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We Christians need to love more and judge less
It is disappointing to read that some Christian schools still feel the need to censure staff who are going through the painful process of divorce (“Schools defend right to discipline divorced staff”, The Age, 22/12). Even more disappointing is their desire to exclude students struggling with their sexual identity.
As a one-time board member of a progressive Christian school, I can assure readers that not all Christian schools have the same theological position. Unfortunately with religion, it is always the fundamentalists with their views of an angry God that get publicity.
One major problem occurs when we do a literal reading of our ancient texts without understanding the context in which they were written. Fortunately, most Christians have moved to a position of understanding that the Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Rome, was not referring to two people of the same sex living together in a monogamous relationship.
The true value of any person is never determined by their sexual or gender identity, but by the quality of their character. We Christians need to love more and judge less.
Lance Sterling, Nunawading
Religious Discrimination Bill is a retrograde step
Do we really want to go back to the pre-Whitlam days of “fault divorce” where couples were dragged through the courts causing untold harm, both financially and emotionally. How can the Christian Schools Australia lobby group justify sacking a divorcee. The Religious Discrimination Bill allowing schools or work places to hire or fire on religious grounds is a retrograde and harmful precedent. We are a secular country, let’s act like one. This bill has no place in Australia.
Christina Foo, Wahroonga
No place for negative self-righteousness
Christian schools want the right to discriminate against people on the basis of divorce, infidelity and pregnancy. Yet we continue to hear that faith organisations such as the Catholic Church have harboured some of the worst types of criminals such as paedophiles (“Priest jailed for serial child abuse”, The Age, 22/12).
The idea of discriminating against people who are different from yourself coupled with the belief that you have special powers over and above others is a consequence of self-righteousness.
Self-righteousness spawns social division and even wars and should be recognised as a negative attribute and not embedded in any religious organisation.
Leigh Ackland, Deepdene
Review of religious segregation overdue
Obviously, some Christian education groups have no understanding that a divorce for many is hell on earth. And when a person is putting their life back together after ending a damaging marriage, they need emotional support and secure employment not the wrath of God delivered in disciplinary decree.
The question of why these Christian education groups would take undefined disciplinary steps over a person considering a same-sex marriage needs to be seriously challenged. The nation has endorsed with thoughtfulness, caring and compassion for the rights of love to exist in the gay community. Those values appear not to occur at all in those Christian education groups. A review of their segregation from the real world is overdue.
Des Files, Brunswick
A history of discrimination over divorce
It was disturbing to read that some religious schools still think it’s appropriate to discriminate against a teacher who is divorced. It reminded me that in the mid-1970s, I was denied an education studentship when the Department of Education officer who interviewed me said he “was worried about the number of divorced women wanting to teach as they could twist the minds of the children”. Happily, I was granted a studentship the following year and spent 30 years teaching in government secondary colleges and in the TAFE sector.
Jan Storey, Beaumaris
Business the missing link
Nick Enfield (“You can’t put a price on scientific innovation”, The Age, 22/12) provides a timely critique of the government’s push for commercial-ready research but, as with all government schemes, misses the point that commercialisation is a two-way street – it requires academics and business to get involved, rather than placing all the onus on researchers.
Having worked in the CSIRO for 29 years, my experience is that the Australian business community are the real problem, being risk-averse and always looking for a quick return. I experienced this first-hand having searched for someone to manufacture a low-cost and accurate biosensor for detecting viruses that could have been used to rapidly screen for COVID. With no interest from Australian business, my attempts to look for a commercial partner overseas were thwarted by government budget cuts. I don’t know the solution to the problem but more scientists on company boards would be a good start.
Tim Davis, Heidelberg
Swift testing needed
The level of community PCR testing is unsustainable and things need to change to avoid a serious crisis. The government should provide free rapid antigen testing kits to all households as soon as possible. All people who are deemed to be close contacts should use this test and, if positive, have a PCR test and stay home until results are known. The same process should apply for travellers crossing state borders.
This plan will save the government a lot of money and also reduce the stress for people who have long waits for PCR test results, a situation which is only going to worsen as the testing volume continues to rise. Please act swiftly and follow the path already in place in Britain and the US.
Mary D. Fraher, Aspendale
A Christmas Island story
Can you imagine how Border Force would have dealt with the birth of Jesus in Australia? Mary and Joseph would have been put in a detention centre awaiting processing. Jesus, though born in Australia, would have been sent with his parents to of all places, Christmas Island. Those poor shepherds would have been told to flock off or run the risk of having their visas cancelled.
The three wise men would have had to go into 14 days of quarantine because they hadn’t been vaccinated. Their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh would have been confiscated. The star in the east would have been seen as a spy satellite, probably of Chinese origin and Peter Dutton would encourage the US to shoot it down. The angel Gabriel would be escorted out of the no-fly zone and given a three-year ban for entering the country illegally.
Greg Tuck, Warragul
Dull, blind allegiance
How refreshing to read of an aspiring representative in Parliament who thinks for herself (“Independent in Kooyong had ALP link”, The Age, 22/12). Mr Morrison casts aspersions on Monique Ryan for her past link to the ALP when she thought Kevin Rudd would take action on climate change. You could say it makes her sound like someone who walks the talk. Whereas, Mr Morrison focuses on a blind allegiance he expects of voters to the Party machine, wherever it deviates, vacillates, or makes a 180-degree turn. He shows interest in one policy only, to keep the wheels of the Party rolling. A bit dull, I’d say.
Marguerite Heppell, East Hawthorn
Change is good
Brendan Nelson, once leader of the Liberal Party, was a member of the ALP until he resigned to become president of the AMA. Humans are political animals. I’d be more worried by someone not changing their beliefs as circumstances change.
Wayne Robinson, Kingsley, WA
Victims deserve compo
One would hope that Anne Hamilton-Byrne’s victims receive some recompense from the sale of their former headquarters (“Cult survivors claim slice of house sale”, The Age, 22/12).
The children involved were subjected to mental and physical torture from the perpetrators including the so-called “aunties” until their final liberation.
If any good came from these sordid events it was surely the exposure of the dangers inherent in pseudo-religious cults. Perhaps too, we need to be far more questioning of all religious organisations.
Paul Murchison, Kingsbury
Our idiocy test awaits
Your correspondent Rita Lord (Letters, 22/12) wonders if Clive Palmer and Craig Kelly think we are all idiots who are unaware of Australian history. That is exactly what they think. And at the coming election we will find out whether or not they are right.
Mark Summerfield, Northcote
Do it for the girls
All I want for Christmas is to see and hear blokes leading on gender equality. Richard Marles, it’s time to hand the deputy leadership to Tanya Plibersek. Do this for the women and girls across our Nation, and for Labor.
Maria Bohan, Newtown
Booster supply issues
I am eligible for a booster shot but when I went to two GPs and two pharmacies they all told me they couldn’t get enough shots from the government until mid-January. Yet Morrison and Hunt are constantly spouting how anybody can get a booster from their GPs or pharmacies. Not true. Some GPs and pharmacies feel they are being unfairly blamed by the public.
John Hannah, Castlemaine
Become agents for change
The article from Zoe Daniel explaining why she is putting her hand up to stand for election in Goldstein says it all. I live in Indi where we voted out Sophie Mirabella and elected independent Cathy McGowan, twice. McGowan and now Helen Haines have been high-achieving and a breath of fresh air, and the sky hasn’t fallen in. Federal Parliament has become a lot worse since then as Daniel points out. The people have had enough, yet the parties are too entrenched in their “system” to do what is right.
I say to the voters in Goldstein, be brave and become agents for change, you’ll be amazed how good it feels to make things better.
Dick Tivendale, Benalla
Climate change reality
As an octogenarian with several grandchildren, I spend much time wondering how they will fare in the hostile climates already locked in for forthcoming decades. In 1988, James Hansen fronted a US Senate hearing and said that a human-induced global warming trend could be detected with a high degree of confidence. In 2009 Hansen produced his landmark book Storms of my Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. Hansen’s first grandchild, Sophie, was then aged 11. Hansen, now 80, has produced a new book addressed to young people and consists of a series of caring and insightful letters he has written to Sophie.
In Kentucky and adjacent states, we have seen Hansen’s catastrophic storms in action. Without claiming direct causality, there can be little doubt that climate change was a factor in the unprecedented intensity of these tornadoes. Don’t say the US (and the world) wasn’t warned. The last thing Australia now needs is more Canavan and Pitt coal.
Ian Bayly, Upwey
Where’s the truth?
Oh meat industry. You were sanguine with witty names such as black pudding, sweetbreads, devon, oyster blade, porterhouse but now you’re snarky about vegan products imitating meat products which themselves largely imitate meat? Sausages need only be half meat, “meat” pies even less. But for vegan food producers there must be truth in names and descriptions?
It might be smarter to examine the digestibility of some of the pea proteins, vegetable gums and gels, and then compare actual flavours of products. That said, the Impossible burger is a ripper!
Christine Cemm, Mornington
Help the vulnerable
The TGA recently confirmed that women will still need to provide a script each time they need the contraceptive pill, regardless of how many years they have been taking it. It is incredibly disappointing to see that the need for accessible contraception has once again been forgotten.
Women are expected to pay at least $40 every three months to see a GP, plus the cost of their average pill, some of which aren’t subsidised and can cost up to $90 for three months supply. Those costs might seem reasonable for someone on a steady income, but what about the vulnerable groups of women such as high school and university students or low-income single mothers, those who don’t earn a steady income?
Without accessibility and affordability, we can’t help some of the most vulnerable groups and we leave them at risk of unwanted pregnancy. Shouldn’t we be concerned about that too?
Elli Sharples, Lara
Extend the track
It is disappointing the federal government is walking away from its 2019 City Deal election commitment to Melbourne’s south-east, but the Frankston rail extension already is a nationally recognised infrastructure project that the Morrison government separately committed to building – and partially funded – and should not be further delayed.
It has been promised for 92 years, has the support of both major parties, already has a clear public benefit case, and is one of only three urgent Victorian projects listed as a “near-term” (0-5 years) national infrastructure priority. If Canberra can’t pull off a City Deal, it can get going and fulfil its 2018 promise: “Building metro rail for Frankston East (Hospital/Monash Uni), Karingal, Langwarrin, Baxter and surrounds.”
In recent days, PM Scott Morrison said he doesn’t apologise for keeping voter promises. This is what the voters of Dunkley and Flinders have asked for: build the Frankston rail extension. It is time to act and extend the track.
Ginevra Hosking, CEO, Committee for Greater Frankston
AND ANOTHER THING …
It’s beginning to look like a pre-election Christmas, with slogans everywhere, crowded shops, high-vis photo ops, and very few masks around the chops!
John Bye, Elwood
Turns out Bambi was a member of the Labor Party, oh dear.
Paul Custance, Highett
Loving Craig Kelly’s United Party ads. Makes wrapping up the rubbish and putting it in the bin a pleasure.
Stuart Gluth, Northcote
Someone needs to tell Craig and Clive they’re dreamin’ if they think they are the heirs of Lyons, Hughes and Menzies.
Claire Thomas, North Albury, NSW
The PM says that common sense suggests we wear masks in indoor settings, especially when others are around. So why isn’t the PM wearing a mask when visiting Incitec Pivot?
Sheldon Rothman, Woodend
Scott Morrison seems to have faith in Australians using common sense to cope with COVID. He obviously has not visited his local supermarket lately.
David Seal, Balwyn North
How can the PM rely on people acting responsibly when enough keep voting him in?
Trevor Martin, St Leonards
Using the PM’s COVID personal responsibility logic, governments should remove speed limits and let drivers use “personal responsibility”. Imagine the carnage.
Mick Hussey, Beaconsfield
Bit hard to “stand tall” when you are on a gurney or in a hospital bed.
Bob Stensholt, Glen Iris
It’s amazing how superior you feel when you’ve had the booster jab.
Brian Morley, Donvale
The slow go by ScoMo on Omicron beats even his unenviable record. Australians deserve better from their government.
Doris LeRoy, Altona
A cinch beating the Poms!
Tim Blowfield, Melbourne
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