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Time and friendships 2 — the class of ’59

23 Mar

I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled…

Fifty years ago at SHS my closest mates were Ashok Hegde (who went to London in 1958), Eric Sowey (who went on to an academic career in Econometrics), Roger Dye (champion high jumper who married very young), Brian Hennell (who became an inner western suburbs GP and is still, so far as I know, involved in his local community and Rotary), and Philip Selden. We spent many a weekend at each other’s homes.

So I was taken by a story in today’s Sydney Morning Herald: Anglican warning on Green support for gays. I decided to check the source: Greens’ Position in NSW State Election.

Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney

Dr Philip Selden
Diocesan Registrar and Archbishop’s Executive Officer

March 16, 2007

All Parish Clergy & Heads of Anglican Schools

Dear Friends

re NSW State Election

The NSW State Election is imminent. It is right that each person entitled to vote should assess the policies of political parties and individual candidates in deciding how to vote. It is not appropriate for the church to direct how its members vote.

However, when a political party publicizes a policy which has implications for the church and its members, it is important for that to be known.

Environmental issues are important to a great many people, as they are to the Greens and indeed to other political parties. Those are not the only issues on which the Greens have a position. Lee Rhiannon MLC of the Greens NSW, published a media release statement dated 12 March 2007. That release reads in part:

“When Parliament resumes Greens MPs will move a private members bill on civil union to ensure legal recognition of same sex and trans-gendered relationships.

Greens MPs will also continue to push our private members bill to remove loopholes in the Anti-Discrimination Act that allow private schools and religious organisations to discriminate against gays and lesbians.”

The Greens have previously attempted to change the Anti-Discrimination Act in such a way that Anglican Schools would be forced to make changes in their employment policy, and to employ people whom they may not wish to. Clearly this restated policy has implications for our churches, schools and organizations, and it is important that our members should be aware of it.

I trust that all Christians will be continuing to pray that men and women of integrity will be elected to our State Parliament, “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

Yours sincerely

Philip Selden
Diocesan Registrar &
Archbishop’s Executive Officer

Perhaps Philip and I should exchange a few thoughts… I take that letter to imply that on the one hand there are Greens, and anyone else who favours legal recognition of same-sex unions and/or tightening anti-discrimination laws etc, and on the other hand there are “men and women of integrity.” Hmmm.

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4 responses to “Time and friendships 2 — the class of ’59

  1. AV

    March 23, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    I trust that all Christians will be continuing to pray that men and women of integrity will be elected to our State Parliament, “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

    Call me an atheist bigot, Ninglun, but in a secular liberal democracy there is no reason why private schools and religious organisations should be given special license to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

    It’s time we stopped pandering to bigotry and hatred masking as religious belief.

     
  2. ninglun

    March 24, 2007 at 10:40 am

    I would add that there really is no reason for an informed 21st century Christian to discriminate against gays and lesbians either, and I would be far from alone on that. I have met homophobic atheists too: we both have, Arthur! Indeed they may be a dying species…

    I liked this bit of sociology, which I am sure you have seen. I found it on Eternal Recurrence, the blog of “Jacob Grier … a barista, bartender, close-up magician, and freelance writer loosely associated with the libertarian policy scene in Washington, DC.” Mind you, “libertarian” in US terms can be a really big worry to us pinko Aussie bastards!

    From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

    Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.

    Edgell also argues that today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society…

    I proclaim today as International Be Nice to an Atheist Day!

     
  3. AV

    March 25, 2007 at 10:14 am

    I have met homophobic atheists too: we both have, Arthur! Indeed they may be a dying species…

    Oh, yes: I’m well aware that they exist. (Nonbelief in no way precludes homophobia or any other kind of bigotry).

    I liked this bit of sociology, which I am sure you have seen.

    Indeed: I blogged about it a while ago.

    I daresay Selden’s attitude towards the hiring of atheists in private schools would be similar.

    It is probably worth noting, however, that many private schools–knowing that good teachers are hard to find–probably operate according to an unofficial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy with regard to the hiring of gays, lesbians, atheists and other undesirables. (Not that such a policy isn’t reprehensible in its own way.)

     
  4. ninglun

    March 25, 2007 at 11:13 am

    an unofficial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy with regard to the hiring of gays, lesbians, atheists and other undesirables”

    Indeed so! If the Puritans had a “cleanup” they may find they had to close quite a few schools… 😉

     
 
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