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Stung To A Response
By : Richard Lawton
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Apparently Iíve written a few articles that have not pleased Harold Hayward. He writes as a criticism of The Australian Christian that: Ö undue weight has been given to comment on political and social matters from a liberal humanist perspective. While there is no objection to the publication of such material, a Christian journal should give equal weight to thoughtful alternative views on matters of controversy Ė leaving it up to the readers to make their own judgments. As the principal current affairs columnist for The Australian Christian over the past few years, I assume that the criticism refers mainly to my writing. Iíve not responded to criticisms of particular articles, as Iíve wanted to leave scope for people to make known their alternative views. As Haroldís is directed at The Australian Christian, it seems appropriate to make a response. I have to confess Iím not sure what a liberal humanist perspective is. When I check my dictionary I see humanism defined as a school or system of thought or action in which human interests predominate. Well?

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Comments / Feedback
Harold Hayward
Thanks, Richard. You were not specifically targetted. For what itís worth, I closely fit the pigeon-hole you describe. And I also agree with your comment that ďmany issues are not black and white, and fairness and sensitivity demand that two sides are presentedĒ. This is my point exactly. As you recognize, it is extremely difficult to do this in a short journalistic piece Ė so perhaps we should not try.

In the event, some political and social comment, particularly during the recent election campaign, appeared similar to that of newspaper journalists whose biases have been apparent over many years. So what distinctive contribution to understanding are we making? Then there is the question of balance in the spread of articles published. Would a casual reader of our national journal recognize that it had anything to do with theology?

It seemed to me, that given the lack of resources of our federal body, our journalistic efforts might be better focused towards meeting the stated objectives of our National Council. Iím sure youíre aware that our communion internally has some enormous internal governance (political?) problems and like most communions, faces an increasingly hostile secular environment. The sooner we start dialoguing on these, the better.

Harold Hayward
Ian Smith
Interesting discussion - Harold aren't we doing theology when we begin to raise the questions that Richard does? Isn't in the thinking, dialogging and listening to various voices from within the faith community that we discern the "Christian perspective"? I know it is for me, for often in the dialogue, I'm made aware of the log in my own eye and the need to deal with it.
David Patterson
Richard's writing is always interesting and provokes me to think of my Christian response to the issues of life. I've always thought that that was what Jesus was saying when he said "I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly."

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