Thinly Veiled Racism

August 17, 2010 § 2 Comments

The upcoming election has skirted around just about every topic I actually hold as important. Sure they need to address topics such as the economy and the security of the nation. This election campaign has been particularly boring and skirts across topics with rhetoric and empty promises. Internet censorship, (where opponents of the filter are accused of being in favour of child pornography as a matter of course), the denial of same-sex marriage are topics that we the public want to have some movement on, but every day we hear the same thing, and so often in language that panders to the Christian and conservative lobbies. Julia Gillard, for instance,  is a self-proclaimed atheist, and yet continues to promise money to things like the School Chaplaincy Scheme. Tony Abbott is a fervent believer, and he often spouts sexism and ideals from the middle ages, so I won’t bother to talk too much about him.

But one particular political football that both sides are guilty of kicking about is that of asylum seekers. The politicians know that they can play this card to leverage off the xenophobic ideas that the media have fed people since the 9/11 attacks and the Bali bombings, and the message is clear. “Australia is in danger of being overrun, we must stop these people, because they might be terrorists.” This is a thinly veiled racist attitude dressed up as political astuteness.

And all the attention is on the boats, when illegal immigrants mostly arrive by aeroplane. Anyway, it’s a blog piece in itself, but I thought this campaign from Get Up was a really good explanation of the fear-mongering and misinformation we have been fed throughout this campaign about refugees coming into Australia.

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Further Reading about this election and the “promises”
Why are we robbing our littlies to preach Paul? by Leslie Cannold, August 16, The National Times

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“Dont just vote for them… Pray for them” – Politics and Religion

August 4, 2010 § 3 Comments

Outreach Media have done it again. They have chosen a current topic (for which I applaud them) and then used it for their own message (for which I don’t applaud them). As you may know, I have written on the Outreach Media billboards several times, as I drive past them every day on my way to work, and am aware when they change them each month. This month’s theme is the upcoming Australian Federal Election.

Dont just vote for them... Pray for them

Dont just vote for them... Pray for them

Every month, accompanying their billboard, the have a bible verse, and this month’s is this:

1 Timothy 2:1-2 “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

This tract from Timothy speaks, in the context above, of praying for our leaders, because if we do, through the will of God, they will be kind and gentle to us. It also says to basically respect all others and that they might to the same to you. It ls like the Golden Rule, do unto others, except that it includes the act of prayer. That’s all very nice isn’t it?

However if one it to dig deeper into the verses of Timothy, after he declares that Jesus appointed him “a preacher and an apostle (I speak the truth, I lie not)”, and after he says that people should pray everywhere they go, the verse goes on to say in 1 Timothy 2

9 In like manner, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly raiment; 10 but (which becometh a woman professing godliness) through good works. 11 Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. 12 But I permit not a woman to teach, or have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness.”

Now that is odd, don’t you think? Because in the context of the story that Outreach have put the verse on their website, they are claiming that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, more importantly that you pray for them, and God will deliver the best candidate to us to look after us. It is very hypocritical, and somewhat misleading of them to use this verse from Timothy given what he says afterward, especially since Julia Gillard is a woman (oh and an atheist, but that’s ok, God will sort her out later). I wonder if Outreach Media took the time to read the rest of Timothy before suggesting that verse to us in the article.

Now I’m not going to pick on the Outreach article completely. It reads:

“God cares that people are looked after by their rulers. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 teaches us that we should pray for our government. They have such a tremendous and difficult duty. We should pray that our rulers will be wise in making decisions. We should pray that they consider the human rights of every Australian citizen.”

If you read this part, and take out the words “God” and “pray” it actually has a nice sentiment to it, for we do hope for the best from our leaders to treat people with the respect and fairness that all humans deserve. I’m sure you’ll agree. But it goes on to say:

“And, most importantly, we should pray that they serve the living God.”

So according to this article, it is more important that our leader be a god-fearing Christian than that they treat the people of their country with respect and a duty of care.

In fewer words, What Outreach Media is saying is this:

“Do not vote for Julia Gillard, because she is a woman and an atheist. Amen.”

Apart from the blatant sexual discrimination within the verses from Timothy, this is a great example of cherry-picking at the Bible to extract the meaning you want from it, rather than the meaning it actually has or implies. Again, I say, either believe and promote ALL of the Bible and its good and bad points, or promote none of it. If it really is the word of God, then don;t leave out the particularly juicy bits, especially Leviticus.

And as a bit of icing on the cake, the Outreach article adds this prayer at the bottom:

Prayer: Dear God, thank you that Australia is a democracy where we can live in safety and freedom. Please help the elected Government to run our nation with wisdom and discernment, and to honour you in all things. Amen.”

So vote early,  vote often, and vote for a Christian male, in the name of democracy, safety, freedom and God.

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