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  • AUSTRALIA

    Religious freedom in secular Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 December 2018
    15 Comments

    Let's hope all members of parliament can agree to the insertion of such a clause in the legislation providing assurance to religious educators that they can continue to teach their doctrine in good faith while assuring all students and their families that they will not suffer any detriment while sitting at the feet of religious educators.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Philistine invasion is cringe-worthy indeed

    • Brian Matthews
    • 17 December 2018
    7 Comments

    Simon Birmingham's recent vetoing of 11 humanities research projects is a good example of cultural cringe's transmutation into populist philistinism. Scientific research projects are often more opaque to the uninitiated than humanities projects but are usually safe from ignorant criticism because their importance is assumed.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The casual service industry is broken

    • Devana Senanayake
    • 14 December 2018
    8 Comments

    David Leyonhjelm recently thanked men from South Asian backgrounds for delivering his pizza, groceries and online purchases; for rolling up their sleeves for jobs others refused. This gesture is seriously problematic. The casual service industry is broken and exploitative and needs to be carefully regulated and constantly audited.

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  • RELIGION

    The saint and the sultan's model for peace

    • Barry Gittins
    • 14 December 2018
    9 Comments

    Next year will mark the 800th anniversary of the future Saint Francis of Assisi's historic meeting with Malik-al-Kamil, the Sultan of Egypt, during the Fifth Crusade. As we hear or sing seasonal songs of peace and harmony, there are some lessons we can learn from that quirky piece of history.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's Christmas cognitive dissonance

    • Amy Thunig
    • 13 December 2018
    6 Comments

    I cannot help but think about the level of cognitive dissonance required to believe you hold not only the rights to an entire holiday, but also the moral high ground, all while occupying buildings built on stolen lands. The migration of this celebration to this continent did not happen in isolation from the violence of invasion and colonisation.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Scenes from the Land of Frankincense

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 13 December 2018
    2 Comments

    How delightful to see this country's mosques suffused with the scent of frankincense — not just on celebratory days, but always. And what a surprise it is to find that this place in whose proximity Christianity unfolded smells exactly — precisely — like Christmas.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Modern day hearts of darkness

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 12 December 2018
    14 Comments

    A commentator recently described most politicians as being professional liars, and it can be argued that they tend to deceive themselves as well. Many can be compared with Heart of Darkness's Kurtz, who hid 'in the magnificent folds of his eloquence the barren darkness of his heart'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Confidentiality, Confession and the law

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 December 2018
    15 Comments

    Victoria's government has promised legislation to force religious ministers to report information about child sexual abuse received in Confession, and called a royal commission after revelations a lawyer breached the professional duty of confidentiality to clients. The implications of these breaches of confidentiality deserve reflection.

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  • RELIGION

    Church reform scorecard

    • John Warhurst
    • 11 December 2018
    52 Comments

    Scoring the performance of the Australian church is a complex task at any time. Dioceses and congregations vary enormously. The mission of church agencies continues unabated in education, health, social services and aged care. But by any measure 2018 has been a big year.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The myth of polarisation in modern Australia

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 10 December 2018
    12 Comments

    Why do so many pundits decry the divisions in Canberra at a time when, objectively speaking, the parties have never been closer? The short answer is that they're responding to a genuine polarisation — not between Labor and Liberal but between both parties and the rest of society.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    UN human rights declaration turns 70

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 December 2018
    14 Comments

    It is appropriate to affirm the worldwide amplification system for the 'still, small voice' of conscience speaking to power, even when that voice of conscience maintains a religious tone, while the power of the state is increasingly secular and the tone of society more stridently secularist.

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  • RELIGION

    Philip Wilson's dead letter day

    • Frank Brennan
    • 07 December 2018
    41 Comments

    The show trial of Archbishop Philip Wilson has backfired badly causing hurt to many people, most especially victims of child sexual abuse who thought the law was being rightly applied to put an errant Catholic bishop in the frame. Section 316 of the New South Wales Crimes Act is a dead letter and it causes nothing but trouble to everyone involved.

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