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Link highlights - June 2016

Friday, 1 July 2016  | Ethos editor

Link highlights – June 2016

Below is a selection of links to online news and opinion pieces, posted on the Ethos Facebook and Twitter pages between 7th to 30th June 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.


Haley Smith challenges the individualism, on both sides, around discussions on abortion. 

Asylum seekers

After psychologist Paul Stevenson tells the Guardian conditions on Nauru and Manus Island are ‘demoralising’ and ‘desperate’, his contract is cancelled

We may be able to combine humanitarian principles with political pragmatism to find an acceptable ‘solution’ to Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers, says Dee Jarrack.

Nauru Detention Centre whistleblower Greg Lake says the Australian government's policy of deterrence comes at the cost of our national and individual conscience.

Frank Brennan suggests looking back into history to help us find the right balance between compassion towards asylum seekers and realism, human rights and the national interest.

Accounts from Nauru detail what a new report calls a pattern of systemic assault and rape, mainly by locals.

A hard-hitting critique of our asylum seeker policy from Simon Smart of the Centre for Public Christianity. 


Arguments for leaving Europe betray cultural amnesia, writes Andrew Hamilton.

Asymmetrical Federalism Might Allow for an Independent United Kingdom within the European Union, argues David Koyzis.

‘Phenomena like the rise of Donald Trump and the vote for Britain to leave Europe are attempts to make sense of suffering and disorder, and the fear and anxiety they produce’, writes Luke Breatherton.

Statement by the World Evangelical Alliance in the wake of Brexit.

Scott Stephens, Editor of the ABC's Religion and Ethics website, invited a number of theologians, philosophers and political theorists to reflect on the meaning of the Brexit referendum.

The issues around Brexit strike to the meaning of ‘Europe’, as well as to the form that moral consciousness should take in our age, writes William Schweiker.

Without a sense of the Holy Spirit uniting us in a truth beyond ourselves, we become a family at war, bickering, jockeying for advantage and splitting in all directions, writes Alison Milbank.

End of Life

Response to an article in The Age by Victoria’s Fiona Patten MLC, Member of the Victorian Parliamentary Committee looking into end-of-life issues.

Victorians will be able to instruct their doctors not to give them life-prolonging treatment in the future, and doctors who defy them could be sacked, The Age reports.

Denise Clarke of Ethos addresses euthanasia, advance care planning and palliative care in her submission to the Victorian Inquiry into End of Life Choices.

Wesley J. Smith - lawyer, activist and journalist, bioethical gadfly and author of Culture of Death: The Age of 'Do Harm’ Medicine’ - talks about euthanasia, transhumanism, health care rationing, futile care theory and the future of bioethics.

Controversial movie, Me Before You, has begun screening in Australia amid accusations it is a ‘disability snuff film’.

The story of a child whose parents chose to forgo treatment on her behalf, allowing her to die of her disease.

A classic thought experiment has implications for the current discussion around euthanasia.


Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si', launched roughly a year ago and published in June 2015, was globally acclaimed for its strong relevance in times of crucial decision-making.

Indigenous Affairs

Only 58% of Indigenous Australians are registered to vote. We should be asking why

The debate over whether Australia was ‘invaded’ or ‘occupied’ is not about semantics: it goes to the very crux of what we are as a nation and who we are as a people. … were we as a nation conceived in sin or in virtue?’

Reflecting on Reconciliation Week, Paul Daley writes: ‘National Reconciliation Week is testimony to the hope and aspiration of many Australians that Indigenous lives and cultures should be celebrated – but the reality tells a less hopeful story.’

Law and human rights

Anti-discrimination law exemptions don’t strike the right balance between rights and freedoms

In the debate on freedom of speech, secular law must override religious belief once this belief enters the public domain, argues the Tasmanian spokesman of Civil Liberties Australia.

‘Simply expressing opposition to homosexuality from a religious perspective, not accompanied by incitement to violence, should not be classified as unlawful ‘hate speech’, writes legal expert Neil Foster.

Legal expert Brian Poster critiques the misuse of the term ‘proselytise’ by those opposing Special Religious Education in schools.

A recent conflict between Amnesty International and the Roman Catholic Church in Northern Ireland has sparked questions as to whether the modern manifestation of human rights and the Christian faith can ever see eye-to-eye.’

Orlando shooting

Michael Jensen writes: ‘‘tragedy’ allows us to sit in the dust bewildered at what has happened, and recognise that others are in agony’.

Nils von Kalm echoes the cry of our weary hearts in our violent world, drawing on Philippians 2 for a sense of peace in the storm.

Stephen McAlpine warns against conflating the human tragedy of the Orlando shooting with Christian concern about sex marriage.

The way we express our anger at atrocity fuels the characterisation of the perpetrators as monsters, while encouraging the canonisation of the victims as saints, writes Christopher Brittain.


A debate on marriage equality need not be hate-filled, and we could all benefit from it, argues Anthony Fisher, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney.

A guide to 7 approaches amongst Christians wrestling with the topic of Same-sex marriage, by the Centre for Public Christianity.

From Ethos: Gordon Preece engages with Michael Kirby (2012) here and here. See also two publications from Ethos on this topic. Also consider Gordon Preece and Brian Edgar eds, Whose Homosexuality? Which Authority? ATF, 2006.

Same-sex couples already live together and raise children, so same-sex marriage is not the issue, argues Scott Higgins.


Working hours should be more effectively capped at 38 hours a week to make it easier for men to share the caring load in the family home and for women to participate in paid work.


Graham Hill of Morling College, Sydney, writes: ‘...recently, we’ve seen the rise of political figures (all over the world) appealing to xenophobia and nationalism (and even Christendom). We’ve seen the magnetism of this message, in various parts of the globe, and the acquiescence of Christian leaders.

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