Where is the acceptance and universal welcome?
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Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson
POLITICS AND RELIGION
Where is the acceptance and universal welcome?
As a Christian, and member of the Synod of the Anglican church, I am appalled at the Prime Minister’s “pray and prey” Christianity. Devout prayer on Sundays and special occasions is accompanied by a ruthless disregard for policies in the national interest. His commitment to trickle-down economics abandons the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill, older women with low superannuation and most Indigenous Australians. Sadly, his sectarian, tribalist and self-congratulatory appropriation of the Christian “brand” too often fails the urgent imperatives of the Gospels and the message of universal welcome and acceptance found in Galatians 3.28.
John Carmichael, Hawthorn
Asking permission before “laying on of hands”
I find it invasive – and creepy – that our prime minister surreptitiously “lays hands on” people under the guise of a comforting hug. This reminds me of his forcibly taking the hand of someone who did not want to shake hands with him after the 2020 bushfires. Where is the respect for the integrity of other people’s bodies? This outs him very much as part of his Pentecostal – and highly patriarchal – culture. He does not seem to have considered asking people if they want the laying on of hands, nor given them the opportunity to say no. But, of course, if you are male and you know you are right (your God says so), why would you bother?
Heather Hill, Yarra Glen
First Morrison must respect his faith’s principles
David Crowe (The Age, 28/4), of course Scott Morrison is entitled to his faith. However, we are also entitled to criticise him when his demonstration of it is so inconsistent. His government has overseen an increase in the disparity between rich and poor, a refusal to take seriously its responsibility to look after the planet, and has an appalling record on the treatment of refugees. These ideals are at the heart of the Christian faith. I will respect his faith when he respects its guiding principles.
Les Littleford, Clifton Springs
Ultimately, the voters have the higher power
Speaking at the Christian Churches national conference, we learnt the Prime Minister was concerned with driving out “the evil one” in social media, that the “laying on of hands” comforts people with problems, and that his call to the top job was a sign “from above” (and not Peter Dutton or Mathias Cormann). So, Prime Minister, could you get cracking with reforms and “lay hands”, with devout conviction, on policies: rid the evil ones against climate change and lift the devil’s hand from the refugee politics. And kindly note, voters also see signs and it is they who really have the higher power.
Anna Cook, Kew
Does God really understand what he has done?
If God has called Scott Morrison to do His works in the world, then one is disinclined to approve of Him. Many years ago the Judeo/Christian god sent His prophets Abraham, Moses, and then His son Jesus to the world. Now, this same God has sent Scott Morrison – a person hardly known for delivering acts of Christian compassion and charity. Has God lost His plot?
Heng The, Fitzroy North
An ulterior motive behind the PM’s ‘kindly’ visit
I feel for those poor people in the bushfire areas who thought they were meeting a sympathetic human when Scott Morrison visited. How must they feel now, knowing they were handled with intent? An apology for deceiving them should be just the first step.
Anne Edwards, Box Hill
Narrowing down a broad field of ‘evil’ candidates
Our Prime Minister says social media could be used by the “evil one” to undermine Australian society. He has a profile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, as do most MPs, including those in his own party. In this context, I am not sure who the “evil one” is. He needs to be a little more specific.
Nic Beredimas, Sunbury
The example of Jesus
Laying hands on people to bless them is hardly “totally foreign to the overwhelming majority of Australians” or the exclusive preserve of Pentecostal Christians (Letters, 27/4). It is central to Christian practice. (Remember, 52per cent of Australians consider themselves Christians according to the last census.)
When a leper begged Jesus to heal him, Jesus touched him. Then he healed him (Mark 1:41) When people brought their children to him to have him touch them, Jesus welcomed them. “He took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them” (Mark 10:16). In his home town, where the people rejected him, “he could only lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them” (Mark 6:4).
In these examples, consent is implied. In the light of current debate, we should look carefully at the issue of consent in Scott Morrison’s practice, but let us acknowledge the practice of touch with intention to bless people is in line with Christian tradition.
Geoff Francis, Doncaster East
The importance of love
Scott Morrison’s use of a verse from the Bible serves to remind us that many “Christians” are selective in their quoting of scripture. He would do well to reflect on 1 Corinthians 13 9, “If I speak in tongues of men or of angels but do not have love (i.e. compassion, generosity, kindness, empathy), I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal”.
His treatment of asylum seekers, the homeless, abused women, children with insufficient food, both as treasurer and prime minister, suggests a decided, and one might say, deliberate ignorance of such an injunction.
Glenda McNaught, East Melbourne
The right not to believe
Personally I do not care who believes in what, as long as they do not try to impose their beliefs on me. The right of religion is important, but the right to be free of religion is much more so.
Mark Kennedy, Sebastopol
Why did we cough up?
I understand that Scott Morrison has deep religious beliefs but I do not think it is appropriate for him to be so publicly aligned by being a speaker at a Christian conference. Would he be a speaker at a national Islamic, Jewish or Buddhist conference? As he is paid to govern for all of Australia and should not use his position to proselytise his religion, his flights should not have been paid for by taxpayers.
Frances McKay, Kensington
All power to Earthlings
Where does it leave us atheists where god does not exist? As far as I am concerned, we mere Earthlings are the only beings who can make the world a better place.
Neil Williamson, Carrum
Devil is in the detail
We are free to believe in whatever we wish provided it is not imposed upon, or harms, anyone else. Ultimately all religions are about promoting peaceful co-existence, mutual care and respect. However, the problem lies in three areas. First, when such beliefs conflict with scientific, factual evidence, leading to decisions which harm others – eg, inaction on climate change, fossil fuels and water-tight quarantine policy.
Second, when actions are the opposite of professed belief of “doing unto others as one would have done to oneself” – eg, the treatment of Indigenous people, disadvantaged, unemployed, refugees, and policies promoting inequality, not to mention the commandment about not bearing false testimony (lying). Third, when such beliefs provide a way to avoid responsibility by reframing adverse consequences of poor decisions as “acts of God” of “the devil’s work”.
Joe Di Stefano, Geelong
Why we’re running scared
After months of these headlines – eg, “AstraZeneca advice unlikely to change despite rate of rare clotting ‘doubling’ ” (The Age Online, 28/4) – it is no surprise that folks are scared of being vaccinated. To assist our health carers, please emphasise the positive instead of the negative. How about keeping headlines more supportive? From the second sentence in your article: “Study forecasts vaccine prevents many more deaths than it causes”.
Linda Graudins, Brighton
Grim warning from India
The World Health Organisation blames mass gatherings, low vaccination rates and more contagious variants for India’s COVID-19 crisis. Reflecting on the football attendances last weekend and our dismal vaccination rollout: watch out, Australia.
Val Pollard, Woodend
Get tough on maskless
If the wearing of masks on public transport is mandatory, as advised everywhere, why is it not being enforced? I am horrified by the increasingly widespread disregard for this practice — travelling on trains lately feels like playing roulette. So many people seem to have become complacent about the COVID-19 risk. Wearing a mask is such a minor inconvenience when the stakes are so high. Start issuing fines again, I reckon.
David Tuck, Clydesdale
Just a mite more patience
Clearly Chris Uhlmann is among those cast into depression during the pandemic (Opinion, 28/4. He has, of course, no authority to make any decision about public control of the virus, however much he may wish to. And consequently will carry no responsibility if the decisions made go pear shape.
Pause for a quick look at India. Uhlmann is correct in his last two paragraphs. The government should pull out all stops to vaccinate all Australians by the end of the year. Failings to date aside, that is the government’s stated intention. And I am sure it is with an eye on the economy, opening the borders and getting business going. We are not all mindless cogs in some totalitarian regime. W know COVID-19 will not go away, we just have a mite more patience about getting to an acceptable and sustainable outcome.
Alison Fraser, Ascot Vale
The courage to speak out
As a young Australian I want to thank Chris Uhlmann for his piece. I know of the shaming that occurs when you express such thoughts, as I experienced throughout Melbourne’s second lockdown, despite losing my livelihood. The self-appointed lockdown police are happy to forfeit perspective and all democratic good for the plight of the “vulnerable”– never mind that they are not interested in a conversation to find out who the vulnerable are or what they want, as an upcoming class action from locked-down public housing towers demonstrates.
Remy Chadwick, Northcote
$1million? Chicken feed.
If ever there was an example of the law not reflecting the crime, it is the gambling regulator’s maximum fine of $1million imposed on Crown Resorts over its failure to vet high-roller junket tour partners for criminal links and other probity issues (The Age, 27/4). The overriding question is: How was this maximum fine set by government? It allows multi-billion dollar companies to regard such regulations as irrelevant as there is no fear or concern with such minimal penalties.
Jurgis Maleckas, Port Melbourne
Racing toll keeps rising
Shocking though the deaths of these international racehorse are – “Champion horse lame before fatal Cup race” (The Age, 28/4) – they only add to the grim toll of Australian racehorses which die on the track every week in this country. The “sport of kings” represents nothing but greed and depravity akin to the Dark Ages.
Jan Kendall, Mount Martha
Dangerous fighting words
Home affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo’s alarmist language that the “drums of war” are beating is provocative and not helpful to Australia’s interests. He should be reminded that he is a public servant and told to pull his head in. He is a war hawk and the federal government should not appoint him as head of the Department of Defence.
Bill O’Connor, Beechworth
All our history matters
Some of the obscene amount of money allocated for renovations at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra should be re-allocated to the National Archives (The Age, 26/4), to preserve the rest of Australia’s history, not just wartime ones.
Lorraine Bates, Surrey Hills
What the MPs are worth
Education Minister Alan Tudge rejects the link between increased school funding and better student performance (The Age, 27/4). Let us apply this logic to workplace relations, starting with politicians’ salaries and conditions.
Rosslyn Jennings, North Melbourne
Re-thinking a Big Australia
I am all for “doughnut economics”. The work espoused by Oxford University’s Professor Kate Raworth (The Age, 27/4) and the University of Surrey’s Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity needs to be the guiding idea behind reshaping our economy away from the impossible idea of infinite economic growth and debt to a circular, steady state economy. However, until we address the Big Australia policy which has seen a Canberra’s worth of people added every year for decades, a doughnut economy will be impossible. Population growth is an input to true sustainability. We need a grown-up conversation about population where the growth lobbyists are not permitted to peddle their drug any more.
Kieran Simpson, Blackburn North
City and country united
Three cheers for the “inner-city, dinner party, wine bar” cohort. We regional farming families need you to keep pressing the government to take decisive action on climate change. Country people are also going to dinner parties with families and friends and enjoying the regional wineries. They are discussing the woeful record of successive Coalition governments on the treatment of refugees, Indigenous affairs, children in custody, and the climate crisis. Scott Morrison does not realise that not a lot of people in the country think differently to our city counterparts on major issues. He is making a fool of himself and, unfortunately, a fool of Australia.
Mary Fraser, Tallangatta Valley
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
The Prime Minister
He could lay his hands on the homeless, jobless and refugees if he wants to display Christian concern.
Vicki Jordan, Lower Plenty
I’d like to lay my hands on Morrison, shake him and say: “For your god’s sake, stop shifting responsibility and just lead”.
Brian Burgess, Middle Park
Laying off of hands is what he should be teaching his “boys will be boys” politicians.
Pat Creed , Mallacoota
God, 25 million Australians to choose from to do your work and you went with ScoMo? I’m not impressed.
David Blom, Nunawading
Another example of Morrison not understanding consent.
Carol Mackay, Melbourne
One can only hope and pray the good Lord shows Morrison the sign of the door at the election.
Roger Foot, Essendon
Mr Morrison, if we ever meet, hands off.
Brian Rock, Beechworth
I’m sure many Australians feel concerned when our PM claims he was “called to do God’s work”. I do.
Carolyn Milner, Elwood
Keep your hands to yourself, Mr Morrison.
Irene Morley, Seaford
If Morrison has complete faith in God, why was he first in line for the COVID vaccine?
Bruce McMillan, Grovedale
The Ombudsman’s latest scathing report on the state government (28/4) will do nothing for her efforts to receive increased funding.
Geoff Feren, St Kilda East
Who said sport unites? Our millionaire cricketers earning big cash playing in a COVID-ravaged, poverty-stricken country.
David Cayzer, Clifton Hill
Pezzullo’s need to sound like a war-time general has taken precedence over any basic sense of diplomacy.
Julie Conquest, Brighton
Crown Resort’s $1million fine (28/4): a wet lettuce leaf.
Ray Jones, Box Hill North
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