A very wise man and close colleague in two workplaces more than once counselled me as follows :
If your neighbour reads the bible be sure to keep a loaded gun.
I didn't have to ask him which bible. I knew the answer. He didn't care what bible.
I have never encountered that bracing piece of advice anywhere else and I've just Googled it and it's not there so I reckon it's original.
To be sure my wise man was not a rootin' tootin' fightin' man like our Anglican priest in Sydney but he was for many years a very senior Australian federal public servant. A very senior Australian civil servant indeed.
Confronting I know; but it could explain the high rates of home gun ownership across much of the United States.
Mexico too come to think of it. South America as well. Regional Australia. It most certainly explains it in Israel. I don't have to mention "Palestine" but I will anyway. There; "Palestine". And every other Muslim "homeland" whether a land of the bible or not. Any bible. Any land. It would be enough to make the baby Jesus cry.
I am not an enemy of religion. Any religion. I know and have seen the grandest of the human spirit achieved with the fire of religious belief. Religious belief, any religious belief, is cool with me.
I am however above all a secularist and at that point there is a need to push back even in your own back yard. This is so irrespective of what you are.
The Vice Chancellor of the university where Che Gorilla was a commerce/law student and general bigmouth for much of the seventies was none other than that famous old liberal and great Australian jurist Sir Zelman Cowen. I remember the day in the quadrangle of that beautiful old university among Queensland's finest when Sir Zelman already known as among the finest constitutional lawyers in the English speaking world defined the limits of freedom and therefore of liberalism itself.
I had already read his words. Sir Zelman had used them in an address to the university the year before. No doubt he felt the need to make the point again. They were turbulent times. There were plenty of Commos and other religious cranks around who wanted to blow up the world. Secular liberalism needed defended. .
Your freedom to swing your arms ends at the tip of my nose.
Sir Zelman was expert in US constitutional law. Probably he was paraphrasing Oliver Wendell Holmes who in turn was quoting Abraham Lincoln. One of my favourite Americans of all time by the way. They too were turbulent times.
To all of this I offer the Che Gorilla corollary for the twenty first century.
I don't care what religion you are so long as you don't shove it up my face. Better still don't blow it up my face.
Which brings me to Father David Smith who by the way I am no longer angry with. From his name alone he could easily be a cousin. There is even a faint family resemblance.
He is not by the way.
Thanks for asking. Thank God. I say that as a secularist.
I'm not angry with David Smith any more because anger passes quickly as it must. I am just sad is all. I had just read his blog that had been emailed to me by friend Shirlee who had seen the good father in action in person last year in the council chambers during the Marrickville Greens BDS No Jew State outrage.
I will quote Shirlee.
Just the mention of Father Dave sends shivers down my spine. The first time I heard him speak at Marrickville I thought I'd burst a blood vessel and I could not believe I was hearing what he was saying. I could not believe this was coming from a man of G-d
A huh. I hear you Bob wherever you are.
Clergy like Father Dave sometimes like to imagine they are speaking truth to power.
To do that they have to imagine that Israel is the power and the "Palestinians" are the poor weak and defenceless who are the victims of Israel and to do that they have to be blind to what Orwell would have said was in front of their noses.
They are not speaking truth to power at all. They are on the side of power and they want to be on the side of power. Israel is a tiny country and the Jews are a handful of people. Antizionist clerics are on the side of those who want to see the destruction of Israel for the sole reason that it chooses not to be another Muslim state.
The enemies of Israel say this again and again. Are the clerical antizionists deaf? Do they think the Israelis are as well? Do they think the Jews are? Do they think the Christians are too?
Clergy are as entitled to buy into a political issue as much as any other citizens but they must understand that by this stage of the game they are not entitled to any benefits of clergy.and that includes the assumption that they are in good faith.
Some one said this. This is a quote cut and paste to here. Someone capable of saying this is entitled to answer some questions:
Of course Khomenei’s speech needed to be taken in the context of 1979, and I knew the organisers of this rally well enough to know that they are not anti-Semitic people by any stretch of the imagination, and were solely concerned to see justice done for Palestine. Even so, it still wasn’t clear to me whether or not Al Quds day was itself essentially anti-Israel, and I knew that I couldn’t speak of my concern for the suffering of my Palestinian sisters and brothers if that compromised my love for my Jewish sisters and brothers.Excuse me? Compromised your love for your Jewish sisters and brothers? What about your "Palestinian" sisters and brothers? How is continuing this nasty vile war in their interests? How much longer are you prepared to see it go on? Another ten years? Another sixty years?
At some point Father Dave and the rest will be invited to look in to their own souls. I sure hope they are ready for their own sakes.
cross posted Geoffff's Joint