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Link Highlights | July 2018

Thursday, 9 August 2018  | Ethos editor


Link highlights – July 2018

Below is a selection of links to online news and opinion pieces from July 2018. 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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

‘You can’t just come in like a fly and take-off’ - patience and time on community is key to improving financial well-being in remote communities. One of the key themes from the Banking Royal Commission’s trip to Darwin was the rampant predatory practices of payday lenders and funeral insurers who have targeted regional and remote Aboriginal communities. By Jonathon Louth.

https://theconversation.com/want-to-boost-aboriginal-financial-capability-spend-time-in-communities-99210

Dani Larkin writes: We already know most Australians will support a referendum that would recognise Indigenous Australians within the constitution. What we now need is to examine how the constitutional reform procedures can themselves be reformed to support Indigenous political advancement. This includes reforming electoral laws and processes that limit Indigenous political participation.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=56026

Mark Brett writes: Under Aboriginal tradition, there are no meaningful separations between land ownership, natural resource management, cultural heritage and religious practice. A treaty process in Australia may well be the first challenge for the free exercise of religion; it will require spiritual energy, not just legal ingenuity.

www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/07/07/4867662.htm

Raimond Gaita writes: Understanding of the wrongs committed against the Indigenous peoples of this country depends on an ethical understanding of what they suffered, which can never be too distant from their stories that express that suffering.

www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/07/07/4867664.htm

Why has constitutional recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples proven to be an impossible 'problem' to solve? And why does it elicit fear among so many Australians? Presented by Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens.

www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/theminefield/constitutional-recognition:-a-wicked-problem/9940450

Stephen Garnett et al write: A new map shows that more than 25% of all land outside Antarctica is held and managed by Indigenous peoples. This makes these communities vital allies in the global conservation effort.

https://theconversation.com/indigenous-peoples-are-crucial-for-conservation-a-quarter-of-all-land-is-in-their-hands-99742

Anthropology

Rowan Williams writes: As human beings in relationship, we sense that our environment is created by a relation with other persons, we create an environment for them, and in that exchange - that mutuality - we discover what ‘person’ means.

www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/06/26/4861873.htm

Rabbi Raymond Apple writes: If human nature is basically good, why don't people follow their true, inherent quality of goodness?

www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/06/28/4863524.htm

Art & Culture

How does Reformed theology affect the way we think about and practice the arts in Christian communities? Jennifer Craft speaks with Jeremy Begbie.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/july-august/jeremy-begbie-peculiar-orthodoxy-christian-artists.html

Bioethics

Michael Cook writes: In some respects, IVF has been quite a success. But how about the women who endured cycle after cycle of IVF without conceiving, the destruction of millions of human embryos and a potential future of designer babies and genetically-engineered children?

https://www.bioedge.org/pointedremarks/view/two-cheers-at-least-for-utilitarianism/12758/

Child sexual abuse

Frank Brennan writes: Philip Wilson has been sentenced to 12 months' detention for concealing child sexual abuse. It's very likely that he will appeal his conviction and sentence. An appeal may well succeed, but that's not the end of the matter. This has been a six-year saga relating to events which occurred more than 40 years ago.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=55991

Catherine Pepinster writes: The pontiff’s efforts to deal with the crisis have stalled. He must act decisively or many more Catholics will lose their faith.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/26/pope-francis-catholic-church-abuse-scandal-failed

Peter Johnstone writes: The arguments for exemption around the confessional seal claim that the law would be ineffective because few paedophiles go to confession, and might not confess if the seal did not apply. Such conjectural arguments ignore the basic principle that all harm to a child must be forestalled.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=56068

Civil society and discourse

Andrew Hamilton writes: Eureka Street is committed ‘to a public conversation that is open and courteous. This excludes both directly polemical writing and also participations in debates where the guns are already trained from both sides, ready to fire at any provocation’.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=55981

Is Satire an Ethical Form of Speech? Public and political discourse have grown increasingly intemperate over the past decade. Can satire, in times like these, be an ethical form of speech? Or is it just a progressive variation of 'hate speech'? Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens speak with Patrick Stokes, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Deakin University.

www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/theminefield/is-satire-an-ethical-form-of-speech/9891052

Patrick Stokes writes: In the heat of politics, we do well to distrust our own judgments of who is beyond the pale. But the last century also showed the risk in being too slow to realise when resistance is needed.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/07/19/4872537.htm

Richard Flanagan writes: After a week in which we lost Fairfax and the Brisbane Writers festival banned writers, we need more than ever places where we can listen and reflect on different perspectives.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2018/jul/29/i-didnt-want-to-write-this-but-the-courage-to-listen-to-different-ideas-is-vanishing

Criminal justice

Martha C. Nussbaum writes: What does criminal justice look like that refuses the retributive side of anger while keeping the outrage, that holds people to account while helping them turn around to search for a way forward?

www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/06/27/4862730.htm

Diversity

Tariq Modood writes: Multiculturalism does not just emphasise minority group identities, but insists that integration is incomplete without re-making national identity so that all can have a sense of belonging to it.

www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/07/25/4874965.htm

Economics, finance & inequality

Conor Wynn writes: The Financial Services Royal Commission (FSRC) has exposed appalling behaviour from once respected leaders. But we need to rise above the salacious gossip and the spectacle of corporate beheadings to understand what drives behaviour in powerful people, take a more reasoned approach and achieve sustainable change.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=55972

Brock Bastian writes: Far from the pin-striped-suit-wearing-cigar-chewing-fat-cat stereotype, the Australian employees in the banking sector are (mostly) just like the rest of us. Under the right circumstances, most people will act in ways that are opposed to their own moral principles.

https://theconversation.com/why-we-should-be-slow-to-point-the-finger-at-bankers-99209

Andrew Hamilton writes: Family values do not shape government policies. Often, governments act not to nurture families and protect the traditions of western civilisation but to devastate families and trample on inherited traditions.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=56095

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) is one of Australia’s biggest longitudinal surveys and richest data sets. What do its latest findings tell us about the changes taking place in our nation? Justin Bergman and Sunanda Creagh talk with Roger Wilkins.

https://theconversation.com/trust-me-im-an-expert-what-the-huge-hilda-survey-reveals-about-your-economic-well-being-health-and-family-life-100751

Here are 10 trends worth noting from this year's huge Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. For starters, household spending on energy fell, even as power prices rose. Sunanda Creagh, Wes Mountain and Jerwin de Guzman discuss.

https://theconversation.com/video-10-notable-trends-from-the-new-hilda-survey-100832

End of life

Joel Hodge writes: Assisted suicide is not just a matter of being given a 'choice'. There is a whole system that would need to be created, with hospitals, doctors, nurses, lawyers, politicians and families all involved in facilitating this choice. Should we be enlisting the liberty of all these people to facilitate this choice?

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=56022

Reuben Zimmerman writes: Too often, we have embraced our culture’s false gospel that happiness really depends on the absence of inconvenience and suffering. From there, it’s a small step to seek to bypass the infirmities of old age and disease by engineering one’s own death.

https://www.plough.com/en/topics/justice/environment/the-end-of-medicine

Monique Ross writes: Tension over whose beliefs matter the most can blow up into lengthy feuds — and sometimes results in the wishes of the dead being cast aside entirely.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-24/funerals-of-faith-when-the-dead-and-living-disagree/10004010

Environment

Stephen Garnett et al write: A new map shows that more than 25% of all land outside Antarctica is held and managed by Indigenous peoples. This makes these communities vital allies in the global conservation effort.

https://theconversation.com/indigenous-peoples-are-crucial-for-conservation-a-quarter-of-all-land-is-in-their-hands-99742

Freya Matthews writes: One way for environmentalists to tackle the circularity that besets attempts to shift society towards Earth-centredness is to create new social formations that answer the human need for affiliation.

www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/07/27/4876143.htm

Everyday living

Martin E. Marty writes: Martha Nussbaum has famously written about the cultural and societal effects of various emotions. Recently, she has dealt perceptively with theological accounts of fear and its role in stimulating anger and violence, forces which ‘religious’ people can all too frequently manipulate.

https://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/martha-nussbaum-faces-our-fears

Amanda Jackson writes: I want to revive the classic dictionary meaning and praise ‘nice’ – a nice person is good-natured, kind and careful. In politics, media and business we are overdue to appreciate nice men and women.

https://amandaadvocates.blog/2018/07/21/a-backlash-of-civility/

Evil

Conor Wynn writes: The Financial Services Royal Commission (FSRC) has exposed appalling behaviour from once respected leaders. But we need to rise above the salacious gossip and the spectacle of corporate beheadings to understand what drives behaviour in powerful people, take a more reasoned approach and achieve sustainable change.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=55972

Brock Bastian writes: Far from the pin-striped-suit-wearing-cigar-chewing-fat-cat stereotype, the Australian employees in the banking sector are (mostly) just like the rest of us. Under the right circumstances, most people will act in ways that are opposed to their own moral principles.

https://theconversation.com/why-we-should-be-slow-to-point-the-finger-at-bankers-99209

Conor Sweeney writes: Tolkien's epic literary creation is a powerful illustration of how the defeat of evil depends upon great faith which, when wielded by the hands of the weakest, can actually be the most powerful weapon.

www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/06/28/4863524.htm

Family

Andrew Hamilton writes: Family values do not shape government policies. Often, governments act not to nurture families and protect the traditions of western civilisation but to devastate families and trample on inherited traditions.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=56095

Gender

Pauline Grosjean writes: Australia's convict past and male-dominated sex ratios have long-lasting effects on attitudes, impacting women's working lives.

https://theconversation.com/what-australias-convict-past-reveals-about-women-men-marriage-and-work-99444

Melinda Tankard Reist writes: If we truly care about confronting the enablers of violence against women and girls, we must tackle the role played by porn. Otherwise, talk about creating a safe culture for women is mere rhetoric.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/07/03/4865737.htm

Law, human rights and free speech

Paul Karp writes: Liberal MP Tim Wilson has lent support for a call to protect religious people from discrimination but warned legal changes must not cause unintended consequences such as ‘marginalisation’ of other groups.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jul/09/liberal-mp-tim-wilson-warns-on-unintended-consequences-of-religious-freedom-law

Is Satire an Ethical Form of Speech? Public and political discourse have grown increasingly intemperate over the past decade. Can satire, in times like these, be an ethical form of speech? Or is it just a progressive variation of 'hate speech'? Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens speak with Patrick Stokes, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Deakin University.

www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/theminefield/is-satire-an-ethical-form-of-speech/9891052

Denis Muller argues that the public broadcaster's editorial independence must be protected at all costs – from within and without.

https://theconversation.com/why-the-abc-and-the-public-that-trusts-it-must-stand-firm-against-threats-to-its-editorial-independence-99784

Michelle Grattan writes: There is no credible reason to believe the opportunity for religious views to be put on various issues will be stifled in the future. Talk of a Religious Discrimination Act would trigger calls for a wider bill of rights – somewhere the government won’t be going. And there is always a risk with such legislation of unintended consequences – witness the fallout around some terms in the Racial Discrimination Act’s section 18C.

https://theconversation.com/grattan-on-friday-little-upside-for-malcolm-turnbull-in-debate-over-religious-freedom-99880

Media

Denis Muller argues that the public broadcaster's editorial independence must be protected at all costs – from within and without. What are your thoughts on the ABC? How independent - and objective - is it? Should it be sold off?

https://theconversation.com/why-the-abc-and-the-public-that-trusts-it-must-stand-firm-against-threats-to-its-editorial-independence-99784

Politics, society & ideology

Tamer Nashef writes: The elevation of the self in the West has been taken to extremes at times, however the high regard in which the individual is held in Western civilization has played a significant role in facilitating the outburst of intellectual, scientific and artistic inventiveness that has taken place since the twelfth century.

https://areomagazine.com/2018/07/27/a-brief-primer-on-individualism-in-western-intellectual-history/

Sam Sinha writes: We can say, without much reservation, that the contributions made by individual Christians and Jews laid the foundation of the West. But, should we praise their religions for this?

https://conatusnews.com/western-culture-judeo-christian-values/

Stephen Messenger writes: The near total hegemony the left enjoys over academic institutions has turned them into tribal communities, in which most people think more or less the same way, and in which there is almost no one left to push back against the questionable orthodoxies that have metastasized there. Michael Rectenwald’s new book, Springtime for Snowflakes: ‘Social Justice’ and its Postmodern Parentage, chronicles the ideological climate of elite universities.

https://areomagazine.com/2018/07/30/springtime-for-snowflakes-social-justice-and-its-postmodern-parentage-a-review/

In The unintended Reformation, Brad Gregory attributes the shift from the teleological concept of a 'substantive morality of the good' to liberalism's 'formal morality of rights' to the religious upheavals and 'sociopolitical disruptions' during the Reformation era. Nico Vorster scrutinises Gregory's argument that the Reformation created an individualist notion of selfhood in contrast to the Roman Catholic communal notion of selfhood and thereby paved the way for modernism.

www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222014000100016#.W18OGYArxSk

Religion in Politics

Fatima Measham talks to Antonio Castillo, a close observer of political tensions in Latin America, about the rise of evangelical movements in the region. Why did these groups become so popular? What makes them such a political factor? And what does it mean for them to be politically engaged, in a time when people are looking for alternatives?

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=56052

Religion in Society

Will Jones writes: The ‘neutrality’ of liberalism is understood in terms of a studied scepticism towards all forms of religion and morality, and most commonly manifesting as a militant secularism and amoral permissiveness. How can we stand above the cultural chaos and confusion that surrounds us and overcome it, not be overcome. How can we as Christians stand above and overcome the cultural chaos and confusion that surrounds us?

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/the-knives-are-out-but-christians-must-hold-on-to-the-truth/

Stephen McAlpine writes: In the same way that the age of steam swept away the age of sail, the age of apologetics has been swept away by the age of kategoria. Robust proclamation is the future. Artful persuasion is the past.

https://stephenmcalpine.com/the-age-of-apologetics-is-over/

Michael Jensen responds to Stephen McAlpine: There is still a massive place for defending the faith – not by being hip or relevant and progressive, but just by speaking the truth, pursuing the good and pointing to the beautiful. Are we now to resort to shouting the gospel at them? I think this would be ineffective, and also disobedient.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/opinion/is-the-age-of-apologetics-over/

Nancy T Ammerman and Grace Davie write: A more careful reckoning of religion’s public role can bring to light not only potential anti-democratic factors but potential pro-democratic forces. Each situation must be examined on its own terms.

https://theconversation.com/is-religion-bad-for-democracy-97351

Gary Bouma writes: Having ‘no religion’ is becoming the new ‘normal’ in Australia. This has profound effects in ways that are only just becoming apparent.

www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/06/28/4863524.htm

Fatima Measham talks to Antonio Castillo, a close observer of political tensions in Latin America, about the rise of evangelical movements in the region. Why did these groups become so popular? What makes them such a political factor? And what does it mean for them to be politically engaged, in a time when people are looking for alternatives?

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=56052

Alister McGrath writes: The incarnation gives both coherence and focus to the entire Christian narrative, and allows us to grasp its relevance for human life and thought.

www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/07/16/4871192.htm

Denis Dragovic writes: Research shows that religion can have a positive impact on society in terms of better health, less crime and a stronger economy. This research suggests that we need to consider carefully the possible consequences of losing religion from the public square in Australia.

https://theconversation.com/why-australians-religious-freedom-is-worth-protecting-99929

Sexism

Pauline Grosjean writes: Australia's convict past and male-dominated sex ratios have long-lasting effects on attitudes, impacting women's working lives.

https://theconversation.com/what-australias-convict-past-reveals-about-women-men-marriage-and-work-99444


Sex industry

Melinda Tankard Reist writes: If we truly care about confronting the enablers of violence against women and girls, we must tackle the role played by porn. Otherwise, talk about creating a safe culture for women is mere rhetoric.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/07/03/4865737.htm

Sexual abuse and #MeToo

Melinda Tankard Reist writes: If we truly care about confronting the enablers of violence against women and girls, we must tackle the role played by porn. Otherwise, talk about creating a safe culture for women is mere rhetoric.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/07/03/4865737.htm

Paul Mundey writes: John Piper’s vision of patriarchy is part of a vast traditionalist continuum which concludes, in the words of Lerner, that male domination is 'God-given or natural, hence immutable. But some in the traditionalist 'camp' are beginning to question patriarchy.

https://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/more-patriarchy-less-metoo

Ruth Everhart writes: ‘The Bible tell harrowing tales of women being raped, sacrificed and silenced by members of their own family. … To hear the women’s cries and learn their stories is to honor each one as a beloved child of God. Their stories can be mined for glimmers of hope, as precious as gold ore, or read as cautionary tales, warnings about what happens when the powerful become corrupt and the vulnerable are silenced.’

https://www.christiancentury.org/article/critical-essay/women-bible-say-metoo

Sexuality

The Revoice Conference for LGBT Christians has provoked controversy. Phillip Cary speaks with Christianity Today about how the Bible defines temptation, why it’s hard for Christians to disentangle sin and temptation, and what it means when some of the pillars of faith reached radically different conclusions.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/july-web-only/revoice-conference-gay-lgbt-christians-sin-temptation.html

The Revoice Conference has generated a great deal of conversation among theologically conservative Christians. Christianity Today asked Revoice founder Nate Collins about the dispute.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/july-web-only/revoices-founder-answers-lgbt-conferences-critics.html

Sexuality and same-sex marriage

Paula Gerber writes: Six months after same-sex marriage became legal in Australia, none of the disasters the ‘no’ side warned about have come to fruition, but there is still some way to go to achieve real equality.

https://theconversation.com/six-months-after-marriage-equality-theres-much-to-celebrate-and-still-much-to-do-97783

Slavery

The Modern Slavery Bill 2018 is an important step in the right direction. How does it compare with the Modern Slavery Acts in the UK and NSW?

https://ijm.org.au/ijm-australia-welcomes-modern-slavery-bill-tabled-by-federal-parliament/

Social media

Karl Vaters writes: The internet is a great place for debate, but its anonymity also has a way of turning mean people loose. So if you want to engage in lively discussion, even disagreements online, while keeping the tone civil, try these ten steps as a guide.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/karl-vaters/2018/june/10-ways-to-disagree-online-without-being-jerk.html

A. Trevor Sutton writes: Facebook (and perhaps Silicon Valley as a whole) is reflecting on the impact and influence its technology has on society. Facebook is considering how its tools are used both individually and collectively. Facebook is spending time contemplating its navel. Through all of this, Facebook is asking questions that have to do with technological determinism. But what impact do digital technologies have on religious belief?

https://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/how-facebook-transforming-religion

Technology

A. Trevor Sutton writes: Facebook (and perhaps Silicon Valley as a whole) is reflecting on the impact and influence its technology has on society. Facebook is considering how its tools are used both individually and collectively. Facebook is spending time contemplating its navel. Through all of this, Facebook is asking questions that have to do with technological determinism. But what impact do digital technologies have on religious belief?

https://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/how-facebook-transforming-religion

Michael Cowling and Robert Vanderburg write: As we all become mini publishers, we are losing the interactivity that fosters meaningful and healthy social interaction.

https://theconversation.com/technology-doesnt-have-to-be-lonely-encouraging-dialogue-over-diatribe-99852

Ross Gittins writes: I’m thinking of starting a new social movement. Still working on the details, but I’ve already decided we’ll have lapel buttons, bumper stickers and, of course, a hashtag, all that say #letscalmdown.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/the-economy/slaves-to-the-god-of-technology-20180724-p4zt7z.html

Work

Jarrod Haar writes: A trial of a four-day working week shows that employees felt better about their job, were more engaged, and reported greater work-life balance and less stress.

https://theconversation.com/working-four-day-weeks-for-five-days-pay-research-shows-it-pays-off-100375

Ben McEachen writes: Forbes’ contributor William Vanderbloemen reckons Jesus would let you go – if you underperformed, as a biblical tree did. But is this what the parable of the fig tree is about?

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/opinion/who-would-jesus-fire/

Youth

Laura Demasi writes: For the most part we appear to have got Millennials wrong by completely overlooking the immense diversity that exists among them – starting with cultural difference and its profound influence on mindset and behaviour.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/we-have-got-it-all-wrong-on-millennials-20180725-p4ztkm.html


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