Warming to Snowden

Mungo MacCallum writes: Re. “Crikey says: the chase for Snowden is a joke ” (yesterday). This looks like a classic example of the three basic rules of politics in action. As formulated by the Australian journalist John Stubbs, these are:
Rule 1: Sooner or later everybody stuffs up.
Rule 2: Any attempt to cover up the stuff up is invariably worse than the stuff up was originally.
Rule 3: Everybody forgets Rule 2.

Gavin Greenoak writes: A personal thank you. I guess people have been responding very differently to the Snowden revelations. Personally I took it hard. It is as if a reality is emerging of governments v people. This grotesque polarity undermines the very roots of social order. Not where we think, but where we feel. And it feels very bad. It was a brave editorial today that relieved the bad from worse. Thank you, and bravo!

Feminists and the Bible

Keith Binns writes: Re. “Religion v feminism: which has done more for humanity?” (Tuesday). I was waiting to see what responses came before I commented on the Jane Caro article. It’s a bit difficult as religion can mean anything or nothing, but so can feminism. It’s an unfair comparison anyway, as feminism has never had real power and has only been around a few years, and so any comparison is false.

We don’t know how feminism would shape up if given real power. But remember when we all thought Buddhism was wonderful and then we heard about Buddhist extremists persecuting Muslims and Buddhist priests molesting young boys? Who knows what would happen if feminists had real power? And while religion has done great evil, it has also done great good, as even a casual perusal of church history will show. Or you could just interview Desmond Tutu.

What is not often admitted, however, is that historically feminism grew out of religion. It was the Salvation Army that first gave women real power, as it continues to do today. It did so out of the logical extension of Biblical teaching. Feminists are generally rather severe with the Bible because it is so obviously patriarchal. It is. What they fail to give it credit for, however, is how both the Old and New Testaments protect women and insist they are treated well within the confines of the patriarchal society and how often women are given a prominent place. Look up Rahab, Ruth and Esther. In the New Testament, Jesus is revolutionary in his treatment of women, treating them as equals as much as was possible within the confines of the society. He teaches Mary of Bethany the law at a time when it was said that it was better to burn the law rather than teach it to a woman. In the Gospels, women play a prominent role. They are last at the cross and first at the tomb. In the early church they led churches. It is only later that they are disenfranchised as the men claw back their power in much the same way that the Catholic priests have clawed back the power they lost during Vatican Two. The logical extension of the biblical teaching is equality. It is a real pity that it took so long to come about and, as the treatment of Julia Gillard over the past four years has shown, still has a long way to go.

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Guy Rundle writes: Re. “Rating Rundle” (yesterday). Gerard Henderson says we lunched together once. I don’t recall that — perhaps it was ’74-’75 in the twilight of the Menzies years — but I’m willing to take his word for it. After all, he knows about grub.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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