Let’s start of with a basic fact. There is a huge number of reasonable christians and muslims out there, very likely a majority by a large margin. Those that are humble and non-sociopathic, who practice their faith in peace and in privacy, who simply want to coexist and understand that spiritual heterogeneity is not necessarily an evil that must be steamrolled into a one-eyed, fundamentalist monoculture. Some even tolerate the godless.
Unfortunately, this observation can be lost amidst the cacophony of the louder idiocies like the hajj or WBC protests or anti-abortion terrorism or acid attacks on immodest and uppity women perpetrated by their dumber and more shameless brethren1.
And here’s another basic fact – fundamentalism of both of the major dust religions in the west does far more harm in real terms to those who practice a more modest faith than it does to secularism. Yes, some accusations of supposed secular “militancy” and “intolerance” may be true. But you need to ask – who inspired this backlash? Jimmy Carter or Pat Robertson? Cat Stevens or Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei? In many ways, lunatic fundamentalism is the manure that has caused the renewed secularism to sprout and flourish. We owe our thanks to these maniacs – without them, our man Hitch would have been a different, probably tamer, man as just one example of the upside to this derangement.
The basic problems with these fundamentalisms is that they are very much like a snake that eats its own tail. Their very own models of ideal societies, where whatever One True Faith is the only faith, and all the people are absolute pious believers, simply cannot sustain themselves. The problem lies in the ugly fact that the only way to show yourself to be pure is to compare yourself to that which is impure – these societies need scapegoats in order to actuate the charade and give it substance. When such a monoculture is established, it begins to fragment into further sects, each claiming to be more holy than the rest. You see this throughout the middle east – the endless bickering between various shades of shit, with bastard strains of wahhabists versus salafists as probably the vilest example2, and the result is the unacknowledged fact that muslim on muslim terrorism makes terrorism against the west a truly insignificant blip on the body count graph.
This quest for the sacred scapegoat is a convoluted and ugly process involving various stages of division, segregation, demonisation and ultimately dehumanisation. The object is to create “the other”, that which is an abomination in the eyes of whatever god happens to be your shtick. In order to play the politics of this division and scapegoating, one must first drive home the wedge – something to serve as the reference point that marks the precise separation between the “us” and the “them”. It has to be something emotional, something that really makes the blood boil and can turn men into beasts capable of the vilest atrocities that would sicken them were there no maniacal religious fervor to justify it. This is far easier than it seems – you just need to browse the web. Abortion (even birth control), homosexuality, burning qur’ans, cartoons or uncomfortably accurate historical research. The most trivial minutiae will suffice, all you need is that wedge, but once that’s in place, you’re home and hosed.
This wedge game is what is ultimately being played out right now by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and Access Ministries with the National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) – the target is obviously the evil cabal of secularists hell bent an destroying christendom (apparently), but at the end of the day, the ones that will be harmed the most are the majority of the humble, non-maniac christians.
It is difficult to determine who it is the ACL actually represents – it’s virtually impossible to find anyone with even a slight interest in their lunatic, behind-the-mask probable Dominionist / Reconstructionist agenda even amongst the devoutest of practicing christians. It is most strange that given all their ballyhoo about claiming to represent some kind of silent, moral majority, they can never manage to get more than a seat or two in any of the houses of parliament, be they state or federal. It’s all rather like the frill-necked lizard I feel – a small minority of shrill, theo-crypto-fascists making enough noise to create an illusion of a lumbering behemoth that in no way reflects their actual reality. This is the essence of focus group realpolitik that is, despite protestation, ultimately amoral, self-interested and Machiavellian in its method – all bluster and no substance, and certainly no actual reflection of purported “community standards” people are supposedly demanding them to stand up for.
The NSCP which they support so fervently, ostensibly sold as an all encompassing, multi-faith and egalitarian initiative to support our troubled children with a counseling network, is the thin end of the current wedge. No matter how much of a benefit of the doubt you wish to extend it, thanks to Access Ministries, everyone can now pretty clearly see it for what it is – a coup d’état to seize control of the minds of our children and lay the foundations of a glorious, charismatic christian future.
Much has been said elsewhere on this issue and there is no need for me to rehash. The real issue is that our various governments have given way too much leeway with no oversight to Access Ministries who have turned out to be a barrel of cobras. As I wrote up extensively in my last post, Access Ministries have been lying to all concerned since before the outset, entered into contractual agreements to provide NSCP services they had no intention of ever adhering to, and now, being unmasked for the liars and frauds that they are, are continuing to siphon untold millions out of the public purse and denying any wrong doing whatsoever and blaming everything on a media beat up by some vast, octopoid conspiracy of satan worshiping christ haters.
They have one slight problem though – like the little boy who cried wolf, nobody believes them any more and a backlash bigger than any have foreseen is brewing and breathing down their necks. Access Ministries have been furiously purging incriminating online documents, have shut down the new member sign up page on their site, removed their complaint resolution pages and are probably laundering a huge bag of shit stained underwear even as we speak. Not exactly the kind of behavior you’d expect from a party that believes in its own innocence. They know what the facts are, and they are painfully simple – they are liars and frauds and they can no longer hide from the fact that it is all established public knowledge.
So, now that the jig is well and truly up, the second wave of defense is in full swing – one that wishes to wash away all this criminal moral degeneracy away with a torrent of mewling, self-pitying crocodile tears. This charge is being led by Nicholas Tuohy and his piece in Online Opinion is a positively psychedelic diarrhoea spatter of a barely comprehensible mish-mash of denial, victimisation, persecution and conspiracy theory that has to really be seen to be believed –
Those scheming and secretive Christians are trying to get our children. Well, so The Age thinks with its regular vindictive and vilifying prattle it is attempting to pass to us as journalism. I have lost count, but every week or so for the last couple of months, The Age is continuing its unjustified and unfair attack on Christian Religious Education (CRE) in schools and chaplaincy. The main target is the long-time established Access Ministries. The latest smear concerns the phrase used by Access Ministries head, which referred to making disciples of children. She was of course referring to words used by Jesus when he invited people to become his disciples. Now here are a few salient points:
Firstly, why shouldn’t children have the right to learn about Jesus and, if they so want, become a follower or, ready for it, a Christian? One example in The Age article refers to a child who ended up taking herself and her parents off to the local church after having CRE classes. Shock horror, call in the troops! A family heading off to church together? The Age thinks this is somehow sinister.
Secondly, we often hear about the need to understand and address the root causes of terrorism (another way of saying it is the West’s fault radical Islamists want to kill us). We also need to understand the root causes of religious fundamentalism. When a militant secular agenda is forced upon a society, like what The Age and its buddies at the Humanist Society are seeking, people of faith can move into a ghetto-like mentality. The way to avoid this is to have open and robust conversation about religion, kept alive, and not pushed to the margins.
An extended quote, I know, but I couldn’t bring myself to edit it down. It would lose that special magic. In the article and the forum comments that follow, he even whines about the unfairness of it all, and even demands apologies from the more direct of his critics. It’s beyond the pale. No acknowledgement of wrong doing, no mention of any of Access Ministries’ vile behavior and conscious, premeditated deception, nor of the continuing siphoning of funding through what can only be called fraud – nothing. Completely shameless and howling about a conspiracy instigated and stage managed by The Age.
Nicholas, you are an incoherent buffoon. A shameless, criminal propagandist. Your picture needs to be placed in the dictionary under “sophistry”. You leave me speechless, as does your commentary and blank faced denial that there is anything even slightly wrong here, and howling about how all you poor wee christians are being persecuted. This is what is at the heart of the matter – all of these people truly believe they have done nothing wrong. They know they have broken rules and engaged in despicable conduct, but deep down they still believe they have done nothing wrong. They believe they have some kind of divine covenant that abdicates them from any responsibility to behave ethically or within the law or within acceptable bounds of basic human decency. They believe that they are above all such petty terrestrial considerations. With 110% sincerity.
This is why these folks need to be purged entirely from the education system and barred from having any contact with minors ever again. They are complete, abject moral and ethical destitutes. And they believe that despite all this, they are right.
And the biggest cost here? It is how it will reflect on the humble believers out there, many who are equally nauseated by these goings on. But I am sorry folks, you have allowed these vipers to breed in your communities and congregations, you have allowed them to creep and take control of your public institutions. And now its all exploded in your face.
Seriously, if you have a shred of decency or dignity, this fiasco is not something you can blame on the secularists and atheists. The rot began at home. You are just going to have to deal with it.
1 – Largely without noticeable protest from modest believers though, but that’s another issue entirely.
2 – The true surreal absurdity can be seen in the fact that Al Qaeda view the Taliban as “innovators” because their version of islam is not pure enough and therefore they are heretics – to be tolerated only in the short term as useful foot soldiers and diversions to drain US resources.