Tuesday, 19 September 2017


"...John Howard's intervention in the same-sex debate was his most dramatic and passionate since he left the prime ministership in 2007.  He accused the Turnbull government of not taking religious freedom seriously and condemned it for not producing the bill it would put to parliament if the Yes vote wins.  He accused the government of trivialising religious freedom and demanded it clarify how it would protect "parental rights, freedom of speech and religious freedom" if the Yes vote passed.

Howard's intervention exposes the utter fatuousness of Liberal ministers who, until yesterday, had generally claimed a Yes vote would have no consequences for religious freedom beyond needing to ensure religious ministers did not have to officiate at gay weddings.  In response of Howard, Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten were forced to acknowledge that there would need to be some extra protection for religious freedom.  But ministers still spoke as though the main issue was clerics officiating at weddings.

Let's be very clear.  That is about the least likely threat to religious freedom arising out of this process.  The threat to religious liberty is much more pervasive.

Legalising same-sex marriage will vastly increase the power and propensity of all forms of anti-discrimination legislation, and attendant government propaganda bodies, to harass religious institutions on the basis that their traditional teachings constitute discrimination.

This is already happening.  Much of it will happen under state laws.  It is absurd for the federal government to ignore the interaction of federal and state laws..."

Extract from Greg Sheridan's article in The Weekend Australian 16/17 September (LIBERALS FIND SCANT REFUGE IN A SURRENDER TO IDENTITY POLITICS)

Monday, 18 September 2017


Identity politics are broadly defined, but they typically involve an individual who bases his identity on social categories and divisions. Some examples are a feminist who always votes for female candidates regardless of policies, or a black person who primarily supports causes designed to empower the black community.

Interesting points from Greg Sheridan writing in this weekend Australian on the subject of Identity Politics and Benjamin Law's tweet and writer of the recent Quarterly Essay...

"...because the champions of identity politics, almost always comfortable middle-class activists, see themselves as fighting against horrendous historic evils, they recognise no bounds at all of moderation in their language or respect for people who conscientiously disagree with their proposals.

Thus Benjamin Law, in most respects a good and talented fellow, could tweet that he would 'hate-f..k' coalition MPs to cure them of their homophobia.  Imagine the society-wide and justified core meltdown there would be if some advocate of the No case said he would be happy to have rough sex with supporters of the Yes case to show them how good straight sex is...

The point here is not to make a martyr of Law.  He is a mainstream figure but not central.  The point is to illustrate where identity politics always goes, and always goes wrong.

That Law cannot see how profoundly offensive his comments were, that they implied a complete lack of respect for human beings who disagree with him, illustrates the toxic power of identity politics."

Thursday, 31 August 2017


Paul Kelly has written an interesting article focussing on freedom of conscience, belief and religion for people who support traditional marriage.

"Institute for Civil Society executive director Mark Sneddon summarises his views based on his submission to the Senate committee: 'I am extremely concerned about the lack of legal protection across this country in terms of freedom of conscience, belief and religion for people who support traditional marriage.'...At home there was huge pressure for the sacking of IBM of Mark Allaby and by Macquarie University of Steven Chavura unless they resigned from other bodies perceived to oppose same-sex marriage.  A boycott was imposed by hotels against Coopers Brewing because it sponsored the Bible Society, which ran a video not against same-sex marriage but one that put both sides of the debate..."

You can read the whole article if you Google "Paul Kelly, Rights clash looms in same-sex debate"

Monday, 28 August 2017


Why are some relationships marriage, and other relationships not?  this is a vital question to consider.  If our view of marriage does not offer a meaningful, non-arbitrary distinction between marital and non-marital relationships, and if that distinction does not justify central marriage norms such as fidelity and permanence, then our view of marriage more than likely gets marriage wrong.  By this metric, the conjugal view of marriage makes the most sense.

In the conjugal view, marriage involves two partners sharing a domestic life that is directed towards and naturally unfolds into procreation and child raising.  That is, partners in a marriage unite - or coordinate - towards procreation.  In this view, marriage is different from all other relationships because its unifying good is procreation.  No other relationship, be it roommates, siblings, best friends or boyfriend/girlfriend, share that unifying good.  Further, this distinction justifies the public norms of sexual activity, permanence and fidelity.

On the other hand, in the revisionist view, marriage is thought to reflect a deep emotional connection between partners.  Instead of procreation, the unifying good of marriage is mutual personal fulfillment.  However, many non-marital relationships (such as chess partners, dating relationships, or best friends) can also share a deep emotional connection, coordinate towards mutual fulfillment.  Further, when marriage is viewed in this light, there is no particular reason marriage ought to be sexual, and no particular reason why permanence and fidelity ought to be public expectations rather than matters of personal preference.  So we have no meaningful distinction that justifies important marriage norms...

Extract from    www.discussingmarriage.com

Saturday, 26 August 2017


Most of the debate around marriage occurs because there are two competing understandings of marriage fighting for dominance in our society:  the conjugal view and the revisionist view.  These two views of marriage have dramatically different implications for what marriage policy should look like.  Whichever view of marriage informs state policy can have a dramatic impact on the legal and social norms surrounding families and children

Two Different Views of Marriage
The conjugal view holds that marriage is a union between a man and a woman who share a domestic life oriented towards child-bearing and child-rearing.  In other words, procreation (creating new human life) is the unifying good of a marriage relationship.  A 'unifying good' is that activity that most completely unites the partners in the relationship - the purpose towards which they coordinate their joint activities.  Personal satisfaction and emotional companionship are important parts of marriage, but not its defining features.

By contrast, in the revisionist view, the defining feature of marriage is an emotional and sexual companionship between partners.  From this perspective, marriage is all about romance, love and mutual affection.  Only the partners can say what ought to be the case about their marriage, since their personal fulfillment is the primary purpose of the relationship - the good towards which they coordinate their activities.  Procreation is a secondary consideration (at best) in this view of marriage - something that partners can do together if they wish, just as any other activity.

If one holds the revisionist view of marriage, it makes no sense to exclude same-sex couples,  That's why so many people support same-sex marriage today - it is because they accept (we think uncritically) the revisionist premise that marriage is all about mutual adult fulfillment.  In contrast, if one holds the conjugal view of marriage, there are legitimate fears that formalising same-sex marriage will undermine some of marriage's central stabilising norms (permanence, fidelity etc.

excerpt from www.discussingmarriage.org

Thursday, 24 August 2017


"Marriage...arose in the nature of things to meet a vital need:  ensuring that children are conceived by a mother and father committed to raising them in the stable conditions of a lifelong relationship...the premises supporting this concept of marriage are so fundamental that they rarely require articulation.  The human race must procreate to survive.  Procreation occurs through sexual relations between a man and a woman.  When sexual relations result in the conception of a child, that child's prospects are generally better if the mother and father stay together rather than going their separate ways.  Therefore, for the good of children and society, sexual relations that can lead to procreation should occur only between a man and a woman committed to a lasting bond.  Society has recognised that bond as marriage."

Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, John Roberts, recognised the natural structure and purpose of marriage.  In his dissenting judgement in the 2015 Obergefell case (which legalised same-sex 'marriage').

Sunday, 29 January 2017


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This is a photograph of Horatio Spafford who wrote the beautiful hymn It Is Well With My Soul.

Here's a link to the story behind the composition and a link to listen to the hymn yourself.   

And the 'word' for today is 'Be still...and know that I am God'.