Profile of a Candidate…

Who will I vote for this Saturday?
I have found this great survey of 20 or so questions, you put in your postcode and it works out who you would best be voting for in your electorate and in what order you should put your preferences.

This lady (profile below) came up for me as a 79% match…all I did was answer the questions honestly…can you guess what party she belongs to? These sure look like the type of values any Kingdom of God minded person would have…surely?

Profile –
I have worked as a high school teacher, run a registered child care centre, and worked at the Edmund Rice Centre for refugees. I am a carer for family members and the mother of two adult children.

My interest in social justice began at the age of 12, when I founded a club to help the elderly and disabled with household tasks.
I have since volunteered for church groups and community service organisations such as the Red Cross, City Mission, Scouts and refugee support services. As an undergraduate I tutored underprivileged students, and have continued to do this in Australia.

I was inspired to become environmentally active through the protests against Mindarie rubbish tip and the destruction of old growth forests in the South-west.

The Tampa crisis and the ‘children overboard’ incident induced me to take a more active political stance…. against war, for social justice and for environmental protection match my own values.

Confused about Morals and Politics?

  • Taking drugs? Selling them?
  • Had an abortion?
  • Are you desiring someone of the same sex? Want to marry them?
  • Had an affair?
  • Stolen money from your work place maybe?
  • Shot someone? Went to war and shot someone?
  • Rejected someone needing a home? Rejected a refugee (even in your mind) needing a country?

Which of the above are ‘moral issues’? All? Some? None?
It would seem that we pop abortion, prostitution, gay issues etc into a kind of special ‘moral category’ and the rest just kind of fall into some other box.

I have been challenged to think recently by a friend who emailed me regarding the Greens party and some of the ‘immoral’ issues they stand for. I appreciated his concern and the effort that had gone into his email.
On the surface it would appear he was right, that a party like the Greens stand for some things that ‘good Christians’ would stand against. (Not sure we are voting for parties to enforce Christian values though. Nice when they do.)
But beneath the surface the Howard Government has some extremely immoral actions to answer for;

  • It turns out that Australia invests only 5.8% of its GDP in education, which puts us 18th – close to the bottom – among countries in the OECD. We are below the average (OECD) on early childhood education spending and we have the lowest secondary school retention rates in the entire OECD!

So is a complete lack of commitment to our next generations education not an moral issue?

  • In a 2007 UNICEF report on the welfare of Children in 20 economically advanced countries it showed that nearly 10% of Australian children live in households where no one is employed – and that’s the highest rate of all the countries on the list except Hungary. (Figures show that kids in the above situation have a 27% greater chance of chronic sickness than other kids.)

A moral issue?

  • In a 2004 report in the Economist magazine it was reported that Australia is the worst country in the world for serious assault. One in two Australians will be assaulted in their life time.

Stats from Hugh Makay’s book Advance Australia Where?

How are we doing Australia?

Sorry to be a negative nelly, but I just feel like we measure the success of our nation by dollars and cents, and I would suggest that we are fools to do so. Money is one of the most deceiving ‘tellers’ of success. Just read Affluenza, Hamilton’s classic 2006 (5?) read to see evidence for that!

So will I vote Green, Labor? Not saying yet.
But what I am saying is that I think there are bigger ‘moral’ issues at stake than the two blokes next door wanting to get married. (Not that I don’t think that is still a moral issue)

To finish I will quote extensively from an email I got from a friend recently on this last topic, it no doubt raises more questions than it answers, but that’s ok…

In the case of homosexual union, what may be stopped [if the Greens came to power] is the unjust treatment of those who are different – gay couples might be legally recognised as capable of engaging in a loving, committed relationship with the compassion and perserverance to raise a family – heck, they might even be allowed to be recognised as a legal family unit and finally receive family payments just like every other heterosexual or single parent family. This doesn’t need to be endorsed by a legal marriage, but do Christians jump up and down at the unequally yoked marriages or the non-christians getting married or the christians getting married cause they got pregnant unintentionally. What about all those who get divorced – christian and non-christian – should they be allowed to get married in the first place, or should divorce become illegal to protect marriage? Is legalising marriage able to contain the essence of marriage anyway – what about the couples living together – in every way a married couple except for the paper and legal ceremony? Are they married? not under law, but do they get access to family rights under defacto laws? yes – because heterosexual union is the only union legally validated under the definition of “family” under any sort of conservative government.

More on Environment

THE Australian Conservation Foundation rates Labor well ahead of the coalition on climate change and environment policies, but still below 50 per cent.

In the first of a series of progress scorecards throughout the federal election campaign, the environmental group gave Labor a 49 per cent mark against the coalition’s 21 per cent.

The Australian Greens gained the highest score of 93 per cent, followed by the Australian Democrats on 90.

Family First fared second worst with 31 per cent.

Hmmm interesting! Guess who are not getting MY vote!! Not Libs, not FF that is for sure!

Sitting in bed enjoying reading the Australian on my perfectly functioning Apple Macintosh Macbook! YAY!!

Greens Plan

I was with a mate the other day who has a hair brained anarchistic notion that we need no law. He will refuse to vote, and takes little notice of any law. Surprisingly this guy is no radical, in fact he is a conservative passivist in many regards. A great guy, good mate, but boy I could argue with him on some stuff 🙂
But I read Hamiltons book “Scorcher” on the politics of climate change and he made the comment in there about how when you really want change to happen you need to legislate it.
The example he gave was catalytic converters on vehicles. He suggested that if the government said (like they have with our light globes) “hey car manufacturers if you feel green when you are making your next car, pop one of these devices on to the exhaust system. I know it will cost you more to build the car and I know you will pass that cost onto the consumer, but hey think of the environment more than your sales!” – If the government had said this what do you think would have happened? YEP, about 5% of cars MIGHT have had one based on green consumer demand.
Instead, the government made up a rule. They said EVERY car needs to made with one of these converters on.

What about these new light globes?
I went to a family members house last night, she said, “Come see my new light globe in my lamp! I was shopping for a new globe and my son (9) said I should buy an environmentally friendly one, I had no idea what he meant but looked and found one for me and now I am ‘green'”
We mentioned we have 2 lights yet to convert in our home and she was blown away and had lots of questions and a good discussion followed.

So should the government just throw millions of dollars at transforming and legislating stuff like this? The Greens would – What do you think, “out of the goodness and conscience in our heart or legislate it?”

THE Greens have unveiled a $22 billion plan to improve the energy efficiency of every Australian home.

Under the scheme, every home would be subject to an energy audit and then retrofitted with energy-saving devices, including solar hot water systems, insulation and low-flow shower heads.

The government would cover the up-front cost, but then collect payments from home owners over a 10-year period, ensuring the repayments were never as much as the savings on energy bills.

Greens Tasmanian senator Christine Milne, campaigning in Adelaide today, said in that way no householder would be out of pocket.

“What we need is a real focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency,” Senator Milne said.

“The problem is every time people talk about the increasing demand for energy, their response is let’s build a new coal-fired power station.”

Senator Milne said current schemes to encourage energy efficiency only offered ad-hoc or peripheral rebates that had little impact.

“The Greens are saying Australia’s 7.4 million homes need to be retrofitted to be energy efficient,” she said.

“That means every home should at least have solar hot water and full insulation.

“Let’s invest $22 billion of the surplus in retrofitting the housing stock of the nation.

“We don’t want to see infrastructure of the kind we’re talking about – $22 billion – frittered away in tax cuts.

“We have got to change the way we think about energy and fuel.”

Senator Milne said the Greens’ strategy would also help low income earners, traditionally the group least able to afford making the changes, invest in energy efficiencies.

She said it would also provide for thousands of new jobs, including people trained to be energy auditors and those required to complete the installations across the country.


Rick Warren Banned?

Imagine walking into your local library, planning to read a theologian such as Reinhold Niebuhr or Karl Barth, or a popular inspirational work, such as Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life or Harold Kushner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

But instead of finding such important and popular titles, you discover that the religion section has been decimated – stripped of any book that did not appear on a government-approved list.

That’s exactly what’s happening right now to inmates in US federal prisons under a Bush administration policy. As The New York Times put it, “chaplains have been quietly carrying out a systematic purge of religious books and materials that were once available to prisoners in chapel libraries.”

The news reports seem implausible. The idea of government bureaucrats drafting a list of approved books on religion seems like something out of Soviet-era Russia, not the United States of America, where freedom of religion – even for those behind prison walls – is something we treasure.

But the reports are true. All of the books and authors named above have been removed from prison libraries. In some instances, according to the Times, chaplains have been forced to dismantle “libraries that had thousands of texts collected over decades, bought by the prisons, or donated by churches and religious groups.”

To make matters worse, the contents of the “approved” list are extremely capricious. For example, “80 of the 120 titles on the list for Judaism are from the same Orthodox publishing house,” and the list for Christianity “lack[s] materials from early church fathers, liberal theologians and major Protestant denominations.”

My source.
NY Times Article
Stop this.

Well that issue coupled with the guy last night on the news who was taser gunned downed after being given the microphone to make a comment/question in a political speech by Senator John Kerry makes me wonder about America and democracy… or was that dictatorship?

Here’s one news report
University of Florida officers used a Taser on a persistent questioner at a forum on Monday with Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts. Video of the incident involving the student, Andrew Meyer, 21, was played extensively on television reports and the Web. The university asked state investigators to review the case, and the university president, Bernie Machen, called the confrontation regretful and said two officers had been placed on administrative leave. Mr. Meyer spent a night in jail before being released on his recognizance.

…regretful…hmmm more like insightful!!

In the video you can hear the guys question about Kerry’s involvement in some secret society, a valid question if you ask me! Kerry actually goes to answer the question when all of a sudden the guy is jumped by security. Clearly frightened and alarmed at the overwhelming response the guy starts to panic and and demands them to tell him, “What did I do?”
They drag him to the back, throw him to the floor. He screams, “Let me go and I will walk out of here”.
Suddenly the taser gun is pulled and wham!
Check it out…

God Spoke Through YouTube!

As I often do, I was surfing ‘YouTube’ the other day and saw the video clip of U2’s “Miss Sarajevo”. A powerful, almost haunting song inspired by a documentary of the same name that Bono helped produce about a beauty pageant held in war torn Yugoslavia with guns booming all around, a sort of protest song.

Bono introduces the song by saying;
I’d like to dedicate this song to those who lost their lives
In London, in the UK bombings last week… and Iraq
We want to turn our song into a prayer
And our prayer, is that we, they, we
Do not become a monster in order to defeat a monster
That’s our prayer

The song moves stunningly through some powerful lyrics that include line like;

Is there a time to run for cover
A time for kiss and tell
Is there a time for different colours
Different names you find so hard to spell

A time to turn aside
Is there a time… a time for human rights?

As the song draws to a close on the massive video screen behind the stage roles out the first six or seven of the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS. A young woman stands and humbly reads them out in the darkness of the now silent stage…

• All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights
• No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms
• No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment…

And so on.

I wiped tears from my eyes as this clip finished and began to wonder, how many times do our church services move us to weep over injustice?
How many times does our weeping lead us to act?
How many times do our actions lead to change, new life – Justice?

I am no Bono. I can’t captivate millions of people with my words. But I live in a nation that allows me freedom of speech (mostly!) – do I use it?
To be honest I am not even sure what I believe on many issues of injustice, not to mention what to do if I had a strong belief on issues of injustice.

Someone asked me recently, “What is one thing you really want to do before you die?”
I was completely surprised, by both my answer and how quickly it came.
“I would like to be arrested for a Christ cause”, I said.

Are there ‘political’ issues in our nation that are ‘anti-Christ’? I think there are. Are there injustices, abuses, creation destruction, human rights violations, all here in our own ‘lucky country’? Too right there are!

Where am I, Where is the Church when it comes to standing…no shouting up for these issues? Sad to say, on the whole it is small minorities around the nation that stand up for these issues. I am too much like the Levite in the Good Samaritan story, he saw the injured man (read the articles, decided to know more about these awful things, write an article for the A/C), crossed over the road, and went on his way.
Sadly most times these minority vocal Christian groups are seen as odd, marginalized, radicals, lefties, liberals and so on by fellow believers.

I sometimes wonder if Jesus might have been more comfortable amongst this crowd!