Author: Andrew Hamilton

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  • RELIGION

    Purifying language vital to renewing 'polluted' churches

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 31 August 2016
    15 Comments

    Dowling, who was a victim of clerical abuse, offers a program of reflections that bring together scriptural themes and the effects of sexual abuse. Most striking is the extraordinary labour required to purify the language of a tradition that has become polluted. This is vital not simply as a therapeutic exercise but as a condition for renewal and reconciliation. It may also be pertinent to wider society, where Brexit and the Trump phenomenon have been characterised by a coarsening of public language.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    A society that forgives wins

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 August 2016
    11 Comments

    Almost all public conversation quickly turns to transgressors. Olympic competitors growled about proven and suspect drug users. Many wanted people found to have used drugs shamed and shunned. This insistence that transgressors should definitively lose their good name and the right to participate is not confined to sport. If inflexibility and exclusion become the rule in dealing with aberrant speech or behaviour we find unacceptable, they will impose heavy burdens on individuals and society.

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  • RELIGION

    Moving beyond idiocy in US election repartee

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 16 August 2016
    11 Comments

    Years ago someone defined repartee as, 'I say to you, "You're a bloody idiot", and you say back to me, "No, you're the bloody idiot".' It was then intended as a joke. Today it seems an accurate description of much public exchange, which is adversarial, leaves no room for qualification, and condemns anyone who does not endorse right-minded opinion. The most spectacular current instance of this is to be seen in the way in which those attracted to the cause of Trump or Clinton speak of their antagonists.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Recent reflections on Iraq War ignore key ethical questions

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 August 2016
    2 Comments

    The recent Chilcot report on British participation in the Iraq War elicited embarrassing responses by British and Australian leaders and apologists of the time. Specious justifications were accompanied by a failure to take responsibility. The defects of the invasion and the moral irresponsibility of those who collaborated in it did not flow solely from its procedural inadequacies. The crudity now attributed to Donald Trump and his obiter dicta on war flourished before him among Washington insiders.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The cold wind that blows on the homeless chills us all

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 August 2016
    16 Comments

    National Homelessness Week comes around each year. And each time it is an embarrassment. We pride ourselves that we are a respectful society, but there is no greater sign of disrespect than to allow people to be homeless. Too many people sleep on the streets; too many families sleep in their cars. What must change in us is our tolerance of an economic and political ideology that assumes it is all right for the vulnerable and ill to be neglected in order to protect the entitlements of the wealthy.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A cautious response to mass killings and police violence

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 27 July 2016
    5 Comments

    When confronted by violent killings we should be appalled, identify sympathetically with the victims and with those affected indirectly by these tragedies, and also take a respectful interest in the complex lives of the perpetrators and the relationships that contributed to the shootings. The pause before making larger judgments respects the complexity of motivation and of social interactions involved in the killings, and offers a base for reflecting on how we may lessen the possibility of them happening in future.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What matters after the election is decided

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 July 2016
    17 Comments

    After a plodding election race the stewards have called for a photo. But it looks more likely that Turnbull will be able to form a government. If so, he will need to address the interlocking challenges that we face in order to leave our children a world of possibility. The hope will be muted because both major parties promised little or nothing to address them. But we can take heart that there is certain to be an independently minded senate that can consequently strike down bad policies, and keep asking what kind of an Australia we want.

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  • RELIGION

    Theology of elections

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 29 June 2016
    8 Comments

    During the campaign neither of the major parties addressed seriously the major challenges facing Australia: climate change, inequality and the forced movement of peoples. That makes it inevitable that following this election, sovereignty, mandates and other weighty words will continue to dominate public conversation. They usually function as political knives to cut through the messiness of our democratic order. But they also carry a theological weight that may illuminate our present condition.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Leave Europe arguments betray cultural amnesia

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 June 2016
    19 Comments

    Some commentators in the Australian media have welcomed the prospect of Britain's leaving the EU. The founders of the union would recognise these commentators' hoped-for changes. They are precisely the conditions that contributed to the wars that they so feared: the xenophobia, disregard for human rights, chauvinism, military adventures entered by individual nations and competitive economic policies that alienated citizens and so bred authoritarian and ideologically inspired leaders.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Elder abuse thrives on silence

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 June 2016
    12 Comments

    We all know elderly people who are healthy, active, and blessed with loving families. But the image represents only part of the reality of old age. Many elderly people are ill, have lost their partners, live alone with little connection to their families, suffer from incipient dementia, and are dependent on others for the daily business of living. If they appear at all in the media, it is usually in bad news stories. They are seen as people different from us. A significant minority of older people, too, suffer from abuse.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What lies beneath election campaign ethical silences

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 08 June 2016
    10 Comments

    Election times are full of sound and fury, much of it broadcast on a loop. But they are also marked by silences. These silences indicate concealed perils in society. Asylum seekers and young Indigenous people are spoken about, often noisily, but always as the object of policy, not as people whose lives have been blighted by policy. The human beings who suffer are shrouded in silence. This silence is an ethical silence that covers people whom we want to keep out of mind.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Engaging portraits of the men who would be PM

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 01 June 2016
    8 Comments

    David Marr describes Shorten at work in the claustrophobic world of the Labor factions and the unions where great haters abound. Annabel Crabb has a lighter touch, describing the career of Turnbull, with all its energy, intellectual and tactical brilliance, and victories with obvious enjoyment and in sunlit prose. The accounts raise two questions: Do the qualities of leaders matter much? And what insight do the leaders' stories provide into the likely achievements of the government they would lead?

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