abc.net.au/religion | 12 September 2017
We are living in a mythical Whig history in which the contemporary reality is shrouded by our comfortable belief that the present is a more enlightened place. Historians are part of the problem.
bioedge.org | 17 September 2017
A book to be released next week - Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Lessons from Belgium - explores the legal, philosophical and medical issues around euthanasia, as well as how euthanasia affects vulnerable populations. The authors conclude that "the only secure way to avoid [negative] consequences is to ... instead invest in palliative care as well as research into end-of-life practices while re-emphasising the preciousness of human life".
Neil James Foster
lawandreligionaustralia.blog | 13 September 2017
In response to concerns about hateful and harmful speech on both side of the SSM debate, the Commonwealth Parliament has passed anti-vilification legislation. This article examines the content and possible consequences of the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017.
Joseph A Camilleri
johnmenadue.com | 24 August 2017
Australia continues with its interventionist deployments at the side of the United States, primarily in the Muslim world, even though these interventions have proved unwinnable, and have exacted tragic cost in human lives and social, cultural, and economic infrastructure. At the same time, we seek the help - hypocritically - of our Muslim communities and the Muslim world to stem the tide of Islamist terrorism, even though it is US-led interventionism and the financial backing of Saudi Arabia, America’s privileged ally in the Arab world, which have done much to fuel the terrorist scourge.
John Menadue, with John Tulloh and Peter Rodgers
johnmenadue.com | 30 August 2017
Through its support of extremist Wahabism, the Saudi government has been promoting radical Islam around the world. Its influence has included funding schools, universities and mosques in over 80 countries.
But, like the issue of the burqa, few Australians want to discuss the highly dangerous activities of the Saudi government. Drawing on earlier posts in Pearls and Irritations by John Tulloh and Peter Rodgers consider a few facts about Wahabism and the Saudi government.
Timothy W. Jones
theconversation.com | 8 September 2017
The voluntary postal survey is unique and bizarre, in that no government has yet conducted such a statistically unreliable exercise in gauging public opinion on a contentious social issue. Yet it is typical, in that political responses to social change in areas of sex and morality are usually slow, fiercely contested, ideologically confused, but nonetheless important.
theosthinktank.co.uk | 24 August 2017
You can see why so many Americans get angry about statues to those fought so hard for the slaveholding states of the South. Yet our public space is invariably littered with sinful heroes. Our belief that we are in a position to sift the historical wheat from the chaff is worrying, ignoring the tortuous vicissitudes of history and somehow imagining we are sufficiently detached and ethically superior (not to mention culturally homogenous) to pass judgment. Pulling down statues because we no longer (wholly) agree with the person they commemorate (assuming ‘we’ ever did) is simplistic and, in its own way, manipulative. And perhaps such statues, as well as urging virtue through their commendable qualities, can also serve us though their less estimable ones.
theaustralian.com.au | 26 August 2017
Stan Grant laments that indigenous people are “a postscript to Australian history” and that the “belief in the superiority of white Christendom … devastated indigenous people everywhere”. While many are still suffering deeply, in many ways Aboriginal Australians have gained from events since 1788. And this sequence of events since the invasion in 1788 has sometimes been magnified by the rewriting of indigenous history in recent years, falsely depicting a peaceful paradise that flourished in the millennia before Europeans arrived.
So, instead of complaining about the statue and status of Captain Cook, Aborigines need to celebrate more effectively their own contribution to early Australian history, by erecting a striking monument or memorial in honour of their distinguished heroes, the unknown discoverers of this continent.