Saturday, July 30, 2011


Where one person's freedom begins, another's must end


Many years ago, while sitting in a tram at some traffic lights [not far from St Francis Church] I saw two little old ladies deeply engrossed in conversation, walk into the wrong building. A minute later, they came rushing, red-faced, from a “Live Sex Acts on Stage” theatre, then go, giggling, into the Catholic Book Shop next door.

First came a kerfuffle about building a mosque at Ground Zero in New York. Now we hear that atheists have lodged a protest about plans to install a cross-shaped piece of wreckage from the 9/11 ruins.
What won’t be in the memorial museum when it opens are any toilets. If the cross does not make it into the museum, it looks like a visit to Ground Zero will still remind people of Rome.
Received an email yesterday. Although it mentions Sydney, it actually came to us by way of France, a country which has done its best to ban the burqa. By extension, it comes by way of Europe, an area which is becoming increasingly vocal about the pros and cons of multiculturalism. [Beyond the sentiment it expresses, it’s actually rather clever.]

I am truly perplexed that so many of my friends are against another mosque being built in Sydney.
I think it should be the goal of every Australian to be tolerant.
Thus the Mosque should be allowed, in an effort to promote tolerance.
That is why I also propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque, thereby promoting tolerance from within the mosque.
We could call one of the clubs, which would be gay, "The Turban Cowboy", and the other a topless bar called "You Mecca Me Hot."
Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork, and adjacent to that an open-pit barbeque pork restaurant, called "Iraq o' Ribs."
Across the street there could be a lingerie store called "Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret", with sexy mannequins in the window modelling the goods.
Next door to the lingerie shop there would be room for an adult sex toy shop, "Koranal Knowledge", its name in flashing neon lights, and on the other side a liquor store called "Morehammered."
All of this would encourage the Muslims to demonstrate the tolerance they demand of us, so the mosque problem would be solved.
If you agree with promoting tolerance, and you think this is a good plan, please pass it on...

Does/can multiculturalism work? If people feel that it isn’t working /can’t work, where is it going wrong?
At what point does any “anyist” joke cross a line?



A few days ago I made a fleeting reference to Ireland’s ‘mandatory reporting of child abuse’ legislation. This is to extend to priests, requiring them to break the seal [confidentiality] of the confessional.

Senator Nick Xenephon has spoken out in favour of mandatory reporting in Australia.
Arguments against mandatory reporting of what is confessed include assumptions:
·         The priest will be able to ensure the sinner feels true remorse;
·         Encourage the sinner to ensure they will not repeat the sin [e.g. seek help]; and
·         Encourage the sinner to find ways to make amends [penance might require more than just saying some prayers].
Without a guarantee of confidentiality, the Church quite reasonably expects people will not risk admitting to any wrong at all.

While I endorse all the principles behind confession, in the case of child or sexual abuse I’m inclined to vote for mandatory reporting:
Few paedophiles are going to confess to the fact, mandatory reporting in place or not. Most either feel quite strongly there is nothing wrong with what they do, or are so consumed by shame they are in denial.

Mandatory reporting, overriding the religious policy of confidentiality, follows a principle vital to the success of multiculturalism:
You can believe/do whatever you want, so long as you abide by the law. If Muslims were to assert the importance of confidentiality, even using the same arguments as the church gives, there would be a large outcry on the issue.
Is it because this is a Christian issue that it has not become a big issue?


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