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Gays – You Shall Not Express Any Opinion Other Than Ours

That’s the thing with the diversity loving crowd. They only love diversity when you agree with everything they say.

Former tennis champion and now pastor Margaret Court organised a rally in Perth last night. Church members and the public were invited to learn more about and pray for the preservation of the meaning of marriage; a life long commitment between a man and a woman.

But no expression of this belief is permitted. Every such expression must be declared to be homophobic, bigoted and hateful.

A couple of dozen gay rights protestors (as opposed to the hundreds at the Court/Family Association Rally) forced their way into Court’s church to demand their rights.

Gay Bigots Protest Free Speech

One activist declared that marriage is a celebration of love, and therefore should be open to any two people in love. But that is not what marriage is. Marriage is a life-long commitment between a man and a woman for the purposes of procreation, support of any children, and companionship and care for each other, made in love, with the intention to respect and honour each other for life.

Of course the word marriage could be re-defined. But once it is re-defined, say, as a ‘celebration of love’, what is to stop one man and four women being married, or a woman and her dolphin, or any community of any number of people and animals, no matter how related? Why not have families – parents and children – able to marry? There doesn’t have to be anything sexual in the relationship, after all. It is simply a celebration of love. So why not celebrate your love publicly?

Why not indeed? But a celebration of love is not a marriage. If marriage were to be redefined in this vague way, another word would have to be found for what we now call marriage. All of the above mentioned possibilities are qualitatively different from a life-long, open to children, loving commitment between a man and a woman. And then the protests would start anew, because the gay lobby, the poly-amorous, the bestial, would all want the right to have their relationships called the same thing.

Gay lobbyists declare they have majority support for redefining marriage in the way they want (somewhere between 55 and 60 percent of all Australians, they claim). Such provisions have sometimes been read into the law by activist judges in the US. But whenever they have gone to a referendum, such measures have been soundly defeated.

Gay marriage is never going to be normal. Get over it.

Anita Heiss Again

This will be my last post on this subject.

I have not read Anita Heiss’s book Am I Black Enough For You?, so I cannot comment on its literary merits.

But there seems to be to be a very clear difference between those who have left negative reviews on its Amazon page, and those who have left positive reviews.

It is not clear that the writers of the negative reviews have all read the book. Some are concerned about the quality of the writing, others about politics, the hypocrisy of the title, the shutting down of any response to Anita Heiss and her arguments. Some are quite forceful. A very few contain personal criticism of Anita or other Amazon reviewers. Even fewer could be considered mildly racist, in that they appear to make assumptions about aboriginal people as a whole. But in general, the negative reviews are well-written, thoughtful, and about the book.

The five and four star reviews are not. There is very little comment about the book and its merits, and rather more discussion of what a vile person Andrew Bolt is, and how the controversy is all his fault, and anyone who wants to ask the same questions he did must be one of his trolls and a racist.

I have copied below one review and the comments which followed. They seem to me to summarise the methods of both sides of the debate.

For more, see my earlier posts on Andrew Bolt’s trial, and Anita Heiss’s book.

Miriam Dorset

Five Star Reviews Are Politically Motivated

It is simply impossible that anyone who has read this book could give it five stars, or even four. This is the second of Heiss’s books I have read. The other was Manhattan Dreaming. On the Kindle page for that book she is described as the “best-selling author of Not Meeting Mr Right and Avoiding Mr Right.” But look at the sales figures for her books. Manhattan Dreaming is ranked 258,720th. In other words, two of Heiss’s friends have read it, and me. She writes at the same level as a moderately talented high school student. Her writing style is awkward and her plots are predictable. If she were male you’d call them puerile. I didn’t review Manhattan Dreaming because when I got to the end of it I had already given it far more time than it deserved. I could not finish “Am I Black Enough for You?” It is a trivial, self-obsessed book. The book makes it clear that Heiss, not mainstream Australia, is obsessed with notions of identity.

In 2010 Heiss was awarded $90,000 by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board to produce two non-fiction books – a collection of essays and a memoir. She has no reputation as an essayist. Am I Black Enough For You? is the memoir. On the Random House website she describes the hardships she had to endure while living in Paris at tax payers’ expense:

1. WEIGHT GAIN: I had to eat an embarrassing amount of bread and cheese, macaroons, croissants and chocolate – so I could actually write about it! This meant I had to put on weight for my job.

2. SORE FEET: Paris is a city for walking. Strolling down the Champs-Elysees eyeing all the designers stores and cafes is hard on the feet, trust me, I know, I did it quite a bit! 3. FLIRTING WITH STRANGERS: Now, let me preface this by saying, I was in character! Anita Heiss would never flirt with strangers, but for the purpose of `research’ I did what needed to be done for my craft. If you are serious about your writing, you will too!

Ms Heiss has made her race a matter of public interest, because she has claimed awards and benefits on the basis of race. The public is entitled to ask whether money given in grants, awards or benefits is going to the people for whom it was intended. She, and now the Australian ABC and her publishers, Random House, have attempted to shut down any discussion of this with which she does not agree. If it were not for this controversy, I suspect this book, like her others, would be languishing at 250,000th on Kindle, and in remainder bins at any shop silly enough to have bought it.

randr says: Great review. I also have read a couple of Heiss’s books, out of curiosity only as the genre of the books she writes are not to my taste. Regardless of any other issues she is a poor writer who I suspect would not normally get a look in by any publishing company. I’m sure she has valid points to make but is not skilled or imaginative enough to do herself justice. In many ways it’s a shame that she has generated all this response as her writing doesn’t warrant it.

Simon Santoro says: It is pretty clear that anyone who answers Anita’s question the wrong way, or even wonders about whether she is entitled to the benefits she claims, is going to be labelled racist scum or worse, or described as a hater or a blind Bolter. Silly. If there are issues here – and Anita has raised them in her book’s title – why not have a sensible exchange of views without calling people names?

The real point for potential buyers is simply that this is a dud book – boring, predictable, narcissistic.

Matthew says: Simon, if you have an opinion that is informed by facts and doesn’t resort to stereotypes and generalisation, then let’s hear it.

The problem with so many of the comments here are that they’re written by people who (a) have never read the original articles (eg people who claim they just “asked questions” or “didn’t attack anybody” or refuse to accept that there were stunning inaccuracies), (b) don’t understand (or haven’t even looked at) the case and judgement against bolt (eg people who think the judge inferred things that weren’t in the articles, or that it was all subjective or that he was only found guilty because he got irrelevant things wrong or because he was rude – all false), (c) think that there are now “illegal topics” or “illegal opinions” in australia (there aren’t – not only are mainstream newspapers – including The Oz – talking about them, the judge specifically said that he wasn’t setting a precedent to prevent discussion about anything), (d) think that andrew bolt has been “silenced” in some way (god forbid!), (e) think that he has been treated unfairly because the plaintiffs wouldn’t have won a defamation suit and took the soft option (almost certainly not true, not at all) or (f) actually believe the inferences made in those articles in the first place (a very misinformed decision).

So we get angry remarks based on misinformation by people who don’t know any of the facts of the stories, the case, the law or the truth behind the articles. They make angry generalisations that try to pin blame for serious problems on a selection of aboriginal people who – purely on the basis of skin colour and what they might happen to believe about their life story – are undeserving. And these are people whom practically nobody here would have even HEARD of had they not featured in a series of bogus articles and decided not to take the abuse lying down.

So sure, if you think you’re not one of those people, and you think you’ve got the bases covered, then let’s hear it. I promise not to call you racist

Simon Santoro says: Matthew you seem to have taken up a position as permanent Amazon commenter. I don’t have that much time. I did read Bolt’s blog posts, I followed the trial with interest, and read articles from both sides of politics afterwards. I think I am reasonably well informed on the issues. I am not quite sure why you make the assumption that anyone who sees things differently from you must be either ignorant, an idiot or a racist. The simple point is that regardless of the politics, this is a tedious, self-righteous and self-obsessed book.

Mal says: That’s right folks, Miriam Dorset must be right, because all those 1 star reviews couldn’t possibly be politically motivated could they? No, of course not. Especially since they rapidly went up after a certain Mr Andrew Bolt made an issue of it on his blog. Humbug! By the way, Miriam, you and a load of others around here obviously don’t understand that free speech generally doesn’t apply to the comment pages of corporate bodies. If it did, you and I would have blogs and columns and paychecks alongside Andrew Bolt. As to this “Ms Heiss has made her race a matter of public interest, because the public is entitled to ask whether money given in grants, awards or benefits is going to the people for whom it was intended.” – No, Miriam, Mr Bolt made it an issue by not properly researching his original articles (all of which can be read), getting a judgement against him for breaching the Racial Vilification Act, and now urging his witless followers in the most craven fashion to do his bidding for him. Finally I see that you are following the herd instinct her by attacking the person rather than reading the book.

Mal says: Stop being such a troll, Simon. In this post you are quite happily involved in the very abuse you are saying others are engaged in. And you do it in such a sneaky nasty way, don’t you. All this oleaginous concern about calling people names and then your last little piece of invective.

Simon Santoro says: I have read the book. I consider it to be poorly written and of little value. How is saying so abusive? There is a difference between discussion and criticism of a book – that is what these forums are for – and hurling abuse at people who do not share your view.

Mal says: Yes and you obviously followed his coded instruction to get on here and condemn the book, Mr Troll.

Miriam Dorset says: I am sorry my review has caused so much angst.

I wanted to make two points which seemed uncontroversial to me.

First, that by any normal measure, this is not a good book, either in insights or literary merit. This cannot be contentious for anyone who has actually read the book.

Second, when taxpayers fund special benefits or awards for people of a particular race, height, hair colour or whatever, they entitled to ask whether those who receive those benefits are the people for whom they were intended. In other words, if you claim publicly funded awards because of your race, then your race becomes a matter of public interest. Again, I cannot see how this is contentious. Nor can I see why making this point should justify such rage.

It also seems odd to me that the people who are asking why race should make any difference, and suggesting awards and benefits should be offered on the basis of merit or need are being called racists, while those who demand special privileges for themselves or others on the basis of race seem to assume a moral superiority which justifies insulting anyone who disagrees.

Cameron Dale says:

Yes – thankyou. It really is that simple:

1. This is not a good book, by any standard.

2. Race is only an issue because Anita has made it one.

Mal says: 1. Whose standard? yours and miriam actually – there isn’t any agreed upon standard about what constitutes a good book.

2. Wrong – Andrew Bolt made this and issue. The books is a partial response to that.

Mal says: Interesting that the proponents of “free speech” here are doing their best to cover up the speech of people who disagree with them.

Mal says: Watch out, folks that doyen of literary taste arbiters, miriam dorset has spoken. She has said there is no literary merit in the writing – so there mustn’t be – because miriam said it, and miriam is…Actually what are your qualifications miriam?

Mal says: And quit it with the phoney apologies while you’re at it, miriam. I also not a tone of moral superiority in your last comment.

Miriam Dorset says: If you think I am wrong, Mal, please feel free to quote some passages you think are especially insightful or well-written. I am happy to be convinced.

John Darbyshire and The Talk

John Darbyshire has copped some fierce criticism over the last few days for his article The Talk: Non Black Version. The article appeared in Taki’s Magazine, but that page has been intermittently inaccessible. Try Taki’s first. If their page is not working, you can find the full version at Camp of the Saints.

Darbyshire referenced articles in which black parents describe The Talk they give their children. The talk about how to relate to white people and Asians. About how racism is built into white society, how they (young black people) will have to work twice as hard before they are granted the same positive recognition, about white tribalism, etc, etc.

He then goes on to describe various talks he has had with his children about how to relate to black people.

Some of these are claims about reality. Perhaps the most controversial is his claim that black people are on average several points lower in IQ than whites. This is true, he says, no matter how ‘culturally balanced’ the test. It also has practical application – blacks are significantly more likely than whites or Asians to default on their mortgages, for example.

Darbyshire provides some interesting links to studies support his views on this. He might be wrong. The studies might be wrong. But facts are not racist. Truths are not racist. They can be used in racist ways, but it is not clear that Darbyshire is doing so.

As black parents talk to their children about reality as they see it, and how to live within it, Darbyshire talks to his children about reality as he sees it, and how white people can live safely and effectively within it. That means knowing the truth. Rather than yell ‘racist,’ it would be more convincing to provide alternate studies which show he is wrong.

Other parts consist of practical advice:

A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously  hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us.  A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five  percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial  solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague  feeling that whites have it coming.

(10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical  common sense:

(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.

(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.

(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at  some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date  (neglect of that one got me the  closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).

(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.

(10e)If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.

(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.

You may disagree. Feel free to say why. But I bet this guy wishes his parents had given him some similar advice:

Part One:

Part Two:

Am I Black Enough For You?

That is the title of Anita Heiss’s new book.

Anita was one of the people who sued Andrew Bolt.

The answer to Anita’s question is “No-one cares. Call yourself what you like.”

But if you claim tax payer money on the basis of your race, then expect the tax payers to take an interest. In other words, your race only makes a difference to anyone else when you demand it should make a difference. And if you do demand that it make a difference, you have no right to complain when people ask why.

For example, $90,000 of tax payer money so you could go to Paris and write a very dull book about how you went to court to stop someone discussing the question that is the title of your book. I can understand you might want to write this. I don’t understand why I should be forced to pay for it.

Here are Anita’s comments about the burdens she faces as a writer. No, not just a writer, an aboriginal writer, since that, she says, is the whole point:

It’s not easy being a writer. If you do in fact take the research seriously, there is much to consider… here are just five of the hardships of researching in Paris:

1. WEIGHT GAIN: I had to eat an embarrassing amount of bread and cheese, macaroons, croissants and chocolate – so I could actually write about it! This meant I had to put on weight for my job.

2. SORE FEET: Paris is a city for walking. Strolling down the Champs-Elysees eyeing all the designers stores and cafes is hard on the feet, trust me, I know, I did it quite a bit!

3. FLIRTING WITH STRANGERS: Now, let me preface this by saying, I was in character! Anita Heiss would never flirt with strangers, but for the purpose of ‘research’ I did what needed to be done for my craft. If you are serious about your writing, you will too!

All at the tax payers’ expense. Can I be black too?

One of the things that makes this especially interesting is that having invited discussion on the issue of her race, Anita, her publishers and the Australian ABC have gone to great lengths to shut down any discussion. Comments have been disappeared from all those sites. Well, people answered the question the wrong way, you see.

You can still find reader comments at this Random House page (I am sure this is an oversight, and these will soon be removed), and at the Amazon page for Anita’s book.

And $18.60 for a kindle book she has already been given $90,000 to write? Sheesh!

Update. As expected Random House has pulled all comments from the page linked to above. According to the Random House website, their imprints comprise of (sic) Ballantine Books, Bantam Dell, Delacorte Press, Del Rey/Spectra, The Dial Press, ESPN Books, The Modern Library, One World, Presidio Press, Random House, Spiegel & Grau, and Villard.

Since Random House is not interested in freedom of speech, I suggest exercising the freedom you do have, and choosing not to buy their books.

Amazon is still accepting comments and reviews. Go Amazon!

Putting Down Foxes

Our State member Michael Pengilly is in the news again, having suggested in Parliament yesterday that Minister for Transport Chloe Fox should be put down.

Chloe Fox is an airhead. Her only experience in the transport industry is watching school crossings. Making her Minster for Transport makes as much sense as making Noddy Minister for Health.

But there she is, Chloe Fox, Minister for Transport. One of two things must be true. The state Labor Party is simply contemptuous of the people of South Australia, or their ranks are so lacking in talent that they have no choice but to put a teeny-bopper in one the state’s most responsible executive positions.

Michael Pengilly is right to say that Chloe is out of her depth. She’d be out of her depth in a wading pool.

If an animal was as completely confused, lost and miserable as Chloe, you might come to the conclusion that it should be put down.

No one would even have noticed if Michael had made this remark about other (male) Labor ministers like Robert Rau or Paul Caica. No problem at all.

But Chloe is a girl. Sexist, isn’t it?

Catherine Deveny Shines

The utterly unattractive Catherine Deveny shines again in her tweets about the LNP victory:

Queensland, beautiful one day, run but (sic) right winged maggots the next

Perhaps they should now rename Queensland ‘Cuntsland’

Shit for education, human rights,health, the disabled, the disadvantaged, sluts, homos and queue jumpers…but great for comedy

Like Anna Bligh with her misapprehension of how ordinary Queenslanders would respond to her slagging of Campbell Newman and his family, Catherine cannot seem to understand that most Australians do not find her regular droppings of hatefulness amusing or clever. Just nasty and childish.

Qld Election

Campbell Newman will win Ashgrove, and the Liberal National Party will win the election so comfortably they won’t even notice it going down.

As they should. Like the federal Labor Party, Anna Bligh has nothing but failure to offer in terms of policy and outcomes.

She seems to have believed that a few nasty allegations about Campbell Newman, made on the basis of no evidence whatever, would distract voters and incline them to vote for her. She could only have been assuming that Queensland voters are much like her. She has seriously misunderestimated the people of Queensland.

Campbell Newman will be a good premier. He is compassionate, speaks well, has years of administrative experience, and understands how wealth is generated.

He is not a social conservative. But for now, I am happy to settle for a fiscal conservative who is also a good leader and an honest man.

As for tonight’s results, the outcome will be roughly 69 for the LNP, 14 for Labor, 4 for Bob Katter’s Australian Party, and two independents.

I notice that Laurie Oakes has written an article about Labor’s collapse in Queensland without suggesting it is all Tony Abbott’s fault. He even draws parallels between Bligh’s prevarications and Gillard’s. Well done Laurie!

6.00pm in Queensland. Exit polls are suggesting an even bigger swing against Labor than the 10% I figured in my predictions. It is possible Labor could win less than ten seats. That would be an unprecedented humiliation for a major Australian party, and a kick in the head for the federal Labor Party and the Prime Minister.

7.15pm in Qld. This is not just a landslide, it’s a meltdown. Congratulations Campbell Newman and the LNP. Rudd has been in the limelight in Qld over the last few days. Without his campaigning things might have been even worse for Labor. Julia Gillard must be worried now.

7.45pm. The ABC is now predicting 75 seats for the LNP and 10 for Labor. Ouch! The key ALP seats of Nudgee, Logan and Ipswich look almost certain to go the LNP. Anna Bligh looks likely to hang on (just – with Greens preferences) in South Brisbane. Overall a slight fall in votes for the Greens. Interesting.

8.15pm. The ABC now predicting 77 for the LNP, 8 for Labor. Even Stretton, held with a 9.5% margin, will fall to the LNP. Woodridge, held by the ALP with a 24% margin, had a swing to the LNP of over 20%. Overall, the swing against Labor is holding steady at just under 16%. Deputy Premier and Treasurer Andrew Fraser is gone. Hard to feel sad about that.

9pm. Rob Katter has taken Mt Isa from the ALP. A mighty win for Bob Katter’s son in what has long been a Labor stronghold. The LNP might even win Mackay, depending on the strength of Katter preferences. Unthinkable until tonight. It looks like the LNP’s Anne Maddern has taken Maryborough from independent Chris Foley. Mixed feelings about that one – Chris is a decent bloke and has worked hard for Maryborough. It looks like Rob Messenger in Burnett made a bad choice when he resigned from the National Party to stand as an independent. Burnett will go the LNP on Katter preferences. The ABC now predicting 78 to 7, with 4 to Katter and the independents. The Greens still slightly down overall. No seats for them. Bob will be disappointed.

9.45pm. It’s all over. The worst defeat for a governing party in Australia’s history. The ABC is still predicting 78 to 7. Labor’s 7 includes Bulimba, which I think is too close to call and may yet go to the LNP’s Aaron Dillaway, who is ahead 3% on primary votes, and Mackay, which as mentioned above, may still go to the LNP on Katter preferences. The end result could easily be 79 to 6, with two for Katter and two independents. (A later note – I was wrong about this. The ABC’s prediction is for Labor to win one of Bulimba or Mackay, not both, so the end figure probably will be 78 to 7). I was way off with 69 to 14. But I don’t think anyone realised till tonight just how smelly the Labor brand has become.

Gracious comments from Campbell Newman, thanking Anna Bligh for her service to Queensland:

“Particularly, I think it’s appropriate this evening that we all thank her and acknowledge her inspirational leadership during the 2011 floods and Cyclone Yasi,” he said. “I also want to acknowledge my opponent Kate Jones, for her services to the people of Ashgrove since she has been elected member.”

Factless Climate Propaganda in SA’s Sunday Mail

OK, on one hand I am not surprised. The Sunday Mail is a paper I only ever read when it is being given away free.

The conversation in the shop this morning was

“Would you like a free paper, Peter?”

“What, the Sunday Mail?”

“Yes.”

“No thanks.”

“But it’s free.”

“Hmm…” (remembering I can use it as padding in parcels I send, and to start my fire in Winter) “OK then.”

Once I had it I could not resist leafing through it. Mostly just the usual empty-headed waffle that passes for journalism amongst the educated. A photo of Ian Thorpe emerging from a pool with a bit of mucous hanging from his nose, with the headline “Snot a good look.” That sort of thing.

On page 26 is an article by Lainie Anderson. It is available online.

Lainie seems a nice enough young lady. She has all the currently popular opinions. But she suffers from that curious left-wing journalist’s affliction of being unable to think.

This is the (very small) headline: Doesn’t it make sense to invest now in renewable technology – like the windfarms Denmark has established – and have something else to offer the world when the coal runs out?

Surely before writing that, or after for that matter, a journalist would stop to ask two key questions:

1. Are fossil energy sources running out?

2. Do wind-farms and other renewable energy technologies actually save any fossil fuel over their lifetimes?

The answer to both questions is no. Neither question seems to occur to Lainie.

A really good journalist might go on to consider the relationship between the price of energy and employment rates, and between the price of energy and poverty levels, and write about the possible development of a long term energy policy which would encourage economic growth, noting that this will be better for the planet, because wealthier societies have more liberty to be concerned about conservation.

But this is the Sunday Mail. So we have to read about Ian Thorpe and snot instead.

Lainie says that climate sceptics are just confusing people. They should stop it, because “we’ve got around 97 per cent of the world’s climate scientists telling us that human behaviour is warming the planet.”

Really?

Actually, no.

That figure is passed around like a hanky in a party game. It is based on a single study, Doran, P. T., and M. Kendall Zimmerman (2009), Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change, Eos Trans. AGU, 90(3).

Doran and Zimmerman sent two questions to some 10,000 scientists. About 30% responded. According to Doran and Zimmerman, only 5% of respondents were climate scientists. Climate scientists are people who were authors for the IPCC, or other climate alarmist bodies. The answers given by this carefully selected group were used to arrive at the 97% figure quoted by Ms Anderson. According to the study, 76 of 79 answered ‘Yes’ to question 1, and 75 of 77 answered ‘Yes’ to question 2. That’s about 97%.

Already this is so dubious it smells like five day old road-kill. But what were the questions?

1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

Virtually every ‘sceptic’ I know would answer ‘Yes’ to question one. The world has been warming at a pretty constant rate since about 1850. If CO2 is a factor in this increase, it can only have been a factor since about 1940. But there has been no change in the average rate of temperature increase since then.

Question 2 is simply badly written. What counts as significant? If there is a human influence on global climate change, it is so small compared with natural change that it is barely discernible. But that small amount may still be significant in some contexts.

So out of a group of 3,000 scientists, 97% of a very small and carefully selected sub group answered ‘Yes’ to two ambiguous questions, at least one of which would get a yes from almost every sceptical scientist. This is not proof of anything except a depressingly poor level of study design.

Lainie’s other ‘gotcha’ claims are that the world has been getting warmer for a while now, and that sea levels are rising. Both of these claims are true. No one disagrees. We have been coming out of a little Ice Age. Thank God it is getting warmer. Sea levels have been rising for the past 10,000 years, and if anything, the rate of rise is slowing.

No one denies that global climate is changing. It always has and always will.

The real question is, is there any evidence of damaging human influence on global climate? To answer that with a yes, there would have to be a clear correlation between human activity and global climate change. There is no correlation.

Climate alarmism may still sell a few papers. But it is damaging and dishonest. Just stop it.

Bolt Wrong on Katter

Andrew Bolt’s blog changed format today, making it harder to read. It also now requires registration to access, although registration is free and gives you the entire Herald Sun site. It will only be free for two months, however, after which it will cost $2.95 per week.

I never read anything in the Herald Sun except Andrew’s blog, and have no particular wish to do so. $150 per year to read a blog? I think, when that time comes, that I will no longer be amongst Andrew’s visitors.

Today Andrew wrote that Bob Katter had disgraced himself with a TV ad pointing out that a vote for Newman’s Queensland Liberals could be a vote for the legalisation of gay marriage.

Nonsense.

Bolt claims the ad is irrelevant. It is not. Queensland Labor introduced legislation permitting ‘civil unions’ between same sex couples. The Liberals do not support such unions and have talked about repealing the legislation. Campbell Newman has said he supports gay marraige.

It is entirely reasonable to create and broadcast a political ad pointing out this inconsistency.

The real question is, is the ad offensive or homophobic?

Belief that homosexual acts are wrong and harmful, and that equating homosexual relationships to marriage between a man and woman is dishonest and will undermine society may be wrong, but it is not homophobic. Simply disagreeing with the homosexual lobby does not make you a homophobe.

Bolt regularly demands that people who disagree with him argue on the facts and don’t simply call him names. He is right to do so. The same courtesy should be applied to those who have concerns about what they see as a dangerous homosexualist agenda.

If they are wrong, explain why. Don’t just shout ‘homophobe’ and think you have made a point.

The ad points up a difference between Katter’s party on one side, and the increasingly indistinguishable Labor and LNP on the other. That is what election ads are meant to do.

Bolt also complains about the images used. But these are very similar to images used by the homosexual lobby – along with slogans like “They are in love, why shouldn’t they be allowed to marry?” or “How can love be a crime?” If it is acceptable for the homosexual lobby to use such images to normalise homosexual relationships, why is it unacceptable for Katter to use them to raise concerns about that normalisation?

As for Andrew’s claim that video of Newman folding a skirt is meant to suggest he is a closet gay, the only possible response is ‘hogwash.’ That video was taken at the same time and in the same place as the other short segment where Newman says he supports gay marriage. At very most, it might highlight a contrast between Newman’s claim to be a decent, ordinary bloke, concerned about ordinary families, understanding ordinary workers (like laundry workers), and supportive of family values, and his support for what many of those same ordinary Australians see as a dangerous undermining of famliy and society.

You may disagree. But yelling ‘homophobe’ at Bob Katter, or the many Queenslanders who think he is right, is not going to convince him or them.

PS I was wrong about needing to register and pay to read Andrew Bolt’s blog. It was not entirely my fault – the blog entry I was talking about had the headline ‘Why we are asking you to register’ and did not make it clear that readers would only need to register to access Andrew’s columns and other Herald Sun print content, not to the rest of the blog. But since the columns normally make up about half the word count of the blog, this is still a blow to readers who have no interest in other Herald Sun print content. I suspect many, like me, will have trouble justifying spending $150 per year on opinion content which was formerly funded through advertising.

Carr Confused

Soon to be Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr says it is time Labor exposed Tony Abbott’s weaknesses.

He also says he will reach out to the federal opposition to try to engender a more bipartisan approach to Australian foreign policy.

Make up your mind, Bob.

With that kind of clarity and decisiveness, perhaps it is just as well he also reminded us that we should not think of him as a cure-all:

‘You don’t get saviours in politics, you just get people who are prepared to roll their sleeves up and work hard for Australia.’

Looking forward to it, Bob.

Nothing is Free

I have said this before, but campaign promises in Queensland and arguments in US about health insurance coverage make the point worth repeating.

When people say something should be free, what they are really saying is ‘Someone else should pay for it.’

When politicians say something will be free, they are really saying ‘We will make you pay for other people’s ….’

For example, Anna Bligh, soon to be ex premier of Queensland, has promised free swimming lessons for toddlers.

What she is really saying to the people of Queensland is ‘We will make you pay for swimming lessons for other people’s kids.’

When Obama says contraception should be free, he is really saying is ‘We will make you pay for other people’s condoms.’

Christian Marriage

The Adelaide Church Guardian is the newsletter of the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide.

There is an article in the February/March edition called ‘Christenviron’ Inclusive Church.

The article, by Fr David Thornton-Wakeford, argued that there should be no requirement for either party to a marriage to be baptised before the marriage can be solemnised in a church.

This was my reply:

I have the highest regard for Fr David Thornton-Wakeford. He prepared my wife Kathy for confirmation over thirty years ago, when she was a worshipper at St George’s Cathedral in Perth, and I was in my first year at St Barnabas’s College.

Much as I hate to disagree with him, his recent article in The Guardian obliges me to do so. Especially since the Guardian is the diocesan newsletter, and its articles may appear to have the Archbishop’s approval, or to be the official position of the diocese.

My understanding of the basis of Fr David’s article is that the Church should be as inclusive as possible, should open its doors as wide as possible, and should not put unnecessary barriers in the way of those who come to us for ministry.

All of that I agree with. Where the lines are drawn, I suspect, is a product of differing understandings of the mission of Jesus and therefore the mission of the Church, and of the nature and purpose of Christian marriage.

Rather than construct a separate argument, I will simply work through Fr David’s essay and point out some of those lines of difference.

“As a priest, if I am with a person at hospital, church, roadside, wherever, and they want to make their confession, I never ask if they are baptised.”

Why not? Of course you don’t ask whether someone is baptised before listening to them and caring for them. But the only way we can give people any assurance of forgiveness and salvation is by talking with them about their relationship with Jesus. If we are talking with them about their relationship with Jesus, how can we not talk to them about baptism? If we anoint people and make promises of forgiveness without doing this, we are short changing the people who come to us, and treating with contempt the costly grace which has lead them to that point.

“Marriage is a human sacrament before it is Christian.”

I am not sure what this means. If Fr David is saying that there are some material things which also offer spiritual or emotional comfort, and that a loving relationship between two people is one of these, then that is true, but it hardly seems relevant, or worth making a point of. If he means that people got married before Jesus was born and the true meaning of marriage was revealed, that is also true, and also irrelevant. Neither of those things is what the word “sacrament” means. It means an outward and visible sign through which the grace of Christ is ministered. By definition, there cannot be a sacrament which is not Christian.

“The bride and groom are the celebrants… “

Indeed. Exactly. Precisely. A Christian marriage is entered into because a Christian couple believe God is calling them into married life. They are called to minister Christ’s grace to one another and so to grow in love and into the likeness of Christ that their marriage becomes a sign to the world of the relationship between Christ and His Church. A conscious choice to enter into such a vocation can only be made by a Christian, and being a Christian means being baptised.

“Being baptised or not has no influence or control over God.”

Did anyone ever suggest it did? But we are commanded to proclaim the Gospel and to baptise all peoples. “Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved.” Mk 16:16. Of course in extreme circumstances someone who trusts in Jesus for salvation and accepts Jesus as Lord may not be able to be baptised, and we can still have confidence in God’s saving love for that person. That very rare circumstance does not dispense with the obligation for believers to be baptised.

“May God have mercy on me… when it comes to placing any stumbling block upon anyone who knocks on the church’s door.”

Quite right. Except for the stumbling block, the skandalon, of Christ himself. Jesus did not say to the woman caught in adultery, “Go on then, if that’s what makes you happy.” Nor did he tell Matthew he could continue being a tax collector if that is what suited him. Jesus talked repeatedly about hell, and gave people the stark choice between life – accepting Him – and death – going their own way.

Following Jesus is not easy. We certainly need to seek God’s forgiveness if we put unnecessary stumbling blocks in people’s way. And equally if we do not share the Gospel with those who come to us, and are not honest with them about the cost – their entire lives and selves – of accepting the Gospel.

I could perhaps be swayed if there were evidence showing that the undemanding approach Fr David suggests really bore fruit in encouraging people to become part of the Church family, to give their lives to Christ and to be baptised. But the evidence seems to suggest the opposite.

Opening the doors so wide that we pretend no commitment is required and that there is no cost to following Christ does not bring people into the Church, or into Kingdom of God. Instead, they seem to go away comfortable in the belief that the ceremonies are nice and the stained glass windows make for lovely photos, but Jesus is an optional extra.

The churches which grow are the ones that consciously, faithfully, deliberately proclaim the Gospel, and which do not make light of the gulf between being saved and unsaved.

A Christian marriage is a life-long vocation entered into by Christians. If we are not honest about that and what it means, then when we officiate at a wedding of two people who have knocked at the door we are not celebrating and blessing the beginning of a Christian marriage, but offering people a wedding in a church for a fee. To confuse the two is a travesty and a fraud.

An Arrow in the Knee

I used to be a blogger like you, until …  well, you know the rest.

I have been too involved with family and business over the last month to spend any time updating this blog.

For the last three years it has been like another, unpaid, job.

My real job has to take priority. Over the last four years we have built up quite a good little business here on Kangaroo Island.

We are not making vast amounts of money, but we are not going backwards.

KI is a small, isolated community. Its residents have very low average income by national standards. We rely on primary industry and tourism, and transport to and from the island is expensive. Any increases in travel or energy costs hit us very hard. A number of businesses have closed over the last year.

Our approach to business is simple; every person who comes into the shop is important. It doesn’t matter if he or she buys anything or not, or speaks English or not, or lives on the island or not. People are important because they are people, and not because of any possible benefit they can provide to us.

That means that we do our best to be competitive with city and online prices, that we tell people if someone else has an item on special and cheaper than us, that when doing repairs we do what we would want done if it were our computer or camera, that we give people options and encourage them to decide based on what is in their best interests, that we complete work as quickly as we can, etc etc.

We don’t do any of this because it makes sense from a business point of view, but because each person who comes in has value for who they are, and deserves to be treated respectfully and honestly.

But the funny thing is that although it is not our purpose, working in this way does seem to bring in more business. We are busier than ever, to the point where we can start to take a out a wage. It is only a minimal amount. We hope to be able to take out $1500 per month – $18,000 per year. We’d be better off on the dole, but the the shop gives us opportunities for service, and of course, the self-respect that comes with feeling we are making a contribution.

All this means that I am pretty constantly busy during the day, and I need the evenings to eat, spend time with family, and to read and continue my other writing projects.

So my arrow in the knee is my business becoming busier.

This blog will be only intermittently updated from now on.

Thank you for visiting.