Dr Clive Hamilton is not the only high-profile non-government advocate for Internet censorship in Australia.

On this issue, Clive has a de facto partner in advocacy. His name is Jim Wallace. Earlier this week, Wallace called for bi-partisan support for a mandaory ‘Clean Feed’.

Jim Wallace AMWhereas Clive is a secular humanist with a background on the left of politics, Jim is a Christian conservative, previously awarded the Order of Australia. He’s not just any Christian, either! Jim Wallace AM is spokesperson for the ‘Australian Christian Lobby’.

Clive and Jim seem like the perfect duo. Between them, they represent a broad spectrum of Australian public opinion, left and right, secular and religious. A fine team indeed!

I’ve written about Clive Hamilton already – and he’s attracting growing critical interest – see Online Opinion and Broadbanned Revolution, for example.

But who is the Christian leader Jim Wallace, whose voice comes through loud and clear on this issue of Internet censorship? Is he a Priest or a Presbyter? A Deacon or Bishop? Could it be that’s he’s a Canon – or a Cardinal, perchance?

According to his profile on Online Opinion:

“Jim Wallace AM has been the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) since 2000. He was a career soldier for 32 years and a commander of Australia’s elite Special Forces. In 1984 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services in developing Australia’s counter terrorist capability. ACL is a non-denominational, non-party partisan lobby group representing a broad constituency of Christian supporters.”

Here’s a recent ABC profile of Jim Wallace:

Brigadier (ret.) Jim Wallace AM : Brigadier (ret.) Jim Wallace is the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, which aims to see Christian principles and ethics accepted and influencing the community. Jim left the Australian Army as a Brigadier in late 2000 after a 32-year career, which included command of the SAS Regiment and the Army’s 1st Brigade. He is a graduate of Duntroon, the British Army Staff College, and the Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies. Jim has lived in a number of countries in the Middle East, including Israel and Syria and visited Palestinian refugee camps as an unarmed United Nations observer. In 1984 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to counter-terrorism.

So, there we have it. One might say Jim is a Christian soldier – a true warrior for the cause.

The ACL has a fine website. I guess that’s a natural consequence of strong leadership and a sound corporate plan.

On today’s home page, I notice a story entitled Fond memories of Mumbai rabbi, which links to a story featured in the Australian Jewish News. The articles mourns the reported death of a Chabad Lubbavitch rabbi in Mumbai, apparently murdered in the sub-continent’s latest terrorist atrocity.

Now on occasions, representatives of the Chabad movement are reported to have said some rather ‘un-Christian’ things about Christians and non-Jews in general (see footnote 1). So it’s nice to see Christians let bygones be bygones and join in sympathy with those of another faith in their moment of tragedy.

However, the ACL does not appear to extend the same Christian goodwill to adherents of the Muslim religion. The ACL regularly carries articles about Islam and the beliefs and activities of Muslims, with an editorial line typically ranging from condescending to downright insulting.

Here’s an example: Local Muslim clerics accused That ACL article links to an article in Jihad Watch, a viciously anti-Muslim (and pro-Israel) website, which itself links to the FrontPageMagazine.com website of American Zionist extremist David Horowitz

On ABC TV’s ‘Difference of Opinion in 2007; Mr Wallace showed himself to be a stalwart opponent of ‘militant Islam’. Not content with his prominent role in the Christian world, Jim would rather like to re-fashion Islam too. Here’s a short extract:

JIM WALLACE: …I’ll go out on a limb and say I do believe it is the (Muslim) religion itself and the way it’s interpreted – very important to hear both those together, because I believe personally that if I take someone who’s decided to become very religious into the Christian faith and I take him down and take him through the Bible, I take him to the example of Christ and I ask him to come out the other end, he should come out more like a Mother Teresa. If I take someone into Islam, I look at some of the things that are said in the Koran, some of the things said in it – I look at the warrior example of Mohammed, then I can take people one of two ways. I can certainly take them, because of the statements on love and peace and all the rest of it in those documents and in the life of Mohammed, to become Mother Teresa like, but I can also take them to be a terrorist, and so I do believe that it is a problem with the religion itself, and that of course begs the question what do you do about it, and I think it is a matter of both looking at who interprets it and, secondly, looking at the religion itself for a renewal of the religion, to bring it into line with the 21st century and modernity.

How odd that ex-Brigadier Wallace criticizes the Muslim Prophet for time the latter spent as a warrior. Could it be that Jim is conflicted?

All in all, Jim Wallace seems to a very ‘neocon’ type of Christian. Perhaps he’s a latter-day Crusader? Should we call him a ‘Neo-Christian’?

Skeptics may uncharitably wonder whether Mr Wallace really speaks directly for Jesus Christ on the thorny issue of Senator Conroy’s ‘Clean Feed’ – or on any other topic, for that matter. Who’s knows?

But one thing is for sure. Mr Wallace AM indubitably speaks for the Australian Christian Lobby. He’s the  Managing Director. When it comes to promoting the Lord’s message, Wallace is nothing if not businesslike.

The somewhat centralized style of management at the ACL has attracted criticism over the years. Here’s what Railton Hill, a member of the Salvation Army and former former ACL Victorian State Director had to say, when interviewed for the ABC’s Religion Report in May 2008:

… I did find it a very autocratic organisation to work with, it is completely top-down, there is a very small group, very small group, who really decide policy and I don’t see how you can claim to represent Christian people of goodwill throughout the country, when there is no mechanism and no interest in having a mechanism for policy input.

…there is a board, and the board is appointed by, as I understand it, that very small group that actually own the corporate structure for ACL, what is actually the legal ACL entity. I stand to be corrected on any of this Stephen, if I’m wrong, OK? But that’s my understanding. Jim of course as the Chief Executive or whatever the title is, of the organisation nationally, reports to the board, but unless it’s changed in the last 12 months, he’s of course a member of the board. And if he’s a member of, one of the folk who own the company, he also of course appoints the board. But that I’m not party to….

My understanding, and I stand to be corrected, but I think it’s a private company, and really answers only to itself.

It’s hard to imagine that under the able leadership of ex-SAS Commander Wallace, the Australian Christian Lobby answers only to itself.

Surely Jesus gets a say too?

And what of Mr Wallace’s former colleagues in the rarified circles of Australian ‘intelligence’ and ‘security’?

Who knows, perhaps even the busiest of modern Christian Managing Directors, with a full agenda for Australia’s moral recovery and the reformation of another major world religion, spares just a little time to chew the fat with old chums?


(1) See this extract from Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel by Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, 1999, pp 58-60:

The Lubovitcher Rebbe continued: The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems from the common expression: “Let us differentiate.” Thus, we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather, we have a case of “let us differentiate” between totally different species. This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world …

The Old Rabbi [a pseudonym for one of the holy Lubovitch rabbis] explained that the passage in Chapter 49 of Hatanya [the basic book of Chabad]: “And you have chosen us” [the Jews] means specifically that the Jewish body was chosen [by God], because a choice is thus made between outwardly similar things. The Jewish body “looks as if it were in substance similar to bodies of non-Jews,” but the meaning … is that the bodies only seem to be similar in material substance, outward look and superficial quality. The difference of the inner quality, however, is so great that the bodies should be considered as completely different species. This is the reason why the Talmud states that there is an halachic difference in attitude about the bodies of non-Jews [as opposed to the bodies of Jews] ” “their bodies are in vain.” . . . An even greater difference exists in regard to the soul. Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness.

{quote continued} As has been explained, an embryo is called a human being, because it has both body and soul. Thus, the difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish embryo can be understood. There is also a difference in bodies. The body of a Jewish embryo is on a higher level than is the body of a non-Jew.

This is expressed in the phrase “let us differentiate” about the body of a non-Jew, which is a totally different kind. The same difference exists in regard to the soul: the soul of a Jewish embryo is different than the soul of a non-Jewish embryo. We therefore ask: Why should a non-Jew be punished if he kills even a non-Jewish embryo while a Jew should not be punished even if he kills a Jewish embryo? The answer can be understood by [considering] the general difference between Jews and non-Jews: A Jew was not created as a means for some [other] purpose; he himself is the purpose, since the substance of all [divine] emanations was created only to serve the Jews.” In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” [Genesis 1:1] means that [the heavens and the earth] were created for the sake of the Jews, who are called the “beginning.”

This means everything, all developments, all discoveries, the creation, including the “heavens and the earth – are vanity compared to the Jews. The important things are the Jews, because they do not exist for any [other] aim; they themselves are [the divine] aim.”

Another extract from Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel by Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky follows (pp 61-2):

Among the religious settlers in the Occupied Territories the Chabad Hassids constitute one of the most extreme groups. Baruch Goldstein, the mass murderer of Palestinians, was one of them (Goldstein will be discussed in Chapter 6.) Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh, who wrote a chapter of a book in praise of Goldstein and what he did, is another member of their group. Ginsburgh is the former head of the Yoseph Tomb Yeshiva, located on the outskirts of Nablus. Rabbi Ginsburgh, who originally came to Israel from the United States and has good connection to the Lubovitcher community in the United States, has often expressed his views in English in American Jewish publications. The following appeared in an April 26, 1996 Jewish Week (New York) article that contained an interview with Rabbi Ginsburgh:

Regarded as one of the Lubovitcher sect’s leading authorities on Jewish mysticism, the St. Louis born rabbi, who also has a graduate degree in mathematics, speaks freely of Jews’ genetic-based, spiritual superiority over non-Jews. It is a superiority that he asserts invests Jewish life with greater value in the eyes of the Torah. “

If you saw two people drowning, a Jew and a non-Jew, the Torah says you save the Jewish life first,” Rabbi Ginsburgh told the Jewish Week “If every simple cell in a Jewish body entails divinity, is a part of God, then every strand of DNA is part of God. Therefore, something is special about Jewish DNA.”

Later, Rabbi Ginsburgh asked rhetorically: “If a Jew needs a liver, can you take the liver of an innocent non-Jew passing by to save him? The Torah would probably permit that. Jewish life has an infinite value,” he explained. “There is something infinitely more holy and unique about Jewish life than non-Jewish life.”

This third extract is from Note on Bibliography and Related Matters towards the end of Shahak and Mezvinsky’s book:

Rabbi Yoseph thus illustrated the fierce and visible hatred of Christianity and Christians so evident among fundamentalist Jews and, to a lesser extent, among many other Israeli Jews of the political right. Although discrimination against and persecution of Jews in Christian countries has helped to persuade some secular Jews to accept this fundamentalist attitude, it is not the sole explanation. Oriental Jewish rabbis, and to a lesser extent their followers who came from Muslim countries wherein they were generally not persecuted by Christians, have expressed more hate of Christianity and its symbols than the fundamentalist European rabbis and their followers who were persecuted by Christians. In dealing with political factors in our book, we did not specify many of the often petty forms of hatred of Christianity that are officially approved. One case in point is that Israeli educational authorities removed the international plus sign from the textbooks of elementary arithmetic used in the first grades of Israeli schools. Allegedly, this plus sign, which is a cross, could religiously corrupt little Jewish children. Instead of the offending cross, the authorities substituted a capital “T.” This substitution was made some years after Israel became a state; the influence of Jewish fundamentalism was responsible. If this substitution had been made by the Taliban in Afghanistan, by the Iranian regime or by China during the cultural revolution, it would probably have been discussed at length. In contrast, this easily discoverable fact has been omitted in English-language articles and books concerned with Israeli Jewish society and Judaism. This omission is but one piece of the existent evidence that most books of this genre are unreliable.

In Chapter 2 we pointed to specific acts of discrimination against and abuse of women perpetrated by Jewish fundamentalists. Seemingly unimpressed by the Israeli Hebrew discussion of and the Israeli Jewish feminist criticism of this discrimination and abuse, writers of English-language books and articles about Israel have rarely mentioned this phenomenon. They have not acknowledged that until modern times most Jewish women were kept illiterate and denied education by command of the rabbis. They and others have condemned abuses of women in Iran and other countries but have refused to specify the even more abusive acts against women in Israel…

It seems passing strange a ‘Christian’ Lobby Group is so consistently supportive of a religion whose practitioners often don’t appear to reciprocate the infatuation, while it maintains a sustained if low-key assault on the Muslim faith and its bona fides.

Is that bias – or what? Would Jesus have approved? Has anyone asked the Palestinian Christians of 2008?