Friday, April 10, 2009

Australia: The chapel without a crucifix

But a separate Muslim prayer room is OK

THE home of God at Royal North Shore hospital has fallen victim to a higher power - the State Government bureaucracy. The Mosman Daily has learnt that crucifixes, Bibles and all other Christian symbols are banned inside the hospital's chapel when it is not being used for a church service. The move, ordered by senior staff, is to avoid offending Muslims, Hindus or other non-Christian believers who may want to pray in the chapel.

Hospital staff say that while the chapel was built for Christians, they now want the chapel to be completely non-denominational. An inspection of the chapel last week by the Daily found no trace of a crucifix or any other religious symbol inside the chapel. The Daily has been told that church leaders must bring their own symbols to use in a service.

The chapel building also contains a separate Muslim prayer room.

Mosman Mayor Dom Lopez, a devout Catholic, said he was "outraged" to discover the rule when he was recently undergoing treatment at the hospital for bowel cancer. "When I was first told it I didn't believe it," Cr Lopez said. "When I was recovering, the Catholic priest came to see me and said, `It is true all the crosses are gone, somebody said we have to be a non-denomination church'. "That's just not right, it was built as a Christian chapel, now they (church leaders) have all to take all those things with them."

North Shore Liberal MP and Opposition health spokeswoman Jillian Skinner said the decision was "bureaucratic madness". "It's crazy, absolutely crazy," she said. "I bet there was no pressure from the Muslim community, the Jews or anyone - it's just silly bureaucrats." Mrs Skinner said visitors to the chapel needed all the strength they could get and that symbols of God would provide that. "I actually think it's offensive to all faiths (and) it is silly bureaucratic rules," she said.

Cr Lopez agreed. "They have completely disenfranchised a Christian chapel," he said. "Being a Christian, I find a lot of power in prayer and I think a lot of people do whether they are Muslim, Jewish or whatever."

A hospital spokeswoman said the rule change came after "the chapel was enhanced with the provision of a Muslim prayer space in the loft area". "At that time the decision was made to display the symbols of each faith, for example the chapel's cross and Bible, during specific services and ceremonies only," she said. "These important religious symbols are appropriately stored and used regularly. This decision was made out of respect for the many faiths that make up both the hospital and also the modern Australian community."


Are boys naturally violent?

Is the impulse to play with guns natural? Do boys naturally go through a violent stage, that they eventually grow out of? Times writer Anjana Ahuja visits Alpha Mummy with her view:

You don’t have to thrust a plastic gun into the hand of a toddler to teach him about violence. He is perfectly capable of fashioning, and deploying, his own weapons from the stuff around him. Branches become swords, remote controls are transformed into death sabres, saucepan lids are magicked into trusty shields.

In fact, a toddler intent on waging war, often against an invisible enemy, is an awe-inspiring vision of energy, resourcefulness, creativity and imagination. And yet, to my reckoning, such behaviour is in danger of becoming pathologised. Several mothers at my daughter’s school have stopped going to the local playground because the play has become a bit rough. This includes waving broken branches around (“it could poke someone in the eye”), tearing around at high speed (“someone could get knocked over”) and shouting at younger children (“bullying”).

When a parent explained this to me, I returned an analysis of the situation: yes, there is one boy in this gang of terrors that might have behavioural problems, but they are just young boys letting off steam after a day in the classroom. Boys are a bit more rough and tumble than our girls, I shrugged, and we can always intervene if things go awry.

I might as well have admitted to having had Pol Pot over for dinner.

Attempting to cleanse our playgrounds of aggression is a pointless and, quite possibly, harmful pursuit. I can completely understand why parents want to do it: you fear that someone is going to get hurt, that to not intervene is to sanction violence, that a child who learns violence will perpetuate it later in life. But, for the most part, the kids in the playground are not products of broken homes. They do not share the squalid backgrounds of the brothers in the Doncaster village, accused of torturing two boys and leaving one for dead.

Our playground nemeses are nice, middle-class children, boisterous rather than brutalised, and careless rather than calculatingly cruel. By waving broken branches around, they are exploring the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. In the course of their waving, they might whack a child accidentally. In which case, the whacker must deal with the consequences of what he has done. The whackee, meanwhile, learns to articulate his displeasure, and perhaps demand redress. And so, sometimes with the assistance of fretful parents, the two children learn the art of conflict resolution.

As we know, the brain learns from experience, rewiring itself and maturing with every new encounter. Each playground battle is grist to the neurological mill, setting us up for adult life as thinking, moral beings who have empathy with, and awareness of, other people.

The issue of aggression, especially the fondness of pretend guns by little boys, is sewn into many a thread on parent blogs (see, for example, this one). Mothers, especially, worry about their sons playing with guns (girls appear not to have the same gun-toting urge). The overwhelming response from other parents is: don’t worry about it because everyone little boy seems to go through it and then grow out of it. There is also much advice suggesting such play is not forbidden, so as not to turn guns into a source of illicit curiosity (and, as one gun-banning parent noted, her enterprising son simply chewed his sandwich into the shape of a pistol).

And, somewhere in that thread, lies a piece of wisdom, courtesy of Kathy, who observes: “Play is really the way that they (children) figure everything out.” Play is learning. That is not to say that play should never be policed: but a parent can judge when their child’s curiosity crosses over into unhealthy obsession.

By definition, children who do not push the boundaries - who do not even press their noses up against the fence of social norms - don’t learn by experience. They will dutifully obey their parents, and not even bother to pick up that torn branch. They don’t explore what it’s like to transgress; they never feel the shame of reprimand burning on their cheeks. In other words, they are not really learning. Personally speaking, I’d rather those kids wielded a broken branch in childhood and learned early, than picked up a Beretta in adolescence.


Newsweak Should Focus Upon Decline in Objective Journalism Rather Than the Decline of Christianity

By Bob McCarty

The cover of the April 13 issue of Newsweek uses seven words — THE DECLINE AND FALL OF CHRISTIAN AMERICA — laid out in the shape of a cross to create a sense of drama aimed at enticing readers. Unfortunately, the 4,200-word article says more about the decline of objective journalism than it does about the faith of Americans.

While highlighting the month-old findings of the American Religious Identification Survey conducted by the Program on Public Values at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., Jon Meacham took liberties with the subject matter and injected his opinions on several occasions.

Perhaps the most-egregious example appears in the article’s fifth paragraph where Meacham writes: "The decline and fall of the modern religious right’s notion of a Christian America creates a calmer political environment and, for many believers, may help open the way for a more theologically serious religious life".

Based on that statement, I’m willing to wager Meacham also believes — and wrongly, I might add — that the Fairness Doctrine is a good thing and that the Constitution contains clear language requiring the separation of church and state.

I’m also interested in how Meacham might explain the “calmer political environment” that spawned the Tea Party Movement sweeping the country. Anyone who’s attended a tea party will vouch for the fact that attendees are anything but calm when it comes to the damage that’s been done to our nation during President Barack Obama’s first 100 days.

Perhaps instead of chronicling the decline of Christianity, Meacham and his colleagues at Newsweek should focus upon the world of journalism — specifically, objective journalism — where a much more precipitous decline is evident.

For a more objective report on the survey, read my post about it published March 9.

UPDATE: The Daily Derelict writes that when you take out the words “Christianity” or “Christians” and replacing them with “journalism,” “newspaper readers” or “newspapers,” and it really doesn’t change the facts in the Newsweek story.


An example of why some jurisdictions (including Australia) now have parental alienation laws

A MOTHER who gave her three young children a drink she called "truth Coke" every time they returned from a visit with their father has lost custody of them. The drink, which was ordinary soft drink, was part of a bizarre ritual she subjected them to which included being questioned, bathed and having photographs taken, the New South Wales Family Court has heard.

She once paraded poster-sized photographs of bruised body parts of her children, including their genitals, outside the local post office with a large sign that said: "Don't support child abuse." She also threatened to put the photographs on YouTube.

The mother, 48, built up a dossier of allegations against her ex-husband in what had been a long and sad court tussle, including that he set his dogs on them, made them live in a shed and refused to feed them on Christmas Day. "She is utterly fixed in her view that bruises on the children are as a result of their father's physical abuse," Justice Linda Dessau said. "She does not entertain, see, or hear innocent explanations," the judge said, adding that none of the mother's allegations against the father had been substantiated.

After five years of living with their mother since the marriage ended, the judge ordered that the children, aged 11, 9 and 7, live with their father, 48, a farmer. She banned the mother from going to his property or parking on surrounding roads after hearing her claims were becoming more exaggerated and she was either delusional or vexatious.

The mother even told the court her ex-husband had been on a TV talent quest recently and had called himself a "loser" and was angry because he failed at the first show, when he had actually made the next round.

Her other unfounded claims included that their father suffered Asperger's Syndrome, locked the children in a dairy alone, had no electricity, fridge, television, telephone, hot water or toilet paper. She also said he made them drink only water and pick their own apples, and on Christmas Day had refused to feed them.

"There is abundant evidence these children are continually questioned and the mother undertakes something like a forensic analysis of their time with their father," the judge said. "I am satisfied the children do not face the risks in the father's case as the mother claims. The father's concern the children are being emotionally abused in the mother's care is well-founded."

The case was in court because the mother wanted to move six hours away with the children.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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