Archive for the 'politics' Category

04
Oct
17

America’s Most Dangerous Enemy.

From Sydney Morning Herald 3 October 2017

This is the number of people killed by Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

It was more than the total number of gun-related deaths in Australia in all of 2016, excluding self harm.

Here’s how many gun-related deaths there have been in the US so far in 2017, also excluding self harm.

 

The scale of the image depicting 11,681 victims (up to the date of the article) had to be portrayed on a much smaller scale to fit the page.

source article:

http://www.smh.com.au/world/heres-why-australia-will-never-understand-the-us-obsession-with-guns-20171003-gyt7ys.html

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11
Sep
17

From Baghdad Burning blog, Sunday, September 11, 2005

From Baghdad Burning blog, Sunday, September 11, 2005

It has been four years today. How does it feel four years later?

For the 3,000 victims in America, more than 100,000 have died in Iraq. Tens of thousands of others are being detained for interrogation and torture. Our homes have been raided, our cities are constantly being bombed and Iraq has fallen back decades, and for several years to come we will suffer under the influence of the extremism we didn’t know prior to the war.

As I write this, Tel Afar, a small place north of Mosul, is being bombed. Dozens of people are going to be buried under their homes in the dead of the night. Their water and electricity have been cut off for days. It doesn’t seem to matter much though because they don’t live in a wonderful skyscraper in a glamorous city. They are, quite simply, farmers and herders not worth a second thought.

Four years later and the War on Terror (or is it the War of Terror?) has been won:

Score:
Al-Qaeda – 3,000
America – 100,000+

Congratulations.

https://riverbendblog.blogspot.com.au/2005_09_01_archive.html#112647459352403679#112647459352403679

(After clicking on the link, scroll down to post from 11 Sept)

08
Sep
17

Rainbow Connection: SSM and Religious Freedom

During Australia’s same sex marriage debate, one group (on the “NO” side) continues to claim that religious freedom will be put at risk should SSM be legalised. The other group (on the “YES” side) continue to insist such concerns are unfounded and are mere red herrings – that the only issue at stake is the happiness of people who want to marry their same sex partner.

But what is the reality?

 

I heard an interview* on ABC radio this morning that made it clear that any protection of religious freedom will ONLY be applied to religious institutions and not to Christian individuals.
Bringing out the now clichéd example of a cake maker refusing to supply a cake for a same sex wedding, it was made clear that they will be guilty of breaking anti-discrimination laws and will be subject to prosecution.

 

My own view of that is that it is the EVENT being “discriminated” against – not the people involved. I’m sure the cake maker would be willing to bake cakes for anyone as an individual – just not willing to bake a cake for an event that compromises their religious beliefs.
To take a step to the side – should a cake maker (religious or otherwise) be legally required to supply a cake promoting (legal) extreme right wing groups or other political views that challenge their conscience, or would their refusal be deemed prosecutable discrimination?

 

Apart from that hypothetical and now clichéd example, we have current cases to look at (not exclusively religious), such as the one described in this story:

A petition with more than 2000 signatures has likened doctors who oppose marriage equality to racists and accused them of contributing to “increased depression.”

The open letter accompanying the petition was written by Perth medical student Carolyn O’Neil and accused more than 400 doctors of adding to “increased depression, anxiety, self‐harm, and suicidal behaviours.”

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/37005078/doctors-opposing-marriage-equality-slam-petition-against-them/

 

This follows a situation that I mentioned in an earlier post, where a doctor was being subjected to a petition calling for her to be struck off the medical register.

A woman that appeared in the advertisement for the ‘no’ camp in the same-sex marriage debate is now at the centre of an online campaign to have her medical licence stripped.

The online petition has just over 6,000 signatures and calls for a “review of the registration of Dr Pansy Lai”.

Dr Lai, a GP in northern Sydney, appeared as one of three mothers in the Marriage Coalition advertisement that first aired at the end of last month.

She told The Australian she has been inundated with phone and social media threats since the ad was released and said she had reported one threat to police that she would be shot “this week”.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/36946222/online-petition-wants-dr-pansy-lai-from-sydney-deregistered/

 

In recent weeks I’ve kept an eye on several discussions in the media around the topic of same sex marriage and have found very strong anti-Christian attitudes being shown that don’t line up with the assurances that religious freedom won’t be reduced.
The problem with those assurances is what “religious freedom” actually means to those making them. The nature of that “freedom” is being defined by those who won’t be needing it – by the irreligious, the non-believer, and at times those who are actually hostile to all kinds of religious belief.

Those people have NO qualification for understanding the reasons why Christians (or adherents of other religious beliefs) might not agree with same sex marriage. To have that understanding they would need to recognise what it means to believe in a God who has revealed what HE requires of His creation – that it is GOD’s standards that count – not man’s ever changing whims.

Genuine Christians believe in a very REAL God and desire to commit their lives to Him and His ways – to them “religion” is not a mere interest, a hobby – an alternative to sport or any other past time. Their relationship to God is the most important part of their life: in fact it IS their life.

_______________________

* http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/same-sex-marriage-hate-speech-santow/8884594

05
Sep
17

Generation Less, by Jennifer Rayner

This is a book review I wrote a little over a year ago, but I believe the topic being discussed is one that will be increasingly relevant.
It clearly hasn’t become less relevant, because I’m regularly seeing articles being published making similar claims to those raised in the book.

Sadly, the comments sections following those articles seem to show that many are falling for the misguided claims that blame a whole generation of older citizens for the difficulties being experienced by younger citizens.

Have the “older” generation robbed their children and grandchildren of opportunities to which they should be entitled? Or are those younger generations expecting to have benefits now that their parents and grandparents had to work towards over two or three decades?

One indication I’ve seen more than once are comparisons between the rates of home ownership for those under 30 and the rates for those in their 50s and above. Those comparisons seem to make a convincing argument, until you ask two pertinent questions:

1) How many of those home-owning 50+ year olds owned their houses or apartments when they were under 30?

2) How many of todays under 30s will own their own homes by the time they are in the 50+ age group?

________________________________

Out of Shadows

Generation-Less_0 I really expected and WANTED to like this book. I agreed with its general message: that younger generations were being disadvantaged in today’s world. With jobs hard to get and housing, both rental and purchased, priced well beyond their means, they faced far greater difficulties than I did at their age.

Jennifer Rayner attributes this to an older more privileged generation (mine) not willing to give up advantages and effectively denying opportunities to a younger generation (hers). And in taking that narrow focus I believe she sets off on the wrong path.

It’s not far into the book that she started to lose my empathy, when I read:

In earlier years, our parents’ generation moved steadily through pay rises and promotions as people filed out of work at 55 and freed up the ranks above them. But having got old themselves, they’re not giving up on those great careers. That…

View original post 737 more words

04
Sep
17

Rainbow Connection 2: Don’t dare speak out!

At a time when homosexual campaigners are decrying anti-homosexual hate-speech…

 

Petition calls for doctor in ‘no’ campaign same-sex marriage ad to be deregistered

A woman that appeared in [an] advertisement for the ‘no’ camp in the same-sex marriage debate is now at the centre of an online campaign to have her medical licence stripped.

The online petition has just over 6,000 signatures and calls for a “review of the registration of Dr Pansy Lai”.

Dr Lai, a GP in northern Sydney, appeared as one of three mothers in the Marriage Coalition advertisement that first aired at the end of last month.

She told The Australian she has been inundated with phone and social media threats since the ad was released and said she had reported one threat to police that she would be shot “this week”.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/36946222/online-petition-wants-dr-pansy-lai-from-sydney-deregistered/

 

And another article:

Same-sex marriage debate: conservative Muslims steer clear for fear of backlash

Muslim Australians who oppose same-sex marriage are afraid to speak out for fear of being labelled extremists, including by Christian conservatives who themselves oppose it, a Muslim community leader has said.

Ali Kadri, a spokesman for the Islamic Council of Queensland, told Guardian Australia that imams and community leaders “who represent the vast majority of the Muslim community” were staying out of the postal survey debate for fear of backlash.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/sep/04/same-sex-marriage-debate-conservative-muslims-steer-clear-for-fear-of-backlash

 

There are questions I’d like to raise regarding the second article:

Why would the Muslim spokesman think and suggest that conservative Christians would label Muslims as extremists for sharing their views on same sex marriage, when the conservative Christian and Muslim views would be the same?

Is that suggestion an attempt by the Muslim to politically distance himself and his community from conservative Christians – who have so far been the main target of hate-speech from supporters of SSM?

Is it a suspicion that conservative Christians will be antagonistic towards the Muslim community even in cases when their views are the same?

Maybe it’s a Muslim attempt to maintain division and distrust between two religious communities – mirroring the anti-Muslim rhetoric of some Christians who have regularly resorted to fear-mongering with regard to the presence of Muslims in the community?

_____________________________

And a related article (don’t dare reflect a “traditional” view of fatherhood on father’s day):

Dads4Kids ad is ‘dodgy campaign tactic’ in marriage debate, says LGBTI activist

A fathers group that claimed its political ad was blocked from television is engaged in a “dodgy campaign tactic” to claim victimhood in the same-sex marriage debate, according to a senior LGBTI advocate.

Just Equal spokesman, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, has hit back at Dads4Kids, labelling them an anti-LGBTI, anti-marriage equality activist group who had attempted to politicise father’s day.

Ben Pratt, the spokesman for Dads4Kids, said it was “extraordinary” that Australians could “no longer celebrate fathers’ day without being forced to look at it through the lens of the same-sex marriage debate”.

“It’s a tragedy that a political motive is now implied in any mention of fatherhood. Not everything is about same-sex marriage,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/sep/03/dads4kids-ad-is-dodgy-campaign-tactic-in-marriage-debate-says-lgbti-activist

01
Sep
17

Rainbow Connection

I don’t know whether it’s visible to all visitors to this blog – but sometime during the last hour, WordPress seem to have added a “rainbow” header across the top of the page.

I can only assume it is intended to be an expression of support to the LGBTIetc. campaign regarding same sex marriage, currently under way in Australia.

In Genesis we are told that the rainbow was a covenantal sign from God:

And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Sadly that sign has been appropriated to represent a cause rebelling against God and His creation.

I have no control regarding the display across the page header but while it’s there I reclaim it for the purpose for which God intended.

If that colourful header isn’t there on your screen  – it does no harm to be reminded of the rainbow’s Godly significance.

31
Aug
17

Politics and Spirituality

In February a follower of this blog wrote the following comment:

I used to appreciate your posts because I thought you have some great insight about spiritual growth and Biblical inspiration. Recently, your posts have been very political and you are not even American. So, I decided to stop following your blog. Please unsubscribe me thank you.

I have addressed political issues on this blog – probably more so since American, white evangelicals played such a pivotal role into handing Donald Trump the US presidency – because I’ve found that politics and spirituality can’t be separated from each other as if they are unrelated. I believe they are very closely related, however the important thing is to recognise their differences.

 

Firstly, politics cannot be used to address spiritual realities. For example, righteousness cannot be legislated or enforced, because the lawmakers and enforcers are no less fallible than those they seek to control – even IF those lawmakers and enforcers were religiously devout.

I believe history shows us that human attempts to bring about Christian theocratic governments have provided the WORST kind of witness for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Examples of “Christian” government throughout history have been no different to examples of Government in the name of any other religion (or non-religious philosophy).

True justice and righteousness will only ever come through Government on this earth after the return of Jesus, when he reigns over the nations during thousand years commonly known as “the millennium”.

 

Secondly political realities can and MUST be addressed according to the Spirit and not according to national self-interest. The follower of Jesus should be set apart from political rhetoric and partisan allegiances. As believers we need to stand as a CONTRAST to the world’s political expediencies, by representing what serves God and His Kingdom, not being swayed by patriotic fervour, or what we are told are the nation’s interests.
Our nation’s interests rarely (if ever) reflect God’s interests – and yet, contrarily, God’s interests ALWAYS reflect the best (eternal) interests of the people in ALL nations,  not only those where we live.

 

Thirdly, our own attitudes and actions should always be informed by truth,  an understanding of God’s character and with an eye on God’s overall purposes.

It is easy to be distracted by single issue agendas – even worthy issues can draw us away from the “bigger picture”. By focusing on the rightness of that one issue, we can find ourselves being blinded to the wrongness of the larger political agenda being presented. Beautiful gift wrapping can easily disguise a sealed box filled with stinking garbage.




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