Daily Archives: October 16, 2008

"The Personal is Political" – And Not Just Ecclesiastical…

In an op-ed piece in today’s Age, Paul Austin writes:

A few legal niceties also need to be restated if our justice system is to retain its integrity. Theophanous is entitled to the presumption of innocence and to due process. …He has not been charged with anything. Indeed, he has not yet been interviewed by the police. Like many alleged rapes, this is likely to boil down to his word against hers. The investigators have not even heard his account yet.

Politically, the harsh truth for Theophanous is that he is almost certainly finished. The only conceivable scenario in which he returns to cabinet is if the police determine the allegation has no merit and that Theophanous has no case to answer. But even then he will be soiled goods in public image terms. The political damage done to Theophanous is real, even if the allegation is false. He is 60. Come the next election he will be 62. His long career was nearing its end anyway; now the end has been hastened, fairly or otherwise.

That’s the best-case scenario for Theophanous.

Sound familiar? The parallels between this case in the political arena and recent cases in the ecclesiastical field are not just astounding, but EXACT.

I know some of our readers like to say that they are “always on the side of the victims”, but once again I ask: who is the victim here? It is frightening how easily personal careers and family lives are destroyed through simple unsubstantiated allegations reported enthusiastically in the media.

When it is such a simple procedure for destroying those in the public eye, is it any wonder that some find the temptation so irresistable?


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In Defence of The Religion Report

For all my criticism of Stephen Crittenden’s journalistic style (he seems to be under the misapprehension that religion is an observer sport of adversarial politics), I do regret ABC Radio National’s decision to axe The Religion Report (see this report in The Age).

Religious issues are as important as ever today in current affairs, and a well rounded radio programming schedule should reflect this. While Encounter and Spirit of Things appear to have escaped the chopping block, those programs are aimed more at religion as a private (personal or communal) experience. The ABC needs to keep the place of religion in the public square in mind.


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