Archive for June, 2016


pyramid_San-Bartolo-pyramid-800x430
Jehovah’s Witnesses accused of vandalizing 7,000 year-old pyramid out of fears of devil worship

by Tom Boggioni

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Members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses church have been accused to vandalizing a 7,000 year old religious site in Mexico as part of a religious campaign against devil worship, reports Telesur.

According to local media sources, recent damage at the base of a pyramid at the San Bartolo Tutotepec archeological site falls in line the destruction of altars in the area that church members have taken responsibility for.

Members of the Christian sect state that they are following the word of God and believe that the sites are still used for traditional rituals that are “not Christian” and may involve devil worship.

In fact, according to anthropologists, the sites are used by the Otomi people who hold sacred various deities including earth, water, and fire and worship by giving offerings.

The 7,000 year-old Makonikha sanctuary in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo is comparable to Mecca for Muslims or the Vatican for Catholics, the researchers explained.

Unlike the previous acts of destruction, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have not taken credit for the damage at San Bartolo Tutotepec and locals who protect the site are unsure who or how anyone accessed the holy site normally restricted to worshipers.

 

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DOGS not impressed by either major political Party on lack of support for public schools and education funding – religion playing a significant role in demise of public school funding.

The interference and erosion of public school funding, began by governments giving into the blackmail and threats of the Catholic Church mafia.

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Worried about Privatisation of Medicare? The Lib-Labs have been Privatising Public Education by stealth for 50 Years

                                              AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT

SCHOOLS

PRESS RELEASE 660#

WORRIED ABOUT PRIVATISATION OF MEDICARE BY A THOUSAND CUTS?

The Lib-Labs have been privatising Public Education

By stealth for fifty years

 Privatisation of Medicare by the Liberal Government has become part of the Labor Party campaign. But nobody dares to talk about the ongoing privatisation of public education, particularly in Victoria.

 For this might open up the REAL funding problem, namely,

 State Aid pouring with no strings attached into private schools that  duplicate and undermine our cash-strapped public school  facilities.

Only countries that no longer value their sovereignty, citizenry, and independence from marauding multinational companies, financial pirates that plunder resources and avoid tax – fall into the privatisation trap.

Our State Aid to private school problems commenced in the 1960s when the Labor Party gave in to the threats of the Catholic sector. These problems have been exacerbated by the shift to globalisation that took off in the 1980s. Our leaders led us into a novel process, the consequences of which were unknown or highly questionable. DOGS predicted an outmoded misunderstanding of C18 ideology would lead us back into C18 inequalities, booms and busts. And so it has. We are now in a globalisation trap, with governments seeking to privatise what little in public facilities remain after the big sell-off.

And, in spite of the realisation that public education is the only way forward for our next generation of Australian citizens, our public schools in Victoria are being forced into a privatisation business model and starved of funds. The Department has long been taken over by private school and political interest groups. In recent times, there has been evidence of corruption, fraud and mismanagement of public moneys. The schools have been cut off from the centre, support resources have been cut, and principals are given inadequate ‘budgets’ and told to go and survive the way their private school counterparts have learnt to do.

And so, they have done. Victorian public school supporters were horrified – and angered – in the last week to discover that Cash-strapped state schools are hiring out their teachers to private schools to raise desperately-needed funds.

Schools are finding increasingly creative ways of making extra money, with new figures revealing almost one in four state schools are in deficit. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/schools-in-the-red-and-battling-to-balance-books-20160609-gpfy4o.html#ixzz4CLlqjpvU

Instead of the Department providing sufficient funds for a public school’s expenses, we have principals contracting out their budget problems to private enterprise.

The only reason the current outrageous situation has surfaced into public notice is because Philip Rainford – the director of the Harlequin Group of Companies which helps 100 Victorian state schools manage their budgets – said schools were leasing out under-utilised teachers to make ends meet.

The Age revealed last week that at the end of last year, 361 of Victoria’s 1528 government schools were in deficit. A growing number of principals said they had been forced to cut programs, hire cheaper teachers and limit the VCE subjects they offer due to inadequate funding.

A review into school funding by former Victorian premier Steve Bracks, which was commissioned by the state government and released in April, recommended a revamp of funding to ensure it covers school costs. Each Victorian public school student received $2253 less state and federal government funding than the national average in 2013-14, making them the lowest funded in the country. Yet the first thing the Andrews-Merlino government did on election was to guarantee private schools 25% of public school costs. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/cashstrapped-state-schools-hire-out-teachers-to-private-schools-20160616-gpkj6j.html

Many Victorian state schools have also turned to crowdfunding  to make ends meet.V http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/schools-crowdfund-to-make-ends-meet-20140725-zwzea.html. Others supplement their government funding with income from international students. Schools are also striking up relationships with sponsors, who might display banners at fetes or pay for sports uniforms.Many schools have arrangements with sponsors, where they will thank them at every school assembly.

According to the AEU’ State of our Schools survey last year, an average 12.3% of state schools’ budgets came from parent fundraising.

Some, Thornbury High being an example, have resorted to crowd-funding to provide for the basics of supporting children in need. As the Principal, Mr Edgeberg says:

“I just think it’s a bit sad that’s what we’ve had to resort to,”
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/schools-crowdfund-to-make-ends-meet-20140725-zwzea.html#ixzz4CM0AI920

DOGS think that this situation is a bit more than sad. The dangers to Medicare of GP co-payments and outsourcing to private contractors of so many health services have long since taken place in Australian education. Governments have long since outsourced the education of one third of Australian children to private, religious institutions, which, like the Catholic church are multinational organisations which are a law unto themselves. And now our public schools themselves are being forced to outsource their very financial survival to private contractors.

This situation is both outrageous and dangerous. Starving public schools of funds, testing, testing and testing , again through outsourced contractors or even robots, using results to accuse  them of ‘failure’  and then handing them over, holus bolus, to private multinational contractors, representatives of hedge funds in profits at public expense is a pattern already evident into the United States. https://dianeravitch.net/

Australian parents and public school supporters should think of the world to be inherited by our children. We should not follow our Lib-Lab leaders down the privatisation road to perdition.

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jews _ homophobes torah
We Call Out Homophobic Clerics, But What About The Rabbis?

Murdoch based outlets have been chasing down Muslim clerics for their views, but leaders from other faiths with a poor history on LGBTI rights don’t draw the same attention.

In the week since the Iftar hosted by the Prime Minister, the Murdoch press has scoured the records of Muslim clerics in attendance. They have documented repulsive comments towards homosexuality, with Murdoch bloggers (and Media Watch) pursuing with great interest the question of Islam’s relation to homosexuality. The ABC’s Paul Barry says that this is “a subject our political leaders and the media will be forced to confront.”

Religion is never an excuse for homophobia. There is a need to challenge reactionary religious leaders with appalling views on homosexuality and LGBTQI communities. I’m sure that the Murdoch press has been challenging Muslim leaders because of its heartfelt concern for gay people in Australia.

Due to this touching concern, I thought I’d bring to their attention a few cases of homophobic rabbis, who have somehow escaped their exhaustive quest against prejudice.

Pictured below is a meeting of various leading rabbis associated with the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott last year. Rabbis present include Rabbi Yehoram Ulman, Rabbi Paul Lewin, Rabbi Yaakov Glasman, Rabbi Meir Klugwant, Rabbi Pinchas Feldman, and Rabbi Chaim Ingram.

jews _ homophobes _Rabbis

Second from the right in that picture, face partially obscured by Abbott, is Rabbi Ingram.

Rabbi Ingram has repeatedly argued that gay Jewish people should commit suicide, rather than engage in homosexuality.

In the 20 July 2012 edition of the Australian Jewish News – two and a half years before meeting the Prime Minister – Rabbi Ingram argued in an article that Orthodox Judaism sees homosexuality “as a sin for which one must be prepared to give up one’s life as necessary”.

The following week, the AJN ran what it called an apology. It said “Rabbi Chaim Ingram expressed an opinion on homosexuality held by certain sections of the Jewish community. The AJN apologises for any offence caused.”

Not a minority opinion. Not an unpopular opinion, let alone a reprehensible one. Just an opinion held by “certain sections” of the Jewish community. Rabbi Ingram himself did not apologise. He continued to advocate his position. On October 19 that year, he wrote in one of his many letters to the AJN that “homosexuality is one of a handful of offences (and prawn-eating is not one of them), which one is bidden to resist even on pain of death.”

jews homo phobes letters-to-ajn

No “apology” was issued for that letter. Some letter writers harshly criticised Rabbi Ingram, and he responded by criticising one person’s “intolerant desire to silence me”.

Rabbi Ingram is among the more prominent rabbis in Australia, as shown by his inclusion in the ORA delegation. In March 2012, he was among the signatories of the Rabbinical Council of NSW’s submission to the Senate inquiry on marriage equality. Rabbis Ulman and Lewin also signed the submission, though inquiries were to be directed to Honorary Secretary, Rabbi Ingram. The submission argues that “all humankind remains bound by” the “universal moral code” of the Torah. “Central” to its “key universal values… are norms relating to human sexuality which endorse the stable sexual union of a man and a woman in a socially recognised relationship of mutual commitment whilst rejecting other sexual unions notably adultery, incest, bestiality and homosexuality.” (emphasis added)

That is, the submission of the RCNSW explicitly classed homosexual unions in the same category of rejected sexual unions as bestiality. Three of the four signatories to that submission met with the Prime Minister Tony Abbott within a few years. In December 2013 – over a year after Rabbi Ingram had repeatedly expressed his view about what weak-willed gay people should do – he launched a book. Warm speeches were given by other influential rabbis, like Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, the leader of Chabad in NSW.

During the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Rabbi Feldman allegedly told a perpetrator of child sexual abuse that he should take steps to avoid it, but otherwise took no action. He also didn’t tell police of an alleged perpetrator leaving Australia because he “did not know there was any such obligation”. And before the Royal Commission, his son Rabbi Eli Feldman called a perpetrator, later convicted, to ask if he had had a conversation with Rabbi Feldman in the 1980s.

Rabbi Klugwant resigned as President of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, and as executive member of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, in the wake of damaging revelations. Specifically, in response to one victim of child sexual abuse urging victims in an email to come forward, Rabbi Klugwant told the victim he shouldn’t have sent the email. When the father of another victim gave evidence, Rabbi Klugwant called the father a “maniac” who was “attacking Chabad”. Again, Rabbi Klugwant met with the Prime Minister.

As for the Rabbinical Council of NSW, its President, Rabbi Yossi Feldman, remained President in 2011 after emails leaked, in which he urged rabbis to tell victims of child sexual abuse not to go to the police, but to only report the crimes to rabbis. He stepped aside for several weeks, but was then reinstated until the 2012 AGM. He also argued that complaining to the police would hurt his “friend”, later convicted as a child sexual abuser, and that victims don’t know if the perpetrator will re-offend anyway. Other highlights include his position that media attention merely encourages “fake victims”, apparently including “phony attention seeker” Manny Waks.

Or take another luminary of the religious Jewish establishment. Rabbi Shimon Cowen doesn’t give popular lectures on YouTube, but writes complex essays in sophisticated language. In July 2011, he argued that it was “Stalinist” how “opposition to homosexual behaviour” was treated as an illness, instead of homosexuality itself. In an article devoted to criticising the Safe Schools Coalition program in Victoria, he argued against teaching children that homosexuality was normal or acceptable, but was merely an abnormal urge which could be overcome with therapy:

“From a religious standpoint, if a person felt an overwhelming homosexual impulse of the deepest nature, that would be viewed with compassion but it would not constitute permission to indulge homosexual activity in practice. It is an abnormality, which as far as possible should be treated. However, there is a wide spectrum of children and persons who experience sexual identity confusion and can yet prevail upon themselves to accept what for the world religious cultures is the normative model of heterosexual behaviour. The homosexual lobby has a stake in rejecting therapy and the idea that humans can change and take control of their impulses. Paradoxically, it can be argued, their attempt to block this change and drive children deeper into malaise is the potential cause of great suffering. Those who insist that a child is homosexual and should embrace a homosexual lifestyle can compound the psychological malaise. They compound an illness.”

Rabbi Cowen is the Founding Director of the Institute for Judaism and Civilisation, an Associate at Monash University when he published his essay. In June 2012, a year after the above essay was published, his Institute received a $20,000 grant from the government. It was part of the Federal Government’s Building Community Resilience, to resist “intolerant ideologies”. Other contributors to his forums include Coalition MP Cory Bernardi and Labor MP Michael Danby.

In May 2012 – not long before Rabbi Cowen received his generous government grant – he once again advocated at length for his position, which he also attributed to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, that gay people, “with the exercise of free will and the help of educators, therapists and counsellors, individuals can overcome these drives”. Sadly, the current day American Psychiatric Association “rejects freedom, choice and cure in homosexuality.”

The peak body for Jews in Australia responded to Rabbi Cowen’s 2011 essay in February 2012. It supported anti-bullying programs in schools. As for the Rabbi, they wrote: “Rabbi Dr Cowen is highly respected in our community but that does not mean that his views on any subject are representative. We note also that in his recent article, Rabbi Cowen fully condemns bullying of any child inter alia on the grounds of homosexual behaviour.”

It’s a miracle the Rabbi survived such a vicious rebuke. Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, at the time President of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, defended Rabbi Cowen’s essay on the Safe Schools program.

Back in 2011, the Jewish News criticised an “alarmist” report which Rabbi Cowen said “misquoted” him, to the effect that Jewish schools and hospitals wouldn’t hire gay people. Rabbi Cowen clarified: “I did not say that a Jewish school must necessarily make a close examination of the background and private lives of its teachers… But where it is evident that a teacher models, in a known and outward manner, sexual practices which run contrary to Judaism, a school has every right not to hire that teacher.”

So there you have it, our community’s “highly respected” rabbi doesn’t think all gay people should be barred from employment at Jewish schools. Just the ones who are noticeably gay. His view was naturally supported by the then President of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, Rabbi Yaakov Glasman. He thought religious institutions should be able to hire people who adhere to religious values.

About four years later, he also met with the Prime Minister. He’s also in the picture at the top of this article.

So there you have it. Rabbis who oppose hiring gay teachers, who think gay people should be treated so that they can overcome their illness, who compare homosexuality to bestiality, a rabbi who thinks weak-willed gay people should commit suicide, and a sample of the sorry record of leading rabbis on the sexual abuse of children.

It’s all public record, and it’s all pretty awful. What will this achieve? Maybe nothing. I’m not sure that a Jewish atheist associated with harsh criticisms of Israel calling out this or that Rabbi will have much constructive effect.

Yet the last week has shown us that the media believes deeply in the value of calling out reactionary religious clerics. Surely, I have now done my bit, and lent a helping hand. Consider the above my contribution to the stories that I am sure are on the way.

I contacted a journalist at the Australian, asking if they would report on homophobic rabbis. I haven’t heard back yet. I’m sure it’s coming. They’re opposed to all homophobia, right?

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Anti-Gay Senate Candidate Uses Orlando Killing To Push Anti-Muslim Agenda

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Homophobe, Bernard Gaynor, Senate candiadte for the Christian fascist front, ‘Australian Liberty Alliance.’

http://wp.me/p18r3p-1DC

 

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It’s not just Donald Trump.

Prominent Australian conservative groups – including those who actively campaign against LGBTI rights – have quickly latched on to the murder of 50 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, with some using the massacre to help promote their anti-Muslim messages.

In perhaps the most egregious example, former Bob Katter staffer turned Australian Liberty Alliance Senate candidate Bernard Gaynor released a statement this morning, linking the mass murder to immigration policies and “political correctness”. In 2013, Gaynor was sacked from the army reserve and stood down as a Katter’s Australia Party candidate after tweeting that he wouldn’t “let a gay person teach [his] children”.

In his statement today, Gaynor failed to mention the fact Pulse was an LGBTI club, and did not pass on any condolences to the LGBTI community, locally or abroad.

After stirring controversy in 2013, Gaynor doubled-down on his comments and argued the Catholic Church must purge gay teachers from its schools. He reflected on the reaction by writing:

“Looking back in hindsight, I guess it’s all clear now. I had poo-poohed the right of sodomites to educate my children.”

In the same piece, Gaynor said that “the homosexual community views children as commodities to be traded around the planet. More recently, he argued that “laws allowing discrimination against homosexuals are good”.

“Right now, today, Christian organisations can lawfully discriminate against homosexuals. This is a good thing,” he wrote.

Gaynor is appealing his army suspension and is at the top of the Australian Liberty Alliance (ALA) Senate ticket – an anti-Muslim party – in Queensland.

The far-right United Patriots Front group also shared a cartoon from its Facebook page which appeared to blame LGBTI people for terrorism. The cartoon shows a caricatured group of terrorists facing off with a caricatured group of apparently LGBTI people, who are waving rainbow flags and holding a sign that says “refugees welcome!”. An ominous caption reads: “They deserve what is coming…”

new matilda, upf
(IMAGE: Facebook).

A moderator of the page responded to criticism of the image by saying, “The meme is not an attack on homosexuals, its [sic]an attack on hypocrites.” Elsewhere, leader of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Lyle Shelton provoked anger after he took to social media with a somewhat more benign post that nonetheless outraged members of the LGBTI community. Shelton does not share the same fiercely anti-immigration views held by the ALA and the UPF, and has previously tweeted his support for increasing the number of refugees accepted by Australia.

lyle sheltonBut he has led the fight against the anti-bullying LGBTI school program Safe Schools, and his organisation lobbies hard against marriage equality. The ACL’s conference this year hosted a number of anti-LGBTI rights speakers, including one who compared the LGBTI rights movement to the growth of Nazism in the 1930s, and another from a group that lobbies for homosexuality to be criminalised. Hours after the first Tweet normal service resumed, with Shelton posting a link to a group of conservatives criticising Safe Schools on Sky News.

shane bazzi

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Orlando shooting: It’s different now, but Muslims have a long history of accepting homosexuality
Muslim societies have ignored their own history of accepting homosexuality, latching on to a twisted colonial legacy instead.
 
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Mateen had boasted of links to the Islamic State, Islamic State as well as Hezbollah. While all three groups are well-known West Asian insurgents, they are also at war with one another and represent widely differing theological views. US investigators said that Mateen did not seem to understand the distinction between the groups – a point that makes it difficult to square with the charge of Islamist terror that was considered in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

Mateen was killed by the police on Sunday after he opened fire at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, in a tragedy that was among the deadliest mass shootings in American history.

The 29-year-old was reportedly a regular at Pulse and even used a gay dating app. Reports of him having asked men out have surfaced over the last few days, with his ex-wife claiming she believed he was gay. She also said that Mateen’s father, an immigrant from Afghanistan, had mocked him for his sexual orientation. One of the first statements made by Mateen’s father after the shooting was, in fact, that homosexuals can be punished by God.

Stigmatising homosexuality

Could the attack, then, have been driven by Mateen’s sexual orientation and the shame associated with homosexuality amongst Muslims today – rather than Islamist terror? “Transgressive sexuality and conservative religion can be a toxic mix,” writes David Shariatmadari in the Guardian. “If Mateen felt conflicted about his interest in gay men, it could have been because he believed his faith would condemn him for it”.

While a clear motive is yet to be established, it is a fact that modern Muslim societies condemn and shame homosexuality. In most Islamic countries, Muslims cannot come out as gay without risking stigma and bodily harm.

It is, however, important to point out how recent this homophobia is. For much of history, Muslim societies have been incredibly permissive of same-sex love.

Golden Age

At the height of the Islamic Golden Age – a period from the mid-8th century to the mid-13th century when Islamic civilisation is believed to have reached its intellectual and cultural zenith – homosexuality was openly spoken and written about. Abu Nuwas (756-814), one of the great Arab classical poets during the time of the Abbasid Caliphate, wrote publicly about his homosexual desires and relations. His homoerotic poetry was openly circulated right up until the 20th century.

Nuwas was an important historical figure – he even made a couple of appearances in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (known in Urdu as Alif Laila). It was only as late as 2001 that Arabs started to blush at Nuwas’ homoerotism. In 2001, the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, under pressure from Islamic fundamentalists, burnt 6,000 volumes of his poetry.

Most modern Muslims, therefore, have little knowledge of what the Islamic Golden Age was really about, even though they keep on wanting to go back to it.

“ISIS have no idea what restoring the Caliphate actually means,” a tweet by Belgian-Egyptian journalist Khaled Diab said. “In Baghdad, it’d involve booze, odes to wine, science… and a gay court poet.”

Baghdad was, till the time the Mongols invaded and destroyed it, the cultural capital of much of the world – the New York City of its time. If Nuwas and his homoerotic poetry could represent the height of Baghdadi culture, it is natural that other Muslim societies would also be quite open to homosexuality. As historian Saleem Kidwai puts in the fabulous book Same-Sex Love in India, “Homoerotically inclined men are continuously visible in Muslim medieval histories and are generally described without pejorative comment.”

Writing on same-sex love

In fact, far from being pejorative, Muslim societies once openly spoke of same-sex love, even celebrating it at times. Mahmud of Ghazni, a towering sultan of his time (971-1030), was actually held up as an ideal for, among other things, deeply loving another man, Malik Ayaz.

Mughal Emperor Babur wrote of his attraction to a boy in the camp bazaar in his 16th-century autobiography – a celebrated work of literature in the medieval Muslim world.

In the 18th century, Dargah Quli Khan, a nobleman from the Deccan travelling to Delhi, wrote a fascinating account of the city called the Muraqqa-e-Dehli (The Delhi Album), which described just how mundane homosexuality was in Indo-Islamic society. At the public bazaars, male prostitutes solicited openly and Khan spoke admiringly of how “young good-looking men danced everywhere and created great excitement”.

Till the 19th century, Muslims treated homosexuality as a part and parcel of life, so much so that students were exposed to romantic stories of homosexual love – a position untenable even today across parts of the Western word. Kidwai writes:

Sadi’s classic Gulistan, containing stories of attraction between men, was considered essential reading for Persian students. Ghanimat’s Nau rang-i ishq, a seventeenth century masnavi describing the love affair between the poet’s patron’s son and his beloved Shahid, was a prescribed text in schools.

Islamic law

Of course, theologically, Islam did consider homosexuality to be sinful, based on the Quranic story of the people of Lut (Lot in the Bible). Interestingly, though, the Shariat, the umbrella term for the various legal codes and schools governing Muslim societies, have no punishment for homosexualty per se – sexual relations between men are outlawed under the larger rubric of adultery. Even then, convictions for homosexuality could only be carried out if the sexual act was testified to by four eye witnesses. This was such a high bar that commentators on Islam such as Hamza Yusuf have characterised the outlawing of homosexuality in the Shariat as a sort of “legal fiction”. Indeed, unlike medieval Europe, instances of homosexuals being punished are rare in medieval Muslim societies.

So what caused Muslim societies to go from coolly reading homoerotic poetry to outlawing and stigmatising same-sex love? It’s tough to nail down an exact reason but here’s an interesting coincidence: there are five Muslims countries where being gay isn’t a crime. All that the five – Mali, Jordan, Indonesia, Turkey and Albania – share in common is that they were never colonised by the British.

Colonial influence

In 1858, in fact, the Ottoman Empire decriminalised homosexuality (a status inherited by Turkey). This was two years before the British Raj created the Indian Penal Code, Section 377 of which proceeded to outlaw homosexuality in modern-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

So deep was the influence of the 1860 penal code in India that conservative Hindus continue to hold homosexuality to be immoral and in the nearly 70 years since Independence, Parliament has not been able to overturn the law. Subramanian Swamy, Member of Parliament from the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party even went so far as to claim: “Our party position has been that homosexuality is a genetic disorder.” This is near-bizarre given that Hinduism, unlike Islam or Christianity, does not even have any textual condemnation of same-sex love.

It appears as though Muslim (and Hindu) conservatives, without knowing it, are actually copying the Victorian mores of 19th century colonialism, while ignoring their own history. This at a time when even Western European cultures have pulled up their socks and gone on to ensure that human rights are available to their people irrespective of random externalities such as the gender they happen to be attracted to.

 

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Catholic Leaguer gloats over killing anti-child abuse bill: It was an attempted ‘rape’ of the church
Via Brad Reed

Catholic League president Bill Donohue (Screenshot)

Fanatical Catholic League President Bill Donohue on Monday gloated after he successfully helped kill a bill in the New York legislature that would have made it easier for sex abuse victims to bring cases against their accusers.

As The New York Daily News reports, Donohue sent out an email to supporters after the defeat of the Child Victims Act, an act that he said was designed “to rape the Catholic Church.” The bill would have extended the timeframe that victims can bring forward cases by five years and would have opened up a six-month period for victims to revive older cases.

“The bill was sold as justice for the victims of sexual abuse, when, in fact, it was a sham,” Donohue wrote in an email obtained by The New York Daily News. “[It was] a vindictive bill pushed by lawyers and activists out to rape the Catholic Church.”

Donohue’s accusation that the bill would have “raped” the church certainly seems in poor taste given that the bill was meant to help people who had been raped by Catholic priests.

Then again, Donohue is used to being intentionally provocative, such as when he suggested both Islamist radicals and murdered cartoonists both bore equal blame for the Charlie Hebdo massacre, or when he ripped Pope Francis for the grave sin of accepting the science behind climate change.

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Why I Won’t Walk to Protest Against Islamic State

John Salisbury recently walked more than 300km to protest the treatment of Palestinians by Israel. His view about the West more broadly won’t surprise you.

In October this year I walked from The Sydney Opera House to Parliament House, Canberra in support of Palestinian human rights. It wasn’t easy but I felt compelled to do so. I would not, however, undertake a similar walk protesting against ISIS. Though Tony Abbott might encourage and support me on such a walk, my moral compass will not send me in that direction.

In November, Tony Abbott suggested that the Anglo Saxon, Christian group to which we both belong is a superior culture. He said:

“All cultures are not equal, and frankly, a culture that behaves in decency and tolerance is much to be preferred to one that thinks you can kill in the name of God, and we have got to be prepared to say that.”

Apart from Abbott’s assertion being a repugnant, racist and morally reprehensible suggestion, a closer look at history suggests he is deeply misguided and ill-informed on the history of Christianity.

The Christian religion has been the justification and basis for numerous vastly, violent conflicts. Many men have lost their lives killing in the name of the Christian God, or, by the hands of deeply religious Christian men.

Abbott would do well to read up on some of these before making such ill-informed and bigoted statements.

Tony-Abbott-early-PM1-740x457@2x
Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott.

There was the American Civil War in the 1860s; a Protestant versus Protestant battle with a death toll of 600,000.

And then of course there was the Franco-Prussian War, the Boer War and World War I. All these conflicts were Christian fighting Christian.

There was also the Spanish Civil War where Catholics murdered each other and then there was one of West’s greatest bloodsheds to date, World War II.

A war led by the infamous Adolf Hitler, a man born Catholic who had a deep-seated hatred for anyone from the Jewish religion. This war unleashed a violence the world had never seen before.

When spouting the superiority of Christianity, Abbott justified his assertion by saying there were some events that “Islam never had – a Reformation, an Enlightenment, a well-developed concept of the separation of church and state.”

What Abbott must also not realise, is that one of the most depressing aspects of Hitler’s Holocaust was that it happened despite The Reformation and The Enlightenment in Europe.

The Reformation actually started in Germany with Martin Luther. Realising that the Catholic church of the time was corrupt and in need of theological reform, some men decided to break away and begin their own more moral strand of Christianity. And yet still, despite this reformation many years earlier, Hitler was still able to send thousands of innocent men, women and children to their death in ovens while the good, Christian citizens of Germany fanned the flames and waved at the trains heading to Auschwitz.

All of Hitler’s willing executioners were also Christians. Perhaps Abbott believes that the Muslim religion would be able to benefit from a Reformation or Enlightenment where the Christian religion could not?

And yet, despite all this loss of life and the creation of the United Nations after World War II, still more Christian violence continued. More blood was spilt in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The only reason the Cold War did not become “hot” was because of mutually assured destruction. The acronym for this (MAD) sums up the situation so chillingly.

And then of course we come to the West’s more recent wars in the Middle East. It is well known that Saddam Hussein was a dreadful character. No-one would refute that. But it is now equally well known that he had nothing to do with 9/11. He was instead just the man who had to bear the responsibility and George W. Bush chose him as the fall guy.

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(IMAGE: STML, Flickr)

We made an unforgivable mistake invading Iraq and we should admit it. The chaos in Iraq today is largely a result of Western, and therefore Christian, interference.

We should remember also that George W. Bush specifically mentioned his prayers to God and, he claims, God influenced his decision to invade.

Our invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, plus our blind and unprincipled support of Israel’s brutal 48-year occupation of Palestine, has led some Muslims to think they are under attack.

Thankfully, the number of Muslims who have succumbed to the entreaties of violent jihad and carried out revenge attacks on innocent civilians in Australia is tiny.

Everything we know from history, anthropology, archaeology, biology, physics and geology tells us that we inhabit this planet with everyone else as equals. Nobody is better than anyone else. Nobody is special.

And yet still our leaders instil fear in us and paint our fellow humans from a different religion as evil. Still our media presents us with one-sided, stereotypical views on our brothers and sisters living on other continents.

We created the United Nations after the horrors of World War II, but we are as far from united as we have ever been.

When Abbott suggests that the problem is the Muslim religion itself we should know better. Our Resources Minister, Josh Frydenberg, recently espoused a similar sentiment when he said, “We have to acknowledge that religion is part of this problem. I would say it is a problem with Islam.”

But, just as the Sunnis and Shias claim that “God is great” before they detonate bombs or kill opponents, so too did the Confederate Generals in the American Civil War kneel and pray before battling for the right to keep African-Americans as slaves.

And so too did the Christian Rwandans believe God was on their side when they massacred each other in 1994.

The common thread here is men using religion as a disguise for a more inherent, human flaw. It is not religion that is the problem, but the human desire for power and unbridled greed.

Perhaps we will see more progress, and get further, when men like Abbott start realising that our problems stem from human flaws, rather than a specific religion.

When we stop blaming one group, and start working together, then we really will become united, and work towards preventing horrendous acts of violence and bloodshed like the United Nations was initially invented to thwart.

When I walked those 330 kilometres to Canberra in October, I did so because I sought to protest a global injustice.

Regretfully, the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel is not an issue taken seriously by most of our political leaders. This occupation does not make the world a safer place.

Indeed, it only strengthens the bully mentality and sense of superiority that the West and Christians have held for so long.

John-Salisbury-150x150@2x

John Salisbury is a 61-year-old self-funded retiree with a life long interest in issues of global injustice. John was born in New Zealand but is a 40-year resident of Melbourne.

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