Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We’re losing our religion. And that’s not a bad thing (?)

Karen Brooks makes a quite stupid mistake below, all the more amazing because she is allegedly a psychoanalyst.  Her employment in a neo-Marxist outfit has clearly caused her politics to trump her science.

In her discussion of religion, she fails to take account of the fact that there are many influences on human behaviour, with religion being only one of them.  And NO religion has ever made any nation into a nation of peaceniks.  There could be no more peaceful religion than Buddhism but the Buddhist Japanese showed great savagery in WWII.  Nationalist ideas trumped Buddhist ideas.

The only reasonable way to compare religions, therefore, is to look at the religions themselves, not the deeds of groups who claim some attachment to the religions concerned.  And Muslims are in fact a good example of that.  Despite the constant calls in the Koran for attacks on unbelievers, 99% of Muslims in the  Western world are entirely peaceful in their deeds.  They are "bad" Muslims from a religious viewpoint.  Their religion has no major influence on that aspect of their behaviour.

So what we have to do is to look at influence at the margins.  We have to ask what is the effect of the religion when it does have influence?  So we see that for a very small number of true believing Muslims, the commands of the Koran to attack kuffars are acted on with terrorist deeds.  But what about equally devout Christians? Their scriptures include no such commands so there are no Christian suicide bombers, which is a very good thing, and much to be encouraged. Instead it has commands to "love thy neighbour", which result in some Christians  building  hospitals and  doing  all sorts of charitable works.

Religion DOES have an important influence but Karen is too dim to see it.  Her Leftist hate of a rival faith blinds her to reality.  To forestall stupid "ad hominem" attacks,  I am myself a complete  atheist.  I don't believe in Jesus Christ, Mohammed or Karl Marx.  I don't even believe in global warming

Last week, columnist Andrew Bolt declared there was a war on Christianity. Claiming that Christians are being “harassed out of public space”, he provided examples before descending into polarising rhetoric of Christianity is “good and Islam “bad” (that is, violent and intolerant).

Cherrypicking quotes from the Bible and Koran to defend his points, Bolt then stated only a Christian society is safe for nonbelievers: “Christianity, for instance, tells us to treat even strangers as we would our own kin and insists the life of even the most lowly is sacred.”

Tell that to Peter Dutton.

Historically, Christianity’s record of kindness to strangers, their intolerance towards the “lowly” and those with differing or no beliefs, like that of other major religions, is grossly blemished.

One has only to read about the Crusades, the Inquisition, the various zealous missionary work undertaken around the world, to understand the destructive impact of Christianity on people and cultures, never mind how the God of peace could also transform into one that justified its warriors killing, raping, maiming and plundering in His name.

While Catholicism was the dominant religion in the Western world for centuries, Martin Luther and the subsequent Reformation changed that.

In less than 50 years, England, for example, went from a Catholic nation (Henry VIII), to a Protestant one (Henry VIII and Edward VI), reverted back to Catholicism (Mary I) before settling (uncomfortably) with the Church of England (Elizabeth I).

The Interregnum under the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell saw Puritanism take hold before the Restoration and Charles II, who reinstated the Church of England, but died a Catholic. Under all these monarchs, those of minority faith were persecuted, imprisoned, executed and/or deported.

Religious intolerance and the wars and bloodshed in God’s name, continued for centuries — and not just in England.

Christianity, like Judaism and Islam, has never been homogenous. Puritans, Anabaptists, Quakers, Muggletonians, Seekers, Ranters (to name a few) all splintered from it and fought to exist.

Jesus may have suggested, “turn the other cheek”, but the facts are Christianity, like other major faiths, has a long and tortured history that’s bellicose, hypocritical and more about the accumulation of wealth, lands, power and control of the ignorant, than bestowing blessings.

While Bolt’s correct in saying the Church is being increasingly disregarded, it’s a reflection of the times when, because people are better educated (and thus more likely to eschew religion), they’re able to critically reflect on what institutionalised religion offers.

With the shocking revelations of systematic abuse of children in the Catholic Church especially (but not exclusively) high on the public agenda, the indoctrination of would-be terrorists occurring in Mosques and cyberspace, let alone the murders being committed in Allah’s name, people’s tolerance, not so much for God, but for those who claim to be doing His work — whatever it may be — is rapidly diminishing.

Then there’s the bigotry and hatred expressed online and in other spaces by purported Christians towards homosexuality, abortion, refugees and on other human rights issues.

The fact churches don’t pay taxes simply adds insult to the increasing injuries.

Reflecting this, for the first time the 2016 August census will have the “no religion” option in the top spot. There’s a chance Christians collectively may lose their majority status in Australia as they did in New Zealand when a similar change occurred.

Is this such a bad thing?

The notion that a moral framework and ethics, living a “good” life, can only be learned through religion is a furphy.

While I might be damned for saying this, the safest society is a predominantly secular one, but of the kind sociologist, Jurgen Habermas, describes. This is one where religious and secular mentalities are open to a complementary learning process where shared citizenship and cultural difference is balanced.

This is sometimes described as a “soft-secularism”. It believes in the separation of church and state, but works in favour of believers and nonbelievers alike by practising tolerance in other spheres.

While we must steer away from religious extremism, we must also avoid an aggressive secularism that dismisses religious beliefs (but never excuses bigotry or hatred towards others). Likewise, we must not allow rhetoric, which, on the pretext of defending one faith, actually privileges it while apportioning blame and vilifying another, fuelling fear and hate and causing deeper divisions in the process.

In our increasingly disconnected world, I understand why some find the community and sharing, the sense of belonging some faiths offer, seductive. But isn’t it better to have faith in each other, practice goodness and compassion in the here and now, respect each other equally, with dignity, and leave an everlasting tangible legacy, than continuously defer to an invisible entity?

Secularism at its best is inclusive. I’m yet to be convinced about religion.


Federal election 2016: Left vilified Dutton but he spoke truth

By Jennifer Oriel

It is no secret that there is a vocal flank of Left-leaning politicians, media and academics who want conservatives purged from public life in Australia. They succeed by underhanded tactics often using anonymous posts and ad hominem attacks on social media that culminate in the mobbing of a politically incorrect target.

Once stamped with the Scarlet Letter, the mob uses guilt by association to keep the target isolated. The tactic was used against Tony Abbott and last week, the mob went after one of the few conservatives in cabinet, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

Dutton was subjected to mass opprobrium for referring to the struggle that refugees face with illiteracy and unemployment, as well as suggesting that the large increase in refugee intake proposed by the Greens could threaten Australian jobs.

His comments were unqualified and too generalised, which left room for misinterpretation. In a rational and fair political climate, however, commentators would have attempted to correct any perceived factual error or generalisation by way of factual analysis. Unfortunately, we’re not in a rational political climate.

Leftist commentators and social media pundits took Dutton’s statement on Sky News and turned it into a rage against conservatives, Abbott associates and the government’s border integrity policy. Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young described his comments as xenophobic. Greens leader Richard Di Natale called for him to be sacked. On ABC’s The Drum, Dutton was described as one of the “Abbottistas” causing problems for Turnbull.

Guilt by association is the mark of the mob in public debate. Dutton’s comments were read out of context and blown out of proportion. The outrage on social media and free to air television provided a convenient distraction that excused the PC Left from scrutinising the lunatic immigration policy proposed by the Greens. Taken in context, however, Dutton’s comments raise important issues.

The immigration minister highlighted the problems many refugees experience with literacy. It should not have been read as criticism. Refugees often flee war-torn countries where a combination of civil conflict and corrupt governments deprive the general population of basic education. And anyone who has mastered a foreign language understands the challenges involved.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies undertakes longitudinal research on the experiences of people with permanent humanitarian visas in Australia. Their recent Building a New Life in Australia report found that three quarters of respondents stated they understood English “not well” or “not at all” before coming to Australia. However, 69 per cent of all adult respondents reported undertaking English classes. The finding is both a credit to refugees and the Coalition policy of concentrating funds in resettlement programs rather than the uncosted or unaffordable mass immigration policies proposed by the intemperate Left.

The lower levels of literacy found among refugee populations produces further challenges for their aspirations to succeed in forging a new life in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics suggests that lower levels of English proficiency among humanitarian migrants may be related to their lower levels of employment. In 2010-2011, there were twice as many male as female humanitarian migrants and among those in employment, most worked as labourers. In its Settlement of New Arrivals report, the Department of Social Services states that: “Humanitarian entrants are heavily dependent on Centrelink payments and based on information reported in this survey that dependency reduces only slightly over time.”

Dutton’s assertion that the Greens’ proposal to increase the refugee intake to 50,000 would be problematic has a factual basis. The problem with mass immigration proposals is compounded further by the state of the economy. Given the national debt is over $400 billion and foreign debt is over $1 trillion, all policies must be costed and contribute to deficit reduction. The one-off additional intake of 12,000 people from the Syrian conflict is costed at more than $700 million. The Greens’ plans to increase our annual intake of refugees to 50,000 will cost $7bn over four years, according to government estimates. Labor’s proposal to increase the intake to 37,000 is estimated to cost $2.3bn.

Every policy has a tipping point. Principled politicians seek to maintain a balance that will empower the flourishing of the citizens they serve. Opportunistic politicians manipulate policy to further their political ambitions whatever the collateral damage. The Greens’ immigration policy is politically opportunistic. It is not compassionate to empower people-smugglers by vitiating against boat turnbacks. It is not compassionate to prioritise-asylum seekers with the money to jump the queue while leaving genuine refugees languishing in camps in war-ravaged countries. It is immoral to encourage tens of thousands of refugees to enter a country deep in debt without the economic means to support their long-term resettlement.

As a strong advocate of the free world and the border integrity its flourishing requires, Peter Dutton has steered the most contentious Coalition portfolio, immigration and border protection, through high turbulence. Operation Sovereign Borders remains a prime target of the red-green Left whose porous borders advocacy in the context of transnational jihadism is sheer lunacy.

The Coalition has stopped the boats, saving lives and destroying people-smugglers’ return on investment. Malcolm Turnbull demonstrated both compassion and political astuteness in his vigorous defence of the Coalition’s immigration policy. Despite the push to purge conservatives from government, Dutton is still standing. We are the better for it.


Why the Greens are rotten to the core

Joe Hildebrand is usually a fairly jocular commentator but I think he has some valid points below

A week ago I wrote that the navel-gazers of the hard Left were driving disenfranchised voters into the arms of the hard Right.   

In between overthrowing capitalism, the Greens’ Jim Casey also wants to overthrow Anthony Albanese. (Pic: Supplied)
It turns out I was even more right than I thought.

It is well known that Donald Trump’s support base consists largely of the uneducated and working-class who feel locked out of the American political establishment — precisely the sort of underprivileged demographic to whom the Left should be offering some salvation.

Instead the intellectual Left’s preoccupation with campus issues like transgender toilet rights and the subconscious racism of Halloween parties has rendered them as foreign to the working poor as the working poor are to them — if indeed the two have ever met.

In Australia the disconnect is less great, largely because successive Labor governments have shielded disadvantaged people from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. We have free health care, free education, a welfare safety net and a solid minimum wage.

Yet this is precisely the legacy that the Greens wish to destroy.

The problem with the Greens is that they are ideologues, more consumed by an imaginary post-capitalist utopia than they are with real people in the real world.

Greens Leader Richard di Natale (right) and candidate for the seat of Grayndler, Jim Casey. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Like fascists, they conjure up absolute goals and destroy anyone who fails to meet them. Indeed, they actually yearn for oppression in the hope that it will bring about the longed-for revolution.

And for a party that pretends to be all about the greater good, they are ruthlessly self-interested.

In 2009 the Greens blocked Kevin Rudd’s landslide mandate for an emissions trading scheme, thus leading to the destruction of his prime ministership and the ascension of climate contrarian Julia Gillard — with whom they then formed a fawning coalition and extracted a carbon tax before stabbing her in the back too.

The undemocratic and unpopular genesis of the carbon tax catapulted Tony Abbott into power, upon which he immediately abolished it. Thus the Greens both ushered in the Abbott Government and eliminated any ETS. This from a supposedly left-wing party that claims to tackle climate change.

You’d think they’d learn. But incredibly the Greens want Abbott back. Or at least one does. The Greens candidate for Grayndler has said: “I would prefer to see Tony Abbott returned as prime minister with a Labor movement that was growing.” (Those who are actually in the Labor movement disagree.)

These words are from Jim Casey, who — in between overthrowing capitalism — also wants to overthrow Anthony Albanese, a hugely respected left-wing Labor leader who was probably the most decent figure in the ALP’s six sad years of office.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Greens are also believed to be doing secret deals with the Coalition to effectively run dead in marginal seats targeted by the Liberals — a.k.a. giving “open preferences”. In exchange the Libs would preference the Greens in key inner-city seats to knock off ALP candidates.

Yes, a party that claims to be left-wing is both killing off Labor MPs and helping the Liberals win.

That is the true agenda of the lunatic Left: To get a conservative government elected so they can have something to protest about.

In the meantime, poor people just have to suffer while waiting for the revolution. And if they don’t go to Labor they go to Trump lookalikes such as Pauline Hanson or Clive Palmer or whatever nutbag showpony trots onto the field.

Say what you like about the Labor Party, at least it tries to wrestle out credible policies that improve the lives of ordinary people. Meanwhile the Greens bang on about Safe Schools while giving a leg up to the party of Cory Bernardi.

These vegetables are rotten to the core.


Marxist Roz Ward now Victorian school LGBTI adviser

Roz Ward, the hardline Marxist behind the contentious Safe Schools program, has been ­appointed to a high-level committee advising the Victorian govern­ment on education issues.

With the taxpayer-funded sexual and gender diversity ­program having become a hot election issue, after the Greens and Labor pledged to boost funding, the Andrews Labor government appears increasingly committed to pushing an LGBTI agenda in the schoolyard.

Ms Ward, already a director of the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria, has joined the education reference group set up to provide advice on the government’s LGBTI education priorit­ies and identify new ways to improve equality for gay and transgender youth in schools.

The group comes under the mantle of the government’s LGBTI Taskforce, co-chaired by leading transgender activist Brenda ­Appleton, which provides direct advice to Equality Minister Martin Foley.

While the taskforce membership was announced in September, the make-up of its education reference group has not been publicly disclosed. But Ms Ward’s role is detailed on the website of La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society, where she works.

Ms Ward, an academic with a degree in gender studies, has ­become the controversial face of the Safe Schools movement, largely due to her extreme Left political views; including publicly linking the program to a broader Marxist push to liberate society from “gender constructs”.

She has also shown some contempt for parents who ­harbour concerns about the prog­ram, which preaches a polit­ically correct approach to sex education and an extreme and contested gender ideology.

Ms Ward has previously ­conceded that Safe Schools was not an anti-bullying program, but rather a means to promote sexual and gender diversity.

She has advised school princip­als that they could dismiss parental concerns about the program with a “tough luck”.

And despite having no education qualifications, she has taught elements of the program, designed for the Years 7 and 8 curriculums, to Year 3 children.

A communique from the LGBTI Taskforce’s meeting last month, which was posted on the Victorian government’s website last week, reveals that the education reference group recently met for the first time.

It discussed aspects of the school curriculum, including the contentious Respectful Rela­tionships program and the implemen­tation of the Catching on Early resource.

Written with input from the La Trobe University research centre, Catching on Early is a 200-page guide for primary schools that touches on gender theory and contains a lesson on “IVF, surrogacy and other ­assisted-conception treatments”.

A government spokeswoman confirmed Ms Ward’s appointment to the group, which is still being finalised.

A spokeswoman defended the Catching On Early program as “an ­evidence-based and optional ­resource, founded on research into sexuality education”. She said it was not compulsory in any school.

Ms Ward did not respond to a request to comment.


Cracking the 'safe schools' campaign

When does 'safe' mean 'dangerous'? Answer: when the education of young children falls into the hands of a cabal of fanatical Marxist ideologues.

It's happening in Victoria where the Safe Schools Coalition is pushing its aggressive ideology of gender fluidity to reshape society and destroy oppressive power structures.

Premier Daniel Andrews has given gender activists the green light to mess with kids' heads. He condemns anyone who questions the merits of the ideology-driven program as a "bigot".

Wasn't the Safe Schools Coalition supposed to be about putting a stop to bullying? This seems to be not about bullying at all.

Co-founder Roz Ward has been promoting transgender lesson plans for seven-year-old children -- featuring genderless aliens who have arrived on Earth.

Thankfully these extraterrestrial folk are just imaginary; but Ms Ward sets an equally imaginary problem for the alien visitors: how to tell female and male Earthlings apart?

Just two genders? Male and female? Only a bigot could think that. Allowing boys to be, well, boys? How much more hateful does it get?

Safe Schools Coalition insists that there are many genders, all of which are merely social constructs -- so you can take your pick.

This nonsense, supported by Premier Andrews and his Green-Left government, is built on two big lies our culture has readily accepted but failed to question.

Lie Number One: if you don't agree with another person's lifestyle, you obviously fear them or hate them.

Lie Number Two: if you love someone you must agree with everything they believe.

The Safe Schools Coalition propaganda is dangerous. It aims to recruit the most vulnerable young Australians in a long campaign of attrition against our social structures.

If the gender activists were really smart, they'd campaign to ensure our Aussie kids had literacy skills. At least that way they would be able to read Karl Marx's Capital and decide for themselves whether gender is tyranny after all.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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