Thursday, 22 March 2007

Believing your own mythology

The ABC reports (here)that "Federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd will provide some major wattage for the final stages of the New South Wales Government's re-election campaign today".
The introduction of boyish faced Federal politicians into State electoral campaigns is always a tricky issue. There have been times (on all sides of politics) when the Federal heavies have been told to bow out State elections because although the State party may have been doing well sometimes the Feds have been seen to be a bit on the nose. And poiliticians aren't always the best judges of how well they are perceived in the electorate at large.
Any way, obviously that is not the case in NSW and Rudd is perceived as a Good Thing (a la Simon de Montfort who although only a Frenchman was still also a good thing). It is dangerous, one wonders if the PM or the Treasurer, or Dr Nelson will be wheeled out on the other side...and suspects not.
The problem is not so much whether or not this or that politician is a "good thing" the problem is when they start believing the same. And strangely there are times when the instinctive political radar is off-beam. Thus have we witnessed the discgraceful spectacle of polioticians belittling each other in a self-righteous fashion about particular goings on, and we the bewilderati of the electorate are left wondering why they are so foolish to trumpet the faults of others when they are only a hairs-breath away from the same issue.
Closer to the ecclesiastical home a lot of people have obviously taken a recent article in church newspaper Market Place to heart. In it the all too obvious issue of the Nigerian leader, Dr Akinola , pontificating about the immorality on the Western Church's doorstep whilst being remarkably silent about matters on his own.
Two issues present themselves. One is that the Nigerian Government is presently promoting laws against homosexual people that would seemingly contradict the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Akinola far from condemning this seems to be actively promoting such injustice. It is noted that this must make the devotees of Dr Akinola in Australia, the UK and particularly the US decidedly uncomfortable. A number of American parishes driven by priests of curious conviction (which nevertheless ought to be respected) [Read Ruth Gledhill's article about this here] are seeking the misnamed "alternative primatial oversight" of the Nigerian Church whilst remaining in the comfort of the US of A. Do they also seek to align themselves not only with this man's conservative interpretation of scripture, but also his advocacy of the persecution and imprisonment of any homosexual. Roundly denounced by Amnesty International and other advocacy groups, Dr Akinola seems to have no difficulty believing his own mythology. That he and he alone is capable of interpreting truth.
The Market Place article notes that he is remarkably silent about a critique of certain aspects of Nigerian culture which are foreign (and even repugnant in the West). One of these is polygamy. Which is clearly condemned in the scriptures.

But much more serious is the cultural practice of 13 year old girls (the youngest SC is 13!!) being married off to much older men. In this country this would not only be illegal, but would bring the strongest condemnation. And rightly so. Some have called it "legalised paedophilia". Where is the Primate of Nigeria's voice raised against this particular evil. He seems to suggest that this is a cultural aberration that is permissible
You see it is a quagmire.
I am not suggesting. That pollies and churchmen (it's usually men) should never say anything about anything. Or shouldn't say anything that someone else will disagree with.
But we should stop pretending that our side is the only side, and rather seek not to belittle their opponent through personal slur, but rather to seriously address arguments and to respond to genuine rebuttal of their own hypocrisy.
This may be a vain wish!

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