23 January 2004. Thought for the Week: " Professors of theology (the experts) both clerical and lay, are generally the people who least understand religion. Why is this? Because religion, like literature is a complete world view. It cannot be studied in a compartmentalised way. One cannot approach the religious experience with only the analytical burner turned on in one's brain. One must approach it with one's whole heart, mind and soul. (Who once said something about loving with one's whole heart, mind and soul?) we desperately need to see the Faith whole and unperverted."
"The Peasant's Faith" by Daniel Neyer
A BLAST FROM THE BISHOP!
Of Israel, he says: "I agree with the
millions of Jews around the world, and tens of thousands in
Israel - some of whom I know from teaching at the Hebrew University
- who grieve at what some Jews in Israel led by Ariel Sharon
are doing. I'm not anti-Israel but when I see what's been
done to the Palestinians over the past 50 years, I say, 'Well
I'm sorry, but if you put people behind barbed wire, keep
them caged, take their land despite international resolutions,
and bulldoze their homes, you are asking for trouble'.
He gives the present cultural imperialists
Dr Wright clearly does not accept the way the battle-lines on homosexuality have been sketched by the media. "I get irritated when people suggest the debate is between literalists and those who think scripture has to be interpreted or put into context. Some of us have spent our professional lives putting scripture in its historical context and in their contexts the relevant New Testament passages basically meant something deeply counter-cultural, then as now.
If people's instinct leads them towards persons of the same sex then that is, like many other things in life, something with which a Christian has to wrestle rather than just saying, 'Well, if you feel that strongly, that's the way it should be'. "This debate is really about the role of reason. We don't do reasoned moral discourse any more. We do, 'I feel strongly about this', 'I feel wounded about that', and 'Let me tell you about my pain'.
Victimhood is the new moral high ground. We've slid into a post-modern morass which sounds like reasoned discourse but which is really just an exchange of strong emotions. Feelings matter hugely, of course, but we mustn't mistake them for moral discourse. The debate has become so shrill precisely because we're trying to cover up for the fact that we no longer have any deep moral roots or thought-through moral principles."
No mechanism is in our culture for dealing
with the problem of evil
The Bishop has something to say on sex
I don't know what sort of a mindset Ian Huntley had but I do know that he grew up in a world so soaked in a free-and-easy sex culture, a pornography culture which says 'sex is there for the taking, everyone wants it really', without any sense of human dignity or of the preciousness of sex.
"In a society which has seen a sexual revolution within a generation it is fair to ask, historically, 'Which generation in which culture would you trust to tell the truth about sex? Would you choose one like ours, which has produced so many bruised, wounded broken families, domestic chaos, and teenage pregnancies'?"
If this ignores the fact that many other
eras have been characterised by sexual licence it reveals
something of Dr Wright's personal history
Liberals would respond that this does not make sufficient distinction between casual homosexual sex and faithful gay relationships but Dr Wright is adamant that the Church has to hang on to the truth that it is called to be different and not ape the world in its sexual, cultural, social, economic, military or other agendas. The New Testament does not recognise any sex/religion/politics divide, he insists.
Part of what the media rarely report about the Church is the work of unsung heroes and heroines across the country. "I was in a redundant bank in South Shields the other day where a credit union has been set up by the Church, doing what's needed where every other agency has abandoned ship," he adds.
The Archbishop of Canterbury understands all this, Dr Wright says. "Rowan is brilliant in several interlocking ways. There's nobody else who could do what he already has done. The primates' meeting showed his extraordinary gift of being able to draw people together. He's a man of such transparent Christian spirituality that it takes somebody peculiarly hard-nosed to resist. He has been called and equipped for a very difficult moment in church history and he's come across as a man of enormous integrity and courage."
This is not how many former supporters in the liberal establishment see him. They feel he crumbled under pressure, abandoning his tolerant inclusivity of homosexuals. "No, they built him up as a great liberal hero then screamed blue murder when he turned out to be more complicated. The idea that he capitulated to a bunch of evangelicals using their financial clout to threaten the rest of the Church is a smear." "The press tends not to see much more than a quarter of the issue. Rowan has shown that he's not going to be pushed around by any section of the Church but is going to listen extremely carefully to everyone."
Dr Wright knows many in the secular world
will disagree. But the Church today, he says, is playing on
a steeply sloping pitch. If the establishment view says something
different from entire church tradition, on sexuality, on war,
or whatever, and is criticised for that then the Church is
"big enough to take that".
FREEDOM IS THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE OR REFUSE, ONE THING AT A TIME
How many readers remember the battles fought over the fluoridation of public water supplies twenty-thirty years ago? Those battles were fought on very narrow fronts, against the big battalions of vested interests, by small numbers of freedom-loving people who had grasped the truth that as free people, the real issue was their right to choose or refuse medication whether it came through their water pipes or not! They grasped the truth that compulsory fluoridation of public water supplies amounted to mass medication, and they were opposed to compulsory medication on principle. That sort of thing happened in Nazi and communist regimes - not in the land of the free - Australia.
Whilst in Brisbane, Queensland last year I was amused to hear over radio the arguments put forward for fluoridation of the public water supplies by the government authorities. Adelaide, South Australia was used as a shining example of its great success. What they didn't 'bring to the light' was the fact there are any number of businesses in Adelaide flourishing and profiting by supplying households with 'spring water' for human consumption, for drinking. Great numbers of people in Adelaide do not drink from the public water supplies - because of the fluoridated water! Even though it costs them they have exercised their right to choose not to drink it! How the authorities have managed to come up with reliable research into the pros and cons of the benefits or otherwise of fluoride in Adelaide's water supplies is anyone's guess!
U.S. JUDGE RULES TROOPS WERE GUINEA PIGS FOR ANTHRAX JABS
The following news item was released just before the Christmas break; too late for the last 2003 edition of On Target. But because it is inextricably linked to our fundamental right to choose or refuse one thing at a time, in this case compulsory vaccinations, it is still worth reporting.
"The Pentagon has suspended compulsory vaccination of US troops against anthrax after a federal court judge ordered the military to stop treating its personnel like "guinea pigs". US District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that the mandatory inoculations, administered to more than 900,000 troops, violated a law passed in 1998 prohibiting the use of experimental drugs on troops. A spokesman for the Justice Department, which represented the military in the case, said the Pentagon would instruct medical personnel at US military facilities around the world to temporarily halt the vaccinations while it reviews the ruling.
Australian troops had already refused
What has Defence Minister Robert Hill
got to say about the matter now?
BASIC FUNDAs we venture further into the new year the League will once more be in full swing. Gathering of news, analysing from a Christian perspective, journals to get out, education projects, further development of the websites, bankwatch.info in particular (which entails hours and hours of work) further computer work towards the CD project (so far hundreds of hours have gone in to this one project), meetings to organise the list is long and the duties challenging. The current Basic Fund now stands at $7,778.60; thank you to those who have already made contributions. But, in order to do what needs to be done the League needs to fill the Basic Fund. Don't let us down, please give generously. Send your contribution to the annual Basic Fund. Cheques/Money Orders made out to: Australian League of Rights. The address is: Box 1052 G.P.O. Melbourne 3001.
QUEENSLAND STATE ELECTION
Premier Peter Beattie has announced he will take the people of Queensland to the polls on February 7th. Reports have it that Opposition leader Lawrence Springborg, who took over from Mike Horan early last year, has spent the past 12 months rebuilding a devastated team. One would hope the Opposition has taken into account the reasons why they were 'devastated'. Even though they went into the February 2001 election with the Labor Party entangled in an inquiry into electoral rorting, Labor candidates gained three-quarters of the seats in that Queensland Parliament! What a sorry reflection on the Liberals and Nationals! Many voters must now hold them in such contempt.
In the coming election, Labor will have to have a 9 per cent swing against them, losing 20 of their present seats, before the Opposition will regain a parliamentary majority. They are not going to do it by just presenting Mr. Springborg as a good athlete as was recently seen on the ABC's 7.30 Report! Never mind his athletic prowess - what are the policies?
Voters in Queensland should now be busy questioning their local candidate, weighing up his understanding of his parliamentary role and the policies he will support - should he get to serve his people. And by thus accepting their responsibility in representative democracy the voters will ensure that they have played a part in recording a responsible vote. Freedom comes at a price - it is called responsibility and accountability, which includes being responsible and accountable for the vote cast!
HOWARD'S PROPOSALS TO AMEND COMMONWEALTH CONSTITUTION
The following submission was made by Mr. Philip Benwell on behalf of the Australian Monarchist League. It is a valuable guide to the proposed changes by the Howard Liberal Party. We take pleasure in publishing it for the benefit of our readers. Emphasis has been added throughout. It was addressed to: The Hon Neil Brown QC Chairman, Consultative Group, Constitutional Change, Legal and Culture Branch, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, 3-5 National Circuit, Barton, ACT 2600.
"The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet regarding the Government proposals to amend Section 57 of the Australian Constitution to overcome the requirement to go to the People at a Double Dissolution (an election of the full Senate together with the House of Representatives) to resolve a deadlock situation between the two Houses.
Tendency to Bias:
Whilst the Paper acknowledges that "proportional representation ensures a legitimate voice in the Parliament for a cross-section of interests", it goes on to state: "What this paper does not accept is that there should be a permanent and absolute veto for minority interests. Until such time as there is a more workable and efficient means of resolving deadlocks, the effectiveness of Australian governments will be impaired. Perhaps more significantly, the will of the electorate will remain subject to a veto for which there is no practical resolution. The solution must be to develop a model which more faithfully reflects the will of the people and the intentions of those who drafted the Constitution."
The inference that a severe stale-mate situation between the Government and the Senate is due solely to the minor parties is not correct for their numbers become important only if the Opposition is also opposed to the Government's legislation. No thought has been given in the Discussion Paper that it may well be the specific wish of the people to elect minor party candidates as a check on the major political parties.
Furthermore, we understand that whilst
the Senate has passed 1,253 of the Howard Government Bills
it has rejected only the following Bills on two occasions:
The Viability of Section 57:
The correct situation regarding the
six occasions on which Section 57 was invoked is that:
We are therefore of the opinion that this record is by no means an indication that the Section is obsolete but rather that it is fully functioning. The changes in the Senate from a 'State's' House to a House of Review under party political control together with the alteration of its composition, resulting in the plethora of minor party and independent senators, cannot be blamed on the Constitution and particularly on Section 57, and we submit that amending the Constitution will only serve to transfer power from the hands of the people into that of the government.
It is clear from the discussions held during the Convention of 1897 that every conceivable problem was discussed and every conceivable crisis catered for.
The words of Bernhard Wise are appropriate and that was that the purpose of the Union was to: "enlarge the powers of self government of the people of Australia." It was during that very Convention that Sir Samuel Griffiths said of the Senate "A strong Senate will compel attention to its suggestions; a weak one will not insist on them." Indeed it is clear that the prime purpose of our Founding Fathers was to avoid a concentration of power in the House of Representatives, regrettably the very thing which has occurred under the banner of 'Responsible Government'.
We submit that 'Responsible Government'
means far more than this:
The basis of the discussions during the debates of 1891 and 1897/8, and indeed throughout all the Conventions held leading up to Federation, was to balance the needs of a federated authority against the needs of the individual States and above all without upsetting the rights of the people. That the framers of the Constitution achieved this fine balance was a masterstroke of ingenuity. It is known from records of the debates that an inordinate amount of time was spent on deliberating the powers of the Senate, which was the first elected Upper House within a Constitutional Monarchy under the Westminster System, and on resolving potential impasses between both Houses. Several solutions were discussed and the process of sending the full Senate together with the House of Representatives to the People in a Double Dissolution was agreed upon as the most appropriate method of resolving any deadlock. Other processes, such as a referendum, were considered to be outside the framework of 'Westminster' or would otherwise result in too great a concentration of power in the Lower House.
The Paper states:
The Powers of the Senate:
To be continued .
LETTERS TO THE EDITORThe following letter was sent to The Age newspaper Melbourne.
"Graham Barrett may be off target in labelling hostility to Israel and Jewish activities "the longest hatred" (The Age 10/1/04) and in claiming such hatred "appears to be burgeoning again in a new and troubling form". Might it not be more accurate to state that resistance to what American statesman David Duke calls "Jewish supremacism" is both intensifying and adapting to new challenges? Labelling such resistance "hatred" is an act of propaganda. In his massive studies My Awakening and Jewish Supremacism Duke provides a mass of argument and evidence to suggest that Jewish interests for long have conspired to promote the welfare of their own people at the expense of all others. Sneering at the alleged "monstrous fraud" of the Protocols is no answer to such a powerfully sustained thesis. Nor was Israel ever "a plucky little state created by the United Nations": it was land stolen from the Palestinians by Jewish power exercised in America, in the UN, in Palestine and elsewhere. It was Jewish supremacism in action. What is called for now is a profound self-examination by the Jewish people worldwide. Perhaps a misunderstanding of their authentic sacred tradition lies at the heart of errors that now endanger the world." Nigel Jackson, Belgrave Vic. 10/1/04
BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS
Vigilance - A Defence of British Liberty
by Ashley Mote
Candle of Light by Thomas L.Fielder
Fascist Europe Rising by Rodney Atkinson,
BA, MSC, MH
"On Target" is published by the Australian League of Rights, Box 1052. G.P.O. Melbourne 3001.