Author: Andrew Hamilton

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  • RELIGION

    Elusive Easter's challenge to wider society

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 March 2016
    24 Comments

    To many the challenge to endurance comes from a public world in which small gains are overtaken by huge losses. Why bother about people who seek protection from persecution or about our natural environment when the small initiatives we take are overrun by a flood tide of brutality and cynicism? What hope of building harmony in society when the Paris bombings are followed by those of Brussels? This challenge is universal, so the Christian celebration of Easter is of wider interest.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Humility is the forgotten virtue this election year

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 16 March 2016
    10 Comments

    In a month in which some politicians trumpeted their own virtues and others their opponents' vices, one traditional virtue went unserenaded: humility. The reticence is unsurprising. Humility is associated with timidity, self-doubt and a reluctance to put oneself forward. Successful politicians project themselves, are confident, competitive, and lead like strong men. This view merits challenge. It assumes a corrupted form of humility, and exempts politicians from ethical reflection about their craft.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Cultures of accountability for clergy and celebrities

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 March 2016
    24 Comments

    If we are to make institutions safe for children, we need not only hold to account people who have presided over unsafe places, but also to address a culture that protects silence at each level of organisations, preventing complaints being made and being reported. Clergy and celebrities must not be treated as different from others, entitled to have their bad behaviour ignored. They must be held accountable to the officers and regulations of the organisation in which they work.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Diagnosing the great Australian sickness

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 02 March 2016
    9 Comments

    Who better to consult than Dr Hippocrates and his humours? Before Tony Abbott's deposition the choleric element dominated in Australia, full of sound and fury. This has been followed by the preponderance of the sanguine humour, expressing itself in that sunny optimism that makes light of problems. But more recent events suggest that the humours are again in chronic imbalance. The core weakness in the Australian constitution has not been removed with the accession of Malcolm Turnbull.

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  • RELIGION

    Liberation theology in modern Australia

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 February 2016
    23 Comments

    Liberation theology was once caricatured as Marxism with a Christian tinge, or the Bible plus Kalashnikov. In fact, thinkers identified with the movement were involved in a serious theological exploration. In public conversation in Australia the theological questions ut it raised are of marginal significance. But secular variants abound in which society is analysed in terms of the discrimination suffered by various minority groups at the hands of the majority or of those with power.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    When it's right to break the law

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 17 February 2016
    18 Comments

    It is common for people to break the law. People fail to move on when instructed by police, evade tax, drive too fast, keep silent about abuse, trespass on military facilities, and drive when drunk. Many people assert that it is never right to break a law duly enacted by the government. From this principle it follows that anyone offering sanctuary to people who seek protection in Australia is acting wrongly. This blanket condemnation of law breaking runs against our inherited moral tradition.

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  • RELIGION

    The problem with heroes

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 February 2016
    5 Comments

    Periods of anxiety are times for dreaming of heroes. We contemplate our own pedestrian lives and pedestrian politicians, and long for someone who can lead us out of the wilderness into the promised land. Yet although heroes invite us to dismount from our couches, breathe the open air and take on the world as they do, they also persuade us that they are a different breed, urging us to keep within our divinely given limitations and leave the business of change to those sown as lions' teeth.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Gospel brutality reborn in our harrowing of refugee children

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 10 February 2016
    15 Comments

    The High Court decision on detention in Nauru came down just before the Christian season of Lent. It left the government free and determined to deport many young mothers and children to Nauru. For the mothers and children deportation will bring new trauma with renewed threat to their already precarious mental health. For the Australian public it again makes us ask what brutality, even to children, we are ready to tolerate. The savagery of this treatment is a suitable subject for Lenten reflection.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    There's no cheap path to harmony

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 02 February 2016
    10 Comments

    Of the United Nations Days and Weeks, World Interfaith Harmony Week is one of the most recent and perhaps the most modestly celebrated. It may also be the most needed. But the conversation cannot be confined to the churches and to those with religious faith. Its claim needs to extend beyond religious faiths to secular views of the world. The obstacle to such conversation is the religious settlement in Australia and Western nations, which can be described as negative tolerance.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Friendlier Ghosts of Australia Days Future

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 27 January 2016
    4 Comments

    The two major challenges facing the world have to do with kindness to strangers and care for the natural world. If the image of the beginnings of Australia is of a boatload of powerful Europeans coming to exploit the land occupied by a primitive people, a better image of future Australia Days might be of Australia sending parties to Indigenous settlements and other nations to discover how to cooperate in the great projects of reconciliation between people and people with nature.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Refugee crisis demands and defies sustained reflection

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 20 January 2016
    7 Comments

    In our response to the forced movement of peoples we must recognise that our national identity is not built primarily on uniformity of religion and race but on adherence to the values that are enshrined in our social institutions. We must also recognise the way in which our own prejudices and fears affect the judgments and proposals we make, and exercise a proper scepticism about making quick judgments and drawing universal conclusions from particular events such as those in Cologne.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: A political death

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 January 2016
    9 Comments

    It is hard to comment on Tony Abbott's demise without being splattered by the schoolyard mud. But we should begin by sparing a thought for the man himself in this time of humiliation. He has given his life to the Liberal Party, and to be disowned as leader by it is surely devastating. 

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