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AFL must take a serious stand against sexist sledging

17 May 2017 | Paul Mitchell

Marc MurphyI was 16 and playing senior football for my local team the first time I doubted whether it was the sport for me. At training, the men's talk turned to the various ways they liked to 'take' their wives. They spoke as if the women in their lives were of a different species. I looked at my friend. We had girlfriends and had never spoken to each other about them in this way. That was in 1984. The abuse of Marc Murphy's wife in the Carlton vs St Kilda match last Saturday shows not much has changed.

Preppies' hope cuts through the terror of terrorism

19 January 2016 | Paul Mitchell

Smiling school children break through the spectre of ISIS. Original artwork by Chris JohnstonLast year, I was my son's main school-day carer. It was a year of which the second half was dominated by acts of terrorism around the world. For the first time I properly registered the fact that there were people on the planet who, given the opportunity, would kill the preppie and me because we didn't want the kind of world they wanted. I started to feel a presence looming over us. It wasn't a pleasant reality with which to engage. Nor, I soon realised, was it any way to live.

Who cares for lonely white Muslim converts?

23 June 2015 | Irfan Yusuf

Muslim community illustration by Chris JohnstonA poorly-organised ill-resourced minority community often feels it has better things to worried about than 'white' converts who, like converts to any faith or belief system are known for their zeal. If the government really imagines young Muslims and converts are ripe for 'radicalisation', an excellent investment they could make would be in support services for new Muslims. In our lucky country, there is much loneliness in this group and many reasons to feel marginalised.

An Aussie Muslim's Taiwan Christmas

18 December 2014 | Irfan Yusuf

Tainan templeChristmas is a fabulous time to spend at home. Even those of us who aren’t terribly Christian can enjoy a free holiday with friends and family. And if you like choral music, you can always come along with me and a Jewish mate to St Mary's Cathedral. But last Christmas I found myself in Taiwan.

Don't forget it's 'World' AIDS Day

30 November 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

World AIDS Day LogoWorld AIDS Day encourages us also to think of Africa, the continent most afflicted by AIDS. Cultural and economic factors are also significant, including the need for men to live far away from home in order to find work, and women driven to sex work. It is an issue of fairness, making us ask people in wealthier nations owe to those in poorer nations.

Pope warns punishment is not a way to peace

26 October 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

Pope FrancisPope Francis warns perceptively that the urge to create peace by punishment leads to the search for more targets. The best way to peace and security is not to wage war on people but to be curious about them – what leads them to criminal acts, and how we can intervene to help them make good connections with society.

Best of 2013: A Jesuit learns to live with a Jesuit Pope

05 January 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

Pope FrancisI indulge a passing self-congratulatory thought that the Pope is, like me, a Jesuit, and will understand our Jesuit ways. And that the Church, of course, will benefit immeasurably from his Jesuit training. That is immediately followed by a touch of anxiety: perhaps he will understand our ways all too well.

Irrational fear of the Muslim Brotherhood

20 August 2013 | Irfan Yusuf

Muslim Brotherhood

It’s a crude and misleading line of reasoning to declare that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood can’t be committed to democracy because it is an Islamist organisation much like al-Qaida and Hezbollah. On what basis do we label individuals or groups 'Islamist'? Or 'fundamentalist'? Or 'extremist'? How can we have a monolith amongst a set of congregations making up almost one quarter of the world's human population? The history and politics of Islam is just as complex as that of Christianity.

Unlocking Australia's incarceration culture

22 May 2013 | Andrew Hamilton

Man slumped against prison barsThe Commonwealth and the Victorian state budgets this year were marked by a contradiction. Both committed more money to incarceration — detention centres and prisons; and both limited programs to help the people confined there. Such contradictions are usually signs of a bad policy that flows from shallow cultural values.

Clobbering religious gay prejudice

21 May 2013 | Michael Kirby

Detail from book cover, Pieces of Ease and GraceThe 2011 book Five Uneasy Pieces offered an alternative reading of the so-called 'clobber passages' that are at the core of religious unease about homosexuality. A follow-up volume pushes the envelope further by examining the biblical recognition of the variety of human love beyond traditional marriage.

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