Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Pope is in bed with the (ahem) MSM

A comment on the article Consigned to Banality; or, Can Truth and Beauty Survive in a Media Age? Part One


It's bad enough that the ABC Religion and Ethics page ignores the general audience and instead models itself as a sort of trade paper for clerics and theology students. But now the editor wants the rest of the media to follow his example!

When the doddery old Catholic church tells the newfangled European parliament it's looking a bit wrinkly, it's a classic "man bites dog" story.  The "bond between human dignity and transcendence" would have a pretty high switch-off factor. The cub reporter who filed that as a headline would not have a long career, unless of course funding cuts at the ABC are reversed and the Religion and Ethics page creates a new position.

And surely this intimate relationship between the Vatican and the media is totally consensual. From "remember the poor", through to "expect a punch", the perfect soundbite is delivered repeatedly by this Pope. Just like politicians and their spin doctors everywhere, they know how to play the game. 

I also don't recognise this demonised form of liberalism spelled out here. People exercise individual rights when they go to church, just as much as when they go the Gay Mardi Gras.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Enough of the Jesus already!

My response to: 
Competitive Scapegoating? The Case of Two Nations, and Two Condemned Men

I come to the ABC Religion and Ethics page expecting to be appalled by the garbled delusions of believers. For a moment I thought this article would be an exception. After all, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 3, and the commandment "Thou Shalt Not Kill" are an excellent example of secular and religious values coinciding. All Australian governments, federal and state, have abolished the death penalty. I feel good about that. It should NOT be a surprise that politicians, the general public and the media are showing solidarity on this issue. The media interest is what you'd expect, given the history of the Bali 9, and the precedent set by Van Nguyen and Barlow and Chambers. It's exactly what you'd expect.

And speaking of Van Nguyen, we are again seeing that the victims of capital punishment are from Asian backgrounds, but that does not stop us from thinking of them as Australian, as our own. They are like the kids we went to school with, the kids we lived next door to. Anglos/skips/white Australians (whatever my ethnic group is called) have had boyfriends, girlfriends, sons and daughters in-law just like them for decades now.

The "moment" I mentioned earlier has passed. It seems to me that Scott Cowdell is desperately looking for some sort of sin for Jesus to save us from. We don't need this sort of old-fashioned fire-and-brimstone condemnation from his pulpit. Isn't there enough real racism out there for him to condemn without resorting to inventing some phantom so he can promote his theology?