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20 August 2013 |
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.
22 May 2013 |
The 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.
21 May 2013 |
The 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.
16 May 2013 |
It is difficult to get into the mind of a person who might have been pope eight years earlier. Would the intervening years have been filled with 'what ifs'? Would he have watched Benedict and wondered how he might have led differently? Whether they knew it or not the cardinals initiated a quiet revolution in electing this man.
08 May 2013 |
In our care of the aged, not only their health and security are at stake but also their self-respect and dignity. It is impossible not to sympathise with the argument that the high skills this requires from carers should be better remunerated. But in the business of business and remuneration, love is the skill that dares not speak its name.
01 May 2013 |
The future of the Catholic tradition will not rest with Liberal, Conservative or Evangelical Catholicism. Not because those who would define themselves as members of such groupings are liberal or conservative, but because they are essentially reactive. They derive their energy from opposition to the perceived weakness or wickedness of other groups.
17 April 2013 |
The debate about the right of church organisations to discriminate in employment is usually framed in terms of exclusion. But it can be framed more positively. A religious background may be required not because it satisfies the demands of the church, but to ensure that those whom the organisation serves continue to be treated with great respect.
11 April 2013 |
The Church is unique among the institutions under scrutiny from the Royal Commission. The trust laypeople hold in priests and other vowed religious is not the same trust held in teachers, doctors and coaches. It is sourced from the stories that feed their faith. This is the context in which the betrayal must be understood.
10 April 2013 |
Pope Francis' Holy Thursday expedition to the juvenile justice centre to wash the feet of young people, male and female, Christian and Muslim, breached liturgical rules. But he was right to do so. Church and state laws are securely grounded only when there is a shared sense of the importance of human flourishing.
03 April 2013 |
A certain metaphorical framework sees community organisations as factories and the people they serve as consumers. It can be useful to focus attention on the costs and efficiency of programs. But when it becomes the master model for caring for human beings, it betrays all that most community organisations are about.
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