholic etc or you will go to hell". You sir are the PERFECT example of why religion shouldn't be in politics. Your rant about violence and homosexuality if right off topic, the world is just beginning to see through people like you.
      Cop or not, everyone has always done bad things and christianity has far greater examples of evil than what you have seen on the beat with your cop buddies mate.

      "self murder, baby murder and encouraging homosexuality"

      as soon as you said that you lost me in anything you could have said after that and you know why

      because why should i as an atheist, or someone else as a muslim, or someone else as a buddhist have to live by your religious rules. If the rest of humanity want's to live in depravity they should be allowed to and not have your belief's forced upon us. If Heaven exsist's you will go there by resisting the temptation of these so called violent video games and i will go to hell and then you can say i told you so.

      Considering that forcing someone to live through alzehimers or the numerous other uncurable diseases that debilitate one's body to a shell of it's former self is akin to torture. You people talk about the right to life except we don't have that right, since we don't have a choice.

      Don't forget that religion has taken the more lives in the course of humanity than anything else and at the rate it's going will probably cause alot more to be lost in the future

      I have some problems with your arguments Trev. Hell doesn't exist for one, and anyway deciding to believe in a fictional character from a story book certainly isn't going to change anything... Stop trying to foist your religion onto others.

      hahahaha i hope your joking mate because if your not theres a real problem in store for you and its called reality.


      How do you explain this scenario:

      If a parent is going to buy a 14 yr old child a game, Giving them a MA15+ doesnt seem that bad. They are almost 15 after all. So the kid gets GTA.

      If we have R18+, the mum is not going to buy her 14 yr old a R18+ game, because he is nowhere near the age...

      Thus, R18 does protect the child.

      You cant protect every child sure. Irresponsible parents will get kids R18 games, or some retailers will sell to underage children. But they get them with or without the R18 Rating. GTA should be R18. The introduction of R18 doesnt change GTA. Right now GTA is in the hand of 15-17 yr olds and it shouldnt be.

      Your a literal catholic who believes everyone is going to burn in hell for sin? Pity half the Church will end up there due to paedophilia, corruption and crimes against other religions.

      Your arguments are flawed by your own literal translation of the bible.

    ACL = Anti Common sense Lobby

    But christians are so *good* at clinging to beliefs that are obviously incorrect.

      short and sweet haha

    i seriously admire your patience in writing this article.
    this pisses me off so effing much
    i can't believe such a stupid and naive comment was made

    It is like watching the Iraq invasion with their media dude saying how well they were doing as the tanks rolled in.

    I agree that they should spend more energy informing parents. They will do much more than these arguments

    And they talk about spin. Lol.

      Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf! The Iraqi Information Minister was the best thing to come out of that invasion.


      The ACL is being much the same.


      *15 year old walks behind holding a copy Black Ops*

      Another reason what I can't stand religion.

        Wow someone else remembers him, Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf was great, he wasn't even on the deck of cards with Americas most wanted Iraq's that the soldiers carried.

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