Sunday, July 31, 2022

I am a dyed-in-the wool conservative. Should I be concerned that "the arts" are largely dominated by the political Left?

To establish my credentials as someone who is fit to comment on the matter, I think I should initially point out that I am in general very much "into" high culture:

I can recite around 100 lines of Chaucer in the original Middle English plus some mainstream Goethe poems in German. I know who Belisarius and Justinian were, J.S. Bach is my favourite composer and I rather like Canaletto. And my favourite song is in Latin. And my Serbian girlfriend has been very helpful in introducing me to lesser-known Russian literature. And I acknowledge modern genius in the form of Philip Glass and David Williamson. So it would be hard to brand me as a Philistine.

But I regret to say that I do not share the common assumption below that the arts are in general important. To me they are just a small niche in the entertainment scene. Somewhat to my distress, football entertains far more people and should in consequence be more deserving of conservative attention. I see no virtue in the fact that I personally enjoy more arcane forms of entertainment.

And I don't think that much is lost by inattention to the arts as we have them today. Any message in them is usually Leftist dribble and very few modern artists are of anything like the quality of the greats from our past. Catching up with the canon of Russian literature would give us all greater insights than reading anything from the vast outpouring of modern novels or attending to most modern stage-shows. Some modern productions will of course stand the test of time but the wearisome task of finding the wheat among the storm of chaff is not for me. The classic past offers much better prospects for finding artistic enjoyment. I would rather (for instance) put on my favourite video of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, knowing that I will find great joy in that

Some works of art are undoubtedly politically influential. Orwell is the prime example of that. But the canon of classic English literature has much more potential to influence thought so promoting an awareness of that would seem to be a better task for conservatives. It was in his final year of High School that I discovered to my distress that my son had never heard of Coleridge or Wordsworth so there is much work to be done in that direction.

There are some notes about the sort of thing that I do and what I value here and here

Conservative political thought’s fractured history and philosophical developments should make for compelling artworks and literature. However, the Right is often perceived as the enemy of both the artists and writers, who predominantly fall under the Left’s protection.

Conservative political commentator Douglas Murray’s article "Publishing is a left-wing bubble" notes that those on the Left vastly outnumber those on the Right in the publishing industry. Birmo’s pride and prejudice show ARC grants need new rules written by postcolonial world literary studies professor Ben Etherington criticised Simon Birmingham’s decision to deny funding to arts and humanities projects.

The animosity between the progressive arts sphere and the political Right appears mutual: complaints about Woke publishing often feature in conservative discussions about the Australian cultural sphere, occasionally followed by a call for alternative media.

However, this article suggests several reasons for the Right to value and invest in the arts.

First, during 2020’s Covid-related funding reductions in the arts, I argued in "Anyone can do art – so why fund the Arts?" that art and literature are key to democracy. They allow us to model and exchange complex social experiences and arguments. The article then provided evidence to support a statement from Centre For Stories director Robert Wood on the need for resources in the arts:

‘It is fiction to think that art flowers without support. That it is only a calling that does not require resources.’

While the thinkers and organisations referenced in Anyone can do art were from the Left, there is no logical reason for the Left to monopolise the arts. Historically, parts of the Right have advocated for artists and writers who fled communist regimes. One cornerstone of libertarian thought is a novel, Ayn Rand’s "Atlas Shrugged".

Art allows for the coexistence of multiple truths without demanding one be ‘proved’ at the expense of all others. Topher Fields’ documentary "Battleground Melbourne" explores the costs of Victoria’s harshest Covid control measures. It was an emphatic recount that illustrated the rapid escalation in the state’s power, deterioration in social wellbeing, and mainstream media’s increasing approval of state-approved violence. The existence of Fields’ documentary does not discount, say, the efficacy of vaccination in reducing the severity of Covid symptoms in vulnerable groups, or the aggression and entitlement that some who opposed Covid vaccines exhibited. In the arts, two conflicting truths do not cancel each other out: they granulate our understanding of a complex world where people of different experiences and backgrounds attempt to coexist.

Advertisers have long understood that emotive stories, not hard facts and numbers, influence people to engage with products, services, and charity efforts. Right-wing thought is filled with storytelling material: it has a nuanced and diverse history of scrutinising social and cultural concepts such as nationhood, family, marriage, and community. Angela Dillard’s book "Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner: Multicultural Conservatism In America" examines strategies that ethnic and sexual minorities used to assimilate themselves into traditionally Anglo-European and Christian conservative movements. Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson’s book "Strange Justice: The Selling Of Clarence Thomas" considers tensions between African-American recognition, feminist concerns, and conservatism during Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas.

Despite the profound discussions arising from fractures within the Right, the Australian vocabulary about right-wing thought is woefully limited. Australian conservative politicians are said to have ‘become left-wing’ if they express support for gay marriage or decriminalisation of abortion.

The prominence of unfavourable personalities further degrades public perceptions of the Right. Even people seeking to sympathise with the Right often preface their statements ‘I’m not on the Right but–’ Many are unaware of the Right’s profound intellectual history which studies the balance between a need for change and the maintenance of cultural integrity. The Right needs art more than ever to capture the public’s imagination.

While this article pushes for the Right’s appreciation of the arts, it does not support squirrelling into ‘alternative outlets’, an idea floated among various Right-wing outlets. Ideas that defy the progressive consensus of Australian arts industries may need to circulate among more sympathetic spheres (arts industries in non-Western countries) to gain initial momentum before Australians recognise its validity. Having a multitude of artistic and literary platforms framed around different values and tastes may improve our access to different perspectives on controversial issues. But these should still lie within a generally unified cultural sphere, rather than walled off into separate echo chambers. A unified cultural sphere allows for the acknowledgment of viewpoints across the political divide. Echo chambers are deaf to external information and descend into polarised stupidities.

Conservative commentators frequently note a progressive takeover in mainstream Australian arts and media. For example, Alexandra Marshall’s article "The Sydney Writers’ Festival: so woke you want to call for blood tests" observed the Sydney Writers’ Festival’s platforming of simplistic racial and gender identity politics. One may question or disagree with her derision towards Wokeness in the media. However, her observation about the conservative viewpoint’s absence begs an important question: where are the conservative creatives? The simplistic understanding of conservatism in Australia is unsurprising: deriding artists as ‘lefty snowflakes’ and siphoning out their money damage any chances of artists studying right-wing thought, let alone sympathise and be inspired by its nuances. If the Right is truly concerned about Leftist dogma in media and culture, it needs to be serious about regaining cultural territory through investment, training, and respect for artistic and literary practitioners.

In time, I would like to see Australian Right-wing and Left-wing writers and artists in conversation at national cultural events. A rehash of the ‘we are more similar than different’ conclusion may not directly answer questions like ‘should big churches be heavily taxed?’ or ‘why are fuel prices so high?’ But it may provide necessary reminders to people that political adversaries are simply humans with different priorities on particular issues, not demonic lunatics to be exiled from workplaces and social groups. That would go a long way in detoxifying political debates.


Wokeness - “Ex Uno Multis”

“E pluribus unum” or “out of many, one” is America’s national motto. Now due to wokeness, it is evolving into “ex uno multis” or “out of one, many”.

Wokeness perceives the world through the racist lens of Marxist ideology: oppressed and oppressors. It is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “aware of social and political issues, especially racism”. Wokeness is a fusion of the Marxist German Frankfurt critical theory school, and radical racist activism.

Marxist theory originally had the oppressed working class proletariat being exploited by bourgeois capitalist oppressors. Over the past 150 years, this has morphed into people of color (POC) being oppressed by the white race. Critical race theory, identity politics, cancel culture, gender studies, unlimited immigration, and the 1619 Project followed.

Western civilization, and American society in particular, are descending into Marxist hell holes similar to Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea. and China. Woke ideology is corrupting our society from within. Woke education is about denigrating positive aspects of Western civilization, and highlighting the negative through the Marxist lens of race. Since Western Civilization is derived from people of European descent (“white people”) then the evils of Western Civilization are due to white people. All other people are “people of color” and are therefore innocent.

Slavery was a feature of human history until Christian Western Civilization, at the beginnings of free market capitalism, began to eradicate it. Of the 12.5 million slaves sent to the New World from Africa, 388,000 or 3%, went to the United States.

The Islamic world was and is the greatest slaver in history. Not only did Muslims enslave more blacks than Europeans, but Muslim Turks also enslaved millions of eastern Europeans. Barbery Coast Muslim Arabs enslaved millions of Mediterranean Europeans, and conducted slave raids for blond sex slaves as far north as Iceland. Slavery was ended in the homeland of Islam, Saudi Arabia, in 1962. Slavery still exists in parts of Muslim North Africa and is practiced by groups such as ISIS.

Under Marxism, truth is malleable. It is based on power, and what becomes “the” truth becomes “my” truth. Gender theory has man becoming woman and vice versa. George Washington, instead of being the “Father of our Country”, becomes a “slave owner”. The New York Times “1619 Project” rewrites history so that, instead of America being founded in 1776 on the concept of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, America was founded on the oppression of POC in 1619, when the first slaves arrived in Virginia.

Woke Corporations

The goal of Marxist Wokeness is to weaken America internally by causing racial strife, economic strife, and cultural strife. Mandatory Covid shots and lockdowns; the strangulation of hydrocarbon energy for the pipe dream of so-called “clean energy”; massive debt leading to inflation; the ruination of the middle class; the breakdown of the family unit; the weakening of the military; and the indoctrination of our children into hating America, all of these lead to America becoming weaker and divided.

Corporations have become Woke due to Marxist ideology being taught in schools to students who are now in corporate leadership positions. Numerous examples of Woke Corporations include:

Nike - Headquartered in Oregon where Antifa runs amok, Nike’s 30th anniversary ad campaign features Colin Kaepernick, who is famous for kneeling during the national anthem at National Football League (NFL) games as a protest against racial injustice, and who is a supporter of Black Lives Matter. Nike kowtows to China with no outrage at Uyghur genocide, organ harvesting from the Fulan Gong religious sect, military aggression in the South China Sea, or threats to Taiwan.

National Basketball Association (NBA) - Earning billions of dollars in China, the NBA is silent on Chinese atrocities.

Disney - Protesting Georgia’s voting and abortion laws and Florida’s education law, Disney turns a blind eye to China’s atrocities. It threatens not to film in Georgia, but will film in China. Disney promotes homosexuality and transgender lifestyles to our young children.

Wall Street - Black Rock, with $10 trillion under asset management, invests billions in Chinese companies that threaten America. The phrase attributed to Lenin “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” is descriptive.

Numerous other Woke Corporations have and are participating in “ex uno multis” to divide and weaken America. Diversity is not our strength. Rather our strength is unity in the American creed of “all men and women are created equal; justice for all; and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

We have met the enemy and he is us.


HSBC's virtue-signalling hypocrisy

Ah, HSBC. The Asian banking giant has raised some eyebrows in recent years with their endless antics to appear oh so right-on. Back in 2019, they ran a series of adverts proclaiming that ‘we are not an island’, ignoring the fact that, er, we very much are. More recently they’ve rushed to associate themselves with Halifax’s pronouns stunt and this week unveiled their latest progressive wheeze: offering ‘gender-neutral banking’. This means the bank will ‘stop collecting data on the gender of its customers across some products’ in order to provide ‘more inclusive services for non-binary and trans people.’

There’s a rich irony in HSBC now refusing to collect data on its customers, given its involvement in abetting the Chinese government’s crackdown on Hong Kong. HSBC not only publicly backed the draconian National Security Law but also froze the bank accounts of prominent pro-democracy activists in exile at the behest of Beijing, something that obviously involved keeping tabs on the troublemakers. Its chief executive, Noel Quinn bleated that ‘I can’t cherry-pick which laws to follow’; given the law claimed universal jurisdiction, it doesn’t exactly suggest pro Hong Kong democrats in London are safe with the bank, non-binary or not.

There’s an inconsistency too in HSBC’s latest announcement. For all their posturing about universal values and how ‘it’s vital that everyone can be themselves in the workplace’, a search of HSBC Saudi Arabia yields precisely zero results for ‘gender.’ Similarly, given their efforts to keep Beijing happy, Mr S has his doubts about how such progressive pronouncements will fare in China, where same-sex couples are unable to marry or adopt, and where there’s been a push back in recent years on depictions of homosexuals and ‘effeminate men’ on television.

Still, perhaps it’s better we’re talking about HSBC’s ‘values’ rather than basic banking functions. It was just seven months ago that the Asian giant was fined some £69.3 million here in Britain over ‘unacceptable failings’ and ‘inadequate monitoring’ in its anti-money laundering systems. Still, that’s nothing compared to HSBC Bank USA, which was fined a whopping £1.4 billion in 2012. It followed a US Department of Justice investigation into the bank’s failure to stop money laundering by Mexican drug cartels. If only Pablo Escobar had identified as an ‘Mx.’

Let’s hope that HSBC’s new ‘gender-neutral’ banking has better checks than its existing old-fashioned heteronormative system.


How Gender Ideology Cost a Chicago Mother Custody of Her Child

Jeannette Cooper never imagined she’d lose custody of her only child.

A Chicago resident and lifelong educator who spent her entire adult life surrounded by children, Cooper considered herself a loving and responsible mother. After she and her husband divorced in 2015, she won custody of their daughter six days and seven nights a week.

Cooper says the two shared a happy, healthy mother-daughter relationship, bonding over their love for board games and progressive politics.

But on July 22, 2019, after a regular custodial visit to her father’s house, Cooper’s daughter, then 12, refused to come home. The next morning, she insisted not only that she was transgender, but that she felt “unsafe” around her mom.

Cooper didn’t understand. Her daughter never before had exhibited signs of gender dysphoria. In fact, her daughter exhibited many more traditionally feminine behaviors and preferences than she herself ever did, Cooper says.

What followed was an almost Kafkaesque series of court proceedings and therapy sessions in Cook County, Illinois, in which Cooper’s ex-husband, lawyers, therapists, and other individuals and institutions supposedly concerned with her daughter’s best interests worked to erode Cooper’s most basic parenting rights.

Cooper, 44, shared her story with the Independent Women’s Forum as part of a new documentary series called “Identity Crisis.” The videos tell the stories of four mothers whose daughters fell prey to gender ideology, two detransitioners who now warn of the harms of socially and medically transitioning, and one mental health professional who rails against her profession for prioritizing political correctness over public health.

Since her daughter declared that she is transgender, Cooper says she has seen her for a total of only eight and a half hours. (She counts.)

Cooper lives less than 10 minutes away from her ex-husband’s house, where her daughter now resides, but she isn’t allowed to visit. The only way Cooper can communicate with her daughter is by U.S. mail.

All because she insists that her daughter is a girl.

“People who are imprisoned have more communication with their child than I do,” Cooper says. “That’s wrong.”

Cooper packed photos and other items that reminded her of her previous life with her daughter into cardboard boxes. Looking at them became too hard. For three years, she didn’t talk about what happened.

But finally ready to tell her story, Cooper is warning parents how gender ideology has become the latest weapon in parental custody battles, severing one of the most fundamental bonds in life under the guise of protecting children.

In America, cases in which parents lose custody of their children due to a refusal to support a child’s desire to transition socially or medically may be rare. But the number of transgender-identifying youth has nearly doubled in recent years, leaving politicians, educators, medical professionals, and the public at odds over what policies are best suited to protect the health and well-being of children.

Cooper, a doctoral candidate in education at DePaul University, says she has trouble making sense of the allegation that her daughter is “unsafe” in her presence. But after her daughter made that claim, Cooper understood that the court needed to investigate.

The seven-month investigation, conducted by a licensed clinical psychologist, required psychological testing, home visits, and hours of interviews with each parent. On the bright side, Cooper says, she believed it would clear her of any wrongdoing and reunite her with her daughter.

“After that report came out, I thought, surely, this is going to resolve itself. Clearly, there is no finding of abuse or neglect,” Cooper says. “But the thing that I clearly am not complying with is this concept that good parenting means that you affirm a child’s claim that there is something wrong with their body. I’m not willing to do that. I don’t think that’s good parenting.”

Cooper isn’t able to share the report’s findings, but publicly available court documents after the investigation make no mention of abuse or neglect. Instead, the documents cite Cooper’s need to “further [her] understanding of an[d] support of the minor child as relates to the minor child’s gender dysphoria.”

Cooper says she does have an understanding of the concept of a transgender identity. But it’s not the same understanding or concept that the court wants her to have.

Last year, with her visitation rights still suspended, Cooper voluntarily entered into a new parenting agreement to avoid a prolonged hearing that she feared would cause more trauma and end with the same result.

Under the terms of the final agreement, Cooper’s daughter is to remain in her father’s custody, with no visitation rights for Cooper without a court order or unless her ex-husband agrees.

After consulting with a therapist and attending three support group sessions for parents or guardians of transgender-identifying children, the agreement allows Cooper to petition the court to see her daughter again. She attended those sessions last fall, the soonest she could enroll.

But the specified therapist has no openings because her waitlist is full.

Cooper has missed her daughter’s 13th, 14th, and 15th birthdays. As her 16th birthday approaches in August, Cooper found out that her daughter is learning how to drive.

“I wish I could teach her,” Cooper says. “I think I’m kind of good at that.”




Friday, July 29, 2022

Ethically non-monogamous relationships

Wow! It seems that I was ahead of my time. I practiced for years a version of what is described below. And it had the consequence warned of below too.

Although I have had good sexual relationships with many women over the years, I am actually not very sexy. I can take it or leave it and often leave it.

I was aware that my girlfriend had good juices, however and that my loss of interest in sex with her distressed her. But other aspects of our relationship were very good so I told her that what she did when out of sight of me would be fine, as long as I was spared the details.

So she did have sexual relationships with other men while remaining emotionally attached to me. So for years we were both happy with that arrangement.

It was however an inherently risky arrangement and after a while that risk became reality. She eventually found that one of her lovers suited her better than me in important ways so she shacked up with him. I was distressed to lose her company but we have remained friends, as what she did was within our agreement

By Jana Hocking

I learnt a very interesting fact over the past week: many of you cheeky things are in an ethically non-monogamous relationship … with a twist.

Last week, my column was on ENM (ethical non-monogamy) and I queried whether I could participate in this craze without jealousy rearing its ugly head and decided that long-term the need to be exclusive would ultimately win.

It was roughly five minutes after the article went live that many people got in touch with their own experiences with ENM. My DMs were filled with essays and my phone pinged with friends who felt comfortable enough to share their own stories.

Let’s just say, my mind was blown!

First of all, good lord there’s a lot of you choosing to step outside society’s idea of a ‘normal’ relationship. And it’s not just the spicy couples you assume would be in these kind of relationships. Oh no. There were teachers, plumbers, stay-at-home mums, bankers. It seems the ENM life does not discriminate.

Secondly, I was chuffed that people felt they could share with me, knowing that I am a judgment-free-zone.

I have to admit, following these juicy confessions, I found there to be one stand out feature in these stories. Many (and I mean MANY) people are non-monogamous, they just don’t discuss it with their partner.

That’s where the ‘ethical’ part of this new dating trend becomes a bit hazy. You see, it turns out when you’ve been in a relationship for, what feels like, a million years, sometimes the need to remain exclusive dwindles.

At lunch this weekend, I found myself deep in a debate about ENM and one friend exclaimed: “We’ve been married for so long, I genuinely couldn’t give a hoot who he hooks up with. As long as he comes home to me and doesn’t forget to mow the lawns!”

Another friend happily fantasised who she would hook up with first if given the chance to go non-monogamous.

My DMs were even juicier. One particular bloke shared with me that he and his wife have an unspoken agreement that “what happens on the road, stays on the road.”

Both travel extensively for work, and while in the early years of their marriage they tried to stay monogamous, life on the road can get pretty dull and the mind starts to wonder.

He said it makes him slightly paranoid at the end-of-year Christmas parties, as he tries to guess who she may have hooked up with while away, but believes feelings are spared by just not knowing.

Another person in my DMs said being ENM works for himself and his partner, but rules must be enforced for it to work.

“Rules?!” I questioned, “I thought the whole point of being ENM was that you could be wild and carefree?!”

Nope, because you see I was missing one key fact: when two people connect intimately together, they are running the risk of developing feelings. So, this gent and his partner agreed that they are allowed to hook up with people but not allowed to sleep with the same person more than once, therefore avoiding ‘catching the feels’.

Then I remembered a TED talk I watched recently on ‘The brain in love’ with Dr Helen Fisher, a Senior Research Fellow at the Kinsey Institute. She revealed just how easy it is to fall in love with someone during a one-night-stand.

“Any stimulation of the genitals drives up the brain’s dopamine system, which is basic to feeling intense romantic love. Then, with orgasm, there’s a flood of oxytocin and vasopressin – brilliant chemicals that are associated with attachment,” said Dr Fisher.

“So, when you have sex, you can go over the threshold into falling in love thanks to dopamine – and, after orgasm, feel a deep attachment to them.”

Well that’s slightly petrifying!

I took a trip down memory lane and concluded that, yes, this fact is 100 per cent correct. There’s a certain bloke I’ve done the doona dance with who just has a gift for ‘hitting the spot’ and I’m completely bonkers for him. Science, hey!

So, I think what we can all take from this new trend is that you really are playing with fire if you partake. Boo, why do all fun things have to come with a clause?


Standing up for real women

I was pregnant, single and in the Arts. I probably should have kept my head down. But once the penny dropped on what was happening, I had to voice my concern on trans ideology.

It was late 2020 when YouTube suggested I watch a podcast titled, ‘Trans Women Aren’t Women’. It was a jolt to read. I wasn’t supposed to say Trans Women Aren’t Women. I was supposed to believe that trans women are women.

The provocatively titled episode of Trigonometry stared at me for several days before I finally watched it. At the time of writing this article, it has amassed over one million views.

The guest was Posie Parker, also known as Kellie-Jay Keen. Her insistence on the truth was spellbreaking. Thank goodness for brave people. I saw that Parker was absolutely right to reject trans ideology.

The ‘Trans Women Are Women’ mantra is effective in preventing people from thinking critically about this. That, and the fact that anyone who dares to question it will be intimidated into silence. As Posie says in the podcast, ‘If I’m not allowed to talk about this, then this is obviously very serious and I need to talk about it as much as I possibly can.’

In the eighteen months since watching the podcast I have started talking about it, too. Perhaps it’s because I’m more aware of it, but it seems like there are growing number of people willing to admit they are skeptical of babies being born in the wrong bodies and men who insist that they are literally women.

I have girlfriends who thank me for posting articles on this issue. Some of them admit that they are too scared to speak up. They are right to be afraid. Women like Posie Parker, JK Rowling, Maya Forstater, Kathleen Stock, Helen Joyce, Megan Murphy and many more are all fighting for women who can’t speak up, and encouraging those who can.

Since coming out as pro-woman, for want of a better label, I’ve been asked things like, Why do you care so much? Why can’t you just let them be? What’s it to you?

It’s heartbreaking. Why can’t I just let men obliterate women in sports? Why can’t I just let men self-identify as women to get into women’s prisons and shelters? Why can’t I ignore the fact that it’s cruel to tell gender non-conforming children that they were born in the wrong body? Why can’t I just go along with a lie?

By the way, you can call me anything you like. Gender critical, TERF, bigot. I don’t mind.

The first time I posted anything, I simply took a photo of some stickers I’d bought from Parker’s store, . The stickers read ‘I heart JK Rowling’. It is telling how worried I was to post a photo of some stickers but once Parker broke my brain with the truth, I had to stand up for women, too. Courage begets courage. Not offending some delusional blokes in dresses was far less important than spreading the word for women and children. I always felt a little nervous, and the posts didn’t get many ‘likes’, but no backlash came.

Then, weeks after giving birth, I received a message about my bigotry from an old friend. It was awful that she thought I was such a bad person she was compelled to tell me. Having had a daughter, and swimming in a sea of post-natal hormones, I reacted fiercely by posting more stories, more memes, more accounts of detransitioners. All expose this movement for what it is: a misogynistic worldwide medical experiment.

That did not go well. I found myself at the bottom of a social media pile on, and my real world fell apart. I deleted Facebook and left town with my baby. But it doesn’t matter where you are, the trans right’s activists will find you. A trans man tried to cancel my show at the Adelaide Fringe Festival earlier this year. She implored my venue to cancel my run and publicly atone for booking a ‘violent’ transphobe.

Thankfully the complaint was dismissed and I was free to do my comedy. In places like Canada, America and the United Kingdom you can be jailed, fined or lose your children for standing up to the gender cult.

So why do I care? Because at this point I can’t not care. Putting the feelings of men over the safety of women and children is wrong. Telling children that they could have been born in the wrong body is wrong.

I firmly believe that if I had been born ten years later, I would have caught this social contagion. I was born in the late eighties and I grew into a bit of a tomboy. I loathed the thought of puberty. I started dieting at 13 to prevent getting a period. I hated my breast buds and imagined a machine that would suck the new flesh away, leaving me with a flat chest forever. I even wished I had been born a boy.

But wishing you had been born a boy is very different from being told you might be a boy.

I follow a lot of gender critical thinkers and writers who articulate the danger of this movement but I keep the balance and also follow some trans rights activists. Their arguments are no doubt persuasive to very impressionable young people. Even adults are seduced by the social status points you gain in admiring the emperor’s new clothes. Who wouldn’t want to be on the side of ‘kindness?’

But it is not kind to lie to children. It is not kind to affirm delusions. My prepuberty dieting evolved into bulimia. I was convinced I was overweight when I wasn’t. Imagine if the kind thing to do was to affirm that my self-perception was correct? That I was fat. Maybe I had a fat soul? Should I have identified as obese?

What the ‘be kind’ brigade omits from their message is the ‘or else’. The kindness of these people is conditional on your total fealty to the church of crazy. If you question anything, they’ll come after you.

Thank goodness I was born in the eighties, when girls threw up their food instead of cutting off their breasts.


Eagle Forum Rallies Conservatives To Oppose Democrats’ Same Sex Marriage Bill

Our friends at Eagle Forum have issued a clarion call to conservatives to defend religious liberty against the demands of Democrats who wish to force churches and other religious institutions to participate in blasphemous same-sex marriages.

The letter, addressed to the Members of the United States Senate, demands that Senators hold hearings on the House-passed “Respect for Marriage Act” (H.R. 8404) and that Senators vote no on this egregious intrusion into the religious liberty and violation of the First Amendment.

While we reproduce the text of the letter below, we want to highlight two key points made by our friends at Eagle Forum.

The first point is that H.R. 8404 is little more than a vehicle to empower homosexuals and other gender ideologues to engage in lawfare against churches and religious institutions. The bill creates a private right of action that may be brought by “any person who is harmed by a violation” of the Act “against the person who violated” the right or claim. This would empower homosexuals and their well-funded lobby to sue the Catholic Church or any other church or religious institution that refuses to perform same-sex marriages.

Secondly, Eagle Forum explains that there is one glaring absence from the so-called Respect for Marriage Act and that is any language referencing the religious liberty rights of those whose religious tenets do not consider same-sex marriage to be the equivalent of traditional marriage. Federal recognition of same-sex marriage without a religious exemption could violate the conscience protections of Americans who morally disagree with this notion. As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his dissent in Obergefell, “[the] decision . . . creates serious questions about religious liberty. Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is – unlike the right imagined by the majority – actually spelled out in the Constitution.”

Conservatives must oppose this latest intrusion of sexual politics into the religious life of Americans. We join Eagle Forum and other conservative leaders and organizations in urging CHQ readers and friends to call their Senators (the Capitol Switchboard is 1-866-220-0044) to demand they vote NO on the Democrats’ inaptly-named Respect for Marriage Act.

Text of the Eagle Forum letter follows:

Dear Senator,

As the Senate is being urged to quickly consider and pass the Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 8404), Eagle Forum and the thousands of families we represent are writing to voice our opposition to this bill as well as a request the Senate Judiciary committee hold a hearing on this matter before it is brought to the floor for a vote.

A brief recap of the timeline: in 1996, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA as unconstitutional in U.S. v. Windsor. In the Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) decision, the Court required all states to perform and recognize same-sex marriages as equal to those of opposite sex couples. On June 24, 2022, the Court handed down the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that returned the issue of abortion to the States. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurrence in Dobbs in which he reiterated his longstanding view that, “‘substantive due process’ is an oxymoron that ‘lack[s] any basis in the Constitution.’”[1] Justice Thomas was clear in stating, “[t]he Court today declines to disturb substantive due process jurisprudence generally or the doctrine’s application in other, specific contexts. Cases like . . . Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. 644 (2015), are not at issue. . . . Thus, I agree that “[n]othing in [the Court’s] opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”[2]

Despite the forceful nature of Justice Thomas’s statement that the Dobbs holding does not affect Obergefell, and the fact that no other Justice signed onto his analysis of substantive due process, the left has used his concurrence as the impetus to bring forward legislation such as H.R. 8373 (Right to Contraception Act) and H.R. 8404 (Respect for Marriage Act). H.R 8404 was introduced on July 12, 2022 and quickly passed the House of Representatives seven days later on July 19th, without a single hearing.

This legislation clearly repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that was technically repealed by the Obergefell and Windsor decisions. In addition, it codifies the holding in Obergefell that requires States, and the federal government, to recognize same-sex marriages validly performed in any State, allows the Attorney General of the United States to enforce that right and creates a private right of action that may be brought by “any person who is harmed by a violation” of the Act “against the person who violated” the right or claim.[3]

There is one glaring absence from the so-called Respect for Marriage Act and that is any language referencing the religious liberty rights of those whose religious tenets do not consider same-sex marriage to be the equivalent of traditional marriage. Federal recognition of same-sex marriage without a religious exemption could violate the conscience protections of Americans who morally disagree with this notion. As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his dissent in Obergefell, “[the] decision . . . creates serious questions about religious liberty. Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is – unlike the right imagined by the majority – actually spelled out in the Constitution.”[4]

The House and Senate Democratic leadership has chosen not only to bring up this legislation without protections for religious believers but without a single hearing to determine what the effects of legislation will have on the Constitutional rights of Americans to act pursuant to those deeply held religious beliefs. We ask that the Senate Republican leadership and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee demand that the Judiciary Committee hold hearings on this important issue before the bill is allowed to come to the Senate floor for a vote. The American people deserve an explanation of the contents of the bill, why the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is not explicitly applied in this bill, and why this legislation is more important than other topics currently affecting Americans such as inflation, rising gas prices, and border security.

Once again, we urge you to call for a hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 8404). Please reach out to me at with any questions.


The Left is winning the language wars

Judith Sloan

Once upon a time, we – or most of us, at least – knew what words meant. Needless to say, from society’s point of view, this was very useful – we were all working from the same page.

If someone had used the term economic rationalism, the typical response would have been to query the need for repetition. Yep, economics is about making trade-offs and who would sign up to irrationalism? What happened, in fact, was that economic rationalism became a term of derision, the message being that economics is a heartless discipline that should be ignored by both politicians and concerned persons.

While the term economic rationalism has luckily gone out of fashion, the connotation lives on. Social justice was another term that became wildly fashionable a while back. I’m not sure who is against social justice, but hands up all those who know what social justice actually means. The main point is that social justice is just a short-hand term for everything that progressives regard as important and woe betide anyone who disagrees.

There are plenty of murky, even meaningless, words and terms that have been captured by the Left to throw stones at those who disagree with them. To describe economics as neoliberal makes no sense at all. But it is a way of casting economics as a callous discipline based on absurd assumptions. The fact that right-minded economists don’t ever describe themselves as neoliberal is irrelevant to activists pushing greater government intervention.

Extraordinarily long-serving economics editor at the Sydney Morning Herald, Ross Gittins – succession planning is clearly not the long suit of the editors – is always at pains to distance himself from neo-liberalism. As he puts it, ‘economics has many useful insights to offer the community. It must be rescued from neoliberalism because neoliberalism is simply bad economics.’ We can’t be sure why it’s bad economics because we don’t know what neoliberalism is – well apart from it being bad.

Austerity is another term purloined by the Left to attack any politician who attempts to cut government spending. Actually, make that cut the growth of government spending. Where once austerity might have been interpreted as responsible behaviour, particularly after a period of excess, these days it is another abridged term for merciless pruning of government expenditure.

Recall those 365 economists who wrote to the Times in 1981 complaining about Maggie Thatcher’s economic policies. They were confident that the fiscal and monetary tightening that was being implemented ‘will deepen the depression (sic)’. They even went as far as to suggest that Thatcher’s 1981 budget would ‘threaten social and political stability’. As events panned out, inflation came under control and unemployment began to trend down. Oops for the ‘experts’ (another misused term).

The Australian Labor party also has form in terms of misrepresenting austerity and spending cuts. At recent elections (but not 2022), Labor would claim that the Coalition had plans to cut spending on education, health and other areas. Who could forget the vacuous Tanya Plibersek making this claim when in fact federal government spending on education under the Coalition had increased and was forecast to increase further?

The trick was for Labor to foreshadow ridiculously rapid increases in spending and judge Coalition plans against this fabrication. Of course, there were always fine words attached to Labor’s plans like removing the impact of socio-economic background on educational outcomes. Yeah, right! But the point is that Labor was able to misuse language to score political points. Arguably, this tactic forced Tony Abbott to agree, during the 2013 election campaign, that there would be no cuts to education, health or the ABC (!) under a Coalition government.

Nimby – not in my backyard – is another term that has been snaffled by the Left to push for any of their preferred developments while denigrating those who oppose them. The objective is to delegitimise any preferences that locals have in order to achieve ‘progressive’ objectives. (Yes, there’s another word that’s misused – progressive.)

The Grattan Institute has long promoted high-rise developments in inner and middle suburbs as a means of providing housing for a rapidly growing population, the latter mainly the result of very high rates of immigration. For people living in those suburbs who object to these developments – gosh, doesn’t everyone want a 30-storey apartment building next to their freestanding house? – the argument is that they should be ignored as selfish, privileged buffoons.

Because Nimby-ism is bad, so the Left’s argument goes, governments should be able to ignore the preferences of locals and simply force through new developments. It’s like China’s modus operandi, when you think about it. Nimby arguments are reaching a crescendo in some regional areas. Proposals to build massive transmission lines across farms or close to cities or towns are understandably causing disquiet among locals.

Recently, there was a well-attended protest in Ballarat objecting to the construction of huge pylons in western Victoria. This has put local federal member, Labor’s Catherine King, in something of a quandary, particularly as she is also minister for infrastructure. Weirdly, two state shadow ministers from the Victorian Liberal party turned up too, notwithstanding their party’s bizarre embrace of net zero by 2050 and a 50 per cent cut in the state’s emissions by 2030. Who ever said politicians needed to be consistent?

There is also a great deal of disquiet about a solar farm proposed for the outskirts of Goulburn, with many locals unhappy that a large chunk of the Gundary Plain should be used for this purpose. Apart from the loss of land, there is anxiety about glare from the panels and the ambient heat effect. Energy behemoth, BP, is a partner in the project.

The broader point about the promotion of renewable energy is that those living in regional areas are expected to bear the external costs of developments with any objections being written off as mere Nimby-ism.

So language matters. But the sensible centre-right has been totally outgunned and has completely lost the contest.




Thursday, July 28, 2022

The Left Pushed Puberty Blockers for Children, Now the FDA Issues Dire Warning About Permanent Damage

Democrats have continually promoted the idea of providing “gender-affirming” health care for children, such as puberty blockers. But the Food and Drug Administration has issued new warnings about one puberty blocker that could have severe side effects.

President Joe Biden himself has supported initiatives to “protect” such treatments for transgender individuals.

In celebration of Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, Biden issued an executive order “Reaffirming that transgender children have the right to access gender-affirming health care,” “Providing resources on the importance of gender-affirming care for children and adolescents” and “Advancing gender-affirming care as an essential health benefit.”

However, “gender-affirming” care can be dangerous.

In an announcement on July 1, the FDA added a new warning about gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, which it previously approved for use.

The agency identified a serious potential side effect of GnRH agonists that could cause a surge of spinal fluid pressure in the brain.

That kind of pressure on the brain can cause headaches, nausea, double vision and even blindness, the drug management journal Formulary Watch reported.

Cases of these negative side effects have been found six times by the FDA in girls ages 5 to 12.

In these cases, the girls who were taking GnRH agonists were diagnosed with pseudotumor cerebri.

Pseudotumor cerebri literally means “false brain tumor,” indicating it has the signs and symptoms of a tumor without one being there.

“The agency considered the cases clinically serious and, based on these reviews, determined that pseudotumor cerebri (idiopathic intracranial hypertension) should be added as a warning and precaution in product labeling for all GnRH agonist formulations approved for use in pediatric patients,” an FDA representative told Formulary Watch.

“Although the mechanism by which GnRH agonists may lead to development of pseudotumor cerebri has not been elucidated, and patients with CPP may have a higher baseline risk of developing pseudotumor cerebri compared with children without CPP, this potential serious risk associated with GnRH agonists justifies inclusion in product labeling,” the representative added.

The fact that the FDA is just now announcing possible severe side effects after having previously approved the drug is alarming.

Even aside from that, from a purely medical standpoint, the use of puberty blockers should be giving everyone serious pause. The physical ramifications of these treatments should give people serious doubts even if they ethically condone transgenderism.

By and large, doctors have no clue what the long-term effects of puberty blockers could be, as even the liberal New York Times acknowledged.

“Puberty blockers are largely considered safe for short-term use in transgender adolescents, with known side effects including hot flashes, fatigue and mood swings. But doctors do not yet know how the drugs could affect factors like bone mineral density, brain development and fertility in transgender patients,” the Times reported last year.

To be administering medical treatments whose long-term effects are not fully researched or understood is simply irresponsible — especially when the recipients are children.


On the campaign trail, many Republicans see a civil war

Days before Maryland’s July 19 primary, Michael Peroutka stood up at an Italian restaurant in Rockville and imagined how a foreign enemy might attack America.

“We would expect them to make our borders porous,” Peroutka told the crowd, which had come to hear the Republicans running for state attorney general.

“We would expect them to make our cities unsafe places to live. We would expect them to try to ruin our economy.”

The country was “at war,” he explained, “and the enemy has co-opted members and agencies and agents of our government.”

On Tuesday, Peroutka easily dispatched a more moderate Republican to win the nomination.

State Delegate Dan Cox, who won Donald Trump’s endorsement after supporting the former president’s effort to subvert the 2020 election, also dispatched a Republican endorsed by the state’s popular governor, Larry Hogan.

Both candidates described a country that was not merely in trouble, but being destroyed by leaders who despise most Americans - effectively part of a civil war. In both swing states and safe seats, many Republicans say that liberals hate them personally and may turn rioters or a police state on people who disobey them.

Referring to the coronavirus and 2020 protests over police brutality, Cox told supporters at a rally last month, “We were told 14 days to bend the curve, and yet antifa was allowed to burn our police cars in the streets.”

He continued: “Do you really think, with what we’re seeing - with the riots that have happened, that we should not have something to defend our families with? This is why we have the Second Amendment.”

The rhetoric is bracing, if not entirely new.

Left-leaning commentators made liberal use of the word “fascism” to describe Trump’s presidency. The baseless theory that President Barack Obama was undermining American power as a foreign agent was popular with some Republicans, including Trump, who succeeded Obama in the White House.

Many Democrats saw the backlash to Obama as specific to his race, and saw Biden as unlikely to inspire mass opposition to Trump in the presidential election. But many Republicans also portray Biden as a malevolent figure - a vessel for a hateful leftist campaign to weaken America.

“It’s purposeful,” said former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who is running in next month’s special election for the state’s sole House seat, in an interview with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. “It’s all about the fundamental transformation of America. You only fundamentally transform something for which you have disdain.”

That argument has been dramatised in ads that, for instance, show one armed candidate appearing to charge into the home of a political enemy, and another warning of “the mob” that threatens ordinary Americans. In many cases the candidates are brandishing firearms while threatening harm to liberals or other enemies.

In central Florida, US Army veteran Cory Mills has run ads about his company selling tear gas that was used to quell riots in 2020. “You may have seen some of our work,” he says, introducing a montage of what are labelled “antifa,” “radical left,” and “Black Lives Matter” protesters running from the gas.

(Antifa, a movement of historically modest numbers, has been routinely described as a cause of widespread violence in America by rightwing commentators, including former President Donald Trump.)

In northwest Ohio, a campaign video for Republican congressional nominee J.R. Majewski shows him walking through a dilapidated factory, holding a semiautomatic weapon, warning that Democrats will “destroy our economy” with purposefully bad policies.

“Their agenda is bringing America to its knees, and I am willing to do whatever it takes,” says Majewski, who’s seeking a House seat in a district around Toledo that has been redrawn to make Representative Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat, beatable. “If I have to kick down doors, that’s just what patriots do.”

In Missouri, Republican Senate candidate Eric Greitens has issued two ads this summer in which he holds or fires weapons, vowing to go “RINO hunting” - for “Republicans in Name Only” - in one ad and targeting the “political establishment” in the second.

Dreading deep losses in November, some Democrats have spent money to help Republican candidates who talk this way under the theory that they will be easier to beat in November. The Democratic Governors Association spent more than $US1.1 million on positive ads for Cox, as he was telling voters that they might one day have to battle antifa with their own weapons.

Candidates like Majewski, however, have won with no assistance from Democrats, aided instead by high turnout and grass-roots energy. The idea that the Biden administration’s policies are designed to fail - to raise petrol prices, or increase the cost of food - is a popular campaign theme.

Pollsters have found that Americans are worried about the country sticking together; a YouGov poll released last month had a majority of both Democrats and Republicans agreeing that America would one day “cease to be a democracy”.

Republican wins since 2020, including a sweep in Virginia’s state elections and victory in a special election in June between two Hispanic candidates in South Texas, haven’t lightened the GOP mood. Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist who works with Trump-backed US Senate candidates J.D. Vance in Ohio and Blake Masters in Arizona, said that last year’s vaccine-or-test mandate for large companies was a turning point in views of the Biden administration, even after it was blocked by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority.

“It’s the number one thing that caused people to go from ‘maybe this is incompetence’ to ‘there’s something else going on here,’ ” Surabian said. “Like, do these people actually want a Chinese-style social credit system?”

Rick Shaftan, a conservative strategist working with Republican challengers this cycle, said that the party’s voters were nervously watching crime rates in the cities, asking whether public safety was being degraded on purpose. He also pointed to government responses to the pandemic as a reason that those voters, and their candidates, were nervous.

“People paid a lot of attention to the truckers,” said Shaftan, referring to Canadian protests against vaccine mandates that occupied Ottawa this year and briefly shut down an international bridge. “Canada’s supposed to be a democracy. . . . People worry: Can that happen here?”

The arrests of hundreds of rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, has frequently been cited by Republican candidates as proof of a government war on its people.

In early July, at a town hall meeting in southwest Washington state, Republican congressional hopeful Joe Kent told his audience that the “phony riot” on January 6 was being “weaponised against anybody who dissents against what the government is telling us,” from parents angry about public school education to people who had questioned the outcome of the 2020 election.

“These are the types of tactics that I would see in Third World countries when I was serving overseas,” Kent told the crowd gathered in a gazebo in Rochester, one of the towns currently represented by Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican. “You’d see the Praetorian guard or the intelligence services grab the opposition and throw them in the dungeons. I never thought I’d see that in America.”


Democrat Asks Ruger Not to Sell Certain Type of Ammo; Ruger CEO Responds, ‘We Do Not Sell Ammunition’

Typical Democrat isolation from reality

Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Illinois, speaks during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., US, on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. He asked Sturm, Ruger, & Co. to pledge not to sell ammunition that pierces body armor, to which Ruger CEO Christopher Killoy responded that Ruger is not involved in ammunition sales.

The exchange between Krishnamoorthi and Killoy occurred during the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Wednesday hearing on “practices and profits of gun manufacturers.”

Krishnamoorthi used his time to question witnesses on a variety of issues, the last of which was police officer safety. He asked Daniel Defense CEO Marty Daniel to commit to “not sell a weapon that tears through bulletproof vests” and then moved to the next witness when Daniel talked about his company’s commitment to self-defense.

Krishnamoorthi addressed Killoy, saying, “[I] assume you won’t sell a weapon that tears through bulletproof vests, will you?”

Christopher Killoy, President and CEO of Sturm, Ruger and Company, Inc., testifies virtually during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing

Killoy responded, “Congressman, with all due respect, the ability to pierce body armor typically relates to the ammunition, not the firearm.”

Krishnamoorthi shot back, “So you will not sell that ammunition either, will you?”

Killoy explained, “Congressman, we do not sell ammunition. We sell firearms in a variety of calibers.”


What Banner on Boston Church Says About Decline of Christianity

Dennis Prager

On the front of one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in the country, the Church of the Covenant in Boston, hangs a large banner on which is written:

“And God said …

“Protect Abortion Access 4 All

“Ensure Black Lives Matter

“Honor Bodily Autonomy

“Defend LGBTQ+ Rights

“End Voter Suppression

“Turn Guns into Plows

“Abandon Fossil Fuels

“Provide Sanctuary

“Abolish Prisons

“Disarm Hate

“Speak Truth


“In other words …


If you needed one example of how destructive leftism has been to mainstream Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant, and to non-Orthodox Judaism, this banner would suffice.

God says, “Protect Abortion Access For All”? Where? Why? Terminating innocent life, that’s God’s will? Does this include abortions of viable babies undergone by healthy mothers? Is that, too, God’s will?

“Ensure black lives matter”? Blacks, like every other racial, ethnic, and national grouping of human beings, are created in God’s image. But if this banner implies support for the group Black Lives Matter, that’s another matter. God abhors groups that affirm racism. Unlike the left, the Bible knows that anyone, black or white, can be racist.

As regards LGBTQ+, the Bible goes out of its way to uphold divine distinctions such as good and evil, God and human, human and animal, and male and female. When God creates the human being, the Bible asserts this last distinction as clearly as possible: “Male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).

“Turn guns into plows” is, of course, taken from the Prophet Isaiah’s call to “Beat your swords into plows” (Isaiah 2:4). Unfortunately for the Church of the Covenant, another biblical prophet says the very opposite: “Beat your plows into swords … let the weak say, I am strong” (Joel 4:10).

Unlike the left, the Bible understands that while the ultimate dream is that human beings have no need for swords, until that messianic age, the weak must have swords.

As for abandoning fossil fuels, these ubiquitous sources of energy have been one of God’s gifts to humanity. Without them, the modern world would not have been possible. No hospitals, no reliable heat in the winter (not to mention cold in the summer), no transportation beyond riding animals. No modern medicine. Nothing in the way of modern technology. Just a primitive life—and a short and painful one at that.

God would say before abandoning these fuels, make sure you have a reliable substitute. (We do: nuclear power.) Until then, thank God for his gift of fossil fuels.

As regards sanctuary, if the meaning is sanctuaries for illegal aliens, on the basis of what biblical idea does the Church of the Covenant infer that God wants America—or any other country—to have open borders?

“Abolishing prisons” alone is an idea that should alienate any rational and moral human being from the left. Abolishing prisons means allowing an enormous number of innocent people to be murdered and beaten, of women to be raped, of shops to be looted, and of children to be molested. Nothing exemplifies the moral idiocy at the heart of leftism as well as “abolish prisons.”

Perhaps some prominent conservative Christian church should put up a banner addressing the same subjects:

“God said …

“Protect the Life Of Mothers—and Their Unborn Babies

“Human Worth Is Not Related to Race

“Honor Bodily Autonomy—End Vaccine Mandates

“There Are Only Two Sexes: Male and Female

“Protect Voting Integrity

“Defend Yourself and Others—Get a Gun

“I Have Blessed Mankind With Energy

“Protect Your Citizens by Protecting Your Borders

“Imprison the Guilty to Protect the Innocent

“If You Love Me, Hate Evil (Psalms 97:10)

“Speak Truth—Because There Is Only One Truth

“In other words …


If a traditional church did put up such a banner, it would make national news and its leaders would be dismissed as right-wing religious zealots for putting words into God’s mouth. Only left-wing churches and synagogues are allowed to speak for the Almighty.

Of all the Ten Commandments, only one states that its violation cannot be forgiven. It is the Third Commandment: “Do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain because He will not forgive whoever takes His name in vain.”

Nearly everyone familiar with the commandment thinks the commandment prohibits saying the word “God” outside of prayer or Bible study. But it cannot mean that. What kind of God would forgive a murderer, but not someone who said, “God, did I have a tough day at work today”?

Clearly, the Third Commandment must mean something else. And it does. As I explain in my Bible commentary, “The Rational Bible,” the Hebrew actually says, “Do not carry the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” That is, “carry,” not “take.”

Doing evil in God’s name or attaching God’s name to false or immoral ideas is the one sin God will not forgive. And that is the sin of left-wing churches and synagogues. They carry God’s name in vain. Indeed, they desecrate it.

What is happening to Christianity and Judaism provides yet another example of the most important principle of modern life: Whatever the left touches, it destroys.


Australian public broadcaster more interested in silencing alternative views

For a media behemoth that regularly assails its targets (fairly and unfairly) with gusto and aggression, the ABC is awfully sensitive to criticism.

It should not be. The national broadcaster should expect every taxpayer to have a view about its operations, and should aim to be part of public debate, for good or for ill, every single day.

This is the ABC’s raison d’etre. If there are high expectations for the organisation they are warranted by the lofty ambitions of the charter and more than a billion dollars a year in taxpayer funding – and given its staff are on the public payroll they should be acutely aware of a natural tendency towards the collectivist side of politics.

Yet Aunty lashes out at critics (in response to my 2013 suggestion its budget should be trimmed, it portrayed me up a dog) and runs from scrutiny. After 90 years at the centre of the nation’s cultural and political life, the ABC still seems uncertain about its role.

The Sky News Australia special investigation ‘Your ABC Exposed’ examines one of the country’s most important… cultural institutions and whether the taxpayer-funded service unites or divides Australians. As one of the country’s most revered and important cultural institutions marks its 90th anniversary, Sky News will explore the Australian More
For the past few months, I have been working on a Sky News documentary to mark the public broadcaster’s 90th anniversary and ask whether it is fit for purpose. Despite multiple requests for interviews to ABC chair Ita Buttrose, managing director David Anderson, other directors, senior managers, and on-air presenters, past and present, we managed only one acceptance.

Former 7.30 Report host and staff-elected board member Quentin Dempster engaged in the project. Dempster has debated media issues with me previously on Sky News and there is little we agree on (he belongs to the Twitter school of News Corp media conspiracists) but I respect him for his willingness to sit down and engage in civil debate.

That mature approach contrasts with former ABC Melbourne radio host Jon Faine who responded to our request for an interview by penning a rant in The Age against Sky News Australia, Sky News UK, Fox News, Nigel Farage, the “Brexit calamity” and Donald Trump. Although, as far as I can recall, Faine and I have never spoken, he had firm views about me as an “avowed sledger” of the ABC.

Faine declared that his “animus” towards me stemmed from the fact that apart from hosting television on Sky, I had previously worked for Liberal politicians Alexander Downer and Malcolm Turnbull, wrote for this newspaper, and “consistently expressed resolute hostility” towards the ABC. He said I could not present a balanced view of the national broadcaster (I think he meant uncritical).

Many decades behind an ABC microphone and Faine still could not grasp the concept of embracing a diversity of views and encouraging robust discussion. Instead of rising to the challenge to defend or promote his beloved ABC, he preferred snide potshots from entrenched positions.

Oh well, we tried. But you have got to wonder about the unwillingness to engage in debate – for the documentary I resorted to doorstopping Anderson on his way out of an ABC charity event.

This points to a deeply troubling polarisation of public debate, where rather than seeing a contest of ideas in the public square we are seeing different views contained within discrete, self-affirming echo-chambers. It is the Americanisation and Twitterfication of debate, and it should be resisted.

The ABC is best placed to counter this trend. Its charter demands a reflection of “cultural diversity” as well as delivering “objectivity” and “impartiality” yet it constantly fields stacked panels and programs as if the overwhelming majority of the populace subscribes to a green left worldview. Topics that are most deserving of analysis and interrogation – such as climate change, energy options, immigration, the Indigenous voice to parliament, and our pandemic response – too often play out in monochrome on the national broadcaster. On these issues and more, instead of spirited debate there seems to be a corporate view and a relentless chorus of agreement among its staff.

The ABC seeks to win arguments not on their merits but by silencing alternative views. It is little wonder then that the ABC and its presenters lack the ability to discuss and defend their own behaviour.

This must say something about the depth of their conviction. It is almost impossible to carry an argument publicly if you do not believe it.

Who at the ABC could seriously contend it does not exhibit an ideological bias towards the green left (even a board member, Joseph Gersh, has admitted the national broadcaster’s “vibe” is “more left than right” and that it should have more conservative voices), or that it has not engaged in erroneous vigilante journalism against mainly conservative targets such as Cardinal George Pell, Christian Porter, Alan Tudge, and Scott Morrison?

But if the ABC is not objective, and does not reflect the diversity of views across the country, then it is failing to adhere to its charter – that is, the law, under the ABC Act. The board, management, and the responsible government minister (now Michelle Rowland) should not stand for this.

As former board member Janet Albrechtsen says in my documentary, the answer is quite simple. “It has got a charter,” Albrechtsen explains, “all it needs to do is abide by that charter and it would produce terrific content.”

Not only would a diversity of views ensure the ABC abides by the law and delivers on fairness and pluralism, it would also make it much more entertaining and compelling. Yet too often this does not happen; on the rare occasions ABC presenters have right-of-centre commentators on their programs they feel the need to explain themselves to the Twitter mob.

If the ABC was more pluralistic and representative, it would have broader support across the population and political spectrum, and would more easily defend itself in public debate. By living in denial and failing to act, it condemns itself to a defensive posture.

It should be unthinkable that a prime minister would want to avoid appearing on the national broadcaster the way Morrison did during the last election campaign. But the fault lies with the ABC – it should be an unbiased and indispensable platform for national political debate.

That role cannot be fulfilled when its chief political reporter Andrew Probyn describes Tony Abbott (in a news report, mind you) as the “most destructive” politician in a generation, or its chief current affairs political reporter Laura Tingle uses social media to gratuitously accuse Morrison of “ideological bastardry”. It is laughable that such obvious transgressions go unremedied, and the ABC and its supporters accuse the conservative politicians of bloody-mindedness rather than vice versa.

In the interests of fairness, and on behalf of at least half of the population who do not wish to fund a green left broadcaster, this needs to be fixed. We seem to have reached a stage in this country where ideology is more prevalent in our publicly funded media than it is in our politics.

In 1932 the establishment of the ABC was an inspirational reform, embracing the relatively new technology of radio to bind together a disparate population spread thinly across a vast continent. The Australian Broadcasting Commission, as it was then called, was our only national media organisation.

If the national broadcaster did not exist today there would be no imperative to create it because we have instant and unprecedented access to local, national and global information and communication services. The ABC’s response to this new media landscape has been to expand into every digital niche, trying to pump its content into all available markets and in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

Not only does this strategy potentially crowd out commercial media – large, small, existing, and prospective – but it stretches the ABC’s resources and ambition.

The organisation would do better to focus on doing what others cannot.

And that should bring it back to the ABC Act and key words such as accurate, impartial, objective, balance and diversity. If the national broadcaster were to deliver on these, it could redefine itself as a central arena for the contest of ideas.

In an increasingly polarised media space, the ABC is making a grave error by drifting to one pole. It could be the place – should be the place – for the crosspollination of views and arguments.

With digital giants, media silos and endless algorithms conspiring to feed people only what they already know or like, a genuinely diverse and rational public square is likely to become increasingly rare and even more sorely needed. If the ABC were committed to such a role, it would guarantee itself a fruitful role for another 90 years.




Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The history of creativity is white and male

In recent years, museums in the United States have been moving toward diversifying their permanent collections to remediate the historical underrepresentation of non-male and non-white artists.

However, a recent study shows that American museums still have a long way to go in diversifying their collections, as they remain overwhelmingly white and male. The study was conducted by a group of mathematicians, statisticians, and art historians at Williams College (Chad M. Topaz, Bernhard Klingenberg, Daniel Turek, Brianna Heggeseth, Pamela E. Harris, Julie C. Blackwood, C. Ondine Chavoya), together with Kevin M. Murphy, senior curator of American and European Art at Williams College Museum of Art, and Steven Nelson, professor of African and African American Art at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The researchers surveyed the collections of 18 major US museums to quantify the gender, ethnic, and racial composition of the artists represented in their collections. Its findings came from a rigorous dive into the public online catalogues of these museums, deploying a sample of 10,000 artist records comprising over 9,000 unique artists to crowdsourcing, and analyzing 45,000 responses, to infer artist genders, ethnicities, geographic origins, and birth decades.

The study’s results — with all statistical caveats considered — paint a somber picture of the lack of parity in museum collections. The study found that 85.4% of the works in the collections of all major US museums belong to white artists, and 87.4% are by men. African American artists have the lowest share with just 1.2% of the works; Asian artists total at 9%; and Hispanic and Latino artists constitute only 2.8% of the artists.

This examination follows recent studies meant to encourage diversity in the cultural sector, including the Andrew W. Mellon’s landmark Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey in 2015. However, this study affirms, “While previous work has investigated the demographic diversity of museum staffs and visitors, the diversity of artists in their collections has remained unreported.”

Some museum collections are more diverse than others, the study shows. The researchers found the institutions among this grouping with the highest percentage of white artists are the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC (97.4%) and Detroit Institute of Arts (94.7%). The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles had the lowest (78.2%).

Museums with the highest percentage of women artists include MOCA (24.9%), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) (18.1%), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (22.1%). The lowest collections of art by women are at the Detroit Institute of Arts (7.4%), Metropolitan Museum of Art (7.3%), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (8.2%).

The High Museum of Arts in Atlanta has the highest representation of Black and African-American artists (10.6% of the artists in its collection), but all other museums had 2.7% or less. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the National Gallery of Art come close to zero (considering a margin error of up to 3.7%). Asian artists are most represented at LACMA (17.7%), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (16.1%). Hispanic and Latinx artists are best represented at MOCA (6.4%) and the Denver Art Museum (5.4%).

The four largest groups represented across all 18 museums in terms of gender and ethnicity are white men (75.7%), white women (10.8%), Asian men (7.5%), and Hispanic/Latinx men (2.6%), the study says. All other groups are represented in proportions of less than 1%. The researchers also found that 44% of artists represented in these collections are from Europe, while 44.6% are from North America.

These results expose a “very weak association between collection mission and diversity,” the study says. “We interpret gender and ethnicity as demographics reflective of artist diversity, and we interpret regional origin and birth decade as reflective of a museum’s collection mission and priorities,” the researchers write, thus concluding that a museum wishing to increase diversity in its collection should be able to do so “without changing the geographic and/or temporal emphases of its mission.”

“Our study finds museums that have roughly similar profiles in terms of the art they collect (time periods, geographic regions) and yet have quite different levels of representation of women and/or people of color,” Chad Topaz, a professor of mathematics at Williams College and the lead researcher in the study, told Hyperallergic in an email. “I can’t say what the more diverse museums are doing to achieve this, but I take our measurements as evidence that it can happen.”

Comprehensive and illuminating as it is, there are important caveats to the study that must be taken into consideration, Topaz emphasized. “All statements about artist demographics are limited to individual, identifiable artists,” said Topaz, further clarifying that race and ethnicity depend on how artists define themselves. Furthermore, some works have no identifiable artist. “MFAB boasts 85,000 works of art from Egypt, the Near East, Greece, Italy, and other areas. These generally have no identifiable artist,” Topaz added.


Writer and coach, 29, reveals she was told she's 'not truly black' after writing a viral open letter blasting the 'cult of wokeness' and insisting she's not oppressed by her skin colour

She sounds like quite a gal

A writer and coach has revealed how she faced a backlash over a viral letter in which she said: 'I'm not oppressed because I'm black'.

Africa Brooke, 29, who lives in London, spoke to the Diary of a CEO host Steven Bartlett about her views on race, and what it really means to be oppressed for his popular podcast.

The writer and coach 'specialises in helping people and groups with personal or professional challenges related to self-censorship and self-sabotage', and has 229,000 followers on Instagram.

Last year, she wrote an open letter declaring she was 'leaving the cult of wokeness' that insists she will 'forever be opressed because she's black', while others told her she's not 'truly black'.

Africa, who was born in Zimbabwe, told Steve: 'I've seen real oppression', adding that she's a 'huge advocate' against FGM. FGM stands for female genital mutilation and happens in many African countries. The barbaric procedure, that involves the removal of the clitoris, often without anesthetic and with dirty equipment is rife in communities that believe female sexuality is wrong.

Africa said 'I said that I don't feel oppressed as a black woman, and a lot of people didn't agree with me, they didn't like it. 'Many people thought I was undermining black people and women. It's something non-controversial, but is now seen as a controversial statement to make. 'I was messaged, mainly by white people telling me that I am oppressed, but I wasn't raised to be a victim and I refuse to be one.

'Culturally or in my family home I have never for one second, apart from the moments I needed to misplace my rage, have seen myself as a victim.

In her open letter last year, Africa addressed cancel culture and wokeness a societal issue. She said in the letter 'If there's one thing I'm NOT afraid of, it's being 'cancelled'. ​'If being cancelled means me living in integrity as a human being who thinks for themselves, CANCEL ME TODAY!

​'What I'm truly afraid of is existing in a world that forces me to submit to an ideology without question, otherwise I'm to be shamed (or pressured to shame myself) and cast out of the community.

​'A world that tells me that because I inhabit a black body; I will forever be oppressed and at the mercy of some omnipresent monster called "whiteness".

​'That because of the colour of my skin; I am a victim of an inherently racist system by default - and me rejecting the narrative of oppression means that I am in fact, in denial. 'How empowering!

​'You know, as someone that comes from Zimbabwe, a country where the general population is truly oppressed, it perplexes me that oppression is now being worn as an identity piece in most parts of the West, especially by those who claim to be "progressive".

​'What I'm truly afraid of is existing in a world that forces me to consider the colour of my skin and my gender (and that of others) at every f****** turn, instead of living by Martin Luther King's teachings and prioritising the content of mine and other people's character.

​'I dread the prospect of a world where context, nuance, critical thinking, meritocracy, mathematics, science, and rationality are considered tools of 'white supremacy', and the rule is that you're not allowed to question or argue this senseless statement - especially if you're white.

​'A world that is conditioning you and I to believe that we will always be trapped in some weird hierarchy because of our race, our genitals, our physical abilities, our neurodiversity, our sexuality, and our politics.'

'For me it's not even a conscious decision. I don't walk through the world thinking my skin color is a burden and that's not the only truth. 'Yes I am aware I have experienced things because of my skin colour, but I am a powerful being in a black body, and I should be able to claim that power.

'People always want to hear the hardship stories when it comes to race. What if there isn't one? When I get interviewed I get asked about the colour of my skin. Instead of being a "black entrepreneur", why can't I just be an entrepreneur?

Steve agreed with her sentiments, saying: 'I'm sure I've walked into boardrooms in front of middle aged white men where my colour has had an impact on the outcome, either positively or negatively. 'I'm sure there was prejudice against me, but it's not my responsibility to cure it.'

He added that labelling himself as a 'disadvantaged person' could lead to 'less confidence ' and 'more pessimism'. 'That could be more harmful than discrimination,' he said. 'On a day-to-day do I want to burden myself with a label that won't serve me? Others can do as they wish.'

Africa added: 'You can choose not to be oppressed and still fight for equality. I'm very fierce about this.'

She continued that we need to see more people from minorities, 'positioned as powerful sovereign beings'.

'It's my responibilty to claim my power as an individual in a black body.' 'I say, "No I'm not oppressed". People don't know what to do with you.

'There's a lot of moralism out there, people believe people that fit into this identity marker. They need to become champions for the oppressed black people, but they've become regressive in their quest to be progressive.'

Steve, who was born in Botswana, and moved to the UK at the age of two, said: 'There's an argument out there that you can't tell a black person what racism is.

'A lady argued with me saying: "White people can't tell black people what racism is". She abandoned truth, in this binary narrative, that white people can't talk about racism - I'm half white so I can shapeshift.'

The letter received outrage, with some even labelling Africa a 'white sympathiser' among other things and not 'truly black'.

However, since the release of the podcast last week Africa has gained 10,000 Instagram followers and received praise from fans worldwide for her direct and intelligent approach to contemporary issues.


New HHS Rule Would Force Insurers to Pay for Children’s Sex Changes

The Department of Health and Human Services announced a new rule Monday that would force insurance providers to pay for breast removal and other transgender surgeries, including for minors.

The proposed rule change by the federal agency concerns Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, a section of the law that prohibits discrimination in health programs based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

In a conference call with reporters, Melanie Fontes Rainer, acting director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services, said that under the proposed changes, the definition of discrimination based on “sex” would be expanded to include gender identity, sexual orientation, and abortion.

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, added that the new rules would “promote health equity” and contain provisions for “medically necessary care.”

“This work will help eliminate avoidable differences in health outcomes experienced by those who are underserved and provide the care and support that people need to thrive,” Brooks-LaSure said.

Transgender activists often describe procedures for minors, including cross-sex hormones and so-called gender-affirming surgery, as medically necessary.

The HHS rule change also would prohibit discrimination based on the revised definition of sex discrimination, as well as require organizations receiving federal funding to implement “civil rights procedures and processes.”

Notably, Rainer said that “discrimination on the basis of sex includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy or related conditions, including ‘pregnancy termination.’”

The agency’s description of the proposed rule change is available here on the HHS website.

Roger Severino, vice president for domestic policy at The Heritage Foundation, sees the rule change as dangerous for children. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)

“This rule will mandate that insurance companies cover the full menu of gender identity interventions such as mastectomies, hysterectomies, breast augmentation, hair removal, and a lifetime of cross-sex hormones, including for minor children,” said Severino, who headed HHS’ Office for Civil Rights during the Trump administration.

“It would also force doctors to perform cross-sex surgeries and to administer puberty blockers to children if they believe such interventions ‘can never be beneficial,’” he said.

Severino referred to Section 92.206 of the rule, in which the Department of Health and Human Services explicitly says that doctors who view such treatments as harmful in all cases must perform them anyway or risk losing federal funding.

This change of the rules “flips medicine on its head,” he argued.

Severino also said medical providers will lose federal funding even if they follow state law prohibiting medical gender interventions for minors.

During the phone call with reporters, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said repeatedly that his goal in instituting the rule change was to prevent perceived discrimination in health care.

“We want to make sure that Americans are free from discrimination when getting the health care that they need,” Becerra said, before adding that the rule change would “promote gender and health equity.”

When asked by reporters if the proposed rule changes were in response to an increase in complaints surrounding abortion, Becerra declined to answer.

Becerra noted that the proposed rule change is still subject to public comment before it is finalized.

“We’ll move as quickly as we can,” Becerra said in response to a question on when he hoped the rule change would be put into place. The HHS secretary added that the process would be done “hopefully by next year, if not sooner.”


Big Democrat spending bill ("Minibus") would be a highroad to economic ruin

Against the backdrop of a contracting economy and falling real incomes, the House majority is trying to increase federal spending over the next decade by $1.7 trillion—imposing a cost burden of future taxes and inflation that would be equivalent to more than $13,000 per household.

As a first step, the House’s Democratic majority has decided to cram half of the regular appropriations bills into one giant bill. Running this massive so-called minibus through Congress so quickly, with little public discourse, is just another gimmick for the left to conceal its plans from the American people.

If enacted, all the increased spending would add to the national debt, continue to feed inflationary pressures, and choke American industry. As with all government spending sprees, the bar tab will come due eventually.

In short, this minibus offers a one-way trip to inflation and economic ruin.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., chairwoman the House Appropriations Committee, had the audacity to claim that the funding levels of these bills have “significant increases [in spending] to help fight inflation.” But, as Americans have painfully learned over the past year and a half, government spending is exactly what triggers inflation.

However, congressional scoring rules undercount this burden. Under those rules, the one-year $132 billion increase in discretionary budget authority would result in dramatic baseline spending increases over the next 10 years. In this case, the increase would be roughly $1.5 trillion in new discretionary spending and an additional $200 billion in increased interest costs on the national debt.

Many of the bill’s spending increases are targeted at expanding the regulatory state. The annual economic cost of federal regulations is already estimated at about $1.9 trillion. That means that for each dollar spent on nondefense operations, we suffer $4 worth of regulatory burdens. So, the economic harm of those spending increases will be greatly magnified beyond their cost on paper.

Insidiously, this bill doubles down on its inflationary and other disastrous economic aspects by funding liberal priorities and dramatically expanding the administrative state.

In fiscal year 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency would receive a 21% budget increase. While that would be an enviable raise for most Americans, the EPA’s bureaucrats would instead use those taxpayer funds to issue new regulations that will further drive up energy costs and reduce competition.

Continuing their attacks on the core of the American energy industry, programs related to renewable energy and climate change would receive roughly 25% funding increases, and the bill would spend $100 million on electric vehicles for federal use.

So, while you might continue to struggle to afford gasoline, don’t worry about the federal government. It will be just fine. Rest assured that it will put your tax dollars to work waging war against fossil fuels—a war that will result in even higher energy costs for American families.

Similarly, the IRS would receive a billion-dollar increase to be able to go after American entrepreneurs with increased vigor. The Federal Trade Commission would receive a 30% funding increase to bolster its anti-business regulatory intrusions.

While there is no good time to weaponize the federal government against the engines of our economy, now would seem to be an especially poor moment to do so.

Weighing in at a 433% (unneeded and unjustified) increase in funding are grants to local and state governments for their election systems.

The minibus would provide “the highest level ever” for international food assistance, despite record-setting food costs for Americans.

The minibus also provides hundreds of earmarks at your expense to benefit a well-connected few. Some of those projects can be found on this 271-page list and include the usual gaggle of entrance-road relocations, bridges to nowhere, and funding for civic centers and parking garages. All on the taxpayer’s dime, with essentially no input from the people being taxed.

These bills also feature attempts to undermine state laws, gut long-standing protections to ensure taxpayer money isn’t used for abortions, and to track every ammunition purchase in the country.

Broadly speaking, these bills are aimed at promoting the leftist agenda and at undermining your freedoms and other rights—all of it funded with your money.

Beyond the specific deleterious provisions, it’s vital to remember that every dollar spent by the government imposes a cost on American families. Even the noblest and most constitutionally sound programs—such as national defense—still represent a trade-off.

Governments can’t create value. They can merely redirect it. Though national defense and some other government activities are needed, the vast majority of the federal government’s spending is some form of wealth redistribution, totaling three-quarters of non-interest spending.

All three options that governments have to get money ultimately come out of your wallet.

They can tax it, destroying the delicate business arrangements that provide paychecks and produce the things we need and use. By driving down economic production, this empties store shelves and can send prices sky high on what remains.

They can print it, directly devaluing your savings and the value of your paycheck by using their new dollars to drain value from yours. The dollars you earn represent the hard work you’ve done and the real goods and services you’ve created.

Only criminals and the government enjoy the luxury of producing money without producing real value. In fact, more than half of the new federal debt during the pandemic was funded by these newly printed inflationary dollars.

And finally, they can borrow the money, leaving debts for your children while draining the oxygen out of the economy today as the government crowds out investment in new and innovative business endeavors. The further devil in the details here is how they pay it back.

Every dollar borrowed by the government must be paid back somehow. Governments borrow with the promise to either tax someone or print even more money in the future. The certainty of the burden it will impose and the uncertainty of how it will be imposed cause economic chaos.

The resulting chaos triggers inflation today as people try to hedge against the prospect of future slower economic growth and a devalued dollar.

This is the path laid out by the House majority’s appropriations bills. The minibus before the House this week is just the down payment on the next installment of a larger government that will imperil the future of every American family.


Australia: Churches back boycot by football players against being forced to endorse homosexuality

Reverend Dr Ma’afu Palu has never met the seven Manly players who chose to boycott Thursday’s game rather than wear a rainbow jersey that challenged their personal beliefs about sexuality.

But he’s proud of them. “Christianity takes a very strong root in our people,” said Palu, from the Tongan Evangelical Wesleyan Church in Greenacre. “Whatever the bible says is very authoritative to us. Personally, I’m very proud.”

When it told players to wear the jersey without consulting them, Manly unwittingly created the latest flashpoint in deepening tensions between some Australian religions and the mainstream community over sexuality and same-sex marriage.

A similar battle has been happening in schools, in politics and even inside the churches themselves as secular and progressive religious communities embrace sexual diversity – but the more theologically conservative, such as Palu, think it contradicts the bible.

Almost 50 per cent of National Rugby League players trace their heritage back to the Pacific Islands, where many people are actively Christian as a result of a significant push by missionaries in the past few centuries.

Reverend Hedley Fihaki, the National Chair of the Assembly of Confessing Congregations, said Christianity was “ingrained into our culture. It’s not just a matter of going to church on Sunday, it’s part of our DNA, it’s part of our culture, it is who we are.

“I think the club has no right to force their particular ideology on all the players. I am very proud of them for standing up against the strong push to embrace something that we cannot.”

The Anglican and Catholic Archbishops also weighed in. A spokesman for Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher said forcing a player to wear a jersey that contradicted their faith or values failed to demonstrate the inclusivity the club wanted to promote. “It has also created unnecessary hurt and division for all involved,” he said.

Anglican Archbishop Kanishka Raffel said Sydney had a pluralistic community that had seen rapid social change. “We are still having a conversation and working out how we are going to have respectful difference,” he said.

Many in the pride community were frustrated by Manly’s failure to consult the players over the jersey, which replaced the traditional white stripe against the maroon background with rainbow colours, but supported its intentions.

Coach Des Hasler has apologised for the lack of consultation and communication with the players, and said he was concerned about the welfare of the men who chose to boycott the game.

Andrew Purchas, from Pride in Sport, said Manly would be the first rugby league team to play in a pride jersey, even though there was a precedent in other codes. “It’s a pity that the players have taken this approach [of boycotting the game],” he said.

“We respect the right for players to have their own views. It’s quite a nuanced topic and it needs to be done comprehensively, [and] needs to be supported by a whole bunch of other activities as well.

“Clearly [the furore] is not great for those who are struggling with their sexuality. I would encourage them to look at the players who are wearing the jersey.”

The chief executive of Pacific Rugby Players Welfare, Dan Leo, said players should not be forced to support a position with which they did not agree. “The power of the rainbow flag has always been that it’s been promoted by people who want to wear it, not forced to wear it,” he said.

“If Manly said we were promoting Christianity without consulting the playing group, if everyone had to wear jerseys saying ‘We Love Jesus’, there would be equal protest. You can’t impose that on people without proper consultation.”

Leo also hoped the issue would not be regarded as just a Pacific Islander one. “There are a lot of people who identify as Christian in this country.”