The great divide
Richard Cooke (“Sancho Panza’s lament”, September 9-15) gives due regard to people who are victims of neoliberalism. However, the “average Joe” is depicted as a marginalised “other”, a social media troll with ties to no one. Implicit is the idea that handouts can win this group back. Explicit is Richard Cooke’s disdain for a group that helped to spawn the new political disgruntlement. The chasm between highbrow paid journalism and those whose tweets constitute a crazed catharsis has never been greater.
– Andrew Trezise, Greensborough, Vic
Media going to extremes
Antony Ault (Letters, “Christians not being given a fair go”, September 9-15) raises for me an important point about how the media reports the views of Christians on issues being debated or considered in the public domain. I think the reporting by the media on many important issues is lazy and sloppy because they seek comment from groups (usually only one group) that purport to represent the Christian view. These groups tend to present an ultra-conservative view, which as a Christian I do not wish to be associated with. I have a large number of friends who come from different church backgrounds and who, like me, despair at the views put forward as the official Christian view. The question of same-sex marriage is a good example. I disagree strongly with the view put forward by Antony Ault. His case for a “No” vote, like some others putting a “Christian” viewpoint, is based on passages from the Old Testament, which are interesting but irrelevant. If the argument is based on Old Testament teaching then all of the Old Testament must be given equal weight. For example the Old Testament indicates that it’s an abomination to eat shellfish or to be in the presence of a menstruating woman. How ridiculous. The teaching of Jesus (the basis of the Christian religion) is contained in the New Testament. Jesus was clear that we should not discriminate against any person or any group. This is a matter of the right to marry. I and the people from my parish will be voting “Yes”.
– Doug Limbrick, Phillip, ACT
Following Jesus’ example
Thank you for publishing my letter, which explained that the biblical and hence Christian view of marriage, infers that it is always between a man and a woman. So while I support the “No” case on biblical grounds, my reading of “Yes ministered” by Mike Seccombe (September 9-15) makes it clear that some others advocating the “No” case are manipulating stories of “persecution” to scare others to support their argument. By doing so, they are not being loyal to either the Bible’s or Christ’s teaching. In my view, biblical teaching and commands are addressed to the believer, and the believer is told to respect authority and the laws set down by the civil government, unless they contravene the laws of God. Our marriage laws are for secular union, not Christian. If the public votes to change the present definition, Christians can still be legally married in the eyes of the state without contravening God’s law. They can then, if they choose, be married in the presence and with the blessing of the God they worship in the company of fellow believers. In the debate going on at present, we as Christians must remember our hearts are being changed by our love of Jesus; He has given us a desire and command to love and respect all people, including those whose views and convictions differ from ours, and we should at all times seek to live like that.
– Antony Ault, Rose Bay, Tas
A watchdog for Tasmanian forests?
“Mismanagement” is far too polite for what is happening to Tasmania’s forests (Bob Brown, “The tree of mismanagement”, September 2-8). They have long been the special ingredient in the pork barrels of both the major parties when in government despite being a massive financial rathole and the most destructive of extractive industries. At the height of the woodchip export frenzy, Tasmania had the highest proportional rate of native forest destruction in the OECD. Plans for the aborted giant pulp mill included the gifting of billions of dollars in state forest roads and surrounding public forest to the mill proponent in freehold. An alarmed public servant leaked, to no avail, the covert gifting of 77,809 hectares of the state’s plantation estate, worth maybe $200 million, to the state’s forestry Government Business Enterprise, presumably to pay off debt. The Tasmanian political establishment makes no secret of its contempt for conservation in principle, but has yet to openly renounce basic financial integrity. Before they do, we need to impose on them a seriously independent Independent Commission Against Corruption or at least something like the fiduciary duties notionally incumbent on corporate chiefs.
– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas
Morning TV just for laughs
I disagree with Helen Razer that we (ABC people or “the white knowledge class”) are now laughing at ourselves as we watch Get Krack!n (“Kate minds”, September 9-15). Surely nobody with intellectual pretensions is watching Kochie in the morning? No, I thought not! No, for mine, with the mocking of breakfast television we are still laughing at “the other”, in this case the aspirational bogan unaware of its tastelessness. Helen’s point about the endangerment of the white thinking class is well made though. You can feel the decline.
– Mark Stacey, via email
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Sep 16, 2017. Subscribe here.