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Link highlights - July 2016

Tuesday, 2 August 2016  | Ethos editor

Link highlights – July 2016

Below is a selection of links to online news and opinion pieces, posted on the Ethos Facebook and Twitter pages between 1st to 31st July 2016. To keep up-to-date with our posts, ‘like’ us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter.

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


Doctors seek ethical protection under proposed legalized abortion regime, writes Amy Remeikis.

Asylum seekers and immigration

Flashback to May: A response to Minister Peter Dutton's comments about refugees being 'illiterate and innumerate', unskilled and lazy, both unwilling to work and threatening to steal Australian jobs.

Too many Australians remain unaware that slavery exists in the ‘lucky country’, writes Heather Moore.


Brexit highlights the crisis of multilateralism, writes Ioan Voicu.

'All is not lost, Europe', writes Pablo Jiménez Lobeira.

A fully incarnational, sacramental Christianity is bound to be concerned for Europe and her fate. For ‘Europe’ remains the name of the transmission of Greek philosophy, Roman law and ritual, and biblical revelation, writes John Milbank.

A much-needed call for us to view Brexit - and other political issues - from a Kingdom perspective.

Nick Coke and John Clifton suggest five ways to live post-Brexit.

Corporal punishment

Corporal punishment is harmful and actually increases the chance that children will get into trouble with the law, argues Meg Perkins.

Culture & society

Modern shame culture allegedly values inclusion and tolerance, but can be strangely unmerciful to those who dissent, writes David Brooks of the NYT.

From online bullying to Twitter takedowns, shame is becoming a dominant force in the West, writes Andy Crouch.


Dementia does not affect discipleship or humanness; it reveals 'hidden' aspects of both, writes John Swinton.


Research suggests that we could soon see vaccines for addiction. How can we vaccinate against behaviours? And if it is effective, what are the ethical issues?

Ageing and disability

Disability service providers face considerable challenges in the new, market-based environment, writes David Gilchrist.

My time in a wheelchair has opened my eyes to the challenges, writes Graeme Kelly.

The most recent National Press Club forum on aged care has once again put the spotlight on the ‘longevity revolution’ and attitudes towards Australia’s ageing population, write Kate Burridge and Réka Benczes.

End of Life

Global analysis finds unnecessary end-of-life treatment in hospitals is widespread.

Even terminally ill patients still receive scant information, researchers have found, while family members acting for ICU patients commonly contend with confusion and misinformation.’

The Victorian state government has announced an overhaul of palliative care, with a focus on home-based services.

Should people who are not terminally ill have the right to die?’, asks Clare Wilson.

Federal elections

Peter West looks in the rear view mirror and asks about the elections: What did it all mean?

Simon Longstaff of the Ethics Centre asks: Should the new Parliament throw open the doors to unrestricted free speech, no matter what pain might be caused to individuals? Or should we establish ethical boundaries to be respected by all?

‘Christian’ parties fighting for Senate scraps, reports Eternity News.

Waleed Aly analyses the contradiction between liberal and conservative strands of thought that has split the Liberal Party.

Most election commentary focused on the economy, but the most important issue is the way we treat the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, writes Andrew Hamilton.


Australia may be home to some of the world’s most liveable cities, but we have a long way to go to meet the world’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), writes John Thwaites.

There are plenty of policies a free marketeer could embrace that would cut greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate market distortions at the same time, writes Ben Adler.

Climate justice demands more than a price on carbon, writes Nicholas Low.

Language matters in ‘selling’ climate change, writes Greg Foyster.

With response to climate change so slow at the top, not-for-profit businesses and community groups are stepping into the breach, writes Peter Boyer.

Free speech

Sonia Kruger has acknowledged her fears, and why should anyone doubt that this rear is genuine. She should now take up the offers from the Muslim community to come and spend some time with them?’, writes Rivka Witenberg.

Waleed Aly calls on Australians to stop the 'cycle of outrage', saying that Sonia Kruger isn't 'evil' and admitting he shares something in common with the Today Extra host - fear for Australia's future.

Here are some other links related to comments by Sonia Kruger, Pauline Hanson and others:

From 2014:

Housing and homelessness

Chris Middendorp of Sacred Heart Mission, Melbourne, suggests ways to address both the root causes and symptoms of homelessness.

John Falzon, Chief Executive of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council, asks: how is it that we can’t make sure everyone has a place to live?

Negative gearing is the end of the Australian Dream, argues Kate Galloway.

Given the link between home ownership and wealth, it is not surprising that all the benefits of increased wealth have flowed to older Australians. Greg Jericho writes about housing affordability, inequality and our flatlining household incomes.

What are the health, social and economic benefits of providing public housing and support to formerly homeless people?

Indigenous Affairs

Delegates at Referendum Council meeting argue the recognition campaign is a waste of resources and a treaty would deliver real, tangible benefits.

‘Recognition or treaty ... Why not both?’, asks Kate Galloway.

In a speech to mark Constitution Day (Saturday 9th July), Stan Grant argued that a treaty ‘would give us certainty, peace, and for me it will mean that the tension I feel as an Indigenous person in Australia would potentially be laid to rest’.

Brooke Prentis shares how Australia is crying out for real change in our treatment of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander kids.

For NAIDOC Week, Matt Busby Andrews writes about the Indigenous elder who stood up to Hitler, the Prime Minister and the King – and challenged the church to pray.

Indigenous suicide is a humanitarian crisis. We need a royal commission. Dameyon Bonson.

Law and human rights

Neil Foster discusses religious schools and discrimination in Victoria.

Laurence Maher discusses perceived religious privilege in ‘Wilful blindness, religion and free speech’.

Rick Sarre asks: Should there be specific laws around religious vilification?

What are the Moral Limits of Free Speech? Scott Stephens, Waleed Aly and William Cavanaugh discuss.

Why the recent religious Vilification claim in Victoria was rejected, by Neil Foster.

NT Juvenile detention

An overview of events around the NT juvenile abuse revelations.

Evidence of tear-gassing of six boys being held in isolation at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin in August 2014 has been obtained by Four Corners, exposing one of the darkest incidents in the history of juvenile justice in Australia.

Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs has called for an independent inquiry into the treatment of Northern Territory children in detention.

The violent abuse of children in juvenile detention in the Northern Territory was the manifestation of a ‘culture ... of increased detention without trial’ in the whole country, Australian Human Rights Commission president, Gillian Triggs has said.

The 4 Corners report into the treatment of children in a NT juvenile justice facility is a stark and grotesque demonstration of state abuse of power, argues Julie Kimber - echoing earlier comments by Gillian Triggs.

Stan Grant writes of his anger in response to the NT juvenile justice revelations.

Well, that’s just the kind of thing that happens there, and to them. It’s hardly news, writes Mike Ticher.

Eternity speaks to one volunteer who visits the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre monthly to support the inmates. Centres like Don Dale are punitive systems and are ‘not really set up as a centre to rehabilitate’, says Chapman.

Restorative justice reduces recidivism, a Sam Houston State University study confirms.

Don Dale style ‘restraint chairs’ are also used on people with a disability, writes Michael Brull.

"Should we be locking people up in prisons at all?", ask Rob Hulls and Elena Campbell.

In the interests of fairness and of knowing other sides of an argument, here is a response of a former correction centre employee to the recent ABC Four Corners program.

Andrew Bolt condemns the treatment of Dylan Voller but discusses the need to be aware of the context.

The Northern Territory's justice system is far more complicated than the southern states chattering classes believe, writes former chief minister Shane Stone.


Scott Stephens, the ABC’s Online Editor of Religion and Ethics, said ‘the gay marriage debate had been corrupted by the 'godawful things' people had said on both sides’. And William Cavanaugh, author of The Myth of Religious Violence, 'told the audience that there was an urgent need to restore a traditional view of heterosexual marriage before pursuing the debate over gay marriage'.

Christian sexologist Patricia Weerakoon writes on the different ways we can respond to issues faced by transgendered persons.

There is a very strong argument that the plebiscite should be conducted on the basis of a proposed law on same-sex marriage rather than a hypothetical question about some future legislation, writes J.R. Nethercote.

Hope 103.2 has put together a media kit on the Safe Schools program.

Thinking about Transgenderism and the Gospel, prepared by the Presbyterian Church of Victoria Church and Nation Committee.

Politics and society

Philosopher Charles Taylor, recently in Sydney, writes how modern democracy, a universalist ideal, is paradoxically generates exclusion.

Covenant, and the reciprocal sacrifice it entails, is the basis for democratic social organization. The political fractiousness in the U.S. and Europe evince its loss as a regulatory principle, writes Marcia Pally.

Sex abuse

‘From my own experience, I am convinced that to set things right the church (for which I retain respect) must abolish the requirement for priestly celibacy’, argues James Miller.

Response: Celibacy is not the cause of sexual abuse and deviancy. The frequency with which this statement is repeated is both baffling and troublesome, writes Jack Green.

Social media

‘How can we break out of the social media echo chamber?’, asks Catherine Marshall.

Social policy and welfare

Whichever party forms government notwithstanding, this election has been an opportunity lost. Neither of the major parties has addressed key structural issues which are impacting Australian society, writes Peter Whiting.

Terrorism and violence

The connection between terrifying violence in the streets and its depiction in films and television programs is much more complex than one of either reckless inspiration or patriotic bulwark, writes Marcus O'Donnell.

What is distinctive about the acts of Anders Breivik, Omar Mateen and Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel is that the murderers chose moments when festivity left their victims vulnerable and defenceless, writes Luke Bretherton.

The murder of Father Hamel should not so much be the rallying-point of our outrage as the seed of a new humanity, writes Austen Ivereigh.

In the light of the murder of Father Hamel by Islamists, ‘how Christianity has revolutionised how westerners respond to enemies’, writes Akos Balogh.

Love & Theology Can Soften Muslim Radicals, Says the Centre for Public Christianity's Richard Shumack.

US elections

It seems Donald Trump does have a faith. But the question is: what kind? Matthew Schmitz writes.

Do I believe a person can be a Christian and vote for Trump? Yes. Do I believe that a person can support Trump because he or she is a Christian? No.’


When it comes to sexual violence against women, there is selective reporting – and compassion – in the west, writes Amanda Jackson is Executive Director, WEA Women's Commission.

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