Friday, August 30, 2013
Tony Abbott and a school that thinks of his sister as an abominable abomination ...
(Above: from the pond's favourite comic book, available as a pdf here, may be slow to load)
It's only a blip on the campaign radar, that will quickly disappear like a lost plane in an episode of Air Crash Investigations ...
Others are more interested in the way that current Chairman Rudd and his motley crew manage to shoot themselves in their costing foot...
But the subbie who did the header appreciated the irony: Tony Abbott talks values at a school that describes homosexuality as an abomination.
The irony compounded with the opening pars:
Tony Abbott has refused to criticise a Christian school for describing homosexuality as an abomination and a ‘‘perversion of the natural order’’.
Yes Abbott has refused to criticise a school for describing his sister as a perversion of the natural order, an abominable abomination ...
Now there's family values and loyalty at work. But do go on:
The Opposition Leader announced his education policy at the Penrith Christian School, in western Sydney, on Thursday morning, despite the school’s strong stance against homosexuality.
''The great thing about a school like this is it's not just about getting you through your exams,'' he said. Advertisement
''It's not just about making good friends who hopefully will be your friends for life, important though both of those things are. ''In a school such as this it is very important that we have the right values to live by, and I guess the best value that we can live by is that golden rule to ’do unto others as you would have them do to you’.''
Yes and feel free to call my sister a perversion of the natural order and an abominable abomination as you cruise through life:
The private school’s statement of faith says ''homosexuality and specific acts of homosexuality are an abomination unto God, a perversion of the natural order and not to be entered into''.
Mr Abbott said he disagreed with that statement. But he refused to criticise the school, saying: ''Look, this is a good school and it is a school which has been supported by people like [Labor MPs] David Bradbury and Peter Garrett.
Which isn't an excuse of course.
The problem with the funding of the mushrooms of fundamentalism is one of the pet peeves of the pond and it's a bipartisan affair.
Gillard enlarged the chaplaincy program, Garrett was front and centre handing out cash to all sorts of fundies, from Islamics to Christians to the Scientology school showing off its new federal finery around the corner from the pond.
The Labor party built on the wretched legacy of the Howard government, and the Abbott team show an almost desperate desire to piss money into the pockets of the religious so they can indoctrinate their children ...
It's hardly surprising, not when you can get a bunch of angry Sydney Anglicans maintaining a war of rage against homosexuality, or the Pellists poncing around pretending that they're experts in climate science.
The revival of church-based education has seen a remarkable revival of scientific ignorance - a war on evolution, a "teach the controversy" celebration of intelligent design, creationism dressed up in fancy plumage, young earth theories held out as a possibility, and so on and so forth. It's even carved a path into the musings of the reptiles in the lizard Oz.
If you read the Penrith Christian School's Statement of Faith - still up on their site this morning and still talking of abomination - you find inter alia amongst many other absurd things, a placing on the record of a belief in the operation of the nine supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit.
What are these gifts, I hear you cry, never having come into contact with the more rabid elements of evangelism?
Well amongst them is the ability to speak in tongues:
Definition: "The Gift of Tongues is the supernatural ability to speak to others and/or to God in a language or utterance never learned by the speaker" (Dr. Bill Bright, Campus Crusade for Christ, U.S.A.).
There are two approaches:
1. That The Gift of Tongues, when coupled with The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues, is equal to The Gift of Prophecy.
2. The second approach suggests that tongues is expressing praise to God, and therefore any interpretation is also in terms of prayer, praise or thanksgiving to God Himself. The emphasis is that true Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues are directed toward God rather than directed from God to the Church. (more bizarre guff here)
You really haven't lived until you've seen speaking in tongues up close. Or maybe you've just listened to Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd, and truth to tell, that's close enough.
There are a lot more clues in the statement of faith that this is a school dedicated to the barking mad, as you can read in the School's view of a Christian education:
A Christian Education therefore seeks to educate the “whole” child which involves the arousal of the mind, enlivening the spirit and soul, and the development of the body. This is accomplished through the integration of the Christian World View into the curriculum, policies and practices of the school. We do not see Christian beliefs as something to add on to a secular belief system but rather the starting point from which all areas of the curriculum are developed. It is our desire to engage students in the process of asking the “big questions” and openly seeking the answers to these questions. This is accomplished through an engagement with all that is available within the context of the syllabuses delivered as a mandatory commitment to meeting the requirements of the government and allowing our students to compete with and relate with students in all other types of schools both secular and non-secular. We seek to prepare them to live successfully in the world and at the same time beyond the world, as the Scriptures encourage us “to be in the world but not part of the world.” In doing this we seek to confirm and participate in the “Great Commission” of Christ to “make disciples” of all nations. (here)
That's a Christian World View that believes literally in the bible, Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, the flood and Noah's Ark and so on and so forth ...
And so, in an engaged and integrated way, with a hop, skip and a jump, we come to Tony Abbott's sister being a perversion of the natural order and an abominable abomination ...
Now given that Abbott belongs to a church that has exactly the same sorts of prejudices and superstitions, it's hardly surprising he'd want to stand up for his sister, though it does help explain why he flinches a little in the company of gays (apparently without realising the number of gays in the church - greetings to the pond's friendly gay priest lurking in the extended family).
But even so the ducking and weaving was a pathetic sight:
''I respectfully disagree with lots of things that are said on that particular subject and obviously I disagree with that one.''
Mr Abbott refused to say whether he was offended on behalf of his gay sister Christine Forster.
Yes around that time the cock crowed twice or was it thrice, as Abbott called for a bowl of water to wash away the guilt. Or was he just calling for nails for a good crucifixion?
As for the school? Well initially it was defiant:
Mr Abbott announced his education policy from within the school hall, which is used for services of the Imagine Nations Pentecostal church on weekends.
School principal Bruce Neville said the school’s anti-homosexuality stance was taken directly from the Bible. ''It is in our statement of faith pure and simple.''
Mr Neville said the school, which has about 720 students, would not change its views, before he was led away from the media by a minder.
''We are not considering renewing our statement of faith at the moment,'' Mr Neville said.
For the moment?
It wasn't a very long moment if you read Homosexuality is no longer an abomination, says Penrith Christian School.
The school, a prepatory to Year 12 school in Sydney's western suburbs, forces parents to sign a Statement of Faith before their kids can enrol.
The statement lists a range of views, including that homosexuality and homosexual acts are ''abomination unto God, a perversion of the natural order and not to be entered into'' as well as statements supporting divine healing and creationism.
The policy was now under review, according to Christian Schools Australia, which says the wording has been ''misunderstood'' and that gay and lesbian students are treated with care.
In fact, as anyone who's been following knows, such schools have the right to expel students if they are gay - Push to end expulsion of gay students - and they fought to hold on to that right, as you can read in Schools defend right to expel gays.
As for the "misunderstood" wording? Well if you go to the many alternate translations of the bible, "abomination" still scores high as the preferred word.
But let's see if we can change the tone of Leviticus 18:22.
Turns out that Tony Abbott's sister is guilty of a detestable practice, a terrible sin, a hateful sin, disgusting, detestable, God hates that, an enormous sin, abhorrent, and a detestable act.
There, so much better. But remembering that it's okay to dissemble in front of, and to deceive unbelievers (as the midwives deceived the Pharaoh in Exodus and were rewarded by the long absent lord), any changes will be cosmetic.
The fundamentalism will remain the same, intact, and with all the fundamentalist creeds still believed and practised ...
As for the statement of faith, which you have to sign up to, and which Josephine Tovey references in one of her pieces, you have the usual biblical literalism - all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is infallible, inerrantly revealing the will of God and absolutely supreme; and there's the usual superstitious chatter about the Devil, the coming rapture ... and this on the matter of Creation:
We believe that the heavens and the earth and all original life forms, including humanity, were made by the specific immediate creative acts of God as described in the account of origins presented in Genesis, and that all biological changes which have occurred since creation are limited to variation within each species.
And this is a school Abbott contends is a good school?
Out goes Darwin? Out goes geology? Out goes cosmology? And a lot of other 'ologies' when you think through the implications ...
No wonder Abbott is a dunderhead when it comes to science, technology, broadband and all the rest of it, and to their shame, he has Garrett and Gillard and the crew of both the major parties for company ...
As for other matters, like medicine, the statement is as barking mad as Mary Baker Eddy, and it helps explain why vaccines, inoculation and immunisation are out of favour in sundry parts of the community:
In accordance with the teachings of the scriptures, we trust our heavenly Father to protect and heal our bodies from sickness and disease. We believe that divine healing for the body, as with all redemptive blessings of God, has been provided for us by the atoning death and victorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ: it is the privilege of all believers and it is appropriated by faith in our heavenly Father’s unfailing promises: Exodus 15:26; Psalm 103:3; Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 8:16-17; Mark 16:17-18; 1 Peter 2:24 and James 5:14-15.
Never mind getting a shot, just say a prayer and she'll be right.
And Abbott thinks this is a good school?
It routinely astonishes the pond that it has come to this, with prejudice, ignorance and superstition funded by the Australian taxpayer, and dressed up as an education, when the very things that have brought good things to the world - science, medicine - are disbelieved or denounced, and people are victimised on the basis of the tribal thinking of goat and camel herders in the middle east thousands of years ago...
And under Abbott, will it get better? No, it's certain to get worse.
His sister better get used to being called a perversion of nature, and an abominable abomination ...
Now there's family values at work ...
(Below: Tony Abbott in Penrith and believe it or not, from the same comic book. Children, beware the Great Snatch!)
Posted by dorothy parker at 8/30/2013 08:33:00 AM