July 6th 2013

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The legacy of Nelson Mandela

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Last-minute law change a threat to religious freedom

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Bid to suppress free speech at WA parliament

OPINION: How 'tolerance' is used to curb our freedoms

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Labor in worse shape today than in 1975

EDITORIAL: Behind the Rudd, Gillard stand-off

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Small business -- too big to ignore

OPINION: Moderate Islam the antidote to Islamism

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Taiwan, Philippines fishing spat muddies SE Asian waters

SCHOOLS: Christianity airbrushed from Labor's civics curriculum

UNITED STATES: Persecution of Christians in the US military

LIFE ISSUES: Legal loophole threat to Irish pro-life consensus

HISTORY: How evil triumphs with our apathy and complacency

OPINION: The pros and cons of types of punishment

OPINION: Ministry for Men's Interests needed

CINEMA: Zombie tales reveal our innermost fears

BOOK REVIEW Rediscovering the idea of civilised liberty

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Bid to suppress free speech at WA parliament

by John Elsegood

News Weekly, July 6, 2013

Any doubts about the intolerance and political clout of the militant homosexual lobby were dispelled at a book launch held at Western Australia’s Parliament, in Perth, on June 20.

Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen.

Guests were there to hear a talk by Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen (son of a former Australian Governor-General, the late Sir Zelman Cowen) on his recently published book, Politics and Universal Ethics. Dr Cowen is also director of the Melbourne-based Institute for Judaism and Civilization, which he founded in 1998.

However, a functionary from WA's Department of Multicultural Affairs, who was also present, declared that the book launch could not proceed because the author was “too radical”, according to Liberal state MP, Peter Abetz, who was scheduled to introduce the rabbi.

Apparently, Dr Cowen was deemed unfit to speak that day because of an article he had written two years ago, “The homosexual ‘anti-bullying’ program for schools: an unconscionable stratagem”, published in the Australian Family Association Journal, vol. 32, no. 2, July 2011.

While the article might offend the sensibilities of the politically-correct brigade, most reasonable people would consider it a logical and temperately argued piece, even if they disagreed with its conclusions.

The book launch went ahead after the Department of Multicultural Affairs functionary’s attempt to block Dr Cowen’s entry was overridden by the Speaker of WA’s Legislative Assembly, Michael Sutherland MLA. Nevertheless, the event was forced to re-locate to a smaller room than was originally planned. As a result, some of the people attending spilled over into the corridors.

Mr Abetz, in introducing Dr Cowen’s speech, described how contemporary secular thinking has manifested itself in the legalising of abortion on demand, and the push to normalise homosexual conduct and to make euthanasia available.

Anyone who takes a public stand against this social agenda is denounced and ostracised by secular-minded commentators and lobby groups.

Dr Margaret Court, a former world number one tennis player and currently senior pastor of Perth’s Victory Life Centre, has long been strongly opposed to same-sex “marriage”. In January 2012, a homosexual rights protest group urged spectators to display rainbow-coloured banners at the Margaret Court Arena during the 2012 Australian Open tennis championships, and called for the renaming of the venue.

The recent World Congress of Families, held in Sydney, saw a similar attempt by a New South Wales parliamentarian and gay activist, Alex Greenwich, to have the international conference censored because of its opposition to same-sex “marriage”.

Dr Cowen, at the Perth book launch, declared that “to bring in acceptance of a norm of homosexual behaviour under the rubric of ‘tolerance’ is … false”. He added: “Tolerance, as Viktor Frankl said, has to do with love and respect for people, not for their views or behaviours. It does not extend to a moral relativism which makes the unethical ethical.”

He said that there is nothing ethical in making a school anti-bulling campaign predicated on insisting that a school teach every child the acceptance of homosexual practice as being co-normative with heterosexual practice. Attempts to do so are sleight of hand, a cultural manoeuvre, designed to impose a set of beliefs on an entire school population, in the process proscribing deeply held religious beliefs.

This, he argued, is a violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 14) dealing with freedom of thought, conscience and religion of the child and parents. The homosexual agenda, he said, violates every one of these articles.

In his book, Dr Cowen argues that values come from revelation given by the Creator, and are not invented by humans. In a call for spiritual literacy, he has called for the new national educational curriculum to contain at least an elective subject in religion through to matriculation level.

This should not be subjected to secularist filters, and church schools should be allowed to teach it their own spiritual “languages”. It would be distinct from units about comparative religions, or the philosophy, history or sociology of religion.

The public square, he says, belongs as much to people of faith as to those who profess none.

Dr Cowen has coined the term Hedonomat to describe hedonistic materialism which, like communism, has sought to impose its hegemony on Western liberal democratic societies.

Political correctness has led to the suffix “phobic” being used to shut down any possible discussion of certain social and moral issues.

As Dr Cowen’s visit to Parliament House in Perth revealed, there are functionaries, at all levels of society, who seek to prohibit freedom of speech, and they must be confronted.

Lionel Murphy, a left-wing Attorney-General in the Whitlam Labor government, and later a High Court Justice, boasted in the 1970s that his motivation for entering public life was “to remove the last vestiges of the Judeo-Christian ethic from the fabric of our society”.

Perhaps that was why his parliamentary colleague, Kim Beazley Snr, told an ALP state conference in 1970: “When I joined the Labor Party, it contained the cream of the working class. But as I look about me now, all I see are the dregs of the middle class. When will you middle-class perverts stop using the Labor Party as a cultural spittoon?”

John Elsegood is a Perth freelance journalist and a teacher of history and politics.



Shimon Cowen, “The homosexual ‘anti-bullying’ program for schools: an unconscionable stratagem”, Australian Family Association Journal, vol. 32, no. 2, July 2011, pages 31-42.
URL: www.family.org.au/journal/AFAJournalV32_No2_PRESS.pdf

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