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When ignorance is a priority

By RosemaryJ36  

The Coalition government has three major problems – one is effective communication, the second is setting appropriate priorities and the third and most important is ignorance of science, including evidence, proof and scientific method!

For over 200 years the rights of our First Nations were ignored under the Terra Nullius doctrine, despite their being grudgingly granted the right to vote in national elections in the 1960s.

In 2015, a Referendum Council was established jointly by the then Prime Minister – Malcolm Turnbull – and the then Leader of the Opposition – Bill Shorten – with the brief to examine inclusion of the Aboriginal and Islander peoples in the Constitution.

In 2017, Aboriginal and Islander people from all over Australia presented to the Coalition government the Uluru Statement from the Heart – which was immediately brushed aside by the Prime Minister on the unfounded pretext that it was asking for a third chamber of Parliament.

No further action has been taken on the issue, which many see as totally inappropriate given the general agreement that Constitutional recognition was a matter of urgency.

Now, despite Australia having been originally established as a colony of Great Britain, under the Crown, who is the Head of the Church of England, those responsible for drafting the Constitution, noting many aspects of the USA Constitution, made the deliberate choice to include s116 of the Constitution in Chapter V – The States.

It was an interesting decision, based on the fact that the existing States were ceding many of their powers to the Commonwealth Government, and, at the time of Federation, many of the States would have regarded themselves as Christian and were left free to choose, without dictation from the Federal Parliament.

In general, throughout Australia, people are free to practice their preferred religions and governments are secular.

So – what is the problem?

Acceptance – in many cases reluctantly – that the age-old abhorrence of homosexuality was ill-founded, and that sexuality in a rainbow set of varieties is determined before birth, Parliament decided to agree to amend the Marriage Act (ill-advisedly made more exclusive by John Howard in less enlightened times) to enable same sex marriage.

Sadly, one of the drawbacks of many religions is that their faithful rely on ancient religious tomes to guide their behaviours, totally ignoring the fact that knowledge is not fixed in time, translations are imperfect* and much of what people knew 2000 years ago has been proved to be incomplete or inaccurate knowledge.

Just think of the technical knowledge which we take for granted nowadays which, if mentioned even 600 years ago would have led to the unwary speaker being burnt at the stake or stoned to death! Just think – Galileo!

Even before the national plebiscite on same-sex marriage was held, polling indicated a majority of people were in favour. A majority of those in opposition would have generally been holding on to ancient prejudices based on ignorance of the nature of sexuality, instilled and supported by their religious ‘beliefs’.

I am honestly struggling to come to grips with the idea that we should support people who believe in something which is patently untrue! Surely, we should help them to accept reality.

We can mostly accept someone’s belief in the existence of a god – which I do not share – because, being supernatural, it can be neither proved nor disproved. I could understand a citizen in 1680 refusing to believe that it could be possible for a man to fly in some sort of machine – despite Leonardo da Vinci having designed one sometime earlier.

I can also see that early civilisations needed to develop rules for a community to live in harmony – and, to this day, the ethics which were reportedly preached by Jesus Christ are an admirable foundation for a harmonious community.

However, because prejudice against members of the LGBTIQ community continues, we have become aware of the damage to the mental health of young people who are being pilloried for being ‘different’. Fortunately, sporting bodies are continually developing policies to support inclusion and ignore difference and requires club members to support their policy – which is endorsed by sponsors.

So now we come to priorities.

It is clearly a myth that the Australian government is secular, just as it is a myth that they want to include proper recognition of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Australian Constitution!

If it were not so, then two things would happen

  1. They would ignore their own religious preferences and prejudices, accept that human sexuality is determined before birth, tell the faithful that their prejudices are based on out-of-date knowledge and to grow up and stop hurting vulnerable children. And, in any case, the Constitution says they can practice their religion but the anti-discrimination law should encourage them to not discriminate against others on grounds of sexuality;
  2. They would accept that what the Uluru Statement asks for is NOT a third Chamber and get on with the long-overdue job of implementing the requests in that statement!

In relation to point 1 – and the total refusal of the government to take urgently needed action to stop and reverse climate change/global warming/the climate emergency plus their prejudices indicate clearly that:

THIS GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO BELIEVE SCIENTISTS AND WE ARE SUFFERING IN CONSEQUENCE!

*In discussing translations of the Bible, Matthew Vines indicates that the sort of same sex union which was referred to as unacceptable in the Bible was in fact pederasty or paedophilia, mistranslated, however, as homosexuality.

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12 comments

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  1. king1394

    Will all religious views be privileged under a new freedom of religion regime, or will some religions be more equal than others?

  2. Matters Not

    Re:

    it can be neither proved nor disproved.

    Well something like that. But the onus of proof always resides with the one making a claim and NOT the person disputing the claim. Or so my grandkids tell me when … They seem to get it. I blame their education on a secular curriculum in a secular school where the emphasis is on rationality and science as legitimate ways of knowing and not faith.

  3. RosemaryJ36

    MN: critical thinking is – it seems – missing from religious education!

  4. Matters Not

    RosemaryJ36, critical thinking is absent from faith – almost by definition and certainly by necessity. What with virgin births, three persons in the one god, etc .

    As for religious education – ’tis a complete misnomer. An impossibility.

  5. whatever

    What were they thinking, sending Ken Wyatt out to the media to declare a referendum on Aboriginal Constitutional recognition?
    They know this is doomed, it won’t get the support of Prime Minister Dutton and his KKKrazy constituents.

  6. Kaye Lee

    I don’t even care if sexuality is predetermined or not. I know people who have had loving relationships with partners of both sexes. If they have a loving caring respectful relationship, then what does it matter?

    In times not so long ago, we were all being encouraged to “build up the tribe”. Now our needs are different. We have enough people. We don’t all have to procreate to protect survival – quite the reverse. The rules from 1500 years ago are not what is needed today.

    I have always found it very strange that an all powerful being would need us to worship it. A needy God?

    Re the constitutional recognition, I wonder if Scott is regretting his support for that fool Craig Kelly.

  7. David Higham

    Paul Ehrlich’s summation of the core difference between the religious and scientific worldview is that of ‘ Believe and Obey’ versus ‘Question and Test ‘.

  8. Matters Not

    Re:

    A needy God?

    Perhaps. But certainly one with a poor self-concept that needs constant praise from his/her children.

    (One wonders what limits will be imposed on social media after the (religious) Bill is passed?)

    That the court decided Trump can’t block responders to his tweets – might have applications/implications here in Australia where MPs block and/or erase citizen’s comments made on their various social media accounts. Are such MPs trying to limit free speech on sites paid from the public purse? Maybe there’s a few legal eagles/students who could mount a case in the courts to establish a precedent? Tampering with the (snail) mail is frowned upon – but what with electronic versions? Might be time to find out? Lol.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Interesting thought MN. I have been blocked by many of them. Usually for linking to reports, often from government departments, that disagree with their spin.

    Lucy Wicks is hilarious. She blocked me very early on for pointing out how misleading one of her endless graphs was. She refuses to answer my emails though she quickly answered my son asking if we were ever likely to get mobile phone coverage where we live. After all, she has promised it for three elections so far, even claimed credit for fixing it in the usual display of premature congratulation common with this government. Then she walked into my business with cameras in tow. One of her ‘people’ asked my husband if he would like to chat with Lucy and he said yes, about the NBN. They left. But shit she sends me a lot of junk mail, including a birthday card which I find quite annoying. I’m paying for my own card from someone I don’t like who doesn’t know me.

  10. Lambert Simnel

    They are a sad example of the manifestations of denialism as exhibited in their utterances and the tone in which such are offered, on so many fronts. One day, over the edge, pretending midday is midnight.

    It cannot end well.

  11. Lambert Simnel

    Neatly put, David Higham.

  12. Terence Mills

    On the aboriginal voice to the parliament, I have read and listened to a lot on this including the https://www.1voiceuluru.org/ and I believe that we have allowed a perfectly reasonable request to have an input or a ‘voice’ to become dominated by the suggestion that this voice be enshrined in the Constitution.

    In my view it is not essential and not even desirable to enshrine this in the Constitution as, apart from anything else, it will become and has already become divisive. What we can easily do is create within the Department of Aboriginal Affairs a representative body of no more that a dozen delegates who can consult and advise the Minister and Prime Minister and the Executive on legislative matters that in one way or another impact on our first peoples.

    We don’t need another ATSIC as that became an unrepresentative rabbit hole for the rorting of public funds but we can easily have a consultative and representative body that could actually bring about change, particularly in areas of education, health and housing.

    We should in all our endeavours try to ensure that our Constitution does not create racial or ethnic division. But we do need to have a national ‘conversation’ on a Bill of Rights for all Australians.

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