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Link highlights | April 2017

Monday, 1 May 2017  | Ethos editor


Link highlights – April 2017

Below is a selection of links to online news and opinion pieces from April 2017. To keep up-to-date with our posts, ‘like’ us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter.

The articles below are selected by the editor, Armen Gakavian, at his discretion. Neither the editor nor Ethos necessarily endorse the views expressed in these articles.

Abortion

We live in a context in which the only decision 15 year old girls in our late modern culture seem to be allowed to make in regards to in-utero babies is whether to abort them or not, writes Stephen McAlpine.

https://stephenmcalpine.com/2017/04/15/storks-deliver-babies-vultures-steal-them/

Miss X proceeded with the abortion but was so troubled that she could not keep the money. She has donated to World Vision, UNICEF, and to an orphan fund at Welfare Aid International, writes Wendy Francis.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18969

The ACT government has defended its prayer ban outside abortion clinics in a submission to a federal parliamentary inquiry, writes Michael Gorey.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-government-defends-abortion-clinic-prayer-ban-as-rights-balancing-20170418-gvmnzd.html

Two NSW Private Member’s Bills relating to abortion may be debated in the NSW Parliament in the next month, removing any legal regulation of abortions and having serious consequences for religious freedom and free speech, writes Neil James Foster.

https://lawandreligionaustralia.blog/2017/04/28/proposed-abortion-law-changes-in-nsw/

Anzac Day

At Easter, we move from the terrible desolation of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Sunday. Anzac Day forces Christians to confront a different reality - that this new hope has yet to be fully realised.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51258

In the great traditions of Australian war remembrance we remember all those Australian youngsters who died in the World Wars and since. What is often forgotten, however, is the toll on the Timorese people in World War II on behalf of Australians, writes Susan Connelly.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51257#.WP8QIVOGOu4

Poems for Anzac Day, by Jena Woodhouse and Ian C. Smith.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51253#.WP8Q81OGOu4

‘Their example invites us to reflect on our own lives. But we should not ask ourselves what we would be prepared to die for, but what we are prepared to live for’, writes Andrew Hamilton.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51140#.WP8Rg1OGOu4

On the centenary of the US entry into WW1, Martin E. Marty reflects on how religious and other leaders can get swept up and caught up in hyper-nationalism, patriotic idolatry, and loss of self-critical (or prophetic) perspective.

https://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/irrelevant-war

Life & Faith speaks to experts on civil resistance and international peace-building, and makes some surprising discoveries about the role that religion can play not just in war but in peace.

https://publicchristianity.org/library/a-history-of-non-violence

With Anzac day coming up, Colonel Craig Bickell reflects on the connection between sacrifice in our national story and in the Easter story.

https://publicchristianity.org/library/anzac-gospel

On Anzac Day, ‘we should not ask ourselves what we would be prepared to die for, but what we are prepared to live for’, writes Andrew Hamilton.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51140#.WP1d_VOGP_Q

‘I don't think war is being glorified on Anzac Day’, writes Gillian Bouras. ‘Rather, I think the day is set aside for an acknowledgement of the sacrifice so many young men and women were prepared to make.’

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51069#.WP1d_VOGP_Q

There is no strong evidence that the sentimental words about Australian soldiers attributed to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk were actually uttered by him. Their invention and promotion says far more about politics and diplomacy than it does about remembrance, writes David Stephens.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/johnnies-and-mehmets-kemal-ataturks-quote-is-an-anzac-confidence-trick-20170423-gvqkrx.html

Stan Grant reflects on his family's personal connection to wars across a century, and the importance of recognising the role of Aboriginal diggers in the Anzac story.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-25/stan-grant-on-recognising-aboriginal-diggers-in-the-anzac-story/8470252

Rare letters from Aboriginal soldiers sent home to loved ones reveal the sadness and trauma of life on the ground in World War One.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-24/revealing-letters-home-from-aboriginal-diggers-sent-during-wwi/8466938

Asylum seekers, refugees and migration

‘If we want to distil our values as a nation then let’s get back to an appreciation of the institutions that have made us such a desirable destination for so many millions. More than that, let’s reclaim from the tyranny of multicultural discourse the right to demand that potential new citizens also appreciate them and the values that animate them’, writes Stephen Chavura.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/cultural-background-of-citizens-is-legitimate-object-of-scrutiny/news-story/32d4d6c1fdbfbe47ae911ac4134ec8fa

Making people feel excluded is not an Australian value, writes Stan Grant. ‘A Government telling us what Australian values are is a Government telling us who does not belong.’

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-21/making-people-feel-excluded-is-not-an-australian-value/8461874

In Turnbull, we have an embodied contradiction between a stridently liberal economics offset by a nationalist brand of social and cultural politics, writes Waleed Aly.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/malcolm-turnbulls-tough-stance-on-migration-is-doomed-to-fail-20170427-gvth38.html

Bioethics

People of faith, especially Evangelical Christians, are more likely to disapprove of human reproductive genetic technologies than nonreligious people, a new Rice University study found.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-04/ru-rpm042517.php

Civil disobedience

‘Surrender without Subordination’: Gandhi's religion required him to ask: how might a subaltern politics not only refuse subordination, but do so by relinquishing autonomy and even sovereignty? Ajay Skaria writes.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/04/18/4654985.htm

Crime & punishment

When it comes to CCTV, how much is too much? Rex Jory SHOULD Adelaide, and ultimately regional centres, be blanketed with security cameras to combat crime and make the streets safer?

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/rex-jory-should-adelaide-and-regional-centres-be-blanketed-with-security-cameras-to-make-the-streets-safer/news-story/96280cb2a33982bf9978e48975fb266b

Culture

Children are being asked to think critically about gender roles in traditional fairy tales as part of the Respectful Relationships curriculum being rolled out in Victorian schools. But not everyone likes the idea. Michael Collett writes.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-06/fairy-tale-sexism-and-political-correctness/8420948

Domestic violence

Elaine Storkey’s description of what she calls a ‘global pandemic’ and the careful identification of the various dimensions of such female focused violence is a shocking chronicle of human depravity.

https://nurturingjustice.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/do-i-have-to-read-this/

Easter

Palm Sunday: Jesus Rides into the Perfect Storm.

‘Jesus believed that, as he rode into Jerusalem, he was embodying the divine hurricane, meeting head on the cruel western wind of pagan empire and the high-pressure system of national aspiration’, writes N.T. Wright.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/04/07/4650217.htm

This isn't a Palm Sunday story from 2,000 years ago. It's from late last year, and instead of palm fronds this cheerful and determined group of Palestinians hold olive seedlings, writes Aletia Dundas.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18955

A Palm Sunday guided reflection by Alison Sampson.

https://alisonsampsontalks.podbean.com/e/waiting-for-the-liberator/

In a divided community, could the gruesome death of a Palestinian Jew show us a different way to live together? Michael Jensen writes.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18963

Mary Magdalene was NOT a prostitute, but this misconception is widely held, despite the lack of evidence in scripture. However, her example is a valuable lesson for all of us, but especially for women experiencing marginalization and discrimination, writes Gail Wallace.

http://juniaproject.com/mary-magdalene-5-things-should-know/

'The human drama of Easter - with its betrayals, moments of audacity and doubt, the machinations in shadow - bears the sting of injustice. The central narrative is political. Choices were made by people in power. They are still being made', writes Fatima Measham.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51135#.WO9Vt1OGP_Q

Easter brings a time to practice silence, count our blessings and think of those less fortunate – and of those who continue to openly believe, despite the danger, writes Julia Baird.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-14/easter-eat-eggs-practice-silence-remember-those-less-fortunate/8444690

Today some claim that Jesus is just an idea, rather than a real historical figure, but there is a good deal of written evidence for his existence 2,000 years ago, writes Simon Gathercole.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/14/what-is-the-historical-evidence-that-jesus-christ-lived-and-died

I am fully persuaded, by this evidence, that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead in the 1st century; and that fact was the turning point of history, writes Neil Foster.

https://lawandreligionaustralia.blog/2017/04/14/a-legal-evaluation-of-the-evidence-for-the-resurrection-of-jesus/

If we follow Jesus, we will stand with and for all who are left out, forgotten, abused and socially, economically and politically excluded – no matter the personal cost, writes Brad Chilcott.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/14/jesus-was-on-the-side-of-the-poor-and-exploited-christian-politicians-should-remember-that

‘Why does an atheist, a rationalist, [celebrate Easter]? For tradition, culture and family. But also to tear the fabric of contemporary life for a moment in time’, writes Fotis Kapetopoulos.

https://dailyreview.com.au/atheist-greek-easter/58457/

As I go through my struggle, I can experience victory not by conquering the pain and difficulty, but by trusting God through it, experiencing his presence, power, love and strength, writes Karina Kreminski. 

http://www.karinakreminski.com.au/2017/04/15/god-us-reflection-cross-busted-hot-water-tank/

Believe it or not, Easter celebrates a man who died a criminal's death and became the foundation for what are commonly called 'Australian Values', writes Warwick Marsh.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18968

Simon Smart weighs the tenets of the self-esteem movement against the starkness of the Easter story. 

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-generation-brought-up-on-selfesteem-is-struggling-20170413-gvk4ng.html

Barney Zwartz sees beauty as one of the great arguments for God - and Easter as the pinnacle of moral beauty.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/the-moral-beauty-of-easter-20170411-gviiol.html

The cost of sacrifice At Easter, Colonel Craig Bickell talks to Life & Faith about how his Christian faith has illuminated his military service, and vice versa.

https://publicchristianity.org/library/the-cost-of-sacrifice

Natasha Moore reflects on the enduring offensiveness of the cross - and why it continues to attract as well as repel.

https://spectator.com.au/2017/04/easter-tale/

You can nail truth and love to the tree, wrap them up and seal them in a tomb – but they will rise again, writes Tim Costello.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/opinion/easter-shows-truth-and-love-are-eternal/

As you celebrate this weekend, may you be inspired by the witness of many Egyptian Christians whose faith epitomises the true meaning of Easter, writes Dahlia Messiha.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/world/life-from-death-in-the-coptic-community-this-easter/

If the Easter story is the definitive revelation of God, then the silence of Holy Saturday must be a word that speaks of the necessary liberation and reconciliation of all things in Christ, writes Sarah Bachelard.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/04/15/4654043.htm

Jesus's resurrection has inaugurated a new age in which the Risen One now rules over the world. Death still stalks us until God's final triumph is realized and Death will be destroyed once for all, writes Richard B. Hays.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/04/15/4654184.htm

Economics & inequality

Why are so many people feeling anxious and worse off, when we’re experiencing so much economic growth? Crispin Hull writes.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/why-are-so-many-people-feeling-anxious-and-worse-off-20170331-gvapvz.html

It is increasingly evident how pernicious the privatisation myth is, writes David James.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51066#.WORRz1OGP_Q

What can Catholic Social Teaching contribute to the reform of Australian society, particularly the Labor Party? Andrew Hamilton discusses Race Matthews' book, Of Labour and Liberty.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51065#.WOWGMlOGP_Q

Freeing up the rich to exploit the poor is what Trump and Brexit are about, writes George Monbiot.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/04/ripping-up-protections-brexit-trump-freedom

Debt and taxes are the pet hates of every conservative. So the Abbott faction’s support for this budget-busting idea is confounding, writes Rob Burgess.

http://thenewdaily.com.au/money/finance-news/2017/04/12/super-housing-time-bomb-budget/

‘The more unimpressed I've become with party politics and economic orthodoxy, the more I've fallen back on the values I imbibed as a youth, reading about the Salvos' daring, disreputable and sometimes law-breaking exploits in their early days’, writes Ross Gittins.

http://www.theage.com.au/business/the-economy/disadvantaged-should-rate-higher-than-rich-and-powerful-20170413-gvk6h6.html

End of life

People are right to be skeptical when it comes to many slippery slope arguments used by those against euthanasia. But some of them are valid and shouldn't be dismissed as 'bullshit', writes Xavier Symons.

https://theconversation.com/when-it-comes-to-euthanasia-not-all-slippery-slope-arguments-are-bullshit-76160

British Actress, Comedian, broadcaster, Liz Carr, known internationally for her work opposing assisted suicide as a disability campaigner as well as her role in the BBC forensics drama, Silent Witness, has been in Melbourne, Australia for the last few weeks with her show: Assisted Suicide: The Musical. By Paul Russell.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18962

‘Kill the pain and suffering, not the person with the pain and suffering.’ In this two-part interview, Lyle Shelton speaks to Margaret Somerville, Professor of Bioethics at the School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame, Sydney, about the latest push to legalise euthanasia.

http://www.acl.org.au/professor_margaret_somerville_on_the_latest_euthanasia_push

http://www.acl.org.au/professor_margaret_somerville_on_the_latest_euthanasia_push_part2

In addressing objections against euthanasia, Peter Singer explores the three different types of euthanasia, exploring the ethical issues related to each and the justifiability of each type.

https://www.utilitarian.net/singer/by/1993----.htm

Elder abuse is a very real problem, and about half of all abuse is perpetuated by family members. If family members can stoop so low as to abuse their weak and vulnerable ‘loved ones’, then it doesn’t take much imagination to see how euthanasia laws could be exploited in a way that would be undetectable, writes Mark Brown.

http://www.acl.org.au/listen_to_voiceless_in_euthanasia_debate

Environment

Why, after decades of international agreements, are we still damaging the environment? New research, looking at dozens of unsuccessful policies, has uncovered the basic elements of failure, writes Michael Howes.

https://theconversation.com/after-25-years-of-trying-why-arent-we-environmentally-sustainable-yet-73911

An open letter from Bangladesh to the American people: President Trump is failing to keep you safe, writes Saleemul Huq; Bangladesh can offer lessons in adapting to the impacts of climate change

http://www.climatechangenews.com/2017/03/30/open-letter-bangladesh-american-people/

Rev. Robert ‘Bud’ Grant: ‘the environmental crisis and its impact on the Earth and on future generations … is a crucifixion. … So we have to take up that cross’.

https://ensia.com/videos/faith-farming-environment/

Government Support for Adani's Giant Coal Mine is Scientifically and Morally Unjustifiable: For Australia to embark on a new and enormous coal project flies in the face of science which tells us we are in a climate emergency, and the world cannot afford any new coal projects, write Stephen Pickard and Thea Ormerod.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/04/28/4660734.htm

Wendell Berry's vision of ‘local, humane, sustainable economies’, argues Jeffrey Bilbro, has special relevance for believers today, in light of Donald Trump's presidency (with its implied rejection of business-as-usual in the political and economic realms) and the debates occasioned by Rod Dreher's recommendations in The Benedict Option. By Matt Reynolds.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/lyris/ctbooks/archives/04-25-2017.html

Ethos environmental researcher and blogger Mick Pope writes that, in learning to love the beauty of the world around us, we will do more than survive; we will thrive.

http://ethos-environment.blogspot.com.au/2017/04/beauty-can-save-world.html

You can listen to Mick’s sermon on creation care here: http://ethos-environment.blogspot.com.au/2017/04/creation-care-in-country-my-trip-to.html.

Fair Trade

This is the fourth report produced by Baptist World Aid Australia examining labour rights management systems in the fashion industry. It grades 106 companies, from A to F, on the strength of their systems to mitigate against the risks of forced labour, child labour, and exploitation in their supply chains.

http://apo.org.au/node/75801

Australian Fairtrade brands have received top marks when it comes to protecting the rights of farmers and workers, according to a new report.

https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2017/04/fairtrade-brands-secure-top-spot-ethical-fashion-report/

Housing & homelessness

As a millennial, I frequently find myself being told to stop complaining about housing affordability. It's all about working harder, saving more and, for goodness' sake, keeping off the avocado. As a young person, I'm concerned about using super, a system which was put aside for our economic welfare in retirement, as a savings account for instant gratification. The government is trying to solve the housing crisis not through direct action, but by encouraging young people into lifelong debt. Writes Francine Crimmins.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51142#.WPWDo1OGP_Q

Hope

Small wonder there is a particular surge of interest in dystopian novels: many people feel times have never been so troubled or so complicated, writes Gillian Bouras.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50981#.WORRwFOGP_Q


Indigenous affairs

United Nations Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz calls Australia's Aboriginal imprisonment rates ‘disturbing’ after spending a fortnight investigating Indigenous disadvantage nationwide.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-03/un-official-criticises-australias-aboriginal-imprisonment-rates/8412306

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz says child protection policies are contributing to Indigenous incarceration rates, which are among worst in the developed world.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/apr/04/australia-rate-indigenous-child-removal-unique-un-investigator

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-25/stan-grant-on-recognising-aboriginal-diggers-in-the-anzac-story/8470252

Rare letters from Aboriginal soldiers sent home to loved ones reveal the sadness and trauma of life on the ground in World War One.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-24/revealing-letters-home-from-aboriginal-diggers-sent-during-wwi/8466938

Islam

Maher Mughrabi responds to Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s argument that terrorism and violence are inherent to Islam.

http://www.theage.com.au/world/ayaan-hirsi-ali-and-the-cult-of-the-antiislamic-smoothie-20161120-gst9u8.html

SBS World News Radio: Controversial Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi-Ali's last-minute cancellation of her speaking tour has renewed debate over freedom of speech.

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/04/04/islam-critics-tour-cancellation-renews-free-speech-debate

Delegitimising anti-Islamic speech is not only unjust, but also counterproductive, by confirming in the minds of many that Islamic immigration is an enemy of liberal democratic liberties, writes Stephen Chavura.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/02/14/4619728.htm

Scholars and public intellectuals must continue to stress the diverse nature of Islam, de-link Muslim, refugee, and terrorist in broader public consciousness, and remind people of the humanity of those who are currently displaced. And, we must push our politicians, policymakers, and media to do the same, write Erin K. Wilson and Luca Mavelli.

http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/2016/12/01/the-refugee-crisis-and-religion/

One Nation worries me. But each time my worries hit a crescendo, the party implodes. We should all dread what could happen if the implosions cease, writes Irfan YusufIrfan Yusuf.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51079#.WOWGIFOGP_Q

Justice

If we follow Jesus, we will stand with and for all who are left out, forgotten, abused and socially, economically and politically excluded – no matter the personal cost, writes Brad Chilcott.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/14/jesus-was-on-the-side-of-the-poor-and-exploited-christian-politicians-should-remember-that

This is the fourth report produced by Baptist World Aid Australia examining labour rights management systems in the fashion industry. It grades 106 companies, from A to F, on the strength of their systems to mitigate against the risks of forced labour, child labour, and exploitation in their supply chains.

http://apo.org.au/node/75801

Australian Fairtrade brands have received top marks when it comes to protecting the rights of farmers and workers, according to a new report.

https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2017/04/fairtrade-brands-secure-top-spot-ethical-fashion-report/

Law, human rights and free speech

Delegitimising anti-Islamic speech is not only unjust, but also counterproductive, by confirming in the minds of many that Islamic immigration is an enemy of liberal democratic liberties, writes Stephen Chavura.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/02/14/4619728.htm

SBS World News Radio: Controversial Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi-Ali's last-minute cancellation of her speaking tour has renewed debate over freedom of speech.

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/04/04/islam-critics-tour-cancellation-renews-free-speech-debate

‘It is hard to avoid the sense that the MSM fondly consider themselves a meritocracy - if you were good enough, we’d hire you - while in fact maintaining a hegemony of the correct - if you hold views that deviate from our orthodoxy, you haven’t got a chance’, writes John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

https://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/anthropological-confusion-epistemological-failure-mainstream-media-and-moderate-orthodox

No one is disputing that people should be free from harassment. But if 18C is extended to make it unlawful to offend religion it would amount to a national anti-blasphemy law, writes Tim Wilson.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18949

The tone of political discussion around issues like Islam in Australia is making reasonable discussion almost impossible, writes Peter McEvoy.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-10/peter-mcevoy-a-gentle-word-on-the-state-of-australian-debate/8426894

What good are freedom of speech and association laws when our own citizens seek to make them too costly, or inconvenient, or too unsafe to enjoy? Stephen Chavura writes.      

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18958

Group rights are inimical to human rights. These are disputes that should never be allowed to result in litigation, gumming up the courts and diverting some of the best legal minds from much more significant issues, writes Graham Young.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18934

Luther 500

Does Protestantism Need to Die? Or to recover its riches? Vanhoozer asks how each of the solas can help us ‘retrieve the promise of the Reformation but not its pathology’, writes Fred Sanders.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/november/does-protestantism-need-to-die.html

Media

‘It is hard to avoid the sense that the MSM fondly consider themselves a meritocracy - if you were good enough, we’d hire you - while in fact maintaining a hegemony of the correct - if you hold views that deviate from our orthodoxy, you haven’t got a chance’, writes John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

https://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/anthropological-confusion-epistemological-failure-mainstream-media-and-moderate-orthodox

Has critical reporting of the churches really become anti-religious? Barney Zwartz, former religion editor at The Age and senior fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity, speaks to ABC’s Religion and Ethics Report.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/religionandethicsreport/does-the-media-hate-the-church/8418614

How (Not) to Defend 'Christian Society': The attacks on Arab Christians and Yazidis are real and should be analyzed with sobriety rather than instrumentalized for partisan ends, writes Dirk Moses.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/04/06/4649049.htm

Mind

Given unlimited access to dubious information, combating gullibility and promoting critical thinking is one of the major challenges of our age, writes Joseph Paul Forgas.

https://theconversation.com/why-are-some-people-more-gullible-than-others-72412

Moral philosophy

Given unlimited access to dubious information, combating gullibility and promoting critical thinking is one of the major challenges of our age, writes Joseph Paul Forgas.

https://theconversation.com/why-are-some-people-more-gullible-than-others-72412

Not all facts have been true, and not all opinions should be dismissed either, writes Peter Ellerton.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-18/why-facts-arent-always-more-important-than-opinions/8449438

For as long as we have been postmodern, we have been setting the scene for a ‘post-truth’ era, writes Andrew Calcutt.

https://theconversation.com/the-surprising-origins-of-post-truth-and-how-it-was-spawned-by-the-liberal-left-68929

The fact that classic liberal campaigning strategies are completely ineffective has failed to change liberal behaviour. That’s because liberals are subject to all the same cognitive biases as everyone else, writes Sonia Sodha.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/01/outrage-makes-you-feel-good-but-doesnt-change-minds

‘There is a generation of digital natives who nevertheless are quite digitally naïve’, Mantzarlis notes.

With the proliferation of hoaxes, conspiracy theories, doctored photos and lies that look like news, it's inevitable: We're all chumps sometimes. The solution? Read widely, and with scepticism, and share a whole lot less, suggests Margaret Sullivan.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/seven-tips-to-help-you-identify-fake-news-20170402-gvc2xf.html

A new report from social psychologists at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Winnipeg suggests people on both sides of the political aisle are similarly motivated to dismiss monetary enticements in order to distance themselves from hearing or reading opposing ideals and information.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-04/uoia-plr042517.php

Rights versus Duties: Rejecting duty means rejecting a public vocabulary that might save a range of values from continuing neglect, whether socioeconomic equality, global justice, or environmental welfare, writes Samuel Moyn.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/04/26/4659114.htm

Multiculturalism

Some hope that changing demographics make us destined to be post-racial. It isn’t so simple, writes Daniel José Camacho.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/01/diversity-doesnt-make-racism-magically-disappear

‘If we want to distil our values as a nation then let’s get back to an appreciation of the institutions that have made us such a desirable destination for so many millions. More than that, let’s reclaim from the tyranny of multicultural discourse the right to demand that potential new citizens also appreciate them and the values that animate them’, writes Stephen Chavura.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/cultural-background-of-citizens-is-legitimate-object-of-scrutiny/news-story/32d4d6c1fdbfbe47ae911ac4134ec8fa

Making people feel excluded is not an Australian value, writes Stan Grant. ‘A Government telling us what Australian values are is a Government telling us who does not belong.’

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-21/making-people-feel-excluded-is-not-an-australian-value/8461874

Nationalism, patriotism and extremism

Which Australia? Whose Values? Turnbull’s paternalistic racial discourse against those seeking citizenship has direct pushes Muslims citizens of Australia further to the margins, writes Randa Abdel-Fattah.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/04/24/4658053.htm

Politics, society & ideology

Christianity is the new black as rightwing movements turn secular.

‘It is ironic that the champions of the emerging secular white nationalism are finding their most formidable obstacle to be global Christianity - and especially its increasingly non-white demographic’, writes Wiliam McGurn.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/wall-street-journal/christianity-is-the-new-black-as-rightwing-movements-turn-secular/news-story/4ecdb0c33fb0edefbf6274117a1bbe41

One Nation worries me. But each time my worries hit a crescendo, the party implodes. We should all dread what could happen if the implosions cease, writes Irfan YusufIrfan Yusuf.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51079#.WOWGIFOGP_Q

Sally McManus, civil disobedience and the bland laziness of neoliberal politics. Both major parties are aiding Australia's slide into greater authoritarianism, writes Tristan Ewins.

https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/sally-mcmanus-civil-disobedience-and-the-bland-laziness-of-liberal-politics,10184


Persecution

How (Not) to Defend 'Christian Society': The attacks on Arab Christians and Yazidis are real and should be analyzed with sobriety rather than instrumentalized for partisan ends, writes Dirk Moses.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/04/06/4649049.htm

In the light of recent suicide bombings at Coptic churches, Mike Frost calls on us in the West ‘to stop referring to our own persecution or hostility or marginalization ever again’.

http://mikefrost.net/homepage/theyre-dying-egypt-whining-easter-hat-parades/

So what are the Egyptian Christians clinging to? Not ‘Your best life now’ or ‘a new kind of Christian’, or even a ‘Benedict option’, but the hope of the imminent arrival of King Jesus himself, writes Stephen McAlpine.

https://stephenmcalpine.com/2017/04/10/egypts-copts-dont-have-any-benedict-options/

Privacy

When it comes to CCTV, how much is too much? Rex Jory SHOULD Adelaide, and ultimately regional centres, be blanketed with security cameras to combat crime and make the streets safer?

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/rex-jory-should-adelaide-and-regional-centres-be-blanketed-with-security-cameras-to-make-the-streets-safer/news-story/96280cb2a33982bf9978e48975fb266b

Quality of life

Why are so many people feeling anxious and worse off, when we’re experiencing so much economic growth? Crispin Hull writes.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/why-are-so-many-people-feeling-anxious-and-worse-off-20170331-gvapvz.html

Racism

Some hope that changing demographics make us destined to be post-racial. It isn’t so simple, writes Daniel José Camacho.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/01/diversity-doesnt-make-racism-magically-disappear

Religion & spirituality

What can Catholic Social Teaching contribute to the reform of Australian society, particularly the Labor Party? Andrew Hamilton discusses Race Matthews' book, Of Labour and Liberty.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51065#.WOWGMlOGP_Q

Religion in society

Christianity is the new black as rightwing movements turn secular.

‘It is ironic that the champions of the emerging secular white nationalism are finding their most formidable obstacle to be global Christianity - and especially its increasingly non-white demographic’, writes Wiliam McGurn.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/wall-street-journal/christianity-is-the-new-black-as-rightwing-movements-turn-secular/news-story/4ecdb0c33fb0edefbf6274117a1bbe41

One Nation worries me. But each time my worries hit a crescendo, the party implodes. We should all dread what could happen if the implosions cease, writes Irfan YusufIrfan Yusuf.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51079#.WOWGIFOGP_Q

Has critical reporting of the churches really become anti-religious? Barney Zwartz, former religion editor at The Age and senior fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity, speaks to ABC’s Religion and Ethics Report.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/religionandethicsreport/does-the-media-hate-the-church/8418614

How (Not) to Defend 'Christian Society': The attacks on Arab Christians and Yazidis are real and should be analyzed with sobriety rather than instrumentalized for partisan ends, writes Dirk Moses.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/04/06/4649049.htm

Is our Lack of Public Lament Turning Us into Barbarians?

‘The absence of a publicly shared liturgy of lament means we have lost the artform required to navigate a way from the raw viscerality of our darker selves to the humanising nobility of our better selves’, writes Scott Higgins.

http://scottjhiggins.com/bob-dylan-tomahawk-missiles-and-the-lost-art-of-lament-is-our-lack-of-public-lament-turning-us-into-barbarians/

Our work in forging a Christian political option is not so much about exercising ‘pressure’ on parliament but about repentance and heeding the Biblical call to love our neighbours with public justice, writes Bruce Wearne.

https://nurturingjustice.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/easter-beer-chocolate-and-a-christian-political-option/

Frances FitzGerald’s ‘The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America’ is the most important new book on evangelicals in many years, writes David Gushee.

‘…their gospel stopped being about the love of God in Jesus Christ, demonstrated most profoundly at the cross, and instead became a reactionary jeremiad about saving America by electing Republican politicians and fighting culture wars.’

http://religionnews.com/2017/04/12/how-evangelicals-lost-their-way/

The church contributes to society in at least three ways that are just as important as addressing public moral problems via declaration or action, writes David Gushee.

http://religionnews.com/2017/04/24/morality-comfort-care-community/

Religion in Society – Paul Kelly opinion piece

‘…as the Christian tradition weakens and the progressive morality rises, our society is divided at its heart, a process that few want to discuss yet which is set to intensify’, writes Paul Kelly. ‘There will be no settlement or social harmony from the agendas of the new moralists — just a fragmented society, the demise of the long narrative that has bound our communities together, a conflicted moral order and the fracturing of the church-state compact so vital to our success.’

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/paul-kelly/new-progressive-morality-rapidly-taking-over-from-christian-beliefs/news-story/c5f0c19f4f73d088f546fbd6b884befe

When the secular writers like The Australian’s Paul Kelly are starting to express concern at how the loss of any coherent narrative is fracturing our culture, then we know the post-Christian thing is starting to bite, writes Stephen McAlpine.

https://stephenmcalpine.com/2017/04/17/when-the-agnostics-are-telling-us-to-go-to-church-somethings-up/

Kelly’s opinion piece is a welcome article in the Australian press that increasingly ignores the theological, however I always get nervous when people talk of Christian values, writes Peter Sellick.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18982

Once humanity is in the driver’s seat, then reality – including moral reality – becomes whatever we want it to be, writes Akos Balogh.

http://akosbalogh.com/2017/04/25/why-australian-culture-is-fracturing-at-a-staggering-rate/

Secularism

Are we really secular or pagan? There is no such neutral sphere, and the error of secularism is that it limits what it understands as being religion to identified belief systems, writes Peter Sellick.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18967

Sex abuse

A world-first Australian program allows sexual assault survivors to speak directly with their abusers. Can mediation work? Damien Carrick and Jeremy Story Carter write.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-20/restorative-justice-for-sexual-abuse-survivors/8452530

Sexuality and same-sex marriage

The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders maintains that gender dysphoria - also known as gender identity disorder - is, well, a disorder, writes Mark Makowiecki.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18931

The tearing down of pride flags stickers at Catholic Notre Dame University in Sydney is a reminder that Catholic schools can't neglect LGBTI students, writes Neve Mahoney.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=51094#.WOe7LVOGP_S

http://www.acl.org.au/is_same_sex_marriage_a_civil_right

Sexuality - Safe Schools Program

http://www.acl.org.au/win_for_parents_as_nsw_scraps_safe_schools

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-campaign-against-safe-schools-was-never-about-concern-for-kids-20170417-gvm9lm.html

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/news-and-views/opinion/why-gender-theory-deserves-a-place-on-the-school-curriculum-20161212-gt9mhx.html

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/australia/safe-schools-not-beaten-yet/

Society

Wendell Berry's vision of ‘local, humane, sustainable economies’, argues Jeffrey Bilbro, has special relevance for believers today, in light of Donald Trump's presidency (with its implied rejection of business-as-usual in the political and economic realms) and the debates occasioned by Rod Dreher's recommendations in The Benedict Option. By Matt Reynolds.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/lyris/ctbooks/archives/04-25-2017.html

Sport

The dragging of local sports clubs into the contested debate about gender theory may prove to be the final over-reach of LGBTIQ political activists, writes Lyle Shelton.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18995

Syria

Is our Lack of Public Lament Turning Us into Barbarians?

‘The absence of a publicly shared liturgy of lament means we have lost the artform required to navigate a way from the raw viscerality of our darker selves to the humanising nobility of our better selves’, writes Scott Higgins.

http://scottjhiggins.com/bob-dylan-tomahawk-missiles-and-the-lost-art-of-lament-is-our-lack-of-public-lament-turning-us-into-barbarians/

Targeting Assad provides space for a brutal ideology with global designs. Noble intentions notwithstanding, it is not what I would call a ‘strategic’ decision, writes Scott Buchanan.

https://scottlbuchanan.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/trump-and-syria-some-brief-observations/

US elections & Donald Trump

Criticism is part of politics, but Dr Bordo notes that, much like former prime minster Julia Gillard in Australia, what Ms Clinton endured was far more poisonous', writes Stephen A Russell.

http://thenewdaily.com.au/entertainment/books/2017/04/01/hillary-clinton-defeat/

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Watergate scandal. Because of my role in the film, some have asked me about the similarities between our situations in 1972 and 2017. There are many, writes Robert Redford.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/robert-redford-45-years-after-watergate-the-truth-is-again-in-danger-20170402-gvc5fh.html

He’s a divorced adulterer who ran a gambling empire, so how did America’s Moral Majority get so evangelical about Donald Trump? ‘The irony is that evangelicals turned to politics to prevent that very outcome’, writes Gary Silverman.

https://www.ft.com/content/b41d0ee6-1e96-11e7-b7d3-163f5a7f229c

After 100 days, we have greater clarity about how Trump will govern and the mood of the country he is governing. In Donald Trump we see a man who is lonely like America, writes Dale S. Kuehne.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/04/28/4660433.htm

Trump may be a political and moral enemy for many of our readers, but that is all the more reason to love him and pray for him, writes Mark Galli.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/may/what-to-make-of-donald-trumps-soul.html

Women

Criticism is part of politics, but Dr Bordo notes that, much like former prime minster Julia Gillard in Australia, what Ms Clinton endured was far more poisonous', writes Stephen A Russell.

http://thenewdaily.com.au/entertainment/books/2017/04/01/hillary-clinton-defeat/

‘Meanwhile in churchland, intelligent, educated, dynamic, gifted, godly women are ... having to justify their call and position, and having their motives and integrity questioned’, writes Michael Frost.

http://mikefrost.net/thingsonlychristianwomenhear-shows-sexism-not-hermeneutics/

Instead of women thinking constantly about strategies to protect themselves against men, let’s help men to talk about their struggles with relationships, violence, anger and teaching them better to respect women, writes Karina Kreminski.

http://www.karinakreminski.com.au/2017/04/19/politics-letting-unknown-man-home-2am-morning/

Canadian Christian author Sarah Bessey has unwittingly revealed the ugly truth about Christian male privilege in a Twitter thread tag #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear, writes Anne Lim.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/culture/twitter-thread-attacks-sexism-in-churches/

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/in-depth/male-headship-can-be-dangerous-for-women-says-julia-baird


War & peace

Is our Lack of Public Lament Turning Us into Barbarians?

‘The absence of a publicly shared liturgy of lament means we have lost the artform required to navigate a way from the raw viscerality of our darker selves to the humanising nobility of our better selves’, writes Scott Higgins.

http://scottjhiggins.com/bob-dylan-tomahawk-missiles-and-the-lost-art-of-lament-is-our-lack-of-public-lament-turning-us-into-barbarians/

Targeting Assad provides space for a brutal ideology with global designs. Noble intentions notwithstanding, it is not what I would call a ‘strategic’ decision, writes Scott Buchanan.

https://scottlbuchanan.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/trump-and-syria-some-brief-observations/


Young people

What six young Australians wish the government knew:

The Australian Youth Representative to the UN, Paige Burton, has been asking young people across the country ‘What would it mean if young people were seen by the government as being as complex as they are?’ Here is what six young people from NSW had to say.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/what-six-young-australians-wish-the-government-knew-20170329-gv8xsi.html


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