Tuesday, 27 November 2007

A Change!

Well I for one think the change in government is a step in the right direction. And given the absolute landslide result, it seems plenty of us all agree! With wall to wall Labor governments now, the Libs must be wondeirng when they became obsolete. I think they have simply moved too far to the right - I am a Kevin 07 fan, but I have to admit he's not really left enough for me. But I do acknoweldge that the country will ultimately be run by moderates - a truly left of centre candidate is not going to win. But niether is the far right-of-centre party - and I think the IR legislation tipped the balance over the edge, not to mention the US alliance etc etc. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing Labor now implement their policies - and who the Libs chose as their leader. It'll be some time before we see them in power again!

Thursday, 22 November 2007


The following is an excerpt from the Sojourners: Faith, Politics and Culture website. In it, Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis comments on the bizarre move made by conservative Christian Coalition preacher Pat Robertson to endorse Republican presidential nominee Rudy Giuliani.
“ Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani for president is simply astonishing. Robertson - the television preacher who founded the 700 Club and once ran for president himself - has made opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage his political north star and has been a relentless champion of traditional marriage and family values.
“Remember Robertson's merciless attacks on President Bill Clinton's lapses of sexual morality with Monica Lewinsky? Or his comments about how the 9/11 attacks were the result of America's tolerance for homosexuals and abortion?
“Now Robertson is for Rudy, a thrice-married adulterous husband, who is estranged from his own children and is both pro-choice and pro-gay rights. According to Robertson's twisted moral logic, forgiving the social conservative shortcomings of Republicans is a Christian virtue, so long as the same virtue is never applied to Democrats. But Pat thinks Rudy can beat Hillary, and Pat really cares about winning for the Republicans.
“What exactly goes on in Pat Robertson's head has puzzled many of us for a long time. This endorsement ranks as one of the most unprincipled in recent political memory. Maybe principles never mattered much to Pat Robertson after all. Perhaps the pro-business economic conservatism of the Republican Party was always more important to the televangelist than saving unborn lives. Robertson's long-standing support of murderous Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, and his diamond investments thanks to Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko speak louder than words when it comes to Robertson's ethic of life. And that's not to mention the more than $400 million Robertson's empire made when he sold his International Family Network to Rupert Murdoch, after building it on tax-deductible contributions of thousands of CBN donors, many of modest means. He has put profits over principles for years.
“Richard Land, spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, has taken a more consistent position. Land has clearly said that he won't support Giuliani if he becomes the Republican nominee, explaining, ‘I'm not willing or able to violate my moral conscience. It would be like asking an African American to choose between Strom Thurmond and George Wallace, or asking Abe Lincoln to vote for a pro-slavery candidate. I personally can't do it.’
“Land predicts that many social conservatives will just sit out this election if the Republicans decide to run Rudy. That's called standing for principle. Pat Robertson clearly has taken another position. His endorsement of Rudy Giuliani will seem to many to be unprincipled hypocrisy.” see www.sojo.net
It did not come as any surprise to me that all of Pat Robertson’s posturing about family values was a put-on, designed to hide the fact he has a radical right-wing agenda and will happily manipulate the Christian vote in order to keep the Republicans in power. What does disappoint me is that I fear so many Christian voters simply will not think through the issue for themselves– Robertson’s endorsement will be enough for them. They’ll go blindly to the polls comfortable in the knowledge that someone else has done the “hard yards” of thinking through the election issues. They’ll vote Republican because that’s what good Christian voters do.
While things aren’t as bad as that in Australia, I fear many Christians simply do the same thing. They get the “Christian Values Checklist” put out by the Christian Democratic Party and, without really asking whether or not they agree with Fred Nile’s stance on school prayer and abortion, are just happy someone else has done the thinking for them, and they don’t need to bother.
It also worries me that Christians don’t seem to be aware of when their vote is being manipulated. Anyone who knows me knows that The West Wing is my favourite show. In Season Six, the Republican Party makes the unusual decision to run a presidential candidate who is, in fact, an atheist. This character, called Arnie Vinnick, is played by Alan Alda. Worried he will estrange the evangelical right if he does not profess some kind of faith, Vinnick’s advisors pressure him into attending a church service. After much soul-searching, Vinnick has this to say: “If you demand expressions of faith from your political leaders then you are just asking to be lied to...and it will be the easiest lie they’ve ever told”.

Twice during this election I’ve heard pastors banging on about “godly leadership” and choosing a prime minister based on whether or not they’re “godly men”. I hope for their own sake they are—but this will not influence my vote. Checklists may be useful in gaining a general picture of where parties stand on various issue, but at the end of the day if we vote based on a simplistic list we are just asking someone else to do the thinking for us. I hope we would vote based on our convictions, whatever they may be, after thinking good and hard about what sort of country we want Australia to be in the next four years.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Election Newsletter

The November/December edition of the Progression newsletter will be out next week, and will feature news, articles and opinion editorials about the upcoming election. If you would like to contribute any thoughts or comments please email us at the above address and we would be happy to include them.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Musings on Dobson and the next election

Here are some interesting thoughts from Proegression member Alan Matheson.

How is it possible to link James Dobson,Iran and World War 111,and CofC, in one breath? Far fetched!

Does the partnership and promotion by NSW and Vic Conference boards of Dobson's Focus on the Family(Aust) really matter and after all isn't FOF Aust somehow, different?
Should it be of any concern?
What if Dobson and FOF frighten Christians across Canada and the USA?

Well it has to be admitted that most members of Australian CofC wouldn't have a clue about Dobson or the state conference links.However for our sister churches in Canada and the USA,Dobson and his FOF are a frightening species to be avoided at all costs.

Dobson is leading an aggressive,nation wide campaign to ensure his man gets the prize. The past few months have seen him involved in everything, from closed door meetings with President Bush (May);to the secret maneuverings of clandestine groups like the Council for National Policy and the Arlington group(September);organising the religious right's "Values Voters Summit"(October),and mounting a highly visible and well organised media blitz(NY Times op ed etc). And his 6 million mailing list will not be far behind.
There's an arrogance about Dobson which is almost delusionary. As the Republican Party considered Giuliani's run, Dobson declared,"go ahead,nominate a candidate who does not share our values on abortion and gay marriage.Then try and beat Hillary without us".
US presidents have taken Australia into wars in Vietnam and Iraq on the basis of lies and deception.
Who becomes president,then, has implications not only for CofC, but for all Australians.
And CofC is the only denomination in Australia in a formal partnership with Dobson!

2.IRAN & WW111!
As scary, is Dobson's support for WW111.
Having failed in Iraq,and intoxicated with messianic dreams,the theocratic religious right,is now hell bent on war with Iran.
In October,Bush warned,"if you're interested in avoiding WW111,it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing Iran from having the knowledge necessary to make nuclear weapons".
In May,Dobson met with Bush to talk about Iran.Congress has set the scene(Kyl-Lieberman Senate resolution),and commentators,such as Seymour Hersh are spelling out in detail how the White House has requested,"that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long standing plans for a possible attack on Iran"(New Yorker 8.10.07;check "The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran....."Esquire 18.10.07)).Conservative commentator,Podhoretz(also close to Bush) was on SBS(30/10) predicting an invasion before the end of Bush's term.
Scott Ritter(former UN Weapons inspector) notes,"that Dobson, one of the most powerful and influential evangelical voices in America,would be invited to the White House to discuss President Bush's Iran policy is absurd,unless one makes the link between Bush's personal faith,the extreme religious beliefs of Dobson and the potential of Armageddon like conflict-WW111.At this point,the absurd becomes unthinkable,except it is too real".(Common Dreams 22.10.07).
Brian McLaren (Sojo 25.10.07/Beliefnet blog)):"I am disgusted,concerned,appalled and furious at the sabre rattling of our government......I suspect that many of my fellow Christians will in the name of God and Jesus, support and justify a preemptive war on Iran......no matter how unprovoked,no matter how brutal and no matter how costly,both financially and morally".

It's sophistry at best, to try and argue as do the NSW & Vic Conferences, that FOF-Aust is different and separate from Dobson and his FOF, in the USA. FOF-Aus is an affiliate of FOF and directly linked and related to Dobson in the USA.

And if this doesn't worry you,then do some googling around (or Wikipedia it) Dobson and Joel Rosenberg and "The Ezekiel Option" and the breeding program for "red heifers".(Might need to have a yarn with your friendly OT lecturer to check the latter one out)!!.

All pretty disturbing really. And we're "related" to it.