Dr Catherine Lennon, Doctors for the Family – NSW Hansard

NSW ParliamentFollowing is the Hansard report on Cate Faehrmann MLC’s comments in the NSW Parliament about the actions of Dr Catherine Lennon, devout Catholic, NSW President of Doctors for the Family,  founder and board member of Matercare Australia and opponent of Ms Faehrmann’s Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill. That Bill is being debated, today (23 May 2013) in the NSW Parliament.

In Parliament yesterday, Ms Faehrmann quoted extensively from my blog post on Dr Lennon. I hope my readers and fellow bloggers will be heartened by the fact that we ‘citizen journalists’ can bring such issues to light and that we can have an impact if we speak out.

The mainstream media does not have to control the public debate.

But, if we ‘citizen journalists’ are to claim our power to expose and influence, we must not become the monster we are fighting. We must enter any campaign with an absolute commitment to honesty and ethics – even when this restriction may make it more difficult to achieve our aims.

I live by the maxim, attributed to Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. It guides everything I do.

Ironically, Dr Lennon probably feels the same way.

But, in fighting against that which, she believes is ‘evil’, Dr Lennon has crossed the line. The end does not justify the means if the means are deceptive, dishonest, misleading and designed to misrepresent the truth. This is not only a sin against God (should you believe in him), it is a sin against mankind. This is not the way to argue or to win your case and I will never stoop to that level.

I hope to see Dr Lennon do the decent thing and step down from her position as president for Doctors of the Family NSW and from her board position on Matercare NSW.  She has done neither of them proud.

Hansard – New South Wales Legislative Council, 22 May 2013

EUTHANASIA PARLIAMENTARY BRIEFING

The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN [10.15 p.m.]: I draw to the attention of the House the behaviour of Dr Catherine Lennon, who attended a briefing that I held for members on my Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill a few weeks ago. I will quote Chrys Stevenson and her wordpress blog called “That’s my philosophy” at length. At that meeting a person identified herself as the adviser to the member for Castle Hill, Dominic Perrottet. It turned out that this person was Dr Catherine Lennon, a Catholic pro-life activist and president of the quasi-religious lobby group Doctors for the Family. Dr Lennon is not a member of Mr Perrottet’s staff, as she indicated; she is his sister-in-law. However, she had not been invited in her own right nor had she been invited to attend the private briefing, although that is how she identified herself.

After she left the briefing, Dr Lennon made two telephone calls to the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine to complain that Dr David Leaf had made a statement to the effect that all emergency specialists are trained in euthanasia. That statement is disgraceful and untrue. Mr Perrottet has been adamant in his conversations with a number of people, including me, that Dr Lennon was not a member of his staff and that he had not asked her to attend the briefing on his behalf, nor did she have his permission to represent herself as his proxy.

In her email to members of Parliament several days afterwards, Dr Lennon capitalised on the credibility inherent in her professional standing as a doctor but curiously failed to disclose her other interests. Nowhere in that email did Dr Lennon mention her position as president of Doctors for the Family, nor did she admit to being a founder and a board member, along with her husband, Richard, of Matercare Australia—a non-profit Catholic organisation that specifically enjoins medical professionals to act as prophetic witnesses “by reflecting on the teaching and practice of contemporary maternal health care in the light of the Gospel and its values most recently presented in the Encyclical, Evangelium Vitae.”

In short, in writing to New South Wales members of Parliament, Dr Lennon fails to disclose an important vested interest. It is clear that in all things medical Dr Lennon answers primarily to the doctrines of the Catholic Church and the teachings of the Pope. One wonders whether she discloses that to her patients. In her email Dr Lennon misuses the term “involuntary euthanasia”—which is always illegal; what she means is “non-voluntary euthanasia. Euthanasia without explicit request—non-voluntary euthanasia—is not ideal, but unbiased studies recognise that it is sometimes unavoidable if the best interests of the patient are to be served. A doctor or an academic well versed in the literature on voluntary euthanasia would not make this basic error. It is the strategy of a propagandist to use an emotive term that is easily misunderstood by those not familiar with the terminology.

Dr Lennon complains that during the parliamentary briefing neither Dr Leaf nor Dr Ryan “gave any factual evidence, medical references or accurate statistics”. It is rather difficult to provide bibliographic references in a short presentation, but Dr Leaf’s 2012 article on the safety of voluntary euthanasia legislation around the world, published in the British Medical Journal, provides a number of informative references on this subject. Conversely, email lends itself perfectly to hyperlinks and bibliographic references, yet Dr Lennon’s email provides no usable links or academic sources to help members of Parliament check the validity of her claims.

For example, Dr Lennon alleges that, according to the Journal of Geriatric Internal Medicine in February 2008, “most doctor assisted suicides in Oregon were not requested due to physical pain but most were due to ‘existential’ suffering and some patients were physically healthy”. The statement is technically true, but by omitting the context of this factoid Dr Lennon cleverly gives the false impression that otherwise healthy patients in Oregon are being euthanised simply because they are depressed. That is categorically untrue and a scandalous misinterpretation of the data.

The question of course, which Dr Lennon neatly evades, is not who asks for voluntary euthanasia but who receives it. It is true that 93.5 per cent of patients who take advantage of Oregon’s death with dignity legislation say they are less concerned about physical pain and more concerned about loss of autonomy. Some 92.2 per cent cite the decreasing ability to participate in the activities that made life enjoyable and 77.9 per cent say that they are concerned about loss of dignity. However, under Oregon law a patient may request a prescription for lethal medication on the basis of their “existential suffering” until the cows come home, but unless they are terminally ill, mentally competent and have less than six months to live there is not a doctor in Oregon who can legally oblige. It is strange that Dr Lennon did not think it was important to make that clarification in her email to members of Parliament.

Dr Lennon also accuses Dr Leaf of failing “to acknowledge that most patients asking for lethal injections or other forms of assisted suicide actually have depression which affects their cognition and usually responds well to treatment and support”. The kindest interpretation of the many howlers in Dr Lennon’s email to members is that she has cut and pasted propaganda from pro-life bloggers such as Alex Schadenberg and Paul Russell, who was formerly the senior officer of the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide’s Office of Family and Life, but she has not bothered to go back to the source documents. That is unforgiveable for someone who is academically trained.

——————

A quotation which sent to me during the last couple of days suggests that, even according to her fellow-Catholics, Dr Lennon has let the team down badly.

The following quote is from Father Frank Brennan SJ’s address ‘Re-imagining the Mission — A Pilgrimage of Faith’, presented at the Catholic Education Sandhurst Conference: A Pilgrimage of Faith, presented 24 May 2012 at Catholic College Bendigo.

“If we as the People of God rejoicing in the name ‘Catholic’ are to bring the modern world into contact with the vivifying and perennial energies of the gospel, we need to ensure that our Church is an exemplar of the noblest values espoused by people of all faiths and none.We need to recommit ourselves to charity, justice and truth both within our own structures when dealing with each other, and in all our dealings with those outside the membership of our Church, especially those who differ with us conscientiously about the moral challenges of the Age.”

Chrys Stevenson

32 thoughts on “Dr Catherine Lennon, Doctors for the Family – NSW Hansard

  1. eva

    Admirable Chrys. You see so much dishonesty in the name of God all over the world. “Thou shalt not bear false witness” covers spin, obfuscation, half-truth, misrepresentations and all such in my opinion, not just outright lies. Do they think we can’t see through them?

    Reply
  2. johnL

    Hi Chrys,

    I’ve just joined your ‘fraternity’ and read several of your blog commentaries, about which I agree, being a genuine atheist.

    I give you several comments in return….. I am looking forward to talking with you soon, which will probably happen at some upcoming functions. We exchanged some emails recently.

    I suggest that you are a truly ‘intellectual atheist’, up there with Dawkins, Bert Russell, etc. Your research on euthanasia is impressive.

    When we meet, however, I want to chat about HOW we mere atheist dumb bums can tackle the believers more effectively. I believe that has to be done at a more simplistic intellectual level. The Sunday Assembly is a move in the right direction.

    Bottom line is, I suggest, that there is a part in the heart and mind of almost everyone that is a ‘god-shape’. They want to put ‘something’ in there. Otherwise why do so many still believe in…ghosts, good and bad spirits, telling the future with astrology, halloween, etc, etc…all signs of a lack of reason. So……I would really enjoy a discussion on how we can ‘move people’ to believe in fact, and not fiction. I call it ‘humanism’, not ‘atheism’. But a ‘popular movement’, not so much intellectual.

    I hope to meet soon…… Cheers, John Lake

    Reply
    1. Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear: Assorted Rants on Religion, Science, Politics and Philosophy from a bear of very little brain Post author

      Well, as you know, John, I support you and Kathy in your efforts to found a Sunday Assembly here in Queensland, even though it’s not really my ‘cup of tea’. If the Sunday Assembly can find a way to advance truth and reason and secularism, I’ll give them all the support I can.

      How do we best advance these causes?

      I believe we’re already doing it.

      1. Through better education – people who are better educated are far less likely to be taken in by supernatural nonsense and more likely to be able to weigh up the credibility of evidence.

      2. Through backing policies and secular foreign aid that legitimately lead to better living conditions in developing nations. Supernatural beliefs thrive in poverty-stricken areas and are far less prevalent in wealthy nations – the US being an exception, of course, for various reasons.

      3. Through better media and training of journalists. We need an unbiased, independent media and journalists must be trained to competently assess evidence. The practice of giving ‘both sides’ of an argument equal weight, when one side of the argument is demonstrably bullshit must cease. The media has failed to properly serve the market and is now suffering financially as a result. Newspapers in particular are losing readers in droves to the internet.

      4. Citizen journalism – bloggers like myself have to realise that we have the power to tell the stories that the media aren’t telling. We have the power to expose the lies that are told in the media, in parliament and from the pulpit. But, in order for this to be effective, we have to hold ourselves to higher standards than the mainstream media and ‘out’ those who don’t.

      5. Critical thinking. We must push for critical thinking skills to be taught to all children, to journalists and in the first year of all university degrees. Rather than telling students *what* to think, we should teach them *how to think*. Religion should not fear this if it believes its claims will stand the tests of evidence and close scrutiny.

      6. Finally, the world has rarely been changed by one person or group. We change it incrementally, drop by drop, point by point. I see my role as helping to change the zeitgeist. Networking is the key. Independently, I’m just a fluffy blonde with a penchant for bling, sitting on top of a mountain, thumping out content. But when I create a network of like-minded readers, and they, in turn, spread my message to their networks; when members of these networks also choose to write about the issue I’ve raised and when politicians, decision-makers and public intellectuals start to take notice and spread the word to their networks, THEN, THEN we are able to reach thousands … tens of thousands …. maybe millions. If we our arguments are passionate, honest, entertaining and well-researched then we have the power to change the zeitgeist. It’s hard work, but damn it’s worth doing!

      PS: Thanks for the flattering comparison with Dawkins, Russell et al. I can only boast that I can do bling better than any of ’em.😛

      Reply
    2. Peter Bartley

      I agree with what you generally say. What I might raise us the “a god shape” point. I don’t believe this to be the case. The god idea works like crutch, a cruch for an injury that occurs due to the use of the crutch. Once you have a crutch to lean on you have trouble walking without it and then find support (comfort) using it. Religion is a learned injury, not a natural part of humans.

      Reply
  3. Christine Says Hi

    It seems ‘citizen journalists’ such as yourself are reclaiming the important business of information collection and sharing from a ‘media’ which has become so concerned with business models and political influence that it has forgotten how limited both become when ‘consumer trust’ is lost. Well done.

    Reply
  4. Sarah Liddle

    Hi Catherine

    I was at Notre Dame yesterday and heard your speech . I emailed the address to register for Thursday at the Parliament house but bounces back. Can I just show up?

    Thank you for a very inspiring talk by the way, I went to the Mindd conference on the weekend and was talking to a doctor there who spoke about the state of doctors and the education they are taught. I feel there is much room to help.

    Thank you again Sarah Liddle

    Reply
  5. Jayel

    Excellent result! Congratulations. May her highly inappropriate behaviour be always remembered.

    Reply
  6. Phil Browne

    Yes it’s satisfying Chry when we speak out and people at high levels take note of what we say. The other alternative (which sadly 99% of people take) is to sit on our arses, do nothing and then nothing is achieved.

    All too often people think they are powerless or it’s all to difficult – this is NOT true!!

    There are a number of saying that guide my actions. One of them is the one you quoted:
    “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”.

    Another that resounds with me, and motivates me to speak out continually is:
    “I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realised I was somebody”: by Lily Tomlin.

    To all your readers Chrys who have not taken any form of action on issues they value, I say this – we are all somebody – and we are all capable of taking action when we see an injustice🙂

    Reply
  7. Annabelle Lawson

    Hello Dr. Lennon,
    Just wanted to say congratulations on defeating the bill, thanks for all the work you’ve done for everyone at Parliament and those without a voice. A little birdie told me you had six kids, is this true? Anyway, I’m an Athiest with pro-life beliefs, weird I know, but I was wondering if you could give me some details on the voluntary pregnancy help counselling. I was really touched by the talk you gave at Sydney Uni, I had no idea of the sexism occurring on China, You are one of a kind feminist. Please contact me. All the best
    Annabelle Lawson
    p.s do you have fb or twitter?

    Reply
  8. BRYAN MILNER

    Hi Chrys, don’t know whether you picked up the latest Catholic twaddle from Pearson on the calamitous fate of same sex partnership reared children. Quotes extensively from a Professor Mark Regnerus. Internet search reveals the deficiencies, distortions and bias in his study. Bryan Milner Peregian springs

    Reply
  9. Pingback: Judy Wilyman: immune to vaccination facts | Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear

  10. Paul

    Chrys, I wonder it Catherine Lennon is misrepresenting herself as Doctor. Technically only those awarded a PhD are authorised to use that title. Medical Practitioners and Dental Sugeons have appropriated the title and even Chiropractors And Osteopaths have tried. (I am a retired Chiropactor and would like it noted that 1. I was never in favour of Chiropractors appropriating the title. 2. It is only a few ‘fringe’ extremist vitalistic chiropractors who are anti-vax and that the CAA has made pro-vax statements and press releases.)
    Catherine Lennon was a Medical Practitioner but I am pretty sure that I heard her admit that she has let her registration lapse. If she had a PhD I am sure she would be crowing about that. So I am not prepared to afford her the title ‘Doctor’ which actually means Teacher and she is acting in a manner opposite to that expected of a Teacher. As a scientist (B.Sc) I am in favour of ‘evidence informed’ practice/ therapy and the evidence comes down overwhelmingly in favour of most of our vaccination programmes. To be an activist against vaccination is irresponsible at best.
    Paul Nudd BSc, M.Chiropractic (Macquarie)

    Reply
    1. Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear: Assorted Rants on Religion, Science, Politics and Philosophy from a bear of very little brain Post author

      Paul, I thought it was unfair to have that kind of allegation hanging (although you were right to raise the question). To be fair to Doctor Lennon I checked her registration and she is indeed a registered doctor in good standing.

      http://www.ahpra.gov.au/Registration/Registers-of-Practitioners.aspx?q=MED0001158873&t=fjkB7864D8uFhEO0ynhX

      Reply
  11. Lindsay Pall

    I haven’t read your blog before.

    It is obvious that you have a clear and considered methodology to present your views. Yet it reminds me of a recent analysis of the economist Keynes: ‘the world’s first international celebrity economist, Keynes had an effortless facility with words that might have made him a master diplomat. Yet he was frequently less concerned with converting opponents than with cornering them logically and humiliating them.’

    The blog replies throughout this site are a series of applauses to your wit and ‘irrefutable logic’.

    And now on this site I see a follower suggesting an atheistic alternative to the church or mosque or synagogue. Please, save us! An argument could be made that atheism requires religion to maintain its rage. Without pre-modernist faith it has nothing to rage against. Always reactionary, it has nothing of itself to say.

    When democratic societies decide to support gay marriage and euthanasia and end all talk of theism in schools will you celebrate because Reason has triumphed, or because religious people have been vanquished? Is this a response that creates the type of society we want?

    Christianity and Islam have syncretised with jingoism in their histories- will atheism as well? Or is conquest your actual aim?

    The reason I think this website has questionable value is because it has no recognition of the flaws in the philosophy it supports. Cold Reason accompanied Stalin and Mao. Empiricism alone does not create Utopia. Rather than endless pats on he back for winning against those wretched religionists, can there be a moment of quiet reflection on the weaknesses and inadequacies of Naturalistic philosophy? It is not universally acknowledged that Naturalism equals Truth. Or are you a dogmatist as well?

    I think Keynes’ story has some is wisdom in it. He was a great economist, but his legacy now is quite ambiguous. For all of his great insight and intelligence, the actions of Keynes after World War 2 have been proven to be terribly flawed. It is almost certain that in fifty years time the certainty of these posts will seem misplaced and only partially informed. Your children’s children might be religious.

    It really puzzles me why some atheists loathe people they think are useless. Blog sites like this consistently ‘play the man’ as well as the ball.

    Why not just make the argument in a positive and respectful way?

    Lindsay Pall

    Reply
    1. Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear: Assorted Rants on Religion, Science, Politics and Philosophy from a bear of very little brain Post author

      I haven’t read your blog before.

      Where have you been?😉

      [Keynes] was frequently less concerned with converting opponents than with cornering them logically and humiliating them.

      Like Keynes, I am not concerned with converting opponents either. I just want their religious dogma kept out of public policy. I don’t care what you believe in. I DO care when what you believe in negatively impacts on me, my friends and my family.

      I didn’t humiliate Dr Catherine Lennon. She humiliated herself when she walked into a parliamentary briefing to which she wasn’t invited and lied about who she was.

      The blog replies throughout this site are a series of applauses to your wit and ‘irrefutable logic’.

      It’s always nice to have an adoring public who are happy to ignore your faults, as my fellow atheists Stalin and Mao will attest. OK. Joking.

      And now on this site I see a follower suggesting an atheistic alternative to the church or mosque or synagogue.

      You’ll be pleased to hear I have recently sent that particular person packing with a flea in his ear for sins committed elsewhere.

      Personally, I don’t really understand why some atheists think it’s a good idea to set up atheist churches. But, hey, no skin off my nose if that’s what makes them happy.

      I have no more interest in opposing atheists from meeting on a Sunday than I have in opposing Catholics, Anglicans or even Pentecostals getting together for a bit of a rant and a sing. It’s none of my business – just don’t expect me to get out of bed and join any of them.

      When democratic societies decide to support gay marriage and euthanasia and end all talk of theism in schools will you celebrate because Reason has triumphed, or because religious people have been vanquished?

      I have no aspirations to ‘vanquish’ religious people. My only aim is to stop a minority of religious zealots from imposing their dogmatic, fundamentalist beliefs on me and my family through political policy. I

      I take particular offence when fundamentalist zealots like Dr Catherine Lennon think it’s acceptable to claim the moral high ground and tell bald-faced lies in order to achieve their aim for a more ‘Godly’ society! I never did digest hypocrisy very well. The dishonesty of religious campaigners in the anti-evolution, anti-euthanasia, anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage/gay parenting debates astounds even me. These people don’t just obfuscate the truth, they just make shit up!

      I have never advocated ending all talk of theism in schools. I actually support more talk about theism in schools. Religion should be widely discussed in art, history and English classes. The role of Islam in founding the modern pursuit of science and mathematics should also be more widely known. No child should graduate from high school without a basic knowledge of the central tenets of the world’s major religions.

      I have no objection whatsoever to theism being discussed within an academic environment. What I object to is clumsy attempts to indoctrinate children into a narrow, fundamentalist understanding of one particular religion in schools which are funded and utilised by tax payers of many religions and none.

      Or is conquest your actual aim?

      I’m a fat, fifty-five year old, blonde sitting on top of a mountain with no ammunition other than an old Dell computer. I think ‘conquest’ may be a little beyond my capabilities.

      The reason I think this website has questionable value is because it has no recognition of the flaws in the philosophy it supports.

      Quick, fetch the smelling salts, you may need them. It may shock you to the core, but your opinion of this blog concerns me less than the results of last week’s State of Origin. Fortunately, for me, the National Library of Australia doesn’t share your view. As part of their Pandora project, they archive this blog because it is deemed to be of ‘national significance’. Can’t see it myself, but if I have to choose between your opinion and the National Library’s, I’m opting for theirs.

      Stalin and Mao.

      Sigh. You had to go there, didn’t you? Stalin and Mao rejected theistic religion only insofar as they installed themselves as political gods and encouraged the same kind of unthinking acceptance of their dogmas as the religions they displaced. Stalin, of course, was well schooled in the arts of power-mongering and propaganda – he trained as a Catholic priest.

      If you wish to be honest about how a truly secular society might look today, you might want to look at countries like Sweden and Switzerland which have secular governments and very low rates of religious belief. They’re not exactly Stalinist Russia or Maoist China.

      Surprised you didn’t mention Hitler too …

      Empiricism alone does not create Utopia.

      I’ve studied the history of Utopian thought. Utopia doesn’t exist, never has existed and never will. Humans are humans. Christian, Muslim, or atheist, they are prone to being block-headed, ornery, selfish, jealous, tribal, foolish, self-serving and greedy.

      I don’t seek or hope for Utopia. I do, however, trust that eventually, the worst excesses of religion will be curtailed by secular governments. And by secular I don’t mean ‘atheistic’. You may recall that secularism was conceived to protect religious groups and denominations from each other, not to appease us atheists.

      Or are you a dogmatist as well?

      I am a dog lover. A dogmatist? Not so much. I’ll leave that to you theists.

      It is almost certain that in fifty years time the certainty of these posts will seem misplaced and only partially informed. Your children’s children might be religious.

      As I have no children, it’s most unlikely their children will be religious. In fact, it would be a miracle.

      Seriously, if I read this blog in 50 years time when I am 105 and agree with everything I’ve written, I will be most disappointed. I can only imagine how some of the things I might have written at 25 would make me cringe with embarrassment today. I can only be thankful my youthful writing preceded the internet.

      At 55 I am much better educated, much better read and far more experienced than I was in my 20s. I hope that, by my 90s, I will be a great deal more knowledgeable and wiser than I am now. And, you know what? That comes from being open to change. It comes from being prepared to admit it when you’re wrong. It comes from being committed to learning – even when what you find out challenges your preconceived views. It comes from learning to listen to people who know what they are talking about and sometimes, maybe even often, changing your mind.

      What, I hope I will remember in 50 years time as I read this blog is:

      * I was honest – I never, ever lied in order to score a cheap point or win an argument.
      * I did not treat research lightly – I spent hours researching, reading and understanding academic literature before venturing to write about it. And, if I was unsure if I understood it correctly, I quizzed experts in the field, or even emailed the authors of the research to be sure I was representing their studies accurately. I took great care not to pollute the internet with false information and propaganda.
      * I fought for the underdog, for the oppressed, and for those who faced prejudice, hatred and injustice.
      * I outed liars, bigots and phonies – particularly dangerous ones – without fear or favour, but I checked my facts first.
      * I picked my targets carefully. I targeted public players, not private citizens.
      * And I did the best I could with what I knew at the time.

      It really puzzles me why some atheists loathe people they think are useless.

      I loathe very few people. Some members of my family are fundamentalist Christians – I think they are mistaken in their views, but I don’t think they are useless.

      Blog sites like this consistently ‘play the man’ as well as the ball.

      Dr Catherine Lennon only reached my radar because she walked into a private parliamentary briefing and lied about who she was. I think, in doing that, one rather forfeits one’s right not to be named and shamed. This blog targets only public advocates, not private citizens. I attack people for what they do, not for who they are, and I provide evidence to support my claims.
      If I were to say, “Dr Lennon is a Christian therefore she must be lying”, I would be ‘playing the man’. If, however, I claim that Dr Lennon has been loose with the truth and provide evidence to support that claim, I would suggest I am playing ball.

      Why not just make the argument in a positive and respectful way?

      Let me ask you, what is positive and respectful in Christian propagandists lying, misrepresenting academic data, quoting data out of context in order to mislead the public, making up stories out of whole cloth, writing pseudo-academic articles in which 90 per cent of the ‘footnotes’ are bogus and generally muddying the waters – not to mention the internet – with so much shit that it’s hard for anyone to see the truth?

      What is positive and respectful about fundamentalist Christians who wish to impose their narrow religious views on me and my family through legislation?

      What is positive and respectful about Christians condemning a young, terminally ill woman to continue living, against her wishes, while she vomits up her own faeces – because the early end to her suffering she so desperately craves offends their religious sensibilities?

      I submit that this blog, which is honest, well-researched, and based on the very best unbiased, peer reviewed scholarship I can possibly source is a damned site more positive and respectful than any of the theistic, supernatural or ‘alternative’ claptrap I target.

      I have paid you the respect of sitting up way past midnight to answer your questions. I doubt it will be appreciated.

      Reply
      1. Dan

        Personally, I don’t really understand why some atheists think it’s a good idea to set up atheist churches. But, hey, no skin off my nose if that’s what makes them happy.”

        I will remember this remark when the glorious Sunday Assembly shows up in your area and everyone is talking about how much fun they had and how much they learned, not to mention the wonderful company shared 😉

      2. Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear: Assorted Rants on Religion, Science, Politics and Philosophy from a bear of very little brain Post author

        Dan, I get enjoyment, education and a sense of supportive community out of our monthly local atheist meet ups. I see no reason to mimic church to achieve those aims. But I’m not going to stand in the way of those who think differently. In fact, I have offered my support and the benefit of my network to someone who is trying to start one here.

      3. mcdactor

        Three points out of Chrys’s reply:
        Re atheist “churches”. I really do think that is a ludicrous proposition and I agree with both Chrys and her antagonist. Sure, set up an Atheist Defence League, which is really one of the things atheist organisations, loose and formal, are about, especially in those societies such as those states in the USA that have passed anti-democratic, anti-freedom-of-belief legislation disciminating against atheists with all the satanic hatred they can muster.

        I love the litany of moral points that guide your writing, Chrys. Just another example that the religions don’t have a monopoly on morality. If anything, their oligopolic tendencies indicate a distinct immorality in that anything goes in protecting the interests of the churches – just look at Pell’s revealed dishonesty towards people who challenged him with the church’s own canon law.

        Finally you have been challenged as being negative and disrespectful. What the religions and their defenders cannot abide is robustness, especially where the premises of that robustness are based on empirical data and information. It is the religions, which have in other times encouraged scientific discovery, that in our times have built the divide between between science and, at their worst, the anti-science of the creationists and the biblical and quoranic fundamentalists, between what is known and what is believed despite the evidence, between acknowledging diversity of belief and imposing belief, and between those who espouse democracy and freedom of speech but would impose religion and those who live by those principles.

        Jim McDonald

    2. Dan

      “An argument could be made that atheism requires religion to maintain its rage. Without pre-modernist faith it has nothing to rage against. Always reactionary, it has nothing of itself to say.”

      What does rage have to do with no accepting a god claim? In all my years of careful consideration and soul searching the feeling or rage has never once occurred to me. You are also correct, Atheism indeed has nothing to say, is this a surprise to you? Atheism is simply a response to anothers claim and nothing more. However my Humanism has a LOT to say about fairness and inclusiveness and values and love and basically anything that encompasses the human experience. And finally its true, if there was no people making claims about supernatural beings then there would be no Atheists. You seem confused by the definition and what it is and is not. And how about being a bit more respectful yourself and be sure you are not making straw men to make your rather pointless, big worded (and smarmy which is quite ironic) arguments i mention above.

      Reply
  12. Pingback: Dr Catherine Lennon, Doctors for the Family – NSW Hansard | Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear | Colin's Folly

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