Vote your values
Archbishop Hart of Melbourne, together with Bishop Grech of Sandhurst, Bishop Connors of Ballarat, and Bishop Prowse of Sale, have put out some reasonably strong guidance on the upcoming Victorian elections, focusing first on life issues, but also on issues such as policies affecting families (access to housing, child support services and education), health and aged care, religious freedom and more.
The document does not advocate voting for a particular party - but the underlying (entirely appropriate!)message is, don't vote Green, and question your local candidates about their views on key issues.
Meanwhile back in Victorian liberal land...
Just what an uphill battle promoting Catholic values is, is illustrated by yet another piece of dissent from Eureka Street today, which bemoans the lack of enthusiasm in Victorian schools for the promotion of the homosexualist agenda.
Lets face it Eureka Street, the alleged bullying of homosexuals in schools is not getting traction because firstly, so few kids are affected by it - a recent UK survey found that only 1.5% of Britons for example claim to be homosexual, lesbian or bisexual, not the much larger numbers often claimed; and secondly because people still have a recoil due to their vestigial of the sense of the moral law...
Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not advocating or condoning gay bashing or bullying. But an anti-bullying agenda doesn't need to take its justification from the problem of homosexuality.
But in the City of Churches...
Some more positive news from Adelaide. The Queen Elizabeth hospital is reintroducing Bibles in bedside lockers. The ABC reports Nurse manager Marion Seal saying that:
"..patients require the comfort a bible can provide. The majority of patients nominate that they have an affiliation with a recognised religion and faith," she said. So often it is when you are feeling low that that can come back to you and you look for that source of comfort."
40 Days for Life campaign
And apropos the Greens, 40 days for life has just wound up its latest campaign, and I couldn't resist sharing this great poster. Thanks to Fr Tim (Hermaneutic of Continuity) for highlighting it, originally from the Love Undefiled blog.
Why do burka's and hijabs cause angst?
On the less pleasant side, a curious incident in the South Australian State parliament last week:
"Last Thursday, a Labor MP cooked up a harmless stunt to celebrate the pioneering work of Adelaide-born suffragette Muriel Matters, who famously chained herself to Britain’s House of Commons in 1908 demanding that women be given the right to vote.
The MP organised for an actress dressed as Muriel Matters to sit in the public gallery of the South Australian Parliament. She was wearing period costume and a large hat. The speaker asked her to remove the hat because it violated standing orders while Parliament was in session. A Liberal MP asked the speaker to clarify whether that standing order extended to other head coverings such as hooded tops, helmets and burqas.
A university student, a young Muslim woman, was also sitting in the public gallery. From what she heard of this discussion, she concluded that either the Liberal MP or the Speaker had ruled that she was not allowed to sit in the public gallery while wearing a veil. She became hysterical and fled the gallery in tears.
It sounds like an over-reaction. Some people have defended the woman, saying she has a limited grasp of English and didn’t really understand what was going on. You would think that if she’s smart enough to be studying for a degree she would have a sufficient handle on our lingua franca to work out what was or wasn’t being said."
So why was the woman concerned so sensitive, and why did the MP ask the question in the first place?
The Punch article by David Penberthy makes some sensible points:
"It is no easier to hide a bomb under a burqa than it is to hide one under a Wallabies jersey. The reason people are so fired up about the burqa isn’t its capacity for concealment, rather the fact that it’s a very public statement of refusal to assimilate.
It is impossible to conclude that the burqa is about anything other than the oppression of women, and a form of oppression which has no place in this country. It enshrines the view – pithily expressed by the batty Sheik Hilaly in his description of uncloaked women as “uncovered meat” – that there is something dangerous or undesirable about female beauty and something uncontrollable about male desire. As the debate continues, it’s interesting to note how the people within our Islamic communities who argue that women should cover up are so often men.
But for all that, it is hard to see how Australia, which fancies itself as a laconic, laid-back, easy-going sort of a place, can take the next step and argue for laws governing the type of clothing people wear. This is the tension which also exists in France. The French Revolution might have been in part about the separation of Church and State but it also enshrined the values of liberty, equality and fraternity, which are offended by the burqa ban.
If Australians are genuine about believing in freedom of choice and freedom of expression they cannot logically support a burqa ban. But equally we have every right to exercise our free expression, and to question the illusory “freedom” of Islamic women to wear this oppressive bit of clothing in the year 2010."