Showing posts from February, 2012

The Obama Contraception Mandate

There is a fascinating debate going on in the US over religious freedom. The issue is the Obamacare Contraception Mandate.

Obamacare of course is the system of increased public health brought in in the first phase of Obama’s term of office. It is strongly resisted by many right wing Americans as anti-capitalism, anti-freedom and unconstitutional. The US Supreme Court is considering this question and will rule on this in June—the decision may have a big effect on the forthcoming US election. One of the most controversial aspects is the Contraception Mandate whereby the US government requires every employer in the US including church based organisations that employ many non-religious people, by Aug 1 2013, to fund birth control through health insurance including methods that cause abortions (abortifacients).

As you can imagine, this has led to outrage among evangelicals who oppose abortion on grounds of conscience. Of course Catholic officialdom not only opposes abortion but all forms …

Whitney Houston: Money Can't Buy You Love, Fame Can't Buy You Happiness

What a tragedy! Following on from the deaths of Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and not to forget Elvis Presley, the death of Whitney Houston is very very sad. She like the others, was an immensely talented performer. Who can forget that line, ‘And I, will always love you.’ I was struck by the news report that the night before she gave an impromptu performance of ‘Jesus loves me.’ Does this suggest that deep down there was faith?—I hope so, for today she may be with Jesus and set free from her pain.

What we have here is another tortured soul, corrupted by the fame and adulation that comes with being famous. The whole situation reflects the brokenness of our decaying western civilisation. People with great gifts like hers are thrust into the public arena and then venerated to a ridiculous degree. The popular media pursues them wanting to know everything about their lives, and making up the rest. TV shows, magazines etc, delve into their lives. We the public feed on them, like maggots on…

The Treaty, the Maori Party, the National Party, and Asset Sales

The development in the relationship between the Maori Party and National in relation to the part-sale of state assets is intriguing. I can’t really blame the Maori Party for their strong stand. It is one thing to part-sell state assets, but to remove the clause protecting the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi is questionable.
Over the years, I have moved in my view of the Treaty. There was once a time when I had little time for Maori desire for favouritism toward Maori. I thought, “hey, I am a sixth generation NZer, why should they get favoured?” I felt this in places like Auckland Teachers College where there were people studying on Maori grants, which I felt was unfair. The truth was, I was a lazy so-and-so and had no right to say anything! Over time, I have shifted my position. As I have studied history more, I have wondered more and more what it would be like to have “possession” of a piece of land, and for someone to come in and effectively flog it off you, with intrigue and u…