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Fundamentalism in the land of Jesus

20 January 2015 | Lawrence Cross

Israel flag in desertIsrael is demanding to be recognised as a Jewish state. The corollary is that they have an interest in getting Christians out. On the Palestinian side, the Islamic influence has been intensifying for decades. Fundamentalism creates the perfect audience for the disinformation and propaganda that masks the slaughter of some of the world's oldest Christian groups.

Francis moving Church from pale green to deep green

19 January 2015 | Paul Collins

Green globePope Francis has been hailed for his ‘rattling’ and ‘upsetting’ Catholic climate change sceptics and politicians. His predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI were ahead of most politicians on the issue, but essentially they underestimated the magnitude and urgency of the environmental problems we face. It is likely that Francis will make a decisive effort to confront climate change during 2015.



An Aussie Muslim's Taiwan Christmas

18 December 2014 | Irfan Yusuf

Tainan templeChristmas is a fabulous time to spend at home. Even those of us who aren’t terribly Christian can enjoy a free holiday with friends and family. And if you like choral music, you can always come along with me and a Jewish mate to St Mary's Cathedral. But last Christmas I found myself in Taiwan.

A messy birth and a vulnerable baby

17 December 2014 | Richard Leonard

‘What Are We Waiting For Finding Meaning in Advent and Christmas’ cover imageAt a Christmas party, I met the charge nurse of the maternity ward. Pleading that because I was a celibate I would never be at a birth, I enquired if I might be allowed to come and see'. … Mary and I met six hours into her labor, which was an unusual circumstance within which to meet your birthing partner.' She had very little small talk, maybe because she had no breath at all.

Joe Hockey's prize orchid

16 December 2014 | Marcelle Mogg

Prized orchidIn his Mid Year Financial Economic Outlook statements this week, Treasurer Joe Hockey construed 'The Economy' as a rare prized orchid, requiring careful nurturing. The orchid is to be admired, and the gardener more so for the skill, expertise and craft that gives rise to such a beautiful creation. The trouble with treating The Economy like a prized bloom is that we fail to recognise that the it exists to serve people. 

Activists strike back against the Empire

11 December 2014 | Sally Cloke

Love Makes a Way badgeOn Wednesday, 53 Christian protesters were arrested staging 'pray-in' actions at politicians' offices around the country. Eight were allegedly strip searched before being formally charged with trespass after praying in the Perth office of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. There are echoes of martyrdom in the early church, which involved the refusal to worship the emperor. In contemporary Australia, the resistance is to the border protection regime.

Restorative justice for child sexual abuse victims

16 November 2014 | Vic O'Callaghan

HandsTotal focus on designing the right professional standards policy could be creating a hole, where all that is heard is a droning 'let's move on' message. Where are the stories of people gathering to help mend and heal themselves and the victims of this horrific episode in our history?

Tonti-Filippini's intellectual quest undaunted by physical pain

12 November 2014 | Zac Alstin

Nicholas Tonti-FilippiniUtilitarian philosopher Peter Singer paid tribute to his friend and intellectual nemesis Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, who died last Friday after suffering pain and discomfort for much of his life. The majority of Tonti-Filippini’s influence on bioethics in Australia took place out of the public spotlight, including has work as chair of a govenment committee on the care of people in an unresponsive or minimally responsive state.

Which bishop is challenging the bank on fossil fuels?

11 November 2014 | Jill Sutton

CBA logoThere has been an avalanche of divestment, including from the Rockefellers and the ANU, as they discern a lack of concern for environmental, social and governance issues. Shareholders attending Wednesday’s Commonwealth Bank AGM will hear a resolution requesting more transparency about the bank’s fossil fuel investments. But the bank’s response can seem like a game whose rules only become clear to its participants as they play it. Banks and other powerful organisations can still exploit any lack of clarity. 

The Vatican's Francis Revolution gains pace

10 November 2014 | Paul Collins

Archbishop Paul GallagherAn important power shift occurred in Rome at the weekend, and it has a genuine Australian connection. The nuncio in Canberra Archbishop Paul Gallagher was named Secretary for Relations with States, which will put him third in charge at the Vatican. He has been popular here because he has kept in touch with pastoral life, having volunteered to help out in the far-flung western NSW of Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes during his first Easter in Australia.

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