Sunday, January 31, 2016

Cat Stevens, Pellists, Jensenists, what have you got, because the pond's agin it, unless it happens to feature manly men in frocks ...

The pond realises that it's been failing in its duties in relation to meditative Sundays ... we simply haven't been pounding the keyboard hard enough.

This came upon the pond while watching Spotlight last night.

It isn't a particularly good film. The reporters at the Boston Globe are each given haloes, and Mark Ruffalo is given an obligatory intense speech to ensure nominations, while good old Stanley Tucci acts the socks off him. And then there's the banality of the underscore, which frequently delivers bouts of "doing" music to accompany montages of activity (a Christmas carol also performs this duty).

And poor old Rachel McAdams is given the job of becoming a female beagle, such is the intensity of her winsome looks (punters will recall with affection that Anthony Lane awarded Ryan Gosling the title of male beagle when he noted a sure way for the local animal shelter's fund-raising leaflet to raise oodles of money was to have Gosling as the beagle on the cover. It never fails ...)

And yet the sheer enormity of what the Catholic church got up to in Boston, the cover-ups and the abuse, carried the pond through the movie, and made it wonder whether we will ever see the Pellists back in Australia ...

North Coast Voices here carried news of the full, active and rich life the Pellists are currently enjoying in Rome,  and soon we will hear whether that will continue or whether the Pellists will take the trip back to face the music. If the movie is any guide, it's not likely.

Here's one of the end titles for that film ...

So it goes, and so the pond isn't holding its breath ...

And then who should bob up on the Huff but Cat Stevens preaching Guff ...

What a doofus. What an addle-brained ratbag.

Try Greg Hunting Cat Stevens' comments about Salman Rushdie and see if you can forgive this wretch and would want to get on a peace train with such a sorry and pathetic dissembler ...

But the pond always looks for hope alongside sorry tales of despair, and before we get on to despairing about that other axis of weevils, the Jensenists, it's time for a little hope.

It involves a story some months ago in The New Yorker, happily at the moment outside the paywall concerning the redemption of one member of the Westboro church.

Unfollow, How a prized daughter of the Westboro Baptist Church came to question its beliefs, is a long read, and the pond must deliver a spoiler alert, because we're cutting to the chase with the final few pars ... as Adrian Chen and Megan Phelps-Roper returned to the church of hate and its hate signs:

Directly across the street stood a house painted in bright, horizontal rainbow stripes. The house had been bought, in 2012, by Planting Peace, a nonprofit group whose mission, according to its Web site, is “spreading peace in a hurting world.” The Equality House, as it’s known, is home to a group of young L.G.B.T. activists. Planting Peace has worked with former Westboro members to spread its message of tolerance. Megan first visited the house in 2013, after her cousin Libby encouraged her to visit. She sneaked in the back door, for fear of being spotted by her family. 
Today, Megan and Grace’s only connection to Westboro is virtual. Although Phelps-Roper no longer believes that the Bible is the word of God, she still reads it to try to find scriptural arguments that could encourage Westboro to take a more humane approach to the world. Sometimes she’ll tweet passages, knowing that church members will see them. After they left the church, Megan and Grace were blocked from Westboro’s Twitter accounts, but they created a secret account to follow them. Sometimes, when her mother appears in a video, Megan will loop it over and over, just to hear her voice. 
Fred Phelps died in March, 2014, at the age of eighty-four. Former members of the church told me that Fred had had a softening of heart at the end of his life and had been excommunicated. (The church denies these claims.) Zach Phelps-Roper, Megan’s younger brother, who left the church later that year, said that one of the precipitating events in Fred’s exclusion had been expressing kindness toward the Equality House. At a church meeting, Zach recalls, members discussed the episode: “He stepped out the front door of the church and looked at the Rainbow House, the Planting Peace organization, and looked over and said, ‘You’re good people.’ ”

Westboro is a particularly hate-filled version of extreme Calvinism, which naturally brings the pond to the hating of the angry Sydney Anglicans and the Jensenists ...

Lately the Jensenists have stopped turning up at their old haunts, and Michael Jensen can be found scribbling away at The Drum ...

Sad to say, The Drum - much like the ABC in general - isn't what it used to be, and even though this particular piece of rotting fish is days old, it was still top of the digital page ...

Now anybody with the requisite cast-iron stomach can attend the page here, but please allow the pond to set the tone of the discourse with this stomach-churning gobbet ...

This is classic Jensenism.

It involves either a deliberate lie - as with some Islamic fundamentalists, it is considered legitimate to lie to infidels - or a confession of profound ignorance and stupidity.

Of course it could be just a mix of the two, and so let us now set off to judge by word and by deed ...

Why not head off to Meet Alliance Defending Freedom, Fox's Favorite Anti-LGBT Legal Organization ...

How about How An Extreme Anti-LGBT Legal Powerhouse Is Working To Enact "Religious Freedom" Laws ...

Why not dabble in This Right-Wing Legal Powerhouse Wants To Make Gay Sex Illegal ...

Of course in the world of Jensenism, wanting to make gay sex illegal isn't "gay hate", it's just saving gays from hell ... or making practitioners get their deserved comeuppance.

Either way, it isn't hate. Just as a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye is a jovial form of barter. Or some such thing ...

Why would the Jensenists not think working in assorted countries around the world to get gay sex criminalised, or re-criminalised, or to stay criminalised isn't an example of gay hate?

Why, it's because angry Sydney Anglicans have been in the thick of such activities in Africa, as recounted many times by the pond in the past ...

The angry Calvinist Sydney Anglicans stand, if the pond may borrow from the Jensenist phrasing, against the encroaching of tolerance and a liberal 'live and let live' philosophy, with a fierce form of Calvinist fundamentalism, which is anything but liberal, since it actively seeks to eradicate homosexuality from public life entirely ...

This is how radical extremism and bigotry works. It seeks to pretend that extremists are moderates just going about their moderate daily business of discrimination in a godly way ...

It's a lie, built on lies, and perhaps that's why there's a shortage of respect.

You can't pretend you're doing one thing, while off doing wicked things.

Time then for a little Elmer Gantry Holy Roller judgement:

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

And this is what requires judging. It's the half-baked apologetics. See if you can recognise the classic equivocating Jensenist style ...

Now, as it happens, I don't agree with everything that the ADF says, or with its approach to church-state relations ...

....these are serious people who make sustained legal and intellectual arguments for their positions, and use legitimate tactics to pursue them

....Even a passionate pro-choice advocate should surely recognise that the issue of abortion is extremely morally complex. It deserves argument, whatever your position ...

...The place and shape of the family is likewise a matter for serious debate, whatever one's views.

...We seem to have lost the vision of a genuine pluralism, in which competing points of view on serious moral issues are both allowed to coexist so that the arguments for each may be put...

...Rather, we resort to tweeting and shouting.

Of course there's rich pickings there. A genuine pluralism seems to consist of one side being cast into hell for all eternity ...

And the issue of having an abortion is easily understood ... if you happen to be a woman, with the right to be in control of your body.

As opposed to men, such as angry Anglicans and fundamentalist Islamics wanting to control it for you ...

In the end, Westboro's hardline haters are more intellectually honest than those who claim they use fancy legal and intellectual arguments and legitimate tactics... while pursuing exactly the same homophobic, hate-filled outcomes that the Westboro mob want

The Westboro mob - what's left of them - just hate. The rest is fancy dressing and frippery and airy talk of legitimate tactics, of the kind Calvinists should really disdain ...

As for tweeting and its wickedness?

Perhaps the angry Anglicans should get out into the world and tweet a little more ...

On December 20, 2009, Phelps-Roper was in the basement of her house, for a church function, when she checked Twitter on her phone and saw that Brittany Murphy, the thirty-two-year-old actress, had died. When she read the tweet aloud, other church members reacted with glee, celebrating another righteous judgment from God. “Lots of people were talking about going to picket her funeral,” Phelps-Roper said. When Phelps-Roper was younger, news of terrible events had given her a visceral thrill. On 9/11, she was in the crowded hallway of her high school when she overheard someone talking about how an airplane had hit the World Trade Center. “Awesome!” she exclaimed, to the horror of a student next to her. She couldn’t wait to picket Ground Zero. (The following March, she and other Westboro members travelled to New York City to protest what they described in a press release as “FDNY fags and terrorists.”) But Phelps-Roper had loved Murphy in “Clueless,” and she felt an unexpected pang—not quite sadness, but something close—over her death. As she continued scrolling through Twitter, she saw that it was full of people mourning Murphy. The contrast between the grief on Twitter and the buoyant mood in the basement unsettled her. She couldn’t bring herself to post a tweet thanking God for Murphy’s death. “I felt like I would be such a jackass to go on and post something like that,” she said.
...Her hesitance reflected a growing concern for the feelings of people outside Westboro. Church members disdained human feelings as something that people worshipped instead of the Bible. They even had a sign: “GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS.” They disregarded people’s feelings in order to break their idols. Just a few months earlier, the Westboro Web site had received an e-mail arguing that the church’s constant use of the word “fag” was needlessly offensive. “Get a grip, you presumptuous toad,” Phelps-Roper had replied. She signed off, “Have a lovely day. You’re going to Hell....”

...As Phelps-Roper continued to tweet, she developed relationships with more people like Hughes. There was a Jewish marketing consultant in Brooklyn who abhorred Westboro’s tactics but supported the church’s right to express its views. There was a young Australian guy who tweeted political jokes that she and her younger sister Grace found hilarious. “It was like I was becoming part of a community,” Phelps-Roper said. By following her opponents’ feeds, she absorbed their thoughts on the world, learned what food they ate, and saw photographs of their babies. “I was beginning to see them as human,” she said. When she read about an earthquake that struck off Canada’s Pacific coast, she sent a concerned tweet to Graham Hughes: “Isn’t this close to you?”

Perhaps angry Anglicans might be better off not scribbling for The Drum in support of bigotry and homophobia and hate ...perhaps they should take to twitter, and perhaps then they might even end up seeing others as human ...

And so, just to complete the circle, and having dissed an Islamic, Catholics, and angry Anglicans, the pond would like to thank a correspondent for helping complete the circle.

The pond has always loved to end its meditative Sunday pieces with sightings of men in frocks.

Usually this has featured the Pellists, but there are some excellent frock sightings elsewhere, thanks to Cardinal "manly man" Burke.

Here, for example, and here, and at the pond correspondent's link here, while you can find the manly Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke's manly man insights here in an interview ...

Cardinal Burke: First of all, be manly yourself. In other words, cultivate your own manly qualities, because the priest is first and foremost the spiritual father; he is a man. You need to have manly qualities of selflessness, chivalry and discipline to avoid situations improper for a priest. A priest must have the manly confidence and credibility to be a spiritual father to his flock, giving clear firm guidance with kindness and charity.

What a hoot it is, unless of course, you happen to have been a child growing up in Boston, or in certain parts of Australia, or elsewhere around the world, and caught up in a pandemic of evil ...

Never mind, let's end with a few manly men sightings ...


  1. Snap.
    "An interesting bit of framing occured with Dr Michael Jensen’s article about religious freedom. According to Dr Jensen, the rector at St Mark’s Anglican Church in Darling Point, religious freedom is under attack. ........"

  2. Well as a former (bad) Catholic, Mr Jensen is quite pointless talking about sins or religious freedom. Non Catholics all go to Hell ( except for a few virtuous pre Christians like the Emperor Trajan) or must convert! It's simple really. Hasn't he heard of Papal Infallibility?

    1. But, but GH (and HM), Christians (so called) haven't been allowed to practise their religion for nearly two centuries. Just think of that book and all its commandments (not just the Top Ten).

      Think of all the sacrifices you should be making, think of all the people who've worked on the Sabbath, or worn clothes made of composite cloth, or eaten the wrong seafood that you should be killing.

      But what do we find: sacrifices and religious executions verboten by law ! By secular law ! What kind of religious freedom is that ?

    2. My God, you are right! It was the beginning of that slippery slope to the secular death culture the True Christians are always going on about...

    3. Yair, well the way it seems to me is that the Xtians can either obey God and thus be executed (in some USA states) or imprisoned for life (or bankrupted by the cost of buying a pardon), or, they can obey the secular authorities and not keep God's commandments and thus be sentenced to an eternity of hell.

      I reckon they've made the right choice, don't you ?

    4. The religionist minority are the secular authorities!

    5. Thanks for those links, Anony.

      Very interesting in your first link that S116 of the Aus Constitution that the Commonwealth "...can’t establish a national religion; impose religious observances; prevent the practice of religion;".

      But of course, it can and does prevent the practice of Xtianity wherever Xtianity calls for 'sacrifices' (nearly all animal) or religious execution of humans for disobeying God's commandments. Not being particularly religious myself, I can't say offhand (and too lazy to search) whether the practice of any other religions are also prevented - except maybe Sharia Law and Islam: I don't think Aus law allows for women to be stoned to death for adultery nor for thieves to have their right hand cut off - if I've remembered Sharia more or less correctly.

      So, very intolerant of religion, we Aus secularists, aren't we. Nearly as intolerant as the religious types themselves who also support Aus secular law. Though we do kinda "impose religious observance" in the States where Commonwealth funded religious types hold 'religious instruction' classes in public schools (the so-called Chaplaincy Program).


    1. Excellent link Anon, and to entice others to read it, perhaps we should note that in it Phillip Jensen makes an impassioned plea for extremists and extremism. Because that's what the world needs, more barking mad fundamentalist extremism!

  4. Michael Jensen is of course associated with the IPA-Quadrant nexus and their father-and-tony-abbott-knows-best-back-to-the-past religiosity and culture.
    He writes an occasional essay for Quadrant. One such example was about how "jesus" and the binary "certainties" of old-time patriarchal religion are the answer to the postmodern wasteland.

  5. About that nexus...

    Opus Dei Awareness Network, Inc. (ODAN) ...

    JANINE COHEN: Tonight (17/7/06) on Four Corners - a case study into a political party struggling with democracy. ...

    JANINE COHEN: When Sir Robert Menzies won government in 1949, he boasted of a broad political movement...

    JANINE COHEN: Betty Mihic and her family ran the Petersham-Lewisham branch in the western suburbs of Sydney for more than 50 years. In 2004 the Prime Minister presented the 78 year old and her sister Anne with a meritorious award for their services to the party. How much have you loved your local

    branch of the Liberal Party?

    BETTY MIHIC: Oh, it's been the main part of my life really, and my sister. We just loved it.

    JANINE COHEN: Then one day a young stranger named Kyle Kutasi started attending the Petersham-Lewisham branch meetings. He was asked if he knew any factional players in New South Wales, and he said he didn't. On the day of the 2005 Petersham-Lewisham branch annual general meeting, Betty Mihic

    had baked cakes and made tea.

    KEN HENDERSON, NSW LIBERAL STATE EXECUTIVE (1995-2000): At 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon about 20 people congregated on the footpath, had a little meeting, marched down the hallway.

    ELLEN LIAUW, LIBERAL PARTY BRANCH MEMBER: Pretty much after we sat down, Kyle Kutasi, his entourage arrived and it was also Alex Hawke and Kyle's parents and a few other people that I obviously didn't know.

    KEN HENDERSON, NSW LIBERAL STATE EXECUTIVE (1995-2000): A Young Liberal stood at the end of a dining room table with his arms folded in an aggressive sort of manner and challenged every step of the way the right of people to vote.

    ELLEN LIAUW, LIBERAL PARTY BRANCH MEMBER: It just turned icy. You could tell that there was some sort of a confrontation.

    KEN HENDERSON, NSW LIBERAL STATE EXECUTIVE (1995-2000): It was the most distasteful things I've ever seen in all my time in politics.

    ELLEN LIAUW, LIBERAL PARTY BRANCH MEMBER: They just snapped people, they wouldn't allow people to finish talking. If somebody made a point or tried to say something, they were pretty much talked down.

    JANINE COHEN: Kyle Kutasi and his supporters took over all the positions in the branch. Kutasi took over from Better Mihic as president.

    KEN HENDERSON, NSW LIBERAL STATE EXECUTIVE (1995-2000): When it was all over they grabbed the papers, they marched out the door and you had these little old ladies and gentlemen sitting there with the afternoon tea ready on the side table just absolutely in shock and horrified at what had gone


    ELLEN LIAUW, LIBERAL PARTY BRANCH MEMBER: She was in shock. I do remember another lady was crying. Her husband, Betty's husband, was sort of slumped over the side of a cupboard.

    1. JANINE COHEN: According to some of those at Betty Mihic's branch that day similar takeovers are happening all over New South Wales. They say that Kutasi was a sleeper, working on behalf of the party's right-wing faction, that far from not knowing factional leaders he is close to - and was following a strategy devised - by this man, David Clarke.

      ELLEN LIAUW, LIBERAL PARTY BRANCH MEMBER: It's very difficult to protect a branch from someone like Kyle, especially if they slowly muscle in and then bring other friends in with them. How do you protect a branch?

      JANINE COHEN: For the last few years an obscure backbencher has been the subject of speculation by New South Wales political observers. Three years ago David Clarke was elected to the State's Upper House. He's a moral conservative and a devotee of Opus Dei.

      DAVID CLARKE IN NSW PARLIAMENT: Another accusation alleged is that there is no sex education as part of the curriculum. Well, all I can say to that is considering some of the sleazy material that passes for sex education in some of our schools many parents would probably heap praise on Redeemer Baptist School for being more discerning and treading cautiously.

      JANINE COHEN: Clarke describes abortion as a monstrous evil and says same-sex relationships are far more susceptible to being unstable and violent than traditional households. He also criticises what he says are thought-controlled tribunals and politically correct fringe groups.

      MICHAEL OSBORNE, NSW LIBERAL STATE PRESIDENT (1996-1999): Well, my experience with David Clarke and at the time was that he had views which were, in my opinion, intolerant towards religion, views which were not compatible with the modern role of women as the broader community sees it, and views on abortion that are not compatible with the broader community's views.

      JANINE COHEN: Few dispute Clarke's right to hold hardline opinions within a broad conservative movement. What his opponents are concerned about is his apparently determined campaign to capture the party's organisation and shift the New South Wales Liberal Party to what was once its right-wing fringe. Clarke's faction this year gained absolute control of the all-powerful State Executive of the Liberal Party. Clarke says he has no religious agenda for the party. His critics disagree.

      DR JOHN HEWSON, FEDERAL LIBERAL LEADER (1990-1994): I think there's sort of a naive belief in here that just because I, as an individual, hold very strict Christian principles, I can permeate the entire party and win an election and then go into government and change all the legislation to make sure that my nirvana becomes the Australian nirvana, which is absolute nonsense.

      JANINE COHEN: Clarke first surfaced in the '70s as a member of the right-wing liberal group called by their enemies the 'Uglies'. The Uglies were led by Lyenko Urbanchich, a migrant who had fled Slovenia after World War II.

      IAN HANCOCK, LIBERAL PARTY MEMBER AND ANU HISTORIAN: He stood for the preservation of the things that he thought were essential to Australian democracy, namely the monarchy, the family, old values. I mean, he would be opposed to anything, as all the right wing were, to homosexual law reform, to drug reform, to feminism, to removal of censorship to pornography, the whole range of those things which were identified as Liberal trendyism.

    2. Opus Dei-Affiliated Foundations - 19 openly in Australia

      The founders of the PARED Schools introduced into Australia a personalised system of education which is also implemented in many schools throughout the world. This system of education was developed in Europe in the 1950s when parents were encouraged by Saint Josemaria Escrivá, Founder of Opus Dei, to exercise greater responsibility in the education of their children. There are now more than a hundred such schools, the fruit of personal initiative, in operation on the five continents. PARED maintains professional contact

      The PARED Schools offer students a solid grounding in the Catholic faith as the basis for a simple and deep love of God.


      Students are encouraged to live their faith with a genuine spirit of freedom and commitment. The Schools emphasise the primary role that parents play in their children’s spiritual development.

      The Chaplains of the Schools are priests of Opus Dei, a personal Prelature of the Catholic Church whose aim is to assist all people to live the universal call to holiness.

      “Our School
      Chaplain is always
      there for me and
      has great advice.
      He has helped
      me realise a deeper
      love for God.”
      Redfield Student

      The Schools in Sydney’s west, a Orchard Hills and Werrington, are lower fee schools that attract a higher level of government funding..."

  6. Their loon Switzer this RN morning of Theirs: Menzies retires

    Gosh! Yay, wise Enoch Powell, and, ho-ho, there's that B A Santamaria treasure: his recollected comment on Menzies' three biggest mistakes are at 9:18 to 11:24.

    A search of Their ABC has failed to find "The Liberals", the 1994 ABC documentary from which the Santamaria snip was taken, however Their Uhlmann's "Labor in Power" for some reason was thrown up within 5 seconds.

    Desultory googling for "abc documentary "the liberals"" returned Their Belsham, Clark, and Goward's opuscule just fourth from the top in 0.63 seconds. Somehow topping the list was Their Uhlmann's "Labor in Power" at Their ABC Shop. A notable mention, for that top spot was not sponsored. Is Their robot Uhlmann's pulling power due to an algorithmic wonder? Go figure.

    At 10:25 to 12:22, in golden lit soft-focus is Their Santamaria clip on Menzies' three biggest mistakes: The Liberals Episode 1 (3 of 3)

    The Liberals Episode 1 (1 of 3)
    The Liberals Episode 2 (1 of 3)
    The Liberals Episode 3 (1 of 2)
    The Liberals Episode 4 (1 of 2)
    The Liberals Episode 5 (1 of 2)

    I see also at that YouTube channel there's 4 episodes of Red Ted - The Life Of E. G. Theodore, the best PM we never had. Instead we got The Packers. Bugger. Must watch them.


    The Liberals [videorecording] : fifty years of the Federal Party / written and produced by Bruce Belsham and Tim Clark. c 1994
    Call No. VB8509


  7. Just an advance warning, DP; one of the “Canberra Times” columnists has alleged that Polonius is somewhat selective in the accuracy of his quotations from those that he criticises, and appears to demand higher standards of journalism from them than he applies himself:

    I mention this because it probably means that we’re in for several columns‘ worth of Polonius once again disputing comments made several years -if not decades - ago by those with whom he disagrees, in minute detail. *zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz* Farrrrrkk. At least there’s some freak value in the gibberings of Devine, Piers and occasionally even the Dog-Botherer,, just as the gentlefolk of London used to pay a penny for the entertainment of viewing the inmates of Bedlam; Gerard, however, has been writing the same deadly dull column over and over for more than 30 years. He is to the commentariat what Brian Henderson was to rock and roll when he hosted “Bandstand”.

    1. Excellent link Anon, and now the pond is salivating at the expectation that the doddering Polonius will feel the need to prattle at that insolent Paul Malone and put him in his place. The pond particularly liked this Malonism:

      Among other things the evidence of gallery bias could be found, he said, in the fact that most supported economic sanctions against South Africa.
      I don't know about the rest, but I certainly did. After all, at that time 86 per cent of the South African population was disenfranchised, living under the rule of a racist regime. What other position would you expect journalists covering politics in a democracy to hold?
      Presumably Gerard felt that half of us should support a racist anti-democratic regime.

      Well yes Mr Malone, if you're going to be a racist and/or a fascist, there's no point being half-hearted about it. Now purse your lips and repeat after Polonius, any attempt at justice and fairness shows a distinct and perverted sense of bias ...

  8. The search for "the terrorists" gets more bizarre. Sevdet Ramadan Besim arrested for threatening to explode a kangaroo. The charges? Creating an electronic memo, engaging in communications, and conducting internet searches relating to Anzac day - all of which carry a life sentence.

  9. Amazing how Barbie getting hips has exercised the media so much. What next? An Alzheimers Barbie, Barbie the ice addict? Barbie on steroids and fucking a dog?

    1. Please, please, dog fucking is strictly restricted to Sydney boofheads with an alcohol problem ...


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