Sexual orientation and the armed forces today...
And at the moment, one of the poster men for same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom is Corporal James Wharton (23), an Iraqi War veteran.
Can I just say one word here-
"Vanilla" conformity...?! Uh, why does the pro-belting crusade of the late Noughties come to mind? That certainly wasn't vanilla. (PS: Remember Patricia Bartlett? She was an (ahem) SM Nun!*
*"Mercy Sister! Mercy!!!"
Yes, but how many 'christian' respondents are conversely only liable to go to church for reasons of civil religion or holidays- Christmas, Easter, and funerals? Don't discount kneejerk nominalism- which may explain why there has been a rise in the category of no religious observance. I agree, though- the census categories for religious observance are truncated and munted. Perhaps the number of faithless infidels is even more!
Where I get antsy with conservative Christianity is that its more aggressive versions are anti-science. It attacks neodarwinian evolutionary theory but only offers a skeletal 'intelligent design' theoretical framework with little elucidating detail. Then there are the fundamentalists who want to resurrect some form of Thomist natural law theory from medieval Europe to replace Enlightenment science and empirical evidence as standards for public policy (especially if the issues involved are womens reproductive freedom and LGBT rights). I shudder to think what'd happen if they realised that quantum physics and chaos theory exist, but thus far, physics is immune to them.
Hmm, not sure about the resilience and cohesion of church congregations anymore, Will. Take NZ Presbyterianism for example. Its professional middle-class elements are exiting at an accelerated rate due to the perceived fundamentalist capture of that denomination. According to the Economist, the same phenomenon may eventually destroy the Church of England.
Pentecostals tend to be the worst- according to a recent Steve Killgallon SST article, what happens these days is that if they disagree with whatever subcultural celebrity pop preacher TM says, they flock off to another sect. They aren't growing as fast as secularisation is, and their loyalty and affiliation rates are low.
Er, namesake, about Wilberforce. Six out of ten for his sterling antislavery efforts, but nought for his advocacy of draconian political censorship and anti-union politics. Yup, feet of clay. Fundies and evangelicals go on at great length about Wilberforce unless the corrective is applied.
I'm in several places about this one. New Zealand's LGBT community have lower rates of religious observance than our straight fellow citizens, but even the general public is getting disenchanted with Christian religious observance. 'No religious observance' has been the largest 'faith' category in our census for over a decade. Conservative denominations aren't growing either (ie the Baptists and Salvation Army), while Buddhism is now the second largest religious community behind Christianity (possibly due to East Asian immigration), followed by Hinduism (South Asian) and then Islam (ditto). Therefore, we live in a secularised and multifaith society.
I have a lot of time for liberal churches when it comes to welfare policy and criticism of the Key administration's New Right legislative agenda and emphases on rehabilitation within criminal justice policy.
As for the Christian Right, gak. Where do I begin? They are so dependent on the US Christian Right for their propaganda, tactics and strategy that it's laughable. Apart from the euthanasia debate, they've lost practically every single political battle that they've waged since 1983 (the anti-abortion Status of the Unborn Child Bill)- the UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Homosexual Law Reform, the 1987 General Election, the Human Rights Act 1993, the Care of Children Bill 2004, the Civil Union and Statutory References Acts 2004-5, the anti-belting legislation... The recession has eroded their access to available income and forced them to rationalise into three main pressure groups- Right to Life New Zealand (anti-abortion), Family First and the Conservative Party. Even in the case of Family First, their shoal of supportive fundamentalist small business donors appears to have thinned out.
As I suppose namesake can tell you, the National Party doesn't get on all that well with them. From what centre-right social liberal friends tell me, powers that be are pissed off at Family First for last year''s Value Your Vote guide, which contained recommendations to vote for Winston because he was a puckered- oops, pukka, social conservative.
Family First tends to slavishly reprint stuff from Focus on the Family US, as well as the rabidly antigay Christian Institute and Canada's Lifesite. Significantly, they've got a lot of funding from the US-based "World Congress of Families" for their latest so-called "Forum on the Family",,,
I think we all seem to agree about the importance of opposing asset sales, but I have major problems with the policy priorities and tactics of Labour, the Greens and CTU in this context, particularly the flawed citizens referendum tactic:
Why not actively work on a capital gains tax as the preferable alternative policy?
I think the issue is that hacktivism can be useful as long as it is arguably in the public interest and involves an ethical commitment to democratic and corporate accountability and transparency that forestalls potential and tangible harm to the life and safety of others. However, not all hacker activity has that ethical basis.
Um, namesake, I believe you're referring to the Nuremberg Files incident in 2000, in which a US anti-abortion terrorist group called for 'justifiable homicide' of abortion providers and then published personal details online- whereupon these personal details were used to assassinate some of them. However, the details were derrived from public register data, openly accessible to the public- which raises questions of its own.