author: Barry Gittins

  • RELIGION

    Woe to those who punish the poor

    • Barry Gittins
    • 11 October 2019
    16 Comments

    If our PM's theological name dropping rings true, his life is guided by the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. That unemployed Jewish tradie turned rabble rouser made this apocalyptic observation: 'Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.' Yet it remains a vote winner, this business of punishing poor people for being poor.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The contrasting gospels of Morrison and Shorten

    • Barry Gittins
    • 13 August 2019
    6 Comments

    In Jensen's take, while Shorten expresses honest doubt and cites Christ's golden rule, care of his Jesuit educators, Morrison indulges in a marathon of spiritual self-indulgence. Morrison masterfully works right-wing media outlets, or is worked by them, with Alan Jones leading the PM through a radio interview 'like Simpson led his donkey'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    My seasons among the homeless

    • Barry Gittins
    • 19 July 2019
    7 Comments

    The regulations these guys have to abide by — the behavioural hoops they need to navigate — are designed to protect them, the volunteers and the property of the host churches. It is an ethical dilemma, the ceding of normally inviolate personal freedoms for the use of the facilities. I don't know how I would feel about it if I was in their shoes.

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  • RELIGION

    Mother Merle shows me how to die

    • Barry Gittins
    • 05 June 2019
    7 Comments

    At 4am on a cold morning, my brother phoned from the hospital. My final conversation with my mother, while harrowing, was not unexpected. My attempts to thank her for who she was and what she had given to me did not suffice. Mother Merle was in a hurry to leave this life, and the cancer that had drained her strength. She was over it.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Militarising the Moon

    • Barry Gittins
    • 17 April 2019
    2 Comments

    This journey outwards is threatened by demagoguery. The UN's treaty declaring 'celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes' has been challenged by sabre-rattling by Donald Trump, with his declaration that 'it is not enough to have American presence in space; we must have American dominance'.

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  • RELIGION

    On love, money and Valentine's Day

    • Barry Gittins
    • 13 February 2019
    6 Comments

    Valentine's Day is built on some fairly shaky historical ground. Rather than honouring a prelate offering bridal trysts, or hoping for a good harvest, I'm inclined to spare a thought for the Greek philosophers and poets who set up shop well before Romulus and Remus; I like to muse over their various efforts to pin down love.

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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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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Cue God's applause

    • Barry Gittins
    • 20 November 2018
    8 Comments

    I am holy, no, to discriminate? But by doing so, I self-incriminate. I doubt the loud denouncing will dissipate before the promised election falls.  

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  • EDUCATION

    Homophobic prejudice casts a long shadow

    • Barry Gittins
    • 17 October 2018
    7 Comments

    Next month, it will be two years since Tyrone Unsworth took his own life. He was 13. What makes his case stand out is that his suicide followed years of homophobic bullying, and occurred in the midst of the same sex marriage debate and conservative attacks on Safe Schools. Suicide does not occur in a vacuum.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Rage, revile, repeat: Hanson's great swindle

    • Barry Gittins
    • 03 October 2018
    4 Comments

    Consider the sheer volume of Hanson's emotive denouncements over decades. The anti-intellectualism that undergirds her populism. The shifts in tack, to capture the wind of whichever tragic event puffs up her sails. We're breathing in Hanson's views without conscious recognition of their invalidity. That's why this book matters.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A parent's guide to reward and punishment

    • Barry Gittins
    • 20 September 2018
    6 Comments

    How best to extract them from their cozy dens? Whispering endearments and professions of love does not produce the desired results. Nor does opening curtains, turning on the lights, singing annoying songs, turning on a television or radio, or serenading them on a tuba. These strategies have all been unsuccessfully trialled.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Parents, it's time to spike the spank

    • Barry Gittins
    • 19 June 2018
    4 Comments

    If you are inclined to discount expert opinion from medicos, lawyers and criminologists, you could consider the evidence of your own eyes. Observe the body language around you if a parent hits their kid in public. A hush descends and tension increases. Post-Royal Commission, violence against kids is more and more on the nose.

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