Nanny State or Adult Kindergarten

On a daily basis we are fed doses of truths/half-truths/, about who addressed whom inappropriately, causing hurt and angst. Like four year-olds, there is much finger pointing, and reports of “he/she said”, so-and-so. Our journos ferment and encourage the behaviour like protective parents, willing (and indeed keen) to join in the fray. The other night we had an opinionated “jock” wring the last drop out of the lemon of “Heaven and Hell”. All to no other purpose than to enhance his own narcissism, and to feed the “demands” for sensationalism  and conspiracies. Demands created by the media in the first place.

I remember my father had a strict rule of never carrying home tales from school. And, we never did. Of course, these days there is the natural dread of “Bullying”, in all its forms. It is not to be condoned. But, there are natural bullies (for whatever  reason), and there will always be copy-cats who consider bullying an expression of some macho trait that makes the bully superior to “weaklings”. Therefore, the bully measures his/her superiority by the power he/she can assert. It seems a natural pathway for adult bullies and other undesirables.  

The point I wish to make (despite my limited understanding of human behaviour), is that pointing fingers at obnoxious behaviour does not solve anything. “Political Correctness” and legislated measures are no more than band-aids to symptoms of deeper social maladies. It would be a risky and unpopular exercise to get to the bottom of the problem(s); for the cause and affects would be too close to home. Rather than see ourselves as deficient role models and physicians, we tend to blame others – civic authorities are convenient targets because they do not bite back. I suggest that if we want true reform, we must look at our own behaviour as peers, parents, siblings and members of the community. If we can change our own behaviour, we may be able to improve the behaviour of others. 

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Being Right Isn’t Always Right: A Moral Case

What good’s a liberty gained by depriving others the same right? Belligerent attitudes now dare weak politicians, to subvert the laws that give basic rights to simple folks, to live simple lives in the traditions of their ancestors. One battle after another has been won by the same modus operandi; with the growing certainty that one day the war will be won.

Religious groups have not done themselves any favours. The sins of leaders are to be worn by the unsuspecting followers. Most Faiths are easy targets, and their defences weakened by a loss of morale, and a feeling of hopelessness under the incessant pressure of “Secular” forces. The lifestyles and misuse of power, by a few, further weakens  the will of those confronting compelling empirical evidence posed in the fluid environment of commercialism and technology. Persistent arguments and the hammering of guilt, have led to self-doubts and a turn to other diversions for solace and personal dignity.

It is easy to pursue a campaign against religious thinking that is nebulous and cannot be proven in sensual terms. Just a manipulation of the meaning of “Secularism”, offers, virtually, unbridled liberty. The argument becomes, “ Faith against Science” – and such epic allusions. With insufficient “evidence” to prosecute an argument, the weak submit to stronger arguments; fearing associations being made with superstitions and mediaeval hangovers. In vain, traditionalists turned apologetics, quote chapters and verses from texts made obsolete to this new rationalism. A myriad set about dismantling the fabric of faith, hope and a living Love. 

The LGBTI movement began, legitimately, to empower males and females to assert their sexuality. It is a fact that people with sexual preferences outside the norm, had long suffered vilification, discriminations and were criminalised by all parts of society. It has been a long hard slog for them to gain acceptance and the respect of the community. So, increasingly people are “coming out” in the community. Institutions that have been building bridges of reconciliation must be congratulated.

Problem comes when one group tries to debunk and  overpower the other. Each group’s expressed freedom needs to be respected and acknowledged by all. Institutions should show flexibility and an enlightened approach in their interactions with twenty-first century sensitivities. It does not mean that they should surrender their entitled rights to flourish in freedom and to practice  their cherished beliefs. Whether or not (and how) these differences are accommodated, is a matter for individual consciences and the respective institutions. But, to compel a school to accept students and staff, holding opposing stands to the institution’s values and mission statement, would tantamount to bullying, and an unacceptable form of behaviour. Morally, those who say they stand for human rights, cannot demand rights over the rights of others. The armed forces have some exemptions under the discrimination acts. When I do not like a particular TV programme I am free to switch channels. So, I feel that to force an institution (against its moral code) to accept individual/individuals philosophically opposed to them, is ethically improper as it amounts to undermining the very grounds for their foundation.    

A Case for Passion in Politics

Conservatives grow with an obsession for a squeaky clean image from their formative years. Resulting, in uniform achievements in the leadership stakes. Like studious bookkeepers they watch the double line ledgers in case there is an overflow in the trickling effect. Labour by contrast has had a crop of fallible leaders that grew to the status of Shakespearean heroes. Their hallmarks have been charisma, boldness, vision and the indefatigable desire to make a difference. One side shows preoccupation with quibbling and grandstanding as modern-day Sir Oracles, amassing wealth but little else. The other side labours to expand and nourish the common wealth. It is good that we are gifted with this splendid isolation, sheltered from the tsunamis that threaten and rock the continents oceans away. Our leaders only have to contend with minor swells, mostly of their own making. O happy lot!

Worrying Thing About War

Struggling to contain the toey dogs of war, the world awaits in apprehension. Allies, half a globe away (comatosed by post colonial inertia), see familiar clouds gathering on the horizon, reminiscent of times when they went to policing and peace keeping missions all over Asia. The crusade is still inspired by the spirit of democracy. Democracy, seen by some as panacea for all our woes. But, while they peddle their opiates around the world, they seem indifferent to the millions staving at their door-steps. They are blind to the inequalities and squalor in the shanty towns across the globe. In their comforts they seem resigned to the destruction of our planet and its ecosystems. All too hard, and someone else’s problems. Am I my brother’s keeper? Detachment indeed!
Why don’t these prophets, newly inspired, first attend to their own backyards; cleaning up their problematic electoral systems and methods of good governance? Remove the log from your own eyes brothers, before scrutinizing what’s in the other’s eye. There is no one size to fit all cultures. Then, there is that lame excuse that this is the best system we’ve got! Surely those who suffered under authoritarian rules across the world were meant to believe something similar – “It’s as good as it gets”! Why should citizens, anywhere, accept politicians too lazy to work on, either perfecting their own systems, or, still better, work diligently to create a better, more efficient, and just system? If solutions are not found soon, we may become the “late” generation.

Reflections on healing of the Lost Sheep

 

Matthew 18:15-20 ©

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone …   if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector.

  ‘I tell you solemnly, whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.

 Today’s passage comes after the parable of the Lost Sheep, which is a lesson on God’s mercy and compassion. Notably, that passage opens with the caution to treat little children with proper care. Today’s text is an instruction on how disciples should treat differences with and faults of their brothers (and sisters). Basically, the call is to treat the offenders with compassion. If reasonable attempts to bring the brother to reconciliation fail, i.e. if he shows no signs of the wanting to alter his ways, treat him as a gentile or tax collector (outsiders).

The sacrament of Penance (reconciliation) hinges on this edict by Christ – the extension of God’s mercy and compassion to His beloved creations. He will give them every chance to repent and recover a state of grace (friendship) with Him. The Church believes that no sin is too big that it cannot be forgiven by God. Though people may offend and reoffend, 70X7 (infinitely), absolution is guaranteed, if the contrition is from the heart. How then can a priest (representing Christ), break his professional oath of confidentiality. It is essential, both for the process of healing, and is a reassurance that the contrition is between the sinner and his savior. What is bound here is bound also in heaven. The Church cannot surrender this sacred duty. Not only priests, but many believers will be prepared to be martyrs in the service of God. A nation built on Christian values and traditions would do wrong to dismantle what is a practice of religious freedom.

 

To Be or Not To Be?

 

The prince is here to make his plea. Every crow in town has heard it. With the lusty mob at the sidelines I have cried, “Hang him for his bad choices.” The courts allow it, the Church allows it and every Australian allows it. So let the show begin.

Both parties are entrenched for a long drawn battle for attrition. For, neither side will flinch away from an unsatisfying outcome at this stage. They are prepared to go to the top courts. Yet. When the battle is lost and won, what then? Will our confidence in our social structures and legal process be vindicated? Will the winning of the holy grail (the golden pound of flesh) satisfy those whose hopes have been amplified? In short, will we accept the umpire’s decision (s)? Can a verdict pave the way for meaningful rehabilitation? Will sullied reputations be restored by true contrition?  Will we be big enough to absolve the villains of the piece with, “It was a good bit of copy while it lasted, mate”.

The people cry for peace

The people cry for peace. This “Just War” has gone on for too long. An entire generation’s best have been sacrificed in the the cause of righteousness. And, at what a cost of resources – and Time. Happy only those who quibble with justice to sharpen their weapons of death and destruction.

They all want peace. But, peace with honour and at no loss of face. Fools! There is a blood price to pay! Its currency, humility and contrition.