When it’s ethical to disclose your religious beliefs

11 Feb

I grew up in a nominally Christian household. I was educated at a boarding school run by Anglican nuns. As a young mother I had my sons baptised. Soon I’ll attend the baptism of my infant grandson.

In my early thirties, I ceased to believe in the Christian God and organised religion. A few years later feminism gave me the analytic tools to deconstruct religion and reveal it for the powerfully oppressive force it can be for women.

I look back to my time with the nuns with great gratitude, but I no longer subscribe to their beliefs.

What I learned about being a Christian is that a follower is expected to live his or her faith. It isn’t some abstract concept that is trotted out on Sundays. It’s supposed to imbue every aspect of life, every action the believer takes is to be taken in God’s light, and when a Christian encounters difficulties of any kind, a Christian prays to God for guidance and sustenance. No matter what one’s profession, one is expected to perform it as a Christian, according to Christian values.

I don’t know if all Christians learn this, but we certainly did.

Followers are also expected to identify themselves in the hope that others will “see their good works and glorify their father in heaven.” And, hopefully, join the religion.

These seem to me a commendable set of expectations. Transparency, honesty, willingness to share, and to extend invitations to others to join you in what you believe to be the best way to live a life here on earth.

As long as they remain strictly invitations.

So I am entirely unable to comprehend the attitude held by Melinda Tankard Reist that her religious faith distracts from her work and she doesn’t want to talk about it for fear of being “labelled.” Labelled what, I’d like to ask. Labelled Christian? How and why does Tankard Reist believe that being labelled as a Christian distracts or detracts from her work?

In an interview with Reist on Mia Freedman’s website mamamia is this observation: Ms Reist herself has said in the past that she is reluctant to discuss her stance on religion because people tend to use it to ‘colour’ the rest of her work.

My understanding is that a Christian is supposed to “colour” their work, indeed colour their whole lives with the presence of God. Why is this “colouring” regarded as negative by Reist to the degree that she is reluctant to discuss her religious views and appears to distance herself from them when the question of their influence on her work arises?

In the same interview a comment from Herald Sun journalist Jill Singer:

Worst of all, in my view, is that Tankard Reist protests robustly if anyone dares question what it is that informs her strongly held opinions. Specifically, she gets very, very edgy if anyone dares suggest her Christian beliefs influence her opinions.

If you are proud of your beliefs, and are living a life based on them, why would you become “very, very edgy” if anyone suggests those beliefs influence your opinions?

As she is a Christian we can legitimately expect that Reist comes to her morality influenced and guided by the morality of her faith. If this is not the case, then one has to wonder what kind of Christianity she practices, as the concept of a Christian who is Christian in everything other than her morality is somewhat baffling.

When Reist in her role as the morals police seeks to influence public morality and public policy, it is entirely reasonable for her audience to ask if her morality is influenced by her Christian beliefs. Christians have very specific moral positions. They are not all the same, and unless Reist reveals what hers are, we can only make assumptions. To claim, as does Reist, that her Christian beliefs are in some way different from her moral campaigns and can’t be discussed as they will “distract” from those campaigns, is more than a little bizarre.

Ethically, Reist is required to reveal how her Christian beliefs influence her opinions.  The public is not required to sit meekly by and unquestioningly accept a social order likely designed according to Christian morality, particularly if that morality is in some way concealed.

My Christian upbringing taught open-ness, pride, and joy in that faith. The idea that faith would detract from a moral message is simply incomprehensible. Does one build compartments, then? In here my faith, in there my morality and the two have no relationship?

The ethics of the situation are obvious. If Tankard Reist is a practicing Christian then there is no doubt that her faith guides her moral values. If she has a relationship with God in which she seeks through prayer advice and instruction on her work, as Christians are required to do, then she is ethically obliged to disclose this.

If she is seeking to morally prescribe for the public then we need to know if she does this in conjunction with her relationship with the Christian God, or if she is acting entirely alone.

Why? Because there are millions of us who do not believe in that God and do not wish to be forced to live our lives subject to any Christian morality. We have a human right to live free of religion and the imposition of religious morality.

We have the right to ask, is Tankard Reist acting in the best interests of human beings or in the service of her God? Because the two do not always coincide. The bottom-line with just about all religions is what many of the followers perceive to be God’s will, and not necessarily the welfare of human beings. We have overwhelming evidence of this priority.

If anyone seeks to morally prescribe from such a position, I am entitled to know that and to make my decisions accordingly. In those circumstances it is, to my mind, completely unethical to refuse to discuss one’s relationship with religion and its influence on one’s very public work.

193 Responses to “When it’s ethical to disclose your religious beliefs”

  1. Paul Skinner February 11, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    Most recognised religion have a base in kindness and consideration for others. This should be a very private spiritual practice. If there were no vulnerable people the religion sellers would have limited market.


    • tigtog February 11, 2012 at 9:08 am #

      @Paul Skinner: It’s also been observed that the religious impulse at base comes from a desire to believe that human behavioural modifications can placate the vagaries of lightning bolts and volcanoes, and that the ethical systems get grafted on later in service of hierarchical growth (by people who figure out that priesthood is inside work with no heavy lifting as long as you make people feel guilt requiring absolution (hat-tip to Pratchett)).

      Most people have kind and considerate impulses that conflict with our more selfish motivations. It’s very possible to examine and untangle these conflicting impulses in a way that tends to make life more pleasant for the community through reciprocal benevolence and tolerance as self-evidently beneficial to all, without necessarily paying tribute to a hierarchy to tell us how to do it.


      • Stewart February 12, 2012 at 10:48 am #

        Excuse me for coming in here but it seemed the best spot to get a say although not everything below is completely relevant to your post. Beneficence is not a natural human state and I’m not sure we are easily inclined to be good to our neighbour unless there is a payoff. We form groups to find mates more easily, and to facilitate our survival and the survival of our offspring. Humans, like other species, are competitive, constantly seeking the best mate that will produce the best offspring. In ancient tribes this was easy to follow but in today’s complex environment the way in which we seek power and control, which facilitates the above, is far more complicated.

        For me, as a ‘Darwinian’ (the need to declare one’s interest is vital, I agree with Jennifer) Religion is about power and most of the ‘laws’ of religion, the Talmud, Bible and the Quoran were written by males in power wanting to shore up their position. The kindness etc aspect of religion was probably the means to control and quieting unrest rather than a basis for morality. Religion is a far cry and different from superstition in which gods are invoked by humans to explain things they don’t understand, such as death.

        I think you’re right, or at least Freud was in that the ‘evil’-‘good’ conflict is very powerful.


      • Helvi February 12, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

        “Beneficence is not a natural human state and I’m not sure we are easily inclined to be good to our neighbour unless there is a payoff.”

        Stewart, I don’t buy that. In our new neighbourhood where we have living over a year now we have met nothing but goodness, no strings attached.
        Even more amazing is that we as Labor voters in Liberal heartland have had such support, I don’t know if anyone is religious, but it would not matter as they have all proven to be good people


  2. Horse February 11, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Ethics and morality are societal constructs, existing independently in many societies and countries before and after the Bible was collated. It is special pleading by christians to claim “christian morality” is, or should be, universal. Especially considering the Bible is more likely to be fiction than not, including the character and deeds of of a “human Jesus”.


  3. Elisabeth February 11, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    Thanks for this, Jennifer. It helps me make sense yet again of why it is important to declare our subject position in so far as we are able. Knowing where a person is coming from allows for greater perspective. It’s one of the reasons I quake in blogdom whenever someone introduces him/herself as ‘anonymous’. I immediately feel suspicious. And of course we cannot introduce ourselves in all our complexity, the many roles we play etc, but it is important to declare our hand when it comes to relevant background information, otherwise there could well be what the lawyers and politicians call ‘a conflict of interest’.


  4. Ray (Novelactivist) February 11, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    I think it is much broader than religion. I think anyone in public life must disclose what motivates them and I would expect it of atheists, communists, secular humanists, etc.

    MTR is engaged in political spin; in ‘controlling’ her image. She desperately wants to be seen as an independent, ‘serious’ thinker and not as a religious wowser.

    Unfortunately for her, people can see through the ruse.


    • Horse February 11, 2012 at 9:59 am #

      I’m not so sure about such widespread disclosures, Ray. We’ve had Julia Gillard pandering to her Baptist upbringing, in the lead-up to the election she called soon after she was catapulted to Labor leader, just to appeal to the christians knowing the election was likely to be close.

      Motivation can be different in different situations, and can change in a particular situation over time.

      I don’t think Melinda Tankard-Reist’s, or anyone else’s motivation, is that important when it comes to campaigns about sexualisation of children, or pornography, yet motivation might be important when it comes to attempting to influence women, individually or collectively, about whether to terminate pregnancy, especially if that influence is tied to potential adoption through ‘christian’ adoption agencies.


      • Ray (Novelactivist) February 11, 2012 at 11:50 am #

        Horse, there is much here that I disagree with. I do not agree that Gillard is pandering to her Baptist upbringing. She is pandering to the right-wing of the Labor party who placed her in power. The Labor right includes some very socially conservative elements and a few of the Catholic old-guard who really should have disappeared in the DLP split (hence her reluctance to support same-sex marriage rights).

        MTR’s motivation is absolutely critical in regard to her campaigns on sexualisation and pornography because it tells us where she would draw the line. It easy to point to the most extreme examples but many suspect that MTR’s line looks a lot like the same-old conservative Christian line. A perfect example is that she joined the chorus in condemning the work of Bill Henson as child pornography when the Classification Board thought it was not and gave it a PG rating. You only need to look at who else was condemning Henson as a child pornographer to see what side she is on.

        Revealing your motivations is otherwise known as intellectual honesty.


      • Horse February 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

        I meant … Gillard mentioned her Baptist upbringing to pander to the R-W of the Labor Party and any christians who might have been inclined to vote Liberal, but were/are dissatisfied with Abbott and his select Catholic mob.

        I think Bill Hensons photography about a sensitive part of growing up was vilified much much more than it deserved to be, and if Tankard-Reist was at the forefront of that simplistic over-reaction then she deserves vilification, too.


        • Jennifer Wilson February 12, 2012 at 6:56 am #

          MTR had plenty to say about Henson. I think its still on her website.


      • Ray (Novelactivist) February 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

        Horse, many of Melinda’s cohort, especially Abigail Bray, were directly involved in vilifying Henson. Melinda’s attack on Henson tells us a great deal about how far her censorship ambitions go.


  5. Catching up February 11, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    I like to know where one’s morals and ethics come from when analysing what they have said.

    I do not wish this to make a judgement but to gain a better idea of where they are coming from.

    This is not unreasonable.

    I question why they feel the need to keep this information hidden. Are they ashamed of their beliefs.

    I have dumped all religion from my life, mainly because it does nothing for me. At the same time. I have respect for those who believe.

    It is the same with one’s political beliefs.


    • Jennifer Wilson February 12, 2012 at 7:02 am #

      I think it’s absolutely reasonable to know where someone is coming from when they’re telling me what I should and shouldn’t do. I have no problem with religious people going about their own business doing what they need to do. As long as they extend the same courtesy to me!


  6. Hypocritophobe February 11, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    “So I am entirely unable to comprehend the attitude held by Melinda Tankard Reist that her religious faith distracts from her work and she doesn’t want to talk about it for fear of being “labelled.” Labelled what, I’d like to ask. Labelled Christian? How and why does Tankard Reist believe that being labelled as a Christian distracts or detracts from her work?”

    Which gets back to an earlier position I noted.I ‘think’ she has switched faiths,but does not want it coming out,because she is having a tilt.

    Till proven wrong(by something other than the usual MTR , “Recent studies Show”, statement, I’ll sit back and see.

    I *also* believe that MTR believes that JW got too close to the secret,whatever the secret is.
    Now the MTR camp are trying to unscramble the omelette.(Or at least push it under the lino)

    More importantly,
    There is also very obviously a growing connect with Canberra,(politics)the ABC and key players in the Christian movement.( The recent ‘revelations’ about All Man, have amplified the attention,and I think this horse will really run now.)
    The three way connect is very likely why THIS law-firm is involved NOW and in THIS debate.

    It looks like tangled web,it smells like tangled web,it’s shaped like a tangled web…
    now if only we could get people to believe it’s a duck.

    By the way Jennifer your calm attitude and patience is a ‘virtue’,call it a Christian one if you wish.Either way compared to the other side you are showing them up for the egotistical bullies they are.And shining a bright spotlight back on the way they bring the core behaviours of true Christians into disrepute.

    What I think is interesting is this.
    Renate Klein was asked a very profound set of questions over at religion and Ethics which as a professional and Christian she ignored.After much moralising in the article,she did not even justify her own position.
    The other interesting development is the bloggers/allies who used the internet/media to defend MTR.

    The common themes were:
    Most were in the same field-Money made from women’s/girl’s issues.
    They (mostly) belong to a group who scratch each others backs.
    Not one of them tackled the issue of free speech.
    Not one of them tackled the issue of using the law to silence.
    (Who knows what religious connect they have.Apparently that is a State secret)
    I suggest that there are likely statements made by these women under their own names which could be defamatory to JW.
    That won’t diminish or strengthen whether MTR backs off or not.So JW when you are next bored,flick through some of the apologetic bint rants with a highlighter.
    Keep your shopping list handy.You can budget as you go.


    • Jennifer Wilson February 12, 2012 at 6:57 am #

      Thanks Hypo. There’s little for me to do but await their next move. Klein is also religious?


      • Hypocritophobe February 12, 2012 at 10:52 am #

        About Kleins ‘faith’..

        A question the Australian society is disallowed to ask.( There’s a lot of *I am neither confirming nor denying* around.)
        (To put it another way,If she *was* an atheist, her apologetic advertorial would have said so to,so as bolster the *cred* of her self-righteous indignation, at your malicious assault on the second Mary)

        And I am ‘judging’ by the company she keeps.It’s the new way in Australian journalism.

        I mean,I believe you have been accused of defamation and treated as though that *is* the case,with no conviction/finding of such a transgression.


  7. Ray (Novelactivist) February 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    Hi y’all. I’m in the middle of critiquing Emma Rush. Part 1 is finished, thought you might like to read it.



    • Jennifer Wilson February 12, 2012 at 6:52 am #

      I’ve tweeted this piece and strongly recommend it. Ray has clarified some of my uneasiness around this conservative idealism. Also, Clive Hamilton teaches at Rush’s university I think?

      These conservatives seem terrified of desire. How sad!


  8. Gruffbutt February 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Hi, Jennifer,

    I’m heartened by the growth in commentators, mostly supportive, on your blog (great own goal there, MTR). The commentary is of a consistently high quality and genuine nature, unlike anything much I’m seeing in the MSM (as usual).

    If this farce ever gets to court, and if you – or whoever might represent you – get lost for words, you can do worse than having articles like this one to read out verbatim.


    • Jennifer Wilson February 12, 2012 at 6:50 am #

      Hello Gruffbutt, yes the discussions here are great, I love it that people are coming to put their points of view here. And that they argue with clarity and common sense.


  9. wghutch February 11, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Very interesting set of circumstances. I was always told “never discuss religion or politics” Today I totally disagree with this view. Great to see a lively debate on this blog. The old fashion brands of Christianity I grew up with seemed a lot more tolerant than the popular Pentecostal evangelical variety imported from the USA which tends to advocate compulsory adherence to their own brand of morality even for non-believers. Ethical practice gives way to a necessity to control at any cost.

    Usually when I see an interview with someone like MTR, I can simply Google “(person’s name) + christian + born again” and immediately have it confirmed. In the case of MTR almost nothing more than speculation came up, which was a first for me and very unusual given her views. The thing is her views basically inform us of her religion though I can see your frustration at the lack of honesty. Maybe she is too embarrassed to admit publicly which group she belongs to as if this could immediately remove any credibility she ever had.

    In the words of “Philip Adams” I think we really need to have freedom of and from religion. The best way to achieve this in my view is to move towards a truly secular form of government where any mention of the word “God”, no matter which of the hundreds of different varieties, is not acceptable.
    No laws should ever be passed based on religious or moral grounds but instead be based on equality, freedom of expression and speech, and the human rights of the whole population and not some base-line dictated by some particular person’s moral values.
    I may not like football but it does not give me the right to have it banned. If I don’t like football I don’t have to watch it. This is freedom of choice and a human right.


    • Jennifer Wilson February 12, 2012 at 6:48 am #

      Nothing comes up because someone undertook an intensive cleaning up program to attempt to get rid of Reist’s alliances with churches. They don’t appear in her testimonials on her blog and her Wiki page has been edited to within an inch of its life in the last few months.

      About 2006, MTR reinvented herself as an advocate for girls and women and shifted her public focus from anti choice campaigner to “sexploitation.” As DQ and Hypo argue, this appears to be an attempt to pass herself off as a feminist rather than someone with a religious agenda.

      Freedom of and freedom from – yes, I absolutely support that.


      • wghutch February 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

        Scrubbing the Internet of all past affiliations seems an awful lot of trouble to go to. The issue appears to be begging for a documentary. Now we all want to know more. Great job of attracting attention though.

        It is troubling that the moral views of very vocal minority groups are capable of directing social policy as much as they do. I also found the alleged link (in the comments) of MTR to the Bill Henson affair very interesting too, as art has now become a target of the censors. The irony of censorship is and there seems to be an abundance of evidence to support this view, if you wish to increase demand for something you simply prohibit it.

        Will the moral crusaders now lobby to censor school art text books, museums and galleries. Maybe they could make Micheal Angelo’s ‘David’ a pair of marble budgie smugglers and place black spots on the Renascence paintings?

        By the way, just to be honest about where I am coming from. An Atheist and proud of it, but you could guess that too I suppose.


  10. Doug Quixote February 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    You have encapsulated the issues very well, Jennifer.

    I see the Tankard Reist gambit this way : many Moral Campaigners have spruiked their Christian morality to the world. They will continue to do so.

    However, their message is easily dismissed by many in their audience as “they would say that, wouldn’t they.”

    There is another way to promote the Christian morality : by not revealing that it is Christian, and insisting that it is based on feminist principles, namely of opposition to exploitation and the oppression of women.

    This is the market niche that Tankard Reist seeks to exploit.

    And guess what : some nasty bloggers are blowing the gaff, spoiling the pitch, and ruining the sale.

    She and her cheersquad aren’t happy.


  11. Lola February 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm #


    I finally got a comment published on MTRs website – a suck up I love you comment.
    I have tried over 20 times to get a comment up there, but this is the only one she has published.
    Yes, I admit it, I am deceptive and dupicitous. 😛
    Lola – aka Alison


    • Jennifer Wilson February 12, 2012 at 6:44 am #

      LOL! You know they monitor this blog don’t you?! You’ll have to get another aka next time!


      • lola February 13, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

        LOL – comment still up as at above time 😛
        “They” are probably all catching up on their reading after a day at Church.


    • Paul Smith February 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

      Wow Alison – trolling a blog. Cutting edge discussion there. Pot meet kettle.


      • Hypocritophobe February 13, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

        Paul Smith (conservative Christian MTR female* masquerading as male) trolling a so called troll.
        (*Would you prefer to out yourself or be outed?)

        No definition available to that blackness of pot, or kettle. ‘Black hole’, comes close..


      • Paul Smith February 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

        Wow Hypoticrobe (who isn’t Lola),

        When you can put an actual name rather than a handle then you can indulge in outing.

        And sorry to shatter your assumptions / attempted slur. Actual name and contact provided to Jennifer and ditto ABC. Care to reciprocate?


      • lola February 15, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

        Oh, Paul. Go and read some of the trolls at any of the blogs linked on this site.
        Any way, they have deleted my comment. How surprising. Open and honest debate is not something Melinda appears to have any capacity to engage in.


  12. Hypocritophobe February 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    I think we can safely say ‘now it’s a campaign’.



    • Jennifer Wilson February 12, 2012 at 6:41 am #

      And once again we have celibate priests telling us how to have relationships and raise children. Pity they don’t focus their attention on keeping their pedophile priests in line.


      • Julia February 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

        There is soooooo much wrong with what is said in this article. First is the assumption “child abuse & neglect are on the rise because…” Is it on the rise…or is it better reported, less hidden behind the facade of pretending-it-doesn’t-happen respectability?
        Then, having used this very doubtful but emotive “truth” goes on to blame de facto (common law tradition pre-dating xtianity) for the assumed rise, which he confuses with single parenthood & thinks children in single parent family are motherless or fatherless as if the fact that one parent lives under a different roof equals no 2nd parent at all.
        He goes on to use another emotive term “traditional marriage”…as THE solution…in other words child abuse & neglect NEVER happens within traditional marriage.

        Now, in the comments on Jennifer’s ABC article A Woman’s Response To Authentic Feminism, Holly (Christ help her) was asked to define Traditional Marriage and her answer was that “Traditional Marriage is ALL marriages” & included religious, non-religious, same-sex etc under the traditional umbrella. But neglected to explain why she didn’t simply say “Defend all families” instead of “Defend Traditional families” who are in crisis because of feminism, apparently. (When Holly comes out of hiding she may enlighten us more on this)

        Obviously, Hickey & Holly have differing…opposing even…definitions of Traditional Marriage/Family.

        Then there’s the WA Council of Social Services making reference to marriage. Irina also comes across as making a distinction between marriage and de facto “relationships”. Again de facto in her mind means single. She seems to be saying that ALL (or maybe the majority) single parents don’t work, have mental health or drug and alcohol problems & all their children have unstable accommodation, poor health, lack education etc. No wonder the services available to families in need are so crap when the providers have such bullshit judgemental attitudes.

        Even Alex of Aust Marriage Equality has a limited veiwpoint on the subject of marriage…though at least he is more inclusive.

        And this is just a small part of what is wrong with Angela Pownall’s piece.

        That Hicky bases his comments on a report commissioned by the Aust Xtian Lobby doesn’t surprise…didn’t need stating…in fact the entire article is drenched in the attitudes and assumptions and so-called truths that mob espouses.


        • Jennifer Wilson February 12, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

          “Traditional families” are also families in which DV, sexual assault of children, and all manner of undesirable activities also take place. The moral police seem to forget that.


    • Ray (Novelactivist) February 12, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      I hold such idiots in contempt. The LAST person anyone should go to for moral advice is a priest.


      • Doug Quixote February 12, 2012 at 10:07 am #

        It all depends on the priest. Some are good men, as Jennifer’s nuns were good women. I try to take people as I find them : “By their fruits shall you know them.”


      • Ray (Novelactivist) February 12, 2012 at 10:23 am #

        Of course it depends on the individual. You miss my point. Being a priest does not mean you have a special insight. However, all priests are constrained by their religious beliefs. Perhaps I should rephrase it. The LAST place I would turn to for moral advice is Christianity, especially on sexual matters and raising children.


  13. Hypocritophobe February 12, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    You will of course have noted at the link and article about Hickey (down the page bottom) the *research* was commisioned by the Australian Christian Lobby and presnted to government.

    Exactly what role do certain individuals play in this research?
    Is MTR involved?
    Does she train/advise in this research?
    (She was a researcher for Harradine)
    Is the (independently by non-religiously affiliated peers) research peer reviewed?
    Is it even applicable,in Australia?
    Where can we get a copy?

    When is the jelly-backed media going to get off THEIR fat lazy arses and show this country and the cowards who run it ,where the dots do and do not join?

    Is the whole end game already stitched up?

    Again the silence is deafening?

    Except when it comes to kicking Gillard in the guts,apparently.


  14. Ray (Novelactivist) February 12, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Hi folks,

    Part two of my critique of Emma Rush – silencing the erotic imagination


  15. Hypocritophobe February 12, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Here’s the A Team joining forces in their campaign to convince the world that abstinence from sex is the only way.
    Participation /medication in anything below the belt is obviously self destructive.

    Klein, like MTR, may be shy about her religious beliefs,but the connections are almost identical.Put Catholic and Renate Klein in the search engine.

    She may not even be a ‘paying member’,but her beliefs and her aims are strangely one and the same,it appears.

    The big picture stuff remains unchanged.It is totally indefensible to say you have the interests of women and girls at the forefront of your principles, and then lobby to remove self determination (on an individuals body.This includes how you dress,what drugs you can take,what music you hear etc etc) based on what is essentially a clearly narrow (and identical too) a Christian conservative agenda.There is nothing in the current multi-pronged campaign, but an open drive, to class all non-marital,non monogamous,non straight sex as dangerous and perverse.
    It is the dismantling of each facet of modern women/girls (community generally) freedom,one plank at a time.
    The journey will always end at the same destination,know matter what outfit the bus driver is currently wearing.
    Its heading straight for Weirdsville’s sanitised Utopia,where ‘you do as we say’.
    This lobby has organised themselves reasonably well,but exposure is their greatest undoing, and eventually one of the flies on the wall will probably spill the beans.

    As oft noted, this amplifying religious control could be funny, but it isn’t.
    For a snap shot of it in its purest form of failure, observe America.
    Coming to a suburb near you.
    Are you ready Mr Abbott?


    • Horse February 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      That Age article about Gardasil article says, at the bottom, “Dr Renate Klein is a reproductive health researcher”, yet she “has a MA in Natural Sciences from Zurich University, a BA in Women’s Studies from the University of California (Berkeley) and a PhD in Sociology of Education from the University of London” – http://www.spinifexpress.com.au/Bookstore/author/id=42/

      An MA in Natural Sciences could mean anything, especially from when Renate is likely to have done it.

      Notice that Spinifex biography for Renate Klein refers to “the so-called cervical cancer vaccines” and, beforehand, “the (un)ethics of population control”.

      There is fuller, and conflicting information, to that which Reist & Klein report –


      “Gardasil® was licensed for use in females, age 9-26 years in June 2006 and for males age 9-26 years in Oct 2009. ….
      “The safety of HPV vaccines was studied in clinical trials worldwide before licensure. For Gardasil®, *over 29,000 males & females* participated in these trials.

      Syncope (fainting) is common after injections and vaccinations, especially in adolescents.”


    • Julia February 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

      Might be an idea to keep tabs on deletions of Klein, Dines, Rush etc web references too.


      • Hypocritophobe February 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

        The more they do such things (it will be noted) the more they are perceived as hiding something.
        Sooner or later they will be asked why they deleted what they did.

        Do they think there are no before and afters in the internet?
        Do they think a reverse search engine is myth?
        How do they think Rupert;s mob is becoming more and more exposed?


  16. Helvi February 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Talking about priests/good people, I have tell you this:

    One of my dearest and ‘bestest’ friend is a daughter of Canadian missionaries. She is deeply religious, non-preaching, non-judgemental,intelligent, has heaps of degrees,(not in theology) and is married to an atheist, and what’s more they are happily married, and have adopted four children from overseas…


  17. lola February 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm #


    And, I got moderated again, sending Emma Rush a Memo:
    Emma, must do better at disclosure, otherwise you will look deceptive and duplicitous:

    Yep, she contributed to the book, Funny how that don’t get a mention, ain’t it, Dexter.
    Honestly, it is like students who plagiarise! Once, you might get away with it, but try it too many times, and the wool does not cover our eyes.

    The ABC should rename The Drum – A Place for Sheep. Maaaahlindaaaah Taaaankaaard!
    Eeeehmaaa Ruuush! Bah, lazy repetitive twaddle.

    Just read about David Marrs’ new book, in which he argues that the right uses panic as a method of gaining votes. Might indulge in a copy of that one.


    • lola February 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm #


      Interesting on how the choir sings on. Laalalalalalalalalaa


      • Hypocritophobe February 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

        Railing again:
        Anyone thinking that there is nothing suss going on at the ABC is living in cloud cuckoo land.


      • Horse February 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

        The commentary by Stephens in that radio piece is just waffle that crosses several concepts from politics to capitalism to [other] ideologies – nonsensical rambling!

        Emma Rush doesn’t do much better – reducing and conflating pro-choice to pornography when it is clear pro-choice and feminism has almost always referred to abortion, and pro-choice is not a lexicon (a la Scott Stephens) that has been commonly applied to porn.

        Why do MTR-supporters constantly direct and narrow the feminism debate or discussions about M-TR,or both, to porn???? Is it a strategy?


  18. Hypocritophobe February 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    A piece of history which joins a few dots by way of the signatories involved.
    (You’ll see lots of familiar names. Not all of the signatories are in the Army of Stifling Freedom, but the list is a handy cross reference where all the main players names appear alongside non (hopefully) players appear.

    A lot of the same “MTR camp lobbyists” names appear on similar documents heading to politicians/government {often}
    (As long as the topic conflicts with their ‘beliefs’ they will claim a role as ‘relevant’ policy directors.Some of the ‘research'(a lot) will be paid for (possibly done/ by/for )by groups such as ACL.
    This makes them (MTR et al) policy lobbyists.Official ones.
    In WA they would need to registered to do this.
    (If in Canberra they cannot, will not, identify their motives,connections,affiliations they should be given no audience /credence/ clout)

    Click to access Jointsignatoryletter_to%20retailers_.pdf

    Please take time to go over the list.

    The recent piece I linked

    about eating disorders is likely another trickle media release to keep the ‘control network’ on the front line of media relevance.It also helps the team players sell books,which is their second aim.You will be seeing a lot of these women/girls issues released between now and the election. A lot from the MTR style campaigners.

    All this stuff dressed up as feigned concern is the unethical part.
    No word yet from any of the signatories on when they intend to draft a letter to Pell,for him to approach the Pope for the Vatican admit to and eradicate institutionalised paedophilia from the Catholic Church, with as much gusto as they do in their other money making venture,lobbying for continuance in funding or legislation to implement their religious views.

    Morals don’t come into it,until you jump the ethical hurdle.
    Christian conservative lobbyists run ‘around’ the hurdles.It’s the rest of us who have to jump,according to them.


  19. Hypocritophobe February 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    I wonder who drafted the questions,let alone the answers??



    • Ray (novelactivist) February 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

      Sigh, this is truly pathetic. The Dutch have got it right and as a consequence they have very low rates of teenage pregnancy and STI’s.


  20. DontSueMeMTR February 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    I guess the question of what constitutes a Christian is as hard to answer as what constitutes a feminist. A lot of the self-described Christians I know distance themselves form all forms of church, scripture, evangelism, and even the notion of an afterlife or an interventionist god who listens to prayers or provides guidance. They just like the central “Jesus philosophy” of being nice to people. Of course, if Reist’s former associations, which have been mentioned here and elsewhere, are anything to go by, she is not one of these loose philosophical Christians. But then, you haven’t really made that argument in this particular article.

    In any case, I don’t really see too much of a problem with Reist obfuscating her religious beliefs. Whatever arguments she makes can be fought and tested on their own validity without knowing everything, or really anything, about her background. And I don’t agree with the notion that you are “entitled” to this information either; regardless of whether she is a public figure advocating for change or not.

    What I do believe is that you are, or should be, entitled to freely speculate and form opinions on these things without being harassed and threatened with legal action. And this is what has really gotten my goat about the whole affair.


    • Hypocritophobe February 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

      Agree with some of what you said.
      But in this society, and the place/time we find ourselves
      those who influence public policy in a substantive way,should be ‘totally’ scrutinised.
      (Can a parent work in a school without a background check, ‘working with children’ clearance?)
      Especially when there is a connect to, and parallel with, the growing precedence of political activism by groups such as the Tea Party, and the conservative right on the whole.
      (Who have NO problem pointing out the views etc of their opponents)

      I’m not prepared to sit back and let my freedom be usurped by faceless men and women.And when people ‘hide’ the principles/connections/affiliations which drive (form) their motives *AND* are *THEY* are *ALSO* professional lobbyists, it matters.

      And if you consider that to ‘reposition’ oneself/oneself’s mission politically,it’s OK to alter/edit/change/erase the information which WAS in the public domain,(because it is now considered to be a political impediment) I stridently disagree there too.

      Unless of course said ‘lobbyist’ repositioner is open and honest about it.
      It’s obvious that this ‘should’ be the ethical thing to do.


      And as JW points out integrity.


      • DontSueMeMTR February 12, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

        I’m not entirely convinced by your points.

        Firstly, the background checks for working with children. Personally, I think the “think of the children” hysteria that we’ve seen pushed to the fore again recently has little grounding in reality. (Coincidentally, it too seems to be little more than a smokescreen to mask a political agenda) Pedophiles (along with terrorists) are the new communists. Sure, nobody wants child sex offenders working in schools, but when you’re putting 18 year olds on registers for having sex with 16 year olds and charging 17 year olds who take photos of themselves with trafficking child porn, I think you’re playing in some sort of paranoid fantasy land. (Don’t get me started on the internet)

        Secondly, I agree that you shouldn’t be able to take things out of the public domain, but that’s not really the same as taking something off a website. Except for the government, I don’t think anyone really has much of an obligation to host anything online. On the other hand, I think this needs to be balanced with protections for those who wish to copy and redistribute information in cases where it is removed or altered. To simplify, I don’t really have a problem with Reist or her supporters covering up Reist’s background, so long as Wilson and people like her are free to call her out on doing so and republish whatever they need to in order to back up their arguments. It’s when money, and by extension the ability to wield the law as a weapon, skews this dance that I get my knickers in a twist.

        Thirdly, I don’t think you need to know who a lobbyist is working for in order to know that you should be suspicious of their views. It wasn’t until this whole legal business that I had any idea that Reist might be religious, but I still opposed most of what she said. I just had a good look at the arguments she was making, weighed them up and decided they were crap. And to be honest, I don’t see why others can’t do the same; whether it’s with Reist, The Tea Party or whomever.


  21. gerard oosterman February 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    ‘Quote: The Dutch have it right and have low rates of unwanted teenage pregnancies.’ Unquote.

    That has everything to do with their pragmatism and very little to do with differences between teenagers anywhere.
    A well rolled down condom on the erect penis is a barricade to even the most persistant sperm. The Dutch didn’t invent sex nor do they own the definative legislation banning sex between young people when everything in their bodies and every hormone tells them to get together and join genitals.
    Take your pick: either have them well prepared and informed or have the sadness of high rates of unwanted pregancies with many ( unneeded abortians).


  22. gerard oosterman February 12, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    Note the new spelling of abortion.


    • Sam Jandwich February 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

      Hah! that’s wonderful. Some day the pro-life movement will quit their moralising and just come up with a way to ensure the survival of 12 week-old foetuses outside the womb. Now they have a name as well.

      btw Gerard did I see you at the Goulburn Blues Festival this weekend? Someone matching your description was dancing arm in arm with his beloved – one of those adorable couples who just completely by symbiotic accident end up wearing the same outfits 🙂


      • Helvi February 13, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

        Oh, is that where he went, Sam, he left in a hurry 🙂


  23. Hypocritophobe February 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    And to be honest, I don’t see why others can’t do the same; whether it’s with Reist, The Tea Party or whomever.”
    Well and good.

    I cannot see how her position is anything other than fraught with conflicting ideologies, and the refusal to counter that basic fact is not helping her cause.
    Her mounting critics and now her threat to sue have disrupted her up till now ‘free ride’ in the world she chose.

    If ‘ethics’ is to be a measure of standards of our community’s acceptable behaviour.
    (and I haven’t seen a recent ‘recall’ from the ACCC)

    To be ‘fit for purpose’ a public lobbyist must be open and accountable.
    If the lobbyist is lobbying on moralistic grounds,more-so.
    Not only open and accountable,but bring forth *supportive evidence to the premise they present.(*It’s missing far too often, so therefore the shouting will continue to get louder.)
    The first the public hear about some of these most ‘suspect’ contributions to Parliamentary Committees is when the minutes are published.
    The public should not be ambushed,nor should every man woman and child need to scour through everything presented to such committees.
    We put our trust (engage them formally, to fully represent ALL of us) in our politicians to implement policies etc,in an open democratic way.
    They are our alarm bells as well as our box tickers.
    Concealment and or presentation of dubious data is an affront to us all.And to democracy.
    *It’s missing far too often, so therefore the shouting will continue to get louder.
    We know we cannot trust the media to be neutral.

    To paraphrase Steve Irwin,democracy matters,don’t muck with it.


    • DontSueMeMTR February 12, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

      Ah right, well if we’re putting aside books and articles and blogs and interviews and talk shows and everything else and just talking specifically about the interactions between lobbyists and elected representatives, then I agree that we need … something better than what we’ve got.

      Your point that “we cannot trust the media”; I tend to think the heart of this matter is that we can’t really trust anyone in a position of power — and we probably shouldn’t any more than we have to. At the end of the day, I think people *are* going to have to scour through everything, which is why I think governments have a responsibility to make this stuff accessible.

      I know a lot of people think the idea of citizen journalism is a joke, but I honestly think that’s the way it’s going to have to be done at some point in the not too distant future. I certainly don’t see newspapers lifting their game anytime soon.


      • Horse February 12, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

        Certainly not the “Murdoch Press”, aka News Corp, with several arrests at another key newspaper, the UK’s Sun. Given the nuttiness of many NewsCorp journalists in Australia (a lot are good), Newscorp is facing dire straits.


  24. Hypocritophobe February 13, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    Aust religious stats


    Baptists, a finger in every chicken.(pie?)



    • Julia February 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

      Interesting, in the light of a certain person’s religion affiliation, is the abs statement in the 2nd paragraph:
      “Religious beliefs and values may also influence people’s behaviour and decisions in many areas of life. For example, they may motivate people to …” other examples can equally be added…not so feel-good ones.


      • Hypocritophobe February 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

        Yes who’d have thought?

        Maybe the ABS stuff will start to disappear too?


  25. Sam Jandwich February 13, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    What a lot of comments! Sorry to come in late but…

    Here’s my take on this: What MTR fears/wants to avoid is being stigmatised.

    Putting aside the fact that in the Christian tradition being stigmatised is a good thing – makes you Jesus-like – I’ve always thought that holding the fear of being stigmatised says a lot about the kind of person you are and the way you relate to others. Feeling stigmatised is the act of feeling as though other people feel badly about you because you have a certain characteristic. But notice the origin of this feeling – it comes from an assumption on the part of the person involved that others will think badly of them, not from what people will actually think.

    But where do they get this notion that other people are going to think badly of them? Well this is where my poor knowledge of psychology might have me shouted down so I’m going to avoid getting into details and just stick with: it is an unconscious ascribing of characteristics onto others – and it all ends up at the conclusion that, as I keep saying because I’m so one-dimensional, these people who attempt to moralise about the un-moralisable – sex, abortion, the way the media shapes us – tend to have little faith in humanity, and in individuals’ abilities to use their freedom responsibly, to make positive decisions which benefit society. That is, they are mysanthropists… but they mostly don’t realise that themselves – ie they think their perception of others is realistic.. This makes their vehemence dangerous, because it can convince those that are wavering, with the result that the whole of society gets tinged with the nastiness of the mysanthropist viewpoint.

    The opposite scenario being, that in the case of someone who doesn’t fear stigmatisation this is not to say that they think everybody will be accepting of their characteristic, but to affirm that they are comfortable with the idea of other people using their freedom responsibly to make up their own minds about what to make of the information – and that those that don’t can get stuffed, because they’re not worth listening to anyway.

    That is to say, well-balanced, mentally healthy people don’t fear stigmatisation – they just fear the people who fear stigmatisation!

    Oh yes and there’s also the notion that subjecting one’s belief systems to scrutiny will result in one being found wanting, naturally. Surely this isn’t what’s eating MTR?


    • Hypocritophobe February 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

      What you describe is Narcissism.


      • Sam Jandwich February 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

        Nah, I don’t agree. From what I’ve seen there is a vulnerable, beating heart in there most of the time. Just that it’s encased in a concrete sarcophagous (that’s a flesh-eating coffin, don’tchya know?)


    • Jennifer Wilson February 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

      I think MTR fears being type cast as a Christian conservative and losing followers who believe she’s a feminist. As Jo-Anne pointed out there’s a moment in about 2006 when MTR reinvents herself as an advocate for women and girls, and seems to try to leave her anti abortion views behind her.

      I agree with Hypo, that there’s a political agenda, and she’s being groomed for parliament. In which case the advocate role is going to sit far better than the Christian conservative anti choice image, if she plans to appeal to the female vote.

      She garnered a lot of support from very unexpected areas with her advocacy.
      BTW I wonder what she thinks of Kanye West carrying off accolades at the Grammies. Lol.


      • Sam Jandwich February 14, 2012 at 12:25 am #

        Actually I was speaking generally about social conservatives – a heart that doesn’t hurt is a heart that doesn’t work.

        Groomed for parliament?? It’s a wasted effort… She’s only ever going to be a marginal figure, especially if they let that fiendishly clever Jane Hutcheon loose on her again! Those questions about religion aren’t going to go away, and apart from that does she really have anything substantial to contribute?

        Actually I was going to say in my little missive that as far as democracy goes I don’t think there’s any compelling reason for, well, anyone really, to reveal the origin of their beliefs. As long as the support is there, that’s all that matters. Frightening really, but that’s the world we live in.


        • Jennifer Wilson February 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

          I agree, there’s no compelling reason other than the ethical to disclose influences. And sadly the ethical means less than nothing in the scheme of things.


  26. Gwynn February 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    One thing that always fascinates me is that many people who call themselves Christians, or who profess to “follow the teachings of Jesus” as it were, are actually doing so in a form of intellectual dishonesty and denial about what a Christian actually is.

    After all, many “Christians” appear happy to ignore many Old Testament laws that atheists, such as myself, love quoting back at fundamentalists (collecting sticks on the Sabbath, not touching the skin of a pig, staying away from woman when they are menstruating, stoning adulterers, selling daughters into slavery, wiping out neighbouring tribes who worship different gods etc). Given that they are ignoring most of what their Bible tells them are the morals and actions of a god-faring Christian, are they therefore obviously not Christians? Or more importantly, are they, even worse, admitting that their Bible, their supposed ‘word of god’ inspired book, is wrong, and therefore their god is no supernatural being at all?

    Of course in my experience they don’t. They tell you god/Jesus/Ali Baba is love and that they’ve moved with the times, which is odd, given that their god isn’t exactly full of love given what’s written about him in the Bible. I mean, it’s not like he tried to negotiate with the Pharaoh for the release of Moses people did he? Or, having condemned slavery, he then allows his people to practice it. Plenty of love there.

    Possibly its this inherent intellectual contradiction between the stated “truths” of the Bible versus the way these people choose to live their lives that makes some “Christian” public figures reluctant to see their professed religious preference discussed in light of their position on social and moral issues? I’m not suggesting this means that their position is automatically invalid, but rather, I would rather know that this was part of how they viewed the world when evaluating the rational behind their arguments.

    For the record, I was baptised as a Catholic, not that I had much choice in the matter. I was a baby and technically an atheist, given I clearly had no idea why some stranger would splash water on my face when they clearly weren’t bathing me. Outside of weddings, funerals and other relatives baptisms, I never attended church for an actual church service that I know of (then again, I could have been taken along as a baby). As a teenager I realised that most of the Bible made little sense, and so became agnostic on the whole thing.

    But the time I reached university, I became an atheist, on the basis that all the available evidence points towards there being no supernatural creator of any religion and, just as importantly, no evidence at all supported the notion that there was a supernatural creator either.

    Of course, that has never precluded me from acknowledging people with religious beliefs are perfectly capable of making meaningful, capable contributions to our society and social discourse, which the vast majority of them do, largely without recourse to their religious preferences either.

    On that note, forgive me Jennifer, I seem to have rambled a bit.


    • Hypocritophobe February 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

      They don’t call it the opiate of the masses for nothing.

      Add to the vile Evangelistic pocket lining impostors.
      They are easily recognised by the world/national tour circuit circuses,(mainly schools and town hall scenarios),blogs heavily influenced by(and hiding all trace of) connections to their Christian conservative beliefs.
      The team up factor where they stick together to protect the asset bases.(and income streams)..

      It’s like Chicken man.
      They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere !!

      They have two things in common,
      Maternalism and their strong ‘stick together’ factors.

      Commonly referred to as :
      Mother Flockers.


    • Jennifer Wilson February 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

      This is what I find very puzzling. Christians who follow Jesus but don’t “believe” all the supernatural bits. Do they still believe Jesus is God? And if they don’t, how can they possibly be Christians? Because if Jesus is just a man there’s no religion, you might as well follow Martin Luther King, or any other human being you admire who has no claims to divinity.

      There’s a very good essay by Damon Young that was on the Drum a few weeks ago arguing the religious belief cushions followers and saves them from having to look into the abyss. I’ll find it and link. It’s worth reading.


      • DontSueMeMTR February 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

        “This is what I find very puzzling. Christians who follow Jesus but don’t “believe” all the supernatural bits. Do they still believe Jesus is God? And if they don’t, how can they possibly be Christians? Because if Jesus is just a man there’s no religion, you might as well follow Martin Luther King, or any other human being you admire who has no claims to divinity.”

        I think you’ve answered your own question. As I said earlier, some people just like what they see as the core principles of Jesus’ teachings. A Marxist doesn’t worship Marx or believe he was supernatural or even necessarily agree with him on every little detail. And yes, I agree that this type of Christianity is more a philosophy or ideology than a religion — but if you’re going to argue that it isn’t “real” Christianity, then what would you call it and are you just splitting hairs?


    • Jennifer Wilson February 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

      OK here it is: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3794784.html Friends in High Places.


      • Horse February 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

        Damon has another good one there since – Atheism and Growing Up:


        On the subject of whether Jesus was a real person, nobody has been able to infer, let alone deduce, that on this discussion thread of over 1,000 pages –



      • Horse February 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

        This latest post on that “Infer Historical Jesus?” thread sums it all up –

        “The quest for the HJ has reached an impasse. In an article published in April of 2010 in ‘Christianity Today’, Professor of Religion at North Park University in Chicago Scot McKnight, who has been intimately involve in Historical Jesus Research for the past several decades, describes how after years of passionate research the quest for the HJ has again reached an impasse.

        “Illustrating this point in his classroom, he asks students to take a test about what kind of person they think Jesus was. Was he outgoing, shy, friendly, pensive, exciting, etc. Then they take the same test, only about themselves. The results show that people picture Jesus to be just like they are; and the same is true, McKnight concludes, of religious historians. McKnight quotes Dale Allison, one of America’s top N/T scholars, who confesses :’Professional historians are not bloodless templates passively registering the facts: we actively and imaginatively project. Our rationality cannot be extricated from our sentiments and feelings, our hopes and fears, our hunches and ambitions. Maybe we have unthinking reduced biography of Jesus to autobiography. The fragmentary and imperfict nature of the evidence as well as the limitations of our historical abilities should move us to confess, if we are conscientious, how hard it is to recover the past. We wield our criteria to get what we want.’ [Dale Allison]

        “If a historian such as this [Allison] confesses to not having reliable evidence to reach the viewpoint that there existed a HJ, and that the best they can do is project their interpretations of him, then what chance have amateurs?”



      • Horse February 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

        “The Jesus We’ll Never Know” – Why scholarly attempts to discover the ‘real’ Jesus have failed. And why that’s a ‘good thing’. Scot McKnight



  27. Julia February 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    While you’re playing on the Drum, you might enjoy Catherine Deveny’s piece Titter ye not: it’s Betina Arndt men wonderful


  28. Hypocritophobe February 13, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    No thanks Paul,
    My mother warned me about men bearing gifts/invites/challenges.Especially when religion is involved.Smart woman my mum.

    Congratulations on being a real person.
    I apologise for calling you a female conservative MTR supporter.

    I can easily see why you think it’s a slur.

    (At least I have my annual mistake out the way,now.)


  29. Paul Smith February 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    Such a pity that one cannot use their real name – especially when offerring an apology of sorts.


  30. Hypocritophobe February 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    There are bigger things which are more of a pity than that,Paul.

    Time to move on.


  31. Doug Quixote February 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    Meanwhile over at ABC religion, “Christ lives within” and I have a slow, long range exchange :

    Doug Quixote (Reply to Derek)

    Not at all. The religious are entitled to their viewpoint. What is objected to is the failure to acknowledge that the viewpoint is one informed by religion.

    Holly (Christ lives within) :

    12 Feb 2012 2:51:10pm

    All knowledge is informed by ‘religion’, a statement of man’s conscious evolution to date. Be it Judaism, Islamic, Christianity or Secular Theocracy, we are all the sum total of our beliefs and perceptions as mankind collectively and systematically evolves in one conscious effort.

    ( my latest post, not yet published) :

    “Then acknowledge it!

    Tankard Reist deliberately does not acknowledge it and leaves us to ascribe motives to her for not doing so.

    And she may not like the motives which we so ascribe.”


    • Horse February 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      Holly’s “conscious evolution” is enough of a vague term to be meaningless – it does not cover the evolution of consciousness, which is probably part of evolutionary psychology, also a nebulous concept. Evolutionary psychology is essentially a subset of evolution of neurobiology and neuro-chemistry, though the theists resist that, as the Centre for Public Christianity’s Simon Smart does toward & at the end of his article in today’s SMH – http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/science-no-match-for-angels-at-our-tables-20120212-1szko.html.

      Holly’s reference to “mankind collectively and systematically evolves in one conscious effort” is also a vague notion, and seems to be an appeal to or reliance on theology.


  32. Hypocritophobe February 13, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    Holly Waffle


  33. Julia February 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    Holly on 2 May 2011 (The King James Bible-The Translators):
    I had a vision on the 30/04/11 in my mind’s eye. It was of a circle of sparkling stones rotating continuously. This was with my eyes closed, the movement and the light completely visible and alive to me.

    [then waffles on about Sacred Stones & sacred meanings as she totally mis-understands the previous comments about stone circles and wizards. Neither comments has anything remotely to do with the BBC series on the translators of the Kinky James Bible]

    Along with other comments she has made…(does she spend ALL her time in abc’s religion & ethics??? No, life of her own?) she comes across as a lost sheep groping around in the dark ready to blindly follow the first wolf in sheep’s clothing that turns her head with meaningless but highly emotive phraseology.


  34. Hypocritophobe February 13, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    Some of you take Holly(There’s something manly inside me-and it feels like heaven ) way too seriously.

    Her definition of feminism is contained with stereotypical feminine qualities.
    She also freely admits to her failure to master a simple Google search

    Holly (Christ lives within) :

    29 Jan 2012 5:10:09pm

    Forgive my ignorance on the attributes of the ‘modern feminist’, but is the word ‘feminist’ a derivative of ‘feminine’ and therefore would in essence be required to retain said qualities of a quick dictionary breakdown:
    Feminine – womanly
    One look at Melinda Tankard Reist beautiful face and any average run of the mill person would admit she exudes it all.
    I looked up ‘feminist’ and the research link said ‘Can’t find it’.

    Based on her high school mindset I nominate Jesica Cirio as my view of Holly’s view, of feminism.

    Fine by me,but not sure the newly positioned goal post would be visible to most.


  35. Hypocritophobe February 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    EDIT “Based on *her* high school mindset ”
    would be Holly’s high school mindset, not Ms Cirio’s.


    • Julia February 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

      So only women who have beautiful faces can be feminists?
      And MTR is a feminist because she has a….er…”beautiful” face?
      Thinks, maybe Holly needs a new pair of glasses….oy!


      • Helvi February 13, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

        Now, now, Julia, let’s be fair and not sink into cattiness, she is not bad looking…
        Are you a boy or a girl, just curious 🙂


  36. Hypocritophobe February 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    You can now see why this little lost should gets so easily confused.If she has no clue about what something actually *is*,what does she base her criticism on,if not blind loyalty and a heady mix of ignorance and self righteousness.

    It’s almost like the Holly person is a actually communal Pseudo, at some sort of youth club HQ and they take it in turns of humiliating themselves with more and more bizarre posts.

    Dolly Waffle.


  37. Julia February 14, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    Beauty, we are told, is in the eye of the beholder.
    It is also in the eyes of the beheld.

    Late last year the subject of beautiful women came up in a conversation between a couple of friends and myself. Skin types, eye shapes, nose lengths, shell-like ears, fullness of lips were compared, but no one physical attribute could be agreed upon. Names such as Sophia Loren, Kylie, Cher, Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe several others…but what was beautiful to one was a turn off for another.

    Then someone mentioned a Pitjantjara woman we’d met in the spinifex grasslands south of Alice Springs. She was very old, her face etched with many lines, her skin blotched with age, flattened nose, hair that had never known a hairdresser, her chin thickly bearded with long white hairs, her portly body covered by a drab faded much repaired dress, her hands twisted and crippled with arthritis. This lady, survivor of atomic testing in her home, had mourned the deaths of so many of her family.
    Yet when she smiled, when she spoke (not English), when you looked into her eyes…her beauty shone like a brilliant beacon, refreshing all who met her, moving each of us right down to our souls.

    We all agreed with no argument. She was the most beautiful woman any of us had ever met.

    It feels a bit blasphemus to mention MTR in this context…but will anyhow.
    MTR may have a generally comely face…by no definition is it particularly beautiful…but even that comeliness is marred by hardened eyes which shift & glint as she evades answering certain questions…that send shivers down one’s spine.

    It’s not being catty…it’s just this beholder’s viewpoint…a grandmother who has come across that kind of ugliness all too often before.


    • Helvi February 14, 2012 at 11:16 am #

      Grandma Julia, such lovely sentiments there, you almost make me wish you were my grandma,or at least that my chin too were ‘thickly bearded with long white hairs”… 🙂


      • Grandma Woolley February 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

        lol Helvi
        I have 3 or 4 hairs growing out of both sides of my chin…I have considered letting them grow long enough to plait but still find myself reaching for the tweezers instead.
        Still vain after all these years…lol


  38. gerard oosterman February 14, 2012 at 7:00 am #

    No, I didn’t go to this year’s Blues festival in Goulburn. That loving dancing couple was not us even though we sometimes do a spontaneous Lambada in front of the Telly. Last time I was at the Blues in Goulburn I queued up for a plutu pop. I was so hungry for something salty. I finally got one and noticed some of the batter had come off exposing an almost fluoro and luridly coloured saveloy on a stick. After a couple of bites it come loose from the stick and rolled under an FJ Holden station wagon. After I retrieved it I noticed this ‘special’ Holden had wooden venetian blinds and I instantly recognized the car belonging to an old school friend way back from Granville Tech.
    Would you believe that this old mate had kept this car for decades. He was asleep inside and I did not want to wake him. He might have had a ‘big night’ before and as so often happens when enough time passes, people change.
    This is a reply to Sam Jandwich, higher up.
    I don’t think this has much to do with atheism but life does throw up some unusual tales.


    • Sam Jandwich February 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      I think it’s OK Gerard – the blues is a religion just like any other. There were certainly a lot of stories told in Goulburn. No FJ Holdens but I did spot a nice EH, and a tired but honest Beetle:-)

      Y’all should come along next year. It’s free!


    • Jennifer Wilson February 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

      I love your stories, Gerard. I just love them. 🙂


  39. Gwynn February 14, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    Gah, three articles to read now, that’ll teach me for bringing up a discussion point. (By which I mean, thanks guys, appreciate the reading material!)


  40. paul walter February 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    “… ethically obliged to disclose this… unethical not to to disclose ones relationship with religion and its influence on very public work”.
    You’ll observe Jennifer Wilson says “ethically obliged”, rather than compelled. For MTR to unilaterally to impose conditions on philosophical aspects of an issue, perhaps so that her views prevail against alternative explanations despite lack of merit first established in free and open discussion, calls into question her project and motives.
    So, MTR wins a battle, to lose the war. For I see little sign in comments here and elsewhere that people are impressed by this censorious ultraist behaviour. Worse still we are castigated for our curiosity and a site that operates as a forum for conversation on current affairs faces is not greeted by an open ended embrace of conversation and exchange of ideas, but an attempt to destroy the site to kill questioning and deeper understanding.
    On the subject of “understanding”, tigtog’s comment is a good start in considering what religion is and how it may operate; we do this in the absence of MTR, who for reasons that baffle me appears not to wish precisely this sort of conversation to occur?
    But the cat is belled, for tig tog raises the question of the institutionalisation of religion, which like ideology often begins its life as a critique of social conditions imposed by hierarchies, before being coopted by the hierarchy and astroturfed into a mechanism of status quo and state legitimisation, against the studied observations of the original ideology or religion.
    I subscribe to the theory that moderate “original” Christianity is as antithetical to the Christianity of the hierarchies as the early adventures of socialism, against the nightmare of Stalinism.
    But I’m not quite ready to bin either Christ or Marx, because a hierarchical society has rejected religious or ideological emancipatory critiquing and subsequent attempts to make life better for people, because these may contest against the muddled sense of self interest of those in control.
    And the fact that open discussion of an issue in everyday life faces being stifled, for unknown reasons, just makes me so more suspicious of the stiflers.


    • Jennifer Wilson February 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

      Another feminist who completely ignores the origins of the debate, and white-washed MTR in the process: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=13244


      • Horse February 14, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

        Petra Beuskens posted and re-posted a single piece

        a. here 23 Jan as petra b http://newmatilda.com/2012/01/18/call-me-whatever

        b. here Jan 31 http://melindatankardreist.com/2012/01/killjoys-wowser-and-the-p-rn-wars/

        c. here 31 Jan http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/01/25/3415534.htm and

        c. here 01 Feb http://wheelercentre.com/dailies/post/8e2f5fb15b3a/

        It is full of conflations like the opening sentence “The radical feminist argument concerning pornography is not reducible to a communitarian ethic regarding the pitfalls of capitalism.”
        The rest of the opening stanza is ” Feminists, like Tankard Reist are concerned with the sex-industry because it seriously harms and exploits women and girls, not just because it makes billions of dollars. Commodification is central but harm is the real issue. In other words, Tankard Reist doesn’t exist simply because, as Cox says, there are “current anxieties about the dominance of markets over ethics in the public sphere”. She is part of a long feminist line of abolitionists of sexual slavery that began with the critique of the coverture in the late eighteenth century and now concentrates on the last bastion of male sex-right: pornography and prostitution.”

        She also says “Her [MTRs] religious perspective, and her putative “anti-abortion” stance is itself complex: rooted in a belief in the sanctity of life and a sense that women ought not to live in a society where single motherhood consigns them to poverty (as indeed it does). She is critical of the social context within which women make decisions about abortion. She is also critical of the termination of disabled or otherwise “imperfect” foetuses, which is an argument that deserves a hearing. I find it deeply problematic that she is not pro-choice, it is certainly incompatible with my own feminism …”

        Check those last two statements, again.


      • Sam Jandwich February 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

        Yikes. From a quick reading, I think what’s wrong with that article is it totally over-represents MTR as someone who holds well-formed and coherent positions on the issues she writes about. I would say rather that I have never seen her explain herself fully or offer any justification for anything she says to anywhere near acceptable standards of intellectual rigour. I know she’s been called the Helen Lovejoy of social commentary, but I’ve always thought of her as the Pauline Hanson. She’s a populist, and nothing more.

        But the reason I’m here late at night again is that I’ve just had a thought: What if she’s a scientologist? Who else but that particular group of people shows such a propensity for shutting down debate at the slightest hint of inquiry?


  41. gerard oosterman February 14, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    What has happened to Hetty Johnston? Was she not leading a group called brave-hearts or something? I remember her during the Bill Henson controversy. She seemed to also have a bean in her bonnet about nude children or teenagers with raging boners. I could google but am so over googling of late. My tweeting is suffering and my Nokia ended up in the washing machine put on full cycle and a ferocious spinning party at the end. Its face is now all fogged, tear stained.
    Jennifer your kind compliment came on time. Merci.


    • Ray (novelactivist) February 15, 2012 at 9:16 am #

      Hetty got quite a roasting over the Henson affair and she’s pulled her head in. She still runs Bravehearts and it still runs a conservative agenda. IMHO Hetty is an amateur motivated by anger over abuse in her own family. As such she runs an emotive agenda. I don’t think she or her organisation are up to date on the ‘real’ research into child abuse and it seems to me that some members of the religious right are involved in Bravehearts.

      The circumstances around the Henson affair demonstrated that both Hetty and Bravehearts were profoundly ignorant about the naked child as a subject in art (it’s actually quite common). Their position is that all nudes of children should be declared pornographic and that the defence of artistic merit be removed. This position seems to be based on the argument that Hetty doesn’t like it.


  42. Hypocritophobe February 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    Gerard also tells a good sausage story.(Perhaps he IS a snag, aka banger)
    Kel would be proud.


  43. paul walter February 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    The online opinion piece is about representative of where you would expect of the soft right, includes a whitewashing of Tankard Reist’s position on choice by another conservative cup-cakey middle class hired gun, and fails to argue for a workable definition of feminism by category defined on choice, humanity and consciousness.
    That the likes of Sherry and Devine are regarded as “feminists” reduces the effort to a laughing stock.The sort of right wingers mentioned are not in many peoples view anything but antithetical to feminism as defined by Bel Hooks, therefore presumably Jennifer herself, or tigtog and most others here.
    I guess
    I see feminism without an underlying critique and subsequent mission statement, some thing that merely exists to “adjust” women to the (sometimes unpleasant) reality of their lives, rather than have a hierarchical society respond effectively to the needs of all people rather than elites; it seems like something out of Farenheit 451, eg commodification.
    Isn’t that the impression you get, reading Miranda Devine?


  44. Doug Quixote February 15, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    My reply to this post over at ABC Religion :

    ” Gavin :

    15 Feb 2012 12:08:07pm

    I suspect she believes that she is presenting arguments that are based as much on her humanity and social observations than they are on her Christianity. Many non-Christians won’t listen to the views of someone who is a Christian because of their biases. She wouldn’t want those people not to listen to her message, which she thinks applies to everyone, just because she happens to be a Christian.”


    My reply :

    Exactly right. MTR wants her message to be accepted at face value.

    If someone told you that “shares in company X are a good investment because they are a well managed company with excellent growth prospects and substantial investment in the pipeline”, would you say “Well and good, I will invest” – or would you not ask, “What is your connection to company X and do you have a shareholding?”

    Does “No I won’t tell you, it is not relevant” cut the mustard?



  45. Helvi February 15, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    Wise words there, DQ…
    Mr Oo was talking to me about how hard it is these days to suss out when to buy shares, they are very low now, that’s good, but then they are even lower a month later…

    Don’t bloody buy anything, was my reply, and that goes for Tankard’s offerings as well.


  46. Hypocritophobe February 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    When is it ethical to do disclose?
    Here’s a lawyer and Christian Youth worker with a porn collection.
    Should we ask him?



  47. Ross February 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Don’t most people have a set of values that inform how they live out their life and work? If so, why is this only an issue if these values come from that person’s religion tradition?


    • Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      If your naivety (or choice of books) precludes you from knowing the answer, how about:

      When it impacts on the life of everyone.

      Ever heard of policy?
      Here’s a recent example….
      Look at America.If you like what you (currently) see, then you will never understand.
      Do you approve on women having instruments forced into their vaginas to guilt them ‘up’ enough, to carry a baby they may not want?

      A persons motives/ethics/values matter,when they impact on other peoples(communities) lives.
      And it matters that when the ‘lobbyists’ get the communities/governments ears, they lay it out.
      And when they have a proposition for consideration,they bring cold, hard proof along.
      Not fanciful Church Gossip.


    • Julia February 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

      It’s not only an issue if a person’s values (and political lobbying) come from their religious tradition. Their “values” may come from elsewhere, other traditions, other vested interests

      If, say, a lobbyist (or groups of lobyists) were pushing to make smoking compulsory on the grounds it is far healthier to smoke than not smoke. They back their campaign with proof from unspecified research produced by unnamed sources, include anecdotal evidence from witnesses with aliases. On the surface their campaign looks very reasonable. & any criticism is howled down, covered up &/or otherwise negated by seemingly (but not necessarily) unrelated supporters. Then the lobbyist is asked about their connections with the tobacco industry and answers “I refuse to discuss it because it may detract from my message”,,,yet the lobbyist has a track record of hanging out with management & staff of Phillip Morris & other tobacco corps. may even be receiving $millions in funding from them. Would you happily take their word for it that smoking is healthy for you and legislating compulsory smoking is a good thing & you join them in their campaigning? Would you accept without question they are completely unbiased? Or that their unspecified source of “proof” is scientifically valid? After all, you’ve seen plenty of people smoking, and they look healthy. so why not make it compulsory? What difference does it make where the lobbyist’s “values” come from?



    • Jennifer Wilson February 18, 2012 at 5:19 am #

      Yes Most people do. The problem is when a public figure who lobbies for a particular moral perspective doesn’t disclose what those values and beliefs are. I’ve only encountered that with certain Christians. Most people seem fine with disclosing their beliefs.


  48. Ross February 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Yes, but this is Australia, not the United States, and you’re not addressing my question.


  49. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Try stronger glasses, or re-read my answer.It’s all there.

    *Plus* why should a practising minority of any cult have any extra influence?

    The very same groups with the very same motives (as in the USA), are here pushing their agenda now.Frankly I don’t care if it the USA or any other place, to invade a persons body like that is just plain wrong.Personal violation of the highest order, and driven by Conservative Christians.
    Care to take a position on that, Ross?


  50. Ross February 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    As you see it, what are their motives?

    PS: Try not to be condescending.


  51. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    How about a straight answer first.
    Personal violation of the highest order, and driven by Conservative Christians.
    Care to take a position on that, Ross?

    Do you or do you not support this procedure or any other procedure which forces women to have an ultrasound procedure before terminating a pregnancy?

    Simple question.
    It’s hard NOT to be condescending ( can’t you turn the other cheek, and forgive my human frailties?)when two of the first blogs at your site were anti gay marriage(whilst bemoaning the Govt ignoring the Christian Conservative Lobby. LOL.First time for everything)

    and your backhander at Gillard over Rudd, and how he is interesting to listen to,while she is boring.
    It smelt a bit ‘misogynistic’ to me.Then again I think she may be a heathen living in sin.
    Shouldn’t the substance matter more than oratory skills?

    By the way discussion has a reciprocal basis,but so far you keep handing out questions and evading answers.Not unlike Reist.Not unlike a lot of postulation from the Christian Conservative camp.
    How about standing out from your crowd and coughing up some answers?
    (I won’t condemn you half as loud as you peers,might.)


  52. paul walter February 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Ross, the whole underlying crux of the entire antic is precisely, that these things are going down America, and what goes down America largely migrates to Australia.
    If you want to live in a country with museums devoted to depictions of people frolicking with dinosaurs in a pathetic attempt to reconcile theology with science, or the likes of Pat Robertson demanding you follow the sort of arduous and degrading processes Hypocritiphobe describes, fine, but many of us just prefer to live in Australia, where a semblance of the old divide between secular and theocratic still exists and Talibanisation may still be resisted.
    Keeping rosaries off ovaries is a serious task for women, as the country faces the prospect of Abbotisation, but I’m not waiting, like Niemoller, until its too late, I’m applauding my sisters and backing them, because rosaries on their ovaries means vestibules on my testicles, as far I can see.


    • Elisabeth February 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

      ‘I’m applauding my sisters and backing them, because rosaries on their ovaries means vestibules on my testicles, as far I can see.’

      You put it so well here, Paul. Thanks. I’d laugh even more if this threat of Abbotinisation weren’t so serious, and this from my position as a lapsed Catholic.


  53. Ross February 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    I’m not going to answer your question about abortion. I see that as obfuscation.

    I thought that might be what you’re getting at. I’m not avoiding questions. When I discuss these issues I ask the other side to clarify what they mean before I respond and to try to avoid antagonising them by misunderstanding their point of view. Yes, I’m a Christian, but not a theocrat. Some Christians dream of turning Australia into a theocracy, but I don’t see it happening. They’re on the fringe and their ideas are not taken seriously or supported, and there’s little chance that they’ll succeed in getting what they want.

    Mainstream Australian Christians recognise and accept that we’re a secular country, and that in public life they’re just one of many voices that has to compete for the right to be heard.

    Don’t jump to conclusions and assume that Christians who involve themselves in political discourse are closet theocrats. Also, don’t treat the Christian world as a monolith. We’re not all the same as the fundamentalists in the American Bible belt, you know. I hope you’re not implying that all Christians think alike, because they don’t.

    i’m not a misogynist. I used to be in Toastmasters, which trains its members in public speaking and communication. At a technical level, I think that Rudd is a better public speaker than Prime Minister Gillard, and both of them are probably better than me. That’s all I meant by that remark, so don’t twist my words, thankyou.


  54. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Is the site down JW?


    • Jennifer Wilson February 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      I don’t think so Hypo. I’ve been off making arguments elsewhere all day, but you all seem fine without my input!


      • Gruffbutt February 20, 2012 at 10:21 am #

        I’m not.


  55. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    To your initial question. (and comments to follow in 2 sections)

    “Don’t most people have a set of values that inform how they live out their life and work? If so, why is this only an issue if these values come from that person’s religion tradition?”

    Part one yes.

    Part 2.
    The non religious (religious = people who ‘actively’ practise, actively uphold their religions tenets) especially Christian Conservative lobbyists, have a disproportional influence.
    Therefore it is incumbent on them to explain their position openly, honestly and based on what a secular society values.
    This includes,morals ethics and proof.Not opinion, proof.Data, evidence.Independent and not tarnished.

    It is incumbent on ‘all’ of us to demand who is driving our policy and from what base that lobbying comes.Religious or otherwise.
    The ultra-Conservative Christian values are not modern, or driven by freedom, and are out of step with a secular society.The American version is becoming more extreme, engulfing the more moderate viewpoints and becoming more powerful.It will / does wield influence here and must (will) be resisted by anyone who values hard fought freedoms and a tolerant community.
    The Virginia decision is a disgrace.
    That you don’t agree with that position, and condemn it, says a lot about your viewpoint on this matter.As does your preference NOT to comment.

    It was a good tactic (won’t answer) you chose (in some ways)
    No-one can twist (interpret) words that don’t exist.

    And you said this:”As a Christian, my idea of what constitutes morality is different from those of other mindsets. Morality is not just a private matter”
    So is ‘not’ declaring the former (being a Christian) immoral, if morality is NOT a private matter?
    That is the position Tankard Reist has belatedly taken.


  56. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    Why can’t it upload the second half???????


  57. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    Something weird going on with your sire JW


  58. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    Either I,or this site picked up a nasty bug from Ross.


  59. Ross February 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    I’m not aware of what happened in Virginia.

    I want to say a little more about what I wrote above about Julia Gillard’s speaking skills. Elsewhere on my blog I’ve written about Tony Abbott and Bob Brown, and I don’t find them that engaging either. I used to hear former Senator Steve Fielding (Family First) on Parliamentary radio broadcasts, and in my view, he also had room for improvement in that area.


    • Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

      Reply to Ross(26th try) SECTION TWO

      At your site you said:(about Gay Marriage)
      “I get sick of militant secularists who assert that the church has too much influence in Australian politics, which in any case seems very much overstated. If that really was the case, then I doubt that our nation would be pursuing such reckless and dangerous social engineering.”
      Now you know how the rest of the non-practising Christian community feels, Ross.
      Is forcing a woman to undergo an invasive procedure to ‘guilt’ her up, not social engineering?
      Do you know for sure this is not on the shopping list of the ‘movement’ here?
      Sorry Ross,but the community is way ready for the next wave, and Abbotts views to dominate the skyline.


      • Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

        Nine Millionth Attempt +4

        Second Half of SECTION TWO For Ross

        And isn’t your initial question really a fishing expedition,to justify your position here (see below) ,where you attempt to be dog whistling a bit, yourself?


        It’s a pity your humanities training does not go to showing some moral support to the soon to be women victims of the state of Virginia, as you do with a totally hypothetical assumption that Marriage Celebrants ‘will be forced against their will’ to marry someone gay.
        Priorities Ross,priorities.


      • Jennifer Wilson February 18, 2012 at 5:30 am #

        Hypo – you are coming through as spam. I’ve found you in the spam. I don’t know why. I’ll tell spam you aren’t spam.


  60. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Nope won’t upload me.


  61. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm #



    • Jennifer Wilson February 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

      I have no idea what’s wrong Hypo. Nobody else is having trouble. Maybe you have a temporary glitch at your end?


    • Jennifer Wilson February 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

      I just checked all the settings, and everything is normal.


  62. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm #


    It won’t send medium or bigger?
    Yet reloads all other sites OK,Almost like bandwidth thing at your end?


  63. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    and the worst thing is it is telling me its going out at this end, so my download/upload is growing but the 20 attempts have been swallowed up?


  64. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Gotta go,it’s driving me insane.


  65. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    There is a second half to the reply to Ross from here:
    Hypocritophobe says:
    February 17, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    But I cannot upload it.
    Same problem.
    Some sort of instability.


  66. Hypocritophobe February 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    It’s official.
    Something not right JW.
    According to my ISP nothing wrong here.
    You may need to get a few people from different areas send a reasonable sized post and see what happens.(To rule out probs at your end)


    • Jennifer Wilson February 18, 2012 at 5:26 am #

      Hypo have emailed WordPress about your difficulties. I don’t have any explanation. The only problem with uploading comment would arise if you had a series of links – but even that would show up in spam.


  67. paul walter February 17, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

    Julia gets a gong for the comment about lobbying employing the tobacco model, which sounds disturbingly similar to the denialist approach now in place involving where science in other areas has raised questions as to climate change, toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals etc. Science is only science when it involves boostering science involving business opportunities, apart from that it is only nonsense dreamed up by stoned leftists and greenies with nothing better to do than hassle honest mountebanks going about their lawful daily plunder,rightly indifferent to their unworthy less deserving mebers of humanity
    So in turn it relates back to questions
    involving mass culture, consent manufacture, advertising and consumerism, questions not taken up fully to an end conclusion by some commentators. In a sense focussing exclusively on p#rn deflects curiosity away from the system by dealing with a strawman, po#n concentrated upon as the sole and serious problem facing society, involving social and psychological manipulation.
    But what if p#rn is only a manifestation of some thing more serious within the system, a symptom rather than the disease itself?
    It might be fine if you are bit off-put by sexual activity and see it as “sinful”. You can call it “commodification”,but is the real evil in po#n or (human) commodification? If the public is persuaded to get rid of the blemish of porn and the porn itself is the sole evil to be rid of, what hope if the underlying mechanisms of persuasion are left in place and we end up convincing ourselves to pollute ourselves to death, say, instead?


    • M.E. In The 21st CenturyJulia February 22, 2012 at 9:29 am #

      I used a FICTIONAL example to make one point (of many possible) that Ross’ questioning of “ONLY someone’s values emanating from their religious tradition are an issue?” is erroneous.
      The reason I used a non-existent controversy was in the hope there’d be less chance of replies going off on a tangent
      Admittedly I could have done it better, but it was very late at night after a very long week….and the tangent happened in any case.

      There are many real life examples of social & psychological manipulation/propaganda, whether by large corps, religious groups, govt policy-makers, local councils & down the scale to individuals. Most seem to follow a formula involving action reaction, counter-reaction, science vs science, denigration & dehumanising opponents, attack (inc legal) & defence, counter-attack, supposed legitimate authority figures & ratbag troublemakers, whistleblowers, etc.
      For a good discussion about the formula of controversy and the way it is employed you might find Prof Brian Martin’s work interesting.

      I also recommend this to other non-sheep.


  68. Julia February 18, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    My post seemed to go through okay.

    In an email from Change.com there is the claim:

    A loophole in Qld law meant killing someone wasn’t murder if the victim was gay and “came onto you” first. After seeing this defence used to defend a brutal murder in his own Church’s courtyard, Father Paul started a Change.org petition calling for it to be abolished.

    In just a few days, 25,000 people signed Father Paul’s petition, and there was front-page coverage in The Courier-Mail, Daily Telegraph, an op-ed published in The Punch (and responded to by the Attorney-General), and features on ABC radio National and Channel 10’s The Project.

    The explosion of support and media coverage of Father Paul’s campaign forced a policy shift from the government — they announced changes to legislation that will all but relegate the “gay panic” defence to the history books.

    Now there have been many attempts (including petitions) over the years to have this disgusting bit of legislation abolished…with absolutely zero result… the MSM have consistently ignored the issue & politicians totally deaf.

    Yet one Catholic priest sets up a petition and wham…front page news!!! The Press AND the pollies galvanise into action. It wasn’t only homosexuals who signed the petition, but people from all walks of life.

    So to say the church’s influence is over-stated is a mite naive, or so it seems to me.
    Even as in this case one branch of the xtian church is at odds with other branches of it (with support for the on-going campaign to have homosexuality return to being a criminal offence ranging from moderate to intense). One Catholic priest takes a stand, his religious authority in full view, drawing backing from Catholics and non-Catholics, xtian and non-xtian, and politicians act.

    This is also true when others take a stand with their religious affiliations openly worn on their sleeves.

    [As a side note this makes me wonder anew why MTR asserted that being open about her religion would detract from her work]


    • Jennifer Wilson February 18, 2012 at 5:24 am #

      There’s also the matter of churches being exempt from anti discrimination legislation in the matter of employing gays and lesbians. They are allowed to refuse employment based entirely on sexual orientation. Churches are hugely influential. Look at the ACL and Julia Gillard’s stand on gay marriage. For herself, I doubt she cares much, but the ACL lobbied her from the start.


      • Hypocritophobe February 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

        If the role of Christian(all religious) lobbyists is not proportionate to their community relevance/status/representation, and their ‘clout’ and ‘gift bags’ are not, wound back, then I think committed atheists need to formalise their position, and push to have equal recognition in Law.
        They have as much right to access, the education curriculum,all public policy, tax evasion/avoidance programs(as per the church) rebates/allowances/concessions, free prime real estate for accommodation and holidaying atheists, and allocated time on public TV.
        There is no reason that any cult which has a deity/deities should have more benefits or weight than the majority.(Who are clearly not believers)

        In fact, I feel that if this were the case millions would abandon the church (religion) instantly.

        It seems in our country a challenge along this line would get an ear and very likely a victory in the high court,if needed, but in the US -not a hope.
        Their ‘church’ has bought every man and his dog’s loyalty.Which says a lot about how corrupt their version of Christianity,justice and government has become.
        They are at a point of no return.


      • Doug Quixote February 18, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

        To quote WB Yeats, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

        We need only to look at the USA politics to see the truth of it. Mercifully, our education system has saved us from the worst excesses of the religious fanatics, but the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.


    • Hypocritophobe February 18, 2012 at 10:17 am #

      Because MTR is either politics or media bound, or both.


  69. R.H. February 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Morality is good, doesn’t matter where it comes from.

    I hope Reist sues your arse off (as they say), you could afford to lose at least half of it.


    • Hypocritophobe February 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

      Nice trolling,RH.
      No matter where it comes from, eh?

      So if the murdering, drug-selling, underworld give some cash to orphanage the morality is still OK by you.

      Looks like we have ourselves another dedicated follower, of the ‘morality on our terms’ brigade.

      The twisted logic of the religious right.
      How’s Kellsy going,anyway?
      And Claire?


      • Tony March 8, 2012 at 9:58 am #

        You really should stop talking to yourself Jennifer, you’ll do yourself permanent brain damage.


  70. R.H. February 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    I’ve said this elsewhere, it’s my final word here:

    If I’m poor and someone puts a dollar in my hand I don’t care if it comes from a pimp, a stand up comedian or the Pope.

    Consider this: In the 1960s Joe Borg owned about twenty brothels in Kings Cross. One morning he started his car and got blown through the roof. Turns out he’d bequeathed all his brothels to the RSPCA. Relatives contested the will but the RSPCA fought like mad -and won. Which was a win for dogs, cats, and other poor creatures.

    It doesn’t matter where it comes from.

    Ruth Park tells the true story of a notorious Surrey Hills prostitute who put on parties for the local slum kids. Should they care?



  71. Hypocritophobe February 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    Glad the animals copped a break.They deserve it.
    They are not likely to wilfully groom and lure children into a life-destroying cycle of Institutionalised abuse.

    The scales of morality????
    Never heard of “blood money”?

    Some of us smart enough to refuse the money that comes from the Pope.
    It carries an unseen value.(Hidden cost)

    I mean aren’t they Institution who created the mess in the first place?
    Absolving themselves at will.How convenient.


  72. Hypocritophobe March 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    FYI All (Compare the photos and the details of a recent visitor)



    Why would that be?
    Why would someone hide their real face?Or use someone elses, or is Ross really Rodrigo?

    Try as I may can’t seem to find a contact for “Ross” at the ANZTLA

    The closest I came was this dude:

    Tony McCumstie
    Catholic Theological College, Melbourne
    Maybe he knows?
    The secretary and Treasurer of the Vic Chapter are,different individuals and neither is a Ross as he claims on his site.

    Or is Ross another Alene Composta or a spy from the Catholic camp?

    I’m a theological librarian from Melbourne, Victoria. I hold a Honours degree in Humanities, majoring in history, a Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing and Editing (which I’ve never used, at least not in the sense of being a published author in my own right), a Graduate Diploma in Information Management, and a Master’s degree in Theology. I’m also the Secretary and Treasurer of the Victorian chapter of the Australian and New Zealand Theological Library Association. Good movies, good books, good food and good company are my pleasures in life, such as they are. Comments are moderated, but usually accepted.
    The sort of thing young Stagger may claim.
    The library is purely Catholic,which is why “Ross”, or whoever it was here, would not answer questions about abortion.

    Come back Ross and clear this up.
    We miss you.


  73. Hypocritophobe March 2, 2012 at 12:28 am #


    Let’s see if the Vic Govt has the balls.
    Let’s see if the ABC has the integrity.
    (Can Uhlmann dare ask a question on this taboo topic?)
    Let’s see if GetUp! plays a role.
    Lets see if the broader community cares.

    We all know Pell and the gutless Catholic apologists will blame the individuals.


  74. paul walter March 2, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    In wondering what had upset Hypocritophobe, I discovered its the childish comment from RH concerning the campaign against Jennifer Wilson. With sh-t for brains, what else should we expect?


    • Doug Quixote March 2, 2012 at 10:58 am #

      Yes, Paul – but “don’t feed the trolls” is good advice. . .

      (I just wish I could follow it)


  75. ItsBouquet March 8, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    The problem appears to be that NPFS has attracted a troll of “inferior wit” – or perhaps it’s the required level of aptitude for such an exercise.


  76. Hypocritophobe March 8, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    All roads lead to Rome,in this case the sever of the troll.
    Whilst an email address can lead nowhere a server remains constant.
    It is possible to track.
    Run Tony run!
    Tony is digging him/herself into a big hole as he/she likes to say.

    As well as imprinting ‘her’ own hard drive Tony is exposing ‘herself’.
    And if ‘it’ thinks this trolling is of some benefit to Reist and her legal stoush, ROFL.
    JW just store the incoming from the Troll and add them to the cops pile.
    Trolling is not free speech,so don’t publish its words.


  77. Hypocritophobe March 8, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    EDIT Oops

    Sever = Server

    Nice Freudian slip,though.

    JW you should double check that your version of WordPress Security is up to date as per Forrest Gumps post.


  78. Hypocritophobe March 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    When they are not forcing themselves on the vulnerable they deal in exploiting the vulnerable.


    And people wonder why we want to analyse motivations,and why religious affiliation matters.

    Did this Priest ever have to get a Working With Children Permit?
    Do other members of Churches and clergy?
    Do lobbyists and their staff?


  79. Julia March 9, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Article in LV Express Mon, 27/2/12

    Private prosecution gets thrown out of court. by Louise Nelson.

    A Toongabbie man’s personal quest to hold a religion “to account” over its past “refusal” to comply with child protection legislation has been thrown out of court.

    Carpenter Steven Unthank, a former Jehovah’s Witness member, took his former religion to the Latrobe Valley’s Magistrates’ Court in a private prosecution for failing to ensure its ministers adopted Working With Children Checks, as required by State Govt Legislation.

    The prosecution, comprising a total of 35 charges against five organisations which make up the Jehovah’s Witnesses structure, alleged religion elders had engaged “in child-related work at the Traralgon Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses … knowing that (they did) not have a current ‘Assessment Notice’ as required under the working with Children Act 2005.”

    Mr Unthank said he hoped the court case, if successful, would set a precedent for all religions, nation-wide, who “refused to take leadership & the law seriously.”

    However the charges were officially withdrawn by the director of the Office of Public Prosecutions on Tuesday, as they were “not seen to be in the public interest.”

    The court, before Magistrate Daniel Muling, heard the DPP had applied to take over the conduct of proceedings to withdraw all charges.

    Mr Unthank said he, & other members of the Traralgon congregation who wished to remain anonymous, were “disappointed” with the decision, & said it “sent a very clear message” to religions who “thought they were above the law”.

    The WWC was introduced by State Govt in 2005 to ensure volunteers & employees, including ministers of religion, working with children went through background checks.

    However, the JW’s corporate body, the Watchtower & Bible Tract Society, informed Victorian congregations their elders required the WWC in Nov last year.

    JW Traralgon Chaplain Albert Helbling said due to the “family orientated” nature of the religion, with Bible study classes “always conducted in the presence of family members”, its six elders – some of which already held a WWC – had not seen the need for background checks.

    “Families are responsible for their children, they stick together & work together; that’s how we operate,” Mr Heibling said.

    “If a parent is not with the children, it’s because the parent has agreed that the child goes alone with another family.

    “As far as we’re concerned, we’ve never has a problem with (not having the WWC); from our stand, is all we can see (Mr Unthank) is trying to cause ill feelings & problems.”

    Conjecture remains over whether JW members, involved in door-to-door preachinbg methods in the company of children, referred to as ‘publishers’, were required to undergo the background checks.

    In an audio recording of a letter from the Watchtower Society, read to a local congregation in late 2011 & heard by The Express, it was stated door-to-door activities were part of a member’s “personal ministry” & ‘publishers’ were not representatives or volunteers of the Watchtower Society.

    However the letter reading went on to state, “nevertheless, an individual may volunteer to apply (for WWC)”, which Mr Unthank said was the religion absolving itself of responsibility & putting the onus on individuals.

    Watchtower Society senior elder Alan Wood, confirmed a letter had been sent out to Victorian congregations “about November” last year, informing elders of their requirement to apply for WWC.

    This came after a Watchtower Soc spokesperson told the Herald Sun in July last year it did not believe its ministers were required to obtain background checks “because they did not typically work unsupervised with children.”

    While Mr Wood said that “unclarity” initially surrounded the legislation & WWC criteria, he confirmed the Watchtower Soc had been in discussions with the Dept of Public Prosecutions, but would not comment on whether it was ordered to conform with the legislation, or had voluntarily accepted it.


    • Julia March 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

      Yet I have personally met several people who have claimed they were raped as children by JW elders.
      And Mr Unthank is right in that the decision by DPP gives free-reign to ALL religions to believe they are above the law, refuse to take the law seriously. Yet many, at the same time, would have laws enacted to make us conform to THEIR whimsies.


      • Julia March 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

        And to put this in context…if my daughter volunteers to help out in her own daughter’s classroom…where at no time will she ever be left alone with the class (at all times the teacher or teachers aide is in the room)…she still is required to have a police check AND a WWC check before being allowed to help out.


  80. Hypocritophobe March 9, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    Thanks Julia.
    We already know the jelly backs of the Vatican have have placed the Churches sinister reputation on child abuse, before the welfare of the victims.

    And some in our community would claim they have women’s and children’s best interests at heart.The silence of the sheeples on the topic of Christian Child Abuse cases is deafening.No wonder people are suspicious of ‘unselfish’ crusaders.

    Sick Joke
    The observation I made this morning of the Law getting it right for once?
    Perhaps this Jehovah’s W/ness should take this to the High Court.
    Maybe they view children as being ‘worthy’ of the public interest.


  81. Julia March 9, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    without actually knowing Mr Unthank nor why the DPP director decided it wasn’t in the public interest to pursue the case, my thought is: a carpenter (still recovering from the loss of tithing to JWs) from a small town in an area of high unemployment is hardly likely to have the funds to mount a High Court challenge. There’s also the problem of dodgy reporting by a feel-good newspaper known for “suck-up-to-me” editor.
    Still it is yet another example of how a religious organisation is treated differently from the rest of us. Why should any group be exempt from laws on the basis of their religious belief system? Why is it okay for them to discriminate against women, against children, or people with differing sexual preferences or people with disabilities etc etc simply because the members of that group claim to worship an invisible supernatural being?
    Why is okay for a group of male elders (they don’t have female elders) to ignore their legal obligations when it’s a known fact that the females within their congregation have to wear scarves, are treated as men’s property (baby-making machine hand-maidens), have no authority of their own, whose role is strict obedience to their “masters” & they & their children “property” of the male hierarchy? Cattlelicks or Jaydubs, SallyAnns, Anglicarrions or Assembly of Godless…or one of the dozen other religious entitiies…with a long record of women and children oppressed & abused…somehow it’s okay for them to have different rules from the rest of us. And okay for them to dictate how the rest of us should live.

    Sick joke alright.


    • Hypocritophobe March 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

      I would also argue that those in a position of trust,priests,nuns,cops,teachers etc should always have a bigger book thrown at them than the rest of the rats.
      I don’t mind if they are paid more initially,but whence they cross THE sacrosanct line,they get socially buried alive,big time.
      I’d actually like their foreheads tattooed,and the same for arsonists.


  82. Hypocritophobe March 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    I see Chris Uhlmann has pulled a few strings and got one of his mates to place a Roman Catholic Funded, Anti abortion advertorial rant up on Association for Blatant Catholicism, HumDrum area.

    Is Hanrahan, Gaelic for Smith?


  83. Hypocritophobe March 12, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    To induce vomiting


    Gillard gets mentioned.(Complete with shocking photo)


  84. Hypocritophobe March 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm #



    Hail Mary, here he comes……….


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