Volume 16 No.16
'Clash of civilisations' rhetoric distorts cultural differences
Manipulating narrowly conceived notions of national values simply triggers a storm of prejudice, while undercutting efforts to improve conceptions of the nation’s Muslim community.
Questioning the limits to freedom
No advocate of democratic freedoms has defended Sheik al-Hilali's right to compare immodestly dressed women to uncovered meat. The message is that promoting freedom is often—but not always—a valid means of recognising values that enhance individual and collective humanity.
The best dialogue cherishes difference
Whilst many see and use dialogue as a way to identify our similarities, its true value often lay in the way it can teach us to recognise and respect other people’s differences, and to see difference as valuable in and of itself.
Two oldies poems
My mother seemed like someone else's sister / In a lap of luxury, while they lit their grief / With tales from light years away.
Ramshackle fast food horror movie
Poor McDonald’s. First, the 2002 doco Supersize Me came along to remind people that, yes, fast food is really bad for you. This year Maccas is on the defensive all over again.
Environmental complexities of the modern dishwasher
Because of the intricate nature of all the interactions involved, the best course of action in environmental matters is rarely clear or obvious. We just need to be grateful for decisive political leaders.
Andrew Denton's very Christian anti-Christian film
Denton says the people interviewed for his new film on evangelical Christianity in the USA "embody the Christian ideals of love", but absolute faith can "tell you it’s okay to hate a group of people such as homosexuals".
The bloke with a book at the bar
Phil is always at the end of the bar with his head in a book or, occasionally, a newspaper. He never tires of reading in company, with a either a vodka and Coke or a Cascade Light just off the page.
Unpolished gem shines brightly
The situation of children who experience not just a generation gap, but also a distance from parents whose migrant inheritance includes a "million scruples that made no sense".
The oxygen that breathes life into peacemaking
Other than formal interaction between nations, the role of non-government organisations (NGOs) who provide the heavy lifting in aid relief and community building in war-torn regions is critical, as is the exercise of citizen's voices, and the involvement they have with the political processes of their country.
Churches could hold key to salvation for the Left
The error of post-modernism, which grew out of the broad academic left and now dominates Western society, is that it has no metaphysical foundation for a moral critique. The churches remain the repository of the deeper understanding of life that once motivated some elements of the left.
A generation of online material girls
Members of the Zebo online community are encouraged to blog with a commercial focus, to keep a shopping journal of shopping experiences and tips.
THE MEDDLING PRIEST
Emotional and intellectual tensions rising in cloning debate
As senators reflected on the role of religious thinking in discussion of embryonic cloning, Senator Kay Patterson responded testily to Bishop Anthony Fisher: "Dear me, I might be excommunicated!" This week, the Australian Catholic University brings together two Catholic medical scientists, and two Catholic ethicists, with opposing views.
Lakemba and Werribee lessons for the media
Young people should expect and demand respect however they dress. They need to be realistic not only about people who show no restraint in indulging their sexual urges, but also media treatment that is designed to titillate audiences and confirm prejudices.
Gut reaction aside, those on the ground know Iraq reality
This month The Lancet published the findings of an Iraq war mortality survey that put the toll at more than 600,000. The US should recognise this figure because other studies in Darfur, Kosovo and Afghanistan employing identical methods are widely accepted.