The Catholic guide for voters

August 12th, 2008 at 7:20 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports on a guide put out by the Catholic Church for the 2008 election. They don’t endorse a party or candidates,but do have a checklist of issues people should ask about and take into account.

I’ve managed to locate a full copy of the guide. Here are some of their statements, and my scores:

Every abortion involves taking one person’s life for another person’s reasons.

0 for DPF.

The Church supports stem cell research using adult stem cells or umbilical cord blood, but not creating embryos for the purposes of research and other people’s medication and then discarding them.

And another 0. Very strongly in favour of embryo stem cell research. Their potential is incredible.

Those who support euthanasia and assisted suicide sometimes seek our support by claiming they are acts of mercy.  The Church in contrast sees this as an abandonment of people who most need our care and protection, particularly when they themselves are concerned not to be a burden to others.

And a hat trick of zeros.

Some employment policies and practices affect family life.  For example, families can be deprived of adequate time together, workers may have experienced a reduction in job security and real wages, and children and young people may not be sufficiently protected.

Another zero for me as they rail against liberalising shop trading hours.

Psychologists point out that a father’s love and a mother’s love are different and that each contributes differently to a child’s development.  The Church continues to recognise and respect the need for a child to receive both kinds of love.

This leads into their opposition to same sex marriage and adoption. And yet more zeroes for me.

Ten years ago the Churches joined together in the Hikoi of Hope to ask the government to give more weight to the impact of the economy on people’s lives in the areas of employment, poverty, housing, health and education.  New Zealand now has the lowest unemployment figures in the OECD, but this has not been reflected in improved living standards for the poorest New Zealanders, and inequality continues to grow.  Our Catholic social tradition recognises that the effect on the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community is the measure of our public policies.

And another zero as the words Hikoi of Hope wants to make me vomit. They show no understanding of a country’s need to create the wealth, to be able to share it. Instead they just advocate for higher taxes and higher benefits.

A truly humane society would ensure that people have times of stillness to see more deeply into life; times of quiet to hear from the heart; time for wonder, beauty and thanksgiving – and other things the Treasury cannot count. These are dimensions of life and of being truly human that are squeezed out when the market forces which should be in our service, somehow become our master.

And now they blame poor old Treasury for the fact some people work hard. Yet another zero.

Their other sections are on asylym seekers, international aid, cultural diversity crime and environmental justice. I’m going to save time and give myself a zero for all of them.

The Catholic Church has that rare ability to advocate for almost everything I disagree with. On most social issues they are reactionary and conservative while on economic issues they are to the left of the Alliance. They are equally hostile to social freedoms as they are to economic freedom. My views on the churches can get very passionate because of that.

This must be why when I was entered the church in England where Shakespeare is buried, that my friends expressed surprise that my feet did not catch fire :-)

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89 Responses to “The Catholic guide for voters”

  1. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    This is the catholic church, the same ones who have so much street cred on caring for the weakest and most vulnerable – by abusing them and threatening them with eternal damnation if the tell.

    Credibility = zero.

    A bronze age superstition used to control the weak.

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  2. goodgod (1,348 comments) says:

    Good on the catholic church for working around the EFA, where no other political party has been able to do so. The questions posed in bullet points under each of the statements you rate here, that are on the original document, are good questions to start a population thinking about policy – any policy. Even if those questions, as in this case, are biased a little. That gets a 10/10 from me – for effort.

    Are you really afraid of the catholics/church that much DPF? They pose no threat to National’s victory. John Key demonstrated his abhorence of PCness yesterday with a special mention in his speech on benefit changes. Yet he deliberately dissolved the anti-PC dept. of National after the Brash era claiming it was unnecessary. You have more to fear from a man who is going to be the next PM of NZ than the Catholic church. They’ve been waffling about the unobtainable for centuries. John Key and his party can change laws after November. Will your feet burst into flames at the next National Party conference?

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  3. ben (2,379 comments) says:

    Agree completely.

    As expat notes, it is hard to imagine an organisation that is less qualified to offer advice on morality. Given their history, one would think the Catholic Church saying things like, “[abortion] involves taking one person’s life for another person’s reasons” amounts to them supporting abortion!

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  4. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    The parents of the children of the country are worried about the catholic church.

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  5. Scott (1,800 comments) says:

    Thank you for your very honest responses David. Sadly I find myself in disagreement with you on most of these issues. Here is why —

    “Every abortion involves taking one person’s life for another person’s reasons.”

    That is quite true. Who cannot be concerned about 17,000 abortions performed last year in New Zealand? The concern for human life, including the most vulnerable unborn children, is commendable.

    “The Church supports stem cell research using adult stem cells or umbilical cord blood, but not creating embryos for the purposes of research and other people’s medication and then discarding them. ”

    This whole area gets quite creepy in my opinion. Sometimes it seems that scientists want to play God — creating life and destroying life. The church’s caution on this issue I believe to be well founded.

    “Those who support euthanasia and assisted suicide sometimes seek our support by claiming they are acts of mercy. The Church in contrast sees this as an abandonment of people who most need our care and protection, particularly when they themselves are concerned not to be a burden to others.”

    Euthanasia opens a whole Pandora’s box. Once we establish a right to die for the terminally ill, then it is only a matter of time before it is extended to others. What about the teenager who is depressed and wants to die? In the Netherlands old people will not go to hospital because they are afraid the doctors will euthanise them. It is a very small step from taking a life with the person’s consent to taking a life when the person might have consented to taking a life when there is no consent at all. In the Netherlands people are routinely euthanised without their consent.
    Once again our desire to play God is revealed in my opinion.

    “Some employment policies and practices affect family life. For example, families can be deprived of adequate time together, workers may have experienced a reduction in job security and real wages, and children and young people may not be sufficiently protected. ”

    The above statement is completely true. Families are deprived of time together because people are always working. At the very least the desire to protect children and young people is commendable.

    “Psychologists point out that a father’s love and a mother’s love are different and that each contributes differently to a child’s development. The Church continues to recognise and respect the need for a child to receive both kinds of love.”

    Again surely a self evident statement. Mothers and fathers do contribute differently to a child’s development.

    ” Ten years ago the Churches joined together in the Hikoi of Hope to ask the government to give more weight to the impact of the economy on people’s lives in the areas of employment, poverty, housing, health and education. New Zealand now has the lowest unemployment figures in the OECD, but this has not been reflected in improved living standards for the poorest New Zealanders, and inequality continues to grow. Our Catholic social tradition recognises that the effect on the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community is the measure of our public policies.”

    Again at least the Catholic Church cares about the poor. Their solutions may or may not be workable, but at least they should be given credit for caring.

    “A truly humane society would ensure that people have times of stillness to see more deeply into life; times of quiet to hear from the heart; time for wonder, beauty and thanksgiving – and other things the Treasury cannot count. These are dimensions of life and of being truly human that are squeezed out when the market forces which should be in our service, somehow become our master.”

    Who can disagree with this? Some people do work too much and there are dimensions of life that are not to do with market forces.

    The church seeks to love God and to love our neighbour. This is based on the Christian principles handed down to us by Christ himself. We would do well to study them and not to dismiss them as David has done.

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  6. NZD.JPY (130 comments) says:

    wait a minute ben what? who cares about moral qualifications. would it bother you if galileo had the character of winston peters? he may well have had but he was still right that the burden of proof is on those who believe without reason. man i hope this thread doesn’t turn into a lazy catholic bashing rant. (…having said that i think the pope is the antichrist – just had to get that off my chest because some priests are bad).

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  7. Hagues (703 comments) says:

    “Psychologists point out that a father’s love and a mother’s love are different and that each contributes differently to a child’s development. The Church continues to recognise and respect the need for a child to receive both kinds of love.

    This leads into their opposition to same sex marriage and adoption. And yet more zeroes for me.”

    There is no opposition to adoption at all that statement was followed by…

    What political views on same sex couples conflict with this wisdom?
    What commitment do political candidates have to a child-centred approach to decisions that are sometimes framed by adult agendas?

    This is about making decisions based on the welfare of children. The Catholic Church would rather a baby be adopted out to a loving family with a mother and father (so they get both kinds of love) rather than murdered.

    Opposition to same sex marriages is to be expected from the Catholic Church (and any other decent Christian organisation) as it is clearly deemed to be an abomination and unnatural in the Bible.

    I certainly don’t agree with everything (a lot of things actually) taught by the Catholic Church. However they are right with regards to the value of life and the need to protect it.

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  8. Hoolian (220 comments) says:

    Phew, I was worried there for a moment. In the first moments I started reading, I was concerned that DPF might actually agree with the Catholic Church on something. That he hasn’t is not only inspirational, but heartening. As a young Catholic, I’m proud that the CC has made a stand on the sancitity of life and social morality. That it has caused a rift with DPF (who would never agree with the CC on anything to save himself – excuse the pun) is, to me, a good thing.

    The beautiful irony is that DPF’s opposition to the CC is based in its own stubbornness not to give in. DPF wants liberalism as the dominant form of morality and he expects everyone in NZ to agree with him. The CC readily and utterly rejects relativism (which DPF bases his whole sense of morality on) and it is no wonder that the two thoughts collide. It pleases me that it has caused such a stir with DPF. Perhaps he could learn something from that.

    DPF’s opposition to the CC is not in what it teaches, but that it refuses to give in, as he has, to the moral pressures of weak, liberal thought.

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  9. virtualmark (1,523 comments) says:

    DPF, I can understand why you, or anyone else, might adopt a different set of values and mores to the Catholic Church. But surely they have every right to put their position forward and to try to communicate their principles to their “devout”.

    I can well understand why you personally give them zeroes for their policy viewpoint. But your post seemed to veer closely to that churlishness we see so often from the Labour Party … let’s all advocate tolerance … except for those people we despise.

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  10. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Is saying ‘their ideas are rubbish’ intolerance?

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  11. Scribe (80 comments) says:

    On most social issues they are reactionary and conservative

    To call the Catholic Church “reactionary” on social issues is quite frankly absurd. People might disagree with the Church, but holding the line on issues like contraception, marriage, abortion etc, while many other religions cave to society’s whims, is certainly not reactionary.

    Conservative? Well, guilty on that score.

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  12. JC (955 comments) says:

    Scott, Hagues and others.. I agree with much of your support of the Catholic Church. However, I won’t forgive that Hikoi of Hope and the aftermath. Once the Govt changed, the beneficiaries were ignored by Labour to the point that Dyson had to admit recently that beneficiaries were worse off than after the 1991 budget.

    Yet in all this time, the CC said nothing and has only recently come out with criticisms.. why? Because it thinks there’s going to be a change in Govt and it’s trying to put the wood on National to fix up the crap left by Labour. It’s a blatantly partisan and hypocritical act of political opportunism in which it’s using the beneficiaries as it’s chess pieces.

    The attitude of the NZ CC has strayed from the principles of Rerum Novarum and other encyclicals on the responsibilities of labour and employers and of the dangers of Communism/Socialism.

    JC

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  13. GPT1 (2,121 comments) says:

    It is completely beyond me how you have not been struck down from above well before now. One can only assume that God has a sense of humour!

    It is frustrating the way in which Churches advocate “being nice” without any requirement for economic rigour.

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  14. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Well, I scored 3 out of 7 on the ones you quoted DPF. I support them on work-life balance, the objectives of the Hikoi of Hope, and on ensuring market forces should be in our service rather than our master.

    Of the ones you didn’t quote, I largely support them on asylum seekers, international aid, crime and punishment, cultural diversity, and environmental justice.

    That makes me two thirds of the way to being a good Catholic voter. Not bad for someone big bruv described on another thread as showing “naked hatred for people of Western religion“.

    As for you DPF, a big fat doughnut! How will big bruv now describe your attitude to Western religion, I wonder?

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  15. Scribe (80 comments) says:

    toad,

    That makes me two thirds of the way to being a good Catholic voter.

    That may well be further along than most Catholics.

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  16. bearhunter (853 comments) says:

    David, since the guidleines published applyb only to Catholics, your entire post seems pointless and not a little narcissistic. They didn’t do this just to piss you off you know, but because they think they still have a voice in the political life of the world.

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  17. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Thought about making a post, but when I saw the word Catholic, my blood started to boil.

    So I won’t be tempted.

    Going to have something to calm me down.

    And a lie down in a cold dark room!

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  18. pkiwi (111 comments) says:

    The catholic church knows all about taxing hard. That’s how they accumulated all that wealth!

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  19. Scribe (80 comments) says:

    pkiwi,

    Thanks for completing the hat-trick.

    The three stereotypical Catholic-bashing topics have now been raised: Paedophilia, anti-science and wealth. And it took just 20 comments to get there. Nice work.

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  20. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Interesting set of comments here. VirtualMark – I suspect you are sensitive about religion. DPF was quite clearly stating his personal viewpoint, and even noted that a few times just in case people couldn’t work it out. His blog, he’s entitled to point out why he doesn’t agree with the Catholic church.

    I find myself agreeing with DPF on most points. We’ve done the abortion debate to death on here before – the way the Church frame the debate is logically inconsistent.

    My disagreements with DPF are in two areas. Firstly, I think he reads a bit too much into the ulterior motives where the Church aren’t clear on what they mean (although I agree they are probably dog whistling). The suggestion that a family needs a mother and a father is a very unsubtle hint to supporters about the badness of same sex relationships and adoptions of children by same sex parents. I support those two things, and I think the church is wrong to somehow draw the conclusion that a family without both a mother and a father is somehow less – I would agree different, but not less. But I think DPF is probably overreacting to the hint in there.

    Secondly, the wording of their statement on embryo stem cell research isn’t quite as clear as DPF suggests. I would agree that creating embryos purely for research seems a bit wrong. But using embryos that are spare after fertility treatment I have less qualms about – so far as I can tell they otherwise go in the incinerator, so why argue? The church didn’t actually preclude use of spare embryos in their statement, DPF seems to have assumed they did.

    I did find it interesting that Toad comes down for freedom in social but not economic spheres, DPF comes down for freedom in both economic and social spheres, the church comes down against freedom in all spheres. All we need now is RedBaiter to turn up and complain about freedom in the social sphere, whilst ranting about the need for economic freedom, and we’ll have all four points on the political compass represented.

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  21. pkiwi (111 comments) says:

    Scribe – what about funny hats?

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  22. Scribe (80 comments) says:

    PaulL,

    We’ve done the abortion debate to death on here before – the way the Church frame the debate is logically inconsistent.

    How so?

    I think the church is wrong to somehow draw the conclusion that a family without both a mother and a father is somehow less – I would agree different, but not less.

    Well, basically all the research ever done on this topic does come to the conclusion that a family without both a mother and a father is somehow less. That’s not to say all single-parent families yield poor outcomes, but statistically speaking, they’re more likely to produce criminals, addicts, truants etc etc. That’s just the truth.

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  23. Scribe (80 comments) says:

    pkiwi,

    That’s a rarely employed Catholic-bashing technique ;-)

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  24. LabourMustBeLiquidated (290 comments) says:

    The Catholic Church is right. DPF’s liberalism is simply barbarianism masquerading as intellectualism. It cannot and will not last.

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  25. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    In reverse order Scribe.

    All research done on sole parent families comes to the conclusion that a family without both a mother and a father is somehow less? I don’t believe there have been authoritative studies done on families with two mothers or two fathers.

    I would agree that a family with only a single parent is at a disadvantage, it is harder to raise a child on your own, soething as simple as a bit of time out – tag team parenting – is just missing. And since all people are different, having two parents will give you some different perspectives and different learnings.

    I wouldn’t agree that a same sex family is at that same disadvantage. At bottom, I don’t agree that the differences between fathers and mothers are greater than the differences between father A and father B, or between mother A and mother B. That is to say, as a generalisation, it isn’t predictive of anything, because there are nearly as many caring touchy feely fathers as there are driven career minded mothers.

    On abortion, the Church teaches that contraception is wrong. That means that, to the Church, basically from the point you ejaculate a life has been created. This doesn’t make sense. I see conception as a continuum – from the point where you could have had sex and chose not to (maybe to avoid having a baby), through having sex and pulling out (sperm don’t get in there), to having sex but using a condom (sperm don’t escape), to having sex but being on the pill (sperm don’t impregnate), to having sex but using the morning after pill (fertilised egg doesn’t implant), to having sex but aborting in the first trimester (baby never develops a brain stem), to having sex and aborting in second trimester (baby is never autonomous), to having sex and aborting in third trimester (baby was viable, so you’re pretty close to killing), to having sex and killing the baby after birth (infanticide).

    My point is that where the Church is drawing the line on this continuum is illogical, and informed by superstition rather than logic. I rather like DPF’s logic that we assess death when brain function stops, so logically we should assess life when brain function starts. So first trimester abortions OK, second trimester not. Drawing the line at condom use just seems silly to me.

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  26. Fletch (6,386 comments) says:

    PaulL, The Church doesn’t say that from the point you ejaculate that life is created. The Church says that life is created when the sperm and egg join (the conditions being right in the womb to support this new life).
    If you’re seeing contraception as a continuum then any point that you terminate the life along this continuum is killing.
    I don’t see what is so confusing about that.

    When the sperm and egg join, the new person’s lifespan has begun. Any interference along that lifespan with the intent of stopping it is ending the life of that person – in ANY stage, whether the day after conception, or many months into a pregnancy. ie, if you destroy a tadpole, you’re destroying the frog it will become.

    If your mother had had an abortion at ANY stage in her pregnancy then you wouldn’t be here.

    To me, it is easy to understand.

    Exactly where is the Church drawing the line? It says that killing at any stage in wrong.

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  27. Fletch (6,386 comments) says:

    As far as the topic of stem cell research, the argument that embryos are going to be thrown out anyway and therefore are OK for research is specious. The Church is saying that there shouldn’t be spare embyros to be thrown out in the first place. It’s akin to the Nazi’s saying that these Jews are going to be gassed anyway, so we may as well experiment on them.

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  28. Scribe (80 comments) says:

    PaulL,

    To say you completely misunderstand the Church’s teaching on this issue, and have grossly misrepresented it here, would be a generous assessment.

    On abortion, the Church teaches that contraception is wrong. That means that, to the Church, basically from the point you ejaculate a life has been created.

    That’s completely absurd. You’ve watched one too many Monty Python movies. Life is created when sperm and egg unite to create an embryo. It’s quite simple, really. There is no “intervention” from that point on to turn that embryo into a foetus into a child. The Church’s stance is the only one that makes sense.

    [edit Fletch beat me to it. Well said.]

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  29. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    DPF: “The Catholic Church has that rare ability to advocate for almost everything I disagree with. On most social issues they are reactionary and conservative while on economic issues they are to the left of the Alliance.”

    Basically I think the Catholic church prefers poverty, because it enables control over their people. I can’t think of any other reason for their antagonism to wealth-creating market freedoms.

    The incredible thing here is that there really is no political party that a Catholic can vote for on these guidelines. I suspect that on balance, a majority of Catholics vote on the economic and social welfare issues, and vote Labour. Prior to the last election, there was a Catholic writing letters to the ODT complaining that certain bishops of the church in NZ were ignoring Pope John Paul’s edicts on voting for social-engineering pro-promiscuity governments, in favour of woolly suggestions about Labour being better for “social justice” and the like………

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  30. Fletch (6,386 comments) says:

    PhilBest, as a Catholic I can say for myself (and for other Catholics that I’ve talked to) that Labour is NOT who we want to vote for. They’ve put through too many things we disagree with strongly – legalizing prostitution, civil unions (gay marriage in disguise), making smacking illegal, the Electoral Finance Act, and most recently Ruth Dyson’s speech on how the Govt is heading toward supporting Polyamory, and probably many more things.

    I’ll probably be voting National; I’d like to vote for the Kiwi Party but I’m not sure whether that is throwing away my vote by voting for too small a party.

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  31. Reb (249 comments) says:

    That is quite true. Who cannot be concerned about 17,000 abortions performed last year in New Zealand? The concern for human life, including the most vulnerable unborn children, is commendable.

    Why? Arguably it is better for a child to not be born into this world than to be born into this world if they are likely to suffer a life of poverty. What right does a Creator have to force us to live a life we did not consent to taking on? The contrary to your arugment is that to save unborn children from having to come into existence is commendable.

    This whole area gets quite creepy in my opinion. Sometimes it seems that scientists want to play God — creating life and destroying life. The church’s caution on this issue I believe to be well founded.

    I’m sorry but how exactly are stem cells life? How is destroying them destroying life? Are you against medical experiments in China for people who want to be alleviated from cancer because those doctors are playing God in changing a condition that God allowed that person to get?

    Euthanasia opens a whole Pandora’s box. Once we establish a right to die for the terminally ill, then it is only a matter of time before it is extended to others. What about the teenager who is depressed and wants to die? In the Netherlands old people will not go to hospital because they are afraid the doctors will euthanise them. It is a very small step from taking a life with the person’s consent to taking a life when the person might have consented to taking a life when there is no consent at all. In the Netherlands people are routinely euthanised without their consent. Once again our desire to play God is revealed in my opinion.

    What about the teenager who is depressed and wants to die? What’s your point? He or she does have that right – it is not a crime to commit suicide in NZ. Regarding the Netherlands – on the flip side eldery people in NZ try to kill themselves rather than seek medical treatment because they’re afraid the doctors will make them continue in their pain. If the problem is trying to establish consent then the solution is to determine it well. Your argument is the equivalent of saying we ought to outlaw sex because in rare cases it will be difficult to establish consent and result in rape. And what exactly do you have against someone wanting to ‘play’ God? Believe it or not not everyone believes in God so to ‘play’ something you don’t believe in makes absolutely no sense. I could say you’re playing intellectual retardation because you believe in God. That in itself is not an argument. Just because you say someone wants to play God does not automatically mean that you have made a substantial debating point, you have merely stated your own personal observation.

    The above statement is completely true. Families are deprived of time together because people are always working. At the very least the desire to protect children and young people is commendable.

    If you couldn’t sort out your family work balance then it’s not the employer’s fault for running a business. Why should the employer have to suffer costs because someone else wasn’t better organised? An employer starts up a business for the purpose of profit (whether to spend on feeding their own children or whatever), not to give good job opportunities to workers. If that was the case we could try a Soviet system where industries are started up with the purpose of giving people jobs and fuck up the economy. I like to play computer games with my friends but because I work 2-7 each weekday I am unable to spend as much time as I would like to on it. Should my employer give me extra holiday pay so I can spend more valuable quality time building up these online mass gaming relationships with them?

    Again surely a self evident statement. Mothers and fathers do contribute differently to a child’s development.

    So does every other human being a child comes into contact with – whether it be teachers or ministers or whatever. So what? Why should someone who is attracted to the same gender be forced to change their preferences if they want to get married or adopt children? I was raised by my mum, so I did not have the benefits I could have gained from my father. Under your socialist system perhaps you would like to propose that children like me get taken away from their solo parents and be adopted out to foster parents with both a mum and dad? I mean, ‘cos according to your argument I am missing out and you’re willing to use the law to restrict people’s options (eg. if my mum was a lesbian you would not have allowed her to get married and bring another woman into the house to look after me together).

    Again at least the Catholic Church cares about the poor. Their solutions may or may not be workable, but at least they should be given credit for caring.

    Caring for the poor is a bloody given, don’t pat yourself on the back for it. I’m pretty sure there’s some verse in the Bible which says telling yourself “at least I care for the poor, hey don’t blame me if I did a useless job at it” doesn’t give you any brownie points. If the Hikoi was shit then just see it for what it was. Heck, the Labour party could hold some massive function on discussing welfare policy and if it was an absolute waste of time and money you do not say: “hey at least they cared, it doesn’t matter if it was just a big waste of taxpayers’ money they should be given credit for just doing it”.

    Who can disagree with this? Some people do work too much and there are dimensions of life that are not to do with market forces.

    I can disagree with it quite easily. Why are “market forces” to blame? At university there is something called an Arts Degree and your argument is the equivalent of saying a truly humane society would ensure that people have times of stillness to see more deeply into life; times of quiet to hear from the heart; time for wonder, beauty and thanksgiving – and other things the Commerce Degree cannot count. These are dimensions of life and of being truly human that are squeezed out when the market forces which should be in our service, somehow become our master. That is absolute bullshit and the problem is that people with Arts Degrees are being even more wasteful in putting their effort into philosophy and the history of art or whatever bullshit than people who do their Commerce Degrees and contribute meaningfully to society by starting up businesses and helping society prosper.

    The church seeks to love God and to love our neighbour. This is based on the Christian principles handed down to us by Christ himself. We would do well to study them and not to dismiss them as David has done.

    I have studied them and dismiss them. Arguably the Church is about market forces too, if you weren’t raised a Christian or introduced to Christianity by a Church, the whole idea of ‘tithing’ or taking offerings at each service would be completely incredulous. In fact, the whole ‘Church’ itself is a market force today that is all about marketing and revenue. Do you go to Church Scott? I challenge you to ask your pastor (or if you are the pastor) for just one single Sunday, instead of taking the offering, ask the congregation who is in financial need. Instead of saying: “we give to God because money doesn’t belong to us in the first place and we only give so He can bless us more. Let me tell you a story about a man who decided to give an extra 10% on top of his usual tithe, trusting that God would provide, and the next week he got a pay rise” (or some similar manipulative story), say: “now is the time the Church gives our leftover expenses and instead of spending it on a new PA system for the worship band we are going to give it to people in our congregation who aren’t able to pay their bills this week”. I can not imagine a single Church in NZ that would be willing to do that.

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  32. Reb (249 comments) says:

    PhilBest, as a Catholic I can say for myself (and for other Catholics that I’ve talked to) that Labour is NOT who we want to vote for. They’ve put through too many things we disagree with strongly – legalizing prostitution, civil unions (gay marriage in disguise), making smacking illegal, the Electoral Finance Act, and most recently Ruth Dyson’s speech on how the Govt is heading toward supporting Polyamory, and probably many more things.

    LOL, I love that Simpsons episode where Homer’s a fireman and a man’s house is burning down and he’s like: “help! I’m in danger! But gay marriage – that’s the real emergency in this country”!

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  33. reid (16,447 comments) says:

    I’ve never met someone who had no faith who understood what those with faith were actually saying and this post and some comments on this thread hasn’t changed that record.

    “This I know to be true: that unless I first believe, I shall not understand.”

    St Anselm
    ABC 1033-1109

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  34. Ryan Sproull (7,141 comments) says:

    reid,

    To paraphrase:

    “You won’t see how right I am until you accept that I am right.”

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  35. Reb (249 comments) says:

    legalizing prostitution, civil unions (gay marriage in disguise), making smacking illegal, the Electoral Finance Act, and most recently Ruth Dyson’s speech on how the Govt is heading toward supporting Polyamory, and probably many more things.

    Don’t forget all those other evils that are also legal, such as lying, gossip, having pride, fornication, dressing lustfully so as to cause the opposite gender to fall, divorce except in cases of adultery, calling your brother Raca, showing favouritism, selling Hillsong CDs and Joyce Meyer books and whathaveyou in Churches above cost so as to make the temple a marketplace, not giving to the poor, etc. How dare these crimes to go unpunished, we must vote for a party that will outlaw these horrible sins that past governments have allowed. We need a state that will be able to monitor all this and prevent it from happening.

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  36. Fletch (6,386 comments) says:

    Whoa, big post Reb. I will only answer a couple of things. Christians believe that all life comes from God; yes, the man and the woman are the instruments by which this life comes into the world, but ultimately it is God that creates life.
    Now, if God has created this new life, then He cares for it and places it where He thinks it should be. Just because a child is born into poverty does that mean it has no hope at all? How many people (including famous actors, politicians, sportspeople, and scientists) have been born into poverty, pulled themselves out of that and have made huge contributions to society?

    For some, being born into poverty and having experienced it has given them a real heart for the poor and needy; they have pulled themselves out of that life and then gone back and helped those same poor.

    The truth is that you really can’t put a value on human life – you don’t know what that person is going to grow up to be or to accomplish.

    Just look at people like Dr Ben Carson, an African American who came from a poor and broken home in Michigan, but still managed to work his way into Yale University in 1969. He graduated with a degree in psychology in 1973, then graduated from medical school at the University of Michigan in 1977. He studied neurosurgery and at the young age of 33 became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. He is now known for his pioneering work in radical hemispherectomies — the removal of half the brain to help seizure patients — and as a specialist in the separation of cojoined (Siamese) twins.

    Stem cells may not be ‘life’ exactly, but harvesting them from embryos created for the harvesting of cells, or even ‘waste’ embryos is seen as wrong by the Church.

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  37. Scribe (80 comments) says:

    Reb,

    Feel free to ignore this question if you like:

    When did you stop going to church and why?

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  38. Fletch (6,386 comments) says:

    Reb, OK, why don’t we just make everything legal and people can decide for themselves? Killing, smoking drugs, using P, etc. etc..
    You’re taking everything to ridiculous extremes there.

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  39. Scott (1,800 comments) says:

    In reply to Reb — I don’t think we’re ever going to agree. But the heart of our disagreement is to love God or to reject him. Those who reject God almost invariably have a certain set of beliefs.

    From your post you appear to have rejected “love the Lord your God”. Does this mean you have rejected “love your neighbour” as well? Everything comes from loving God and loving our neighbour. This is the basis of Christian teaching and what the Catholic Church, and other churches, stand for.

    But to answer your specific question at the end — yes I do go to church. And yes our congregation collects an offering during the service. This pays for the upkeep of the church, supporting a full-time pastor, and the various ministries the church engages in. And yes we do have a welfare fund to care for people in the church in need. We also give to the food bank and generally seek to serve the community. In this we are nothing special among Christian churches — we simply seek to follow the commands of Jesus — “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your strength, with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself”.

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  40. radar (319 comments) says:

    Scott, you said: “This whole area gets quite creepy in my opinion. Sometimes it seems that scientists want to play God — creating life and destroying life. The church’s caution on this issue I believe to be well founded.”

    It’s not only scientists that create life, everytime a man and a woman have a child they are doing it to. Is that creepy to you Scott? Almost any two people with sperm and ovaries can create life, there is nothing creepy about it, regardless of whether it happens in the bedroom or the laboratory. I would also add that every time you sit down to eat you are responsible for destroying life, unless you are a vegetarian.

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  41. Reb (249 comments) says:

    Now, if God has created this new life, then He cares for it and places it where He thinks it should be. Just because a child is born into poverty does that mean it has no hope at all? How many people (including famous actors, politicians, sportspeople, and scientists) have been born into poverty, pulled themselves out of that and have made huge contributions to society?

    If you believe that then that’s cool – but I believe the contrary, which is it is all up to chance and random. For example I could just say how many people have been born into poverty, and ended up suffering their whole lives being only a drain on society and caused pain and anguish to victims?

    The truth is that you really can’t put a value on human life – you don’t know what that person is going to grow up to be or to accomplish.

    But what if for example a person decides to not get married and stay single? Isn’t that the same thing, because God has given them the ability to reproduce, but they chose not to. Just the same as a mother who God gave the chance to give birth to, but chose not to – they have both prevented a potential baby from being born.

    Yes good on those poor people who have made a positive difference with their lives.

    When did you stop going to church and why?

    I still go to the Salvation Army sometimes to appreciate the brass band music but I don’t usually stay for the sermon – but the main reason I don’t go to Churches and Bible studies regularly anymore is because I feel like I’ve heard everything there is to hear and altar calls get old pretty quickly so each Sunday was really repetitive (and I’ve also been to many different types of Churches etc). And I know most Christians would probably say well you should be contributing and serving in the Church rather than going to get something out of it etc… But I’d rather do that outside the Church and not as a part of it, since I don’t consider myself a Christian nor like to be restricted by how a Christian ought to act and speak (for example I could no longer be a Bible study group leader at one Church because of my views on homosexuality). To answer your question probably around 2005. If you asked me around that time I probably would have said something like because of the way I was mistreated by some Christians I knew and then you’d probably respond with something along the lines of not all Christians are the same and not everyone is perfect but just trying to strive to be like Jesus etc… But when I look back now I’m glad ‘cos it made me see Christianity for what it really was. Still it would’ve been nice is God was real instead though and me not ending up having to come to the conclusion that Job like trials where He allows Satan to fuck up your life are in reality just random cruel events in life.

    So, why do you go to Church (if you do)?

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  42. Fletch (6,386 comments) says:

    radar, as I said in an above post, I do not believe that a man and a woman create life – all life comes from God, and men and woman are instrumental in this. I don’t believe that human’s can create life – at least not something as complex as a human being; they can only screw around with it, which i what I think Scott is talking about.

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  43. Reb (249 comments) says:

    Reb, OK, why don’t we just make everything legal and people can decide for themselves? Killing, smoking drugs, using P, etc. etc. You’re taking everything to ridiculous extremes there.

    See that’s the point I’m making though… I don’t see gay marriage, legalising prostitution and polygamy as ridiculously extreme.

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  44. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Well, basically all the research ever done on this topic does come to the conclusion that a family without both a mother and a father is somehow less. That’s not to say all single-parent families yield poor outcomes, but statistically speaking, they’re more likely to produce criminals, addicts, truants etc etc. That’s just the truth.

    Comparative risk estimates (odds ratios) of violence-related, drowning-related, and all unintentional fatal injuries for children from different family structures.

    Goto to Table 2, Page 5. The benchmark is 1.00 for family structures where both biological parents are providing care.

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  45. Ryan Sproull (7,141 comments) says:

    Reb, OK, why don’t we just make everything legal and people can decide for themselves? Killing, smoking drugs, using P, etc. etc..
    You’re taking everything to ridiculous extremes there.

    Letting people decide for themselves how they live is not a ridiculous extreme.

    Killing is interfering with how someone else lives, so it should not be among that list.

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  46. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    I don’t see gay marriage, legalising prostitution and polygamy as ridiculously extreme

    Bestiality? Necrophilia? Without a moral compass everything becomes relative to the last time generally accepted standards were degraded.

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  47. Ryan Sproull (7,141 comments) says:

    Bestiality?

    Animals can’t give their consent.

    Necrophilia?

    Dead people can’t give their consent.

    Without a moral compass everything becomes relative to the last time generally accepted standards were degraded.

    Consent.

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  48. Reb (249 comments) says:

    It’s not only scientists that create life, everytime a man and a woman have a child they are doing it to. Is that creepy to you Scott? Almost any two people with sperm and ovaries can create life, there is nothing creepy about it, regardless of whether it happens in the bedroom or the laboratory. I would also add that every time you sit down to eat you are responsible for destroying life, unless you are a vegetarian.

    The thing is scientists are doing it for the purposes of finding cures to diseases like alzhiemers etc.

    From your post you appear to have rejected “love the Lord your God”. Does this mean you have rejected “love your neighbour” as well? Everything comes from loving God and loving our neighbour. This is the basis of Christian teaching and what the Catholic Church, and other churches, stand for.

    Well if I say I don’t love God but love my neighbour you’ll probably say something like: “but according to the Bible you can’t love your neighbour if you don’t love God”. As for everything coming from those two commandments, that’s just the way you’ve chosen to interpret the Bible, like many modern day pentocostal full on in love for Jesus type Christians.

    But to answer your specific question at the end — yes I do go to church. And yes our congregation collects an offering during the service. This pays for the upkeep of the church, supporting a full-time pastor, and the various ministries the church engages in. And yes we do have a welfare fund to care for people in the church in need. We also give to the food bank and generally seek to serve the community. In this we are nothing special among Christian churches — we simply seek to follow the commands of Jesus — “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your strength, with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself”.

    Yes I know that generally Churches do all that, but considering some of the expectations Churches ask from the congregation when asking them to give why not trust God and not pay the pastor for a week and say: “we have $300 to give away today because God told us that someone here today really needs it, please come talk to us after the service about the details” or whatever, ‘cos you wouldn’t expect someone who has never been in a Church before to know about all the help provided, and only walked in that day because they just lost their house due to not being to pay the mortgage and were going to commit suicide and it was like a last resort, and then they sit down but all the Christians are catching up about their weekends and talk about the new cafe where they’re going after the service so by chance no-one went to go sit with him, and then although there is a visitor lounge meeting with new people isn’t really what he needs right now ‘cos he has bigger worries and doesn’t know what they want to talk about ‘cos the only participation in the whole service really was when the offering bowl was being passed around and the sermon was on sex after marriage… You get what I mean. Just for one Sunday, instead of taking the offering do the offering.

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  49. Fletch (6,386 comments) says:

    If you believe that then that’s cool – but I believe the contrary, which is it is all up to chance and random. For example I could just say how many people have been born into poverty, and ended up suffering their whole lives being only a drain on society and caused pain and anguish to victims?

    Maybe some do, and some don’t and it is sad when people suffer, but when you’re talking about someone’s “whole life”, a Christian believes that this life is only a very small part of an eternal existence. God knows that, too. It’s like a woman giving birth – you could say she was in pain for those whole 2 hours (or however long she is in labour – I don’t mean the Party).
    But what are those two hours of suffering compared to the length of her earthly life? Similarly, although suffering is bad and I don’t like it, what is a human lifetime of suffering compared to the eternity of everlasting life?

    I’m not saying people shouldn’t try to alleviate suffering – of course we should, we’re all mortal and we all should feel empathy for one another and care about the well being of each other – that is Christ’s command – to love one another; but yes, some people suffer.

    But what if for example a person decides to not get married and stay single? Isn’t that the same thing, because God has given them the ability to reproduce, but they chose not to. Just the same as a mother who God gave the chance to give birth to, but chose not to – they have both prevented a potential baby from being born.

    There is nothing wrong with being single. Some people have been given the gift of married life, some single, and some the priesthood or some other order. As far as married people, when a couple is married in the catholic church they promise to be open to the gift of life.

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  50. Reb (249 comments) says:

    Bestiality? Necrophilia? Without a moral compass everything becomes relative to the last time generally accepted standards were degraded.

    What about sex before marriage, should that be outlawed? Eying a woman lustfully? Being angry at your brother? According to that Jesus says you’re degrading yourself. Oh yeah, how about adultery – should that be outlawed? Wouldn’t you say adultery is worse than homosexual marriage?

    My moral compass is homosexual marriage does no harm, polygamy does no harm. My moral compass says the production of animals for the purposes of murdering them and eating them is wrong (I’m a vegetarian and supporter of SAFE). Anyhow, if you wanna vote for the Kiwi Party knock yourself out.

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  51. Reb (249 comments) says:

    Anyhow folks, I won’t be making anymore replies as I have an assignment to hand in by 4pm which to me is more important than debating Christians.

    P.S. Thanks for your informative replies Fletch, etc.

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  52. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    Ah yes, the values system of the ancient middle east; as filtered through two thousand years of utterly corrupt, ruthless and bloodthirsty European power politics. And still as relevant to us today as it was when Moses was a lad.

    (Not.)

    If God had meant for man to fly, he would have given him wings.

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  53. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Ryan: Imagine a sign on shop door. “If you walk in wearing a hoddie you thereby consent to being shot and agree to hold me, my family and all persons associated with this shop blameless for any loss or suffering you may experience”. Of course the consent line doesn’t work there – neither does if for the cases I cited above.

    If you do want to pursue the consent line then perhaps you could explain to me why a 13 year old girl is adult enough to concent to an abortion (without her parents/legal guardians knowledge), but not adult enough to give a legally acceptable consent to have sex?

    if we were discussing this matter 50 years ago you, me and the vast majority of society would see gay marriage, legalising prostitution and polygamy as ridiculously extreme. My guess is that in 50 years time child sex, bestiality & necrophilia will have become normalised and anyone who claims this is unacceptable will be marginalised as a lame bigot. I think that is pretty tragic.

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  54. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    getstaffed:

    Re your first paragraph (about shooting the hoodie): (a) you are talking about consent to killing, which is ridiculous; (b) you are talking about consent to a one-sided activity with a clear victim, rather than one where it takes two to tango.

    Re your second paragraph: The situation we have now is entirely pragmatic. It is not reasonable to accept as meaningful a 13-yo girl’s consent to sex – she has only a child’s idea of the consequences of doing it. Whereas just saying no and NOT HAVING SEX is harmless to both parties. OTOH, IF a 13yo girl is pregnant, a decision has to be made, the issue has already been forced and some sort of action is required. “Just saying no” is not really an option now as childbirth is extremely dangerous to both mother and child with a mother of that age.

    Re your third paragraph: Are you proposing that all of society’s values should remain static and not evolve over time? (‘Cause we had a Poll tax on Chinese gold miners a hundred years ago, and I doubt many Kiwi-bloggers would be cheerleading that now!)

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  55. Ryan Sproull (7,141 comments) says:

    Ryan: Imagine a sign on shop door. “If you walk in wearing a hoddie you thereby consent to being shot and agree to hold me, my family and all persons associated with this shop blameless for any loss or suffering you may experience”. Of course the consent line doesn’t work there – neither does if for the cases I cited above.

    Why doesn’t it work in that case? Assuming the person read and understood the sign and walked in wearing the hoodie.

    If you do want to pursue the consent line then perhaps you could explain to me why a 13 year old girl is adult enough to concent to an abortion (without her parents/legal guardians knowledge), but not adult enough to give a legally acceptable consent to have sex?

    Our system is not currently based on consent. Are you asking me what I think it should be, if it was based on consent?

    if we were discussing this matter 50 years ago you, me and the vast majority of society would see gay marriage, legalising prostitution and polygamy as ridiculously extreme. My guess is that in 50 years time child sex, bestiality & necrophilia will have become normalised and anyone who claims this is unacceptable will be marginalised as a lame bigot. I think that is pretty tragic.

    That’s possible, I suppose. Similarly, someone a few hundred years ago could have said, “My guess is that in a few centuries’ time, slavery will have been outlawed and anyone who claims this is unacceptable will be marginalised as a lame bigot. I think that is pretty tragic.”

    But no, perhaps you’re right. By most of society’s standards, liberty is ridiculously extreme. It’s just not ridiculously extreme to me.

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  56. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Ryan, i’m well off topic here. will pick up this discussion when a suitable thread presents. (keen to keep my slate clean with DPF!)

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  57. Ryan Sproull (7,141 comments) says:

    Sweet as, Getstaffed. I’m still working on a big explanation of my views for Pascal. I’ll let you know when it’s done.

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  58. Fletch (6,386 comments) says:

    I’m still working on a big explanation of my views for Pascal.

    They make nice lollies ;)

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  59. Ryan Sproull (7,141 comments) says:

    They make nice lollies

    Nice lollies and silly wagers.

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  60. glubbster (344 comments) says:

    “Psychologists point out that a father’s love and a mother’s love are different and that each contributes differently to a child’s development. The Church continues to recognise and respect the need for a child to receive both kinds of love.”
    Based on what I do know of it from a friend (who is doing her Masters in Psych) its a sensationalist way of putting it. There is a theory that mothers and fathers contribute to different developmental modalities within the child depending on the gender of the child. For example fathers contribute specifically to daughters self-esteem development. This theory falls flat on its face however, when presented with evidence that children who have been raised by one parent do not show developmental deificits across all modalities related to the absence of the other gendered parent. Child development is such an interactive process that it can be difficult to tease out the relationship between different variables in a situation and there are many potential confounds, that’s why I don’t like qualitative science. A more universal approach is that of behavioural modelling – that is, the child will try to behave in ways it sees those around them behaving – hence the cycle of violence ect.
    There is merit in the notion that parents contribute differentially to a child’s development but it’s a bit of a stretch to put that down to differential ways of expressing love as core expressions of affection – hugging, kissing, supporting, listening etc within a family context tend to be universal – i.e. they do not differ as a function of gender, they can differ however as a function of personality type, which can be mediated by gender and societal context – hence because society tells men and women they should be one way or the other they develop personalities in accordance with this – Japan is a good example, in the West we are more flexible.

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  61. writeups (4 comments) says:

    As someone from a conservative Catholic family who attended Catholic primary and secondary schools, and has read extensively around the topic of Catholic theology and in particular the relationship between economics and the Catholic church all I’ll say is that the current advice being espoused by the New Zealand, and indeed, worldwide church is hardly consistent with the economics that the Scholastics derived from the teachings of Thomas Aquinas.
    Indeed several popes would be turning in their graves at the implied endorsement of socialist economic policy when traditionally the Church’s economic policies were very much laissez faire, and rely on the consciences of the individual church members to look after the needy.

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  62. Scott (1,800 comments) says:

    In reply to glubbster I must say I never find psychology much help at all. I know science has given us televisions and motor vehicles and wonderful technological benefits. However thinking about human behaviour in scientific terms — sometimes I wonder whether it makes any sense at all?

    It seems obvious to me, and to anyone who has tried to raise boys and girls, that the sexes are different. Try for example to get boys to shop in the pink aisle of the toy section at the warehouse! And when we grow up and parent our children that we do it differently. Men and women are not the same and no amount of high-level psychological reasoning from Masters students will make it so.

    “Psychologists point out that a father’s love and a mother’s love are different and that each contributes differently to a child’s development. The Church continues to recognise and respect the need for a child to receive both kinds of love.”

    This seems to be a very moderate statement and not in the least ‘sensationalist’. The Catholic Church believes, and I would agree with them, that children thrive best when bought up by their mother and father in a committed relationship i.e. marriage. This is how we were designed by God. As it says in the 10 Commandments — “honour your father and mother”.

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  63. glubbster (344 comments) says:

    Classic Scotty, lets dissect it:

    “I never find psychology much help at all” – is that perhaps because you know jack about it? I’m not talking about pop-psych – that is mainly bs.
    “It seems obvious to me, and to anyone who has tried to raise boys and girls, that the sexes are different.” State the obvious!
    The point is whether society should deem it necessary that a child has to have a male and female parent contribute. I say not necessarily and the above analysis supports that view. Parents differ markedly the sex of the parent is not the crucial determinant of how a child ends up.

    Unfortunately, your beliefs colour your rationality on these issues. Why should the State outlaw 2 parents of the same sex from bringing up children? Where is the rational basis? Who are you to tell others how to live their lives – essentially to curb their freedom…ini the name of your unfounded belief of man and woman.

    Please feel free to believe in your religion but dont try to tell others how they should view the world. Thankfully, the state and the church are now quite separate.

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  64. thehawkreturns (162 comments) says:

    I agree but also point out that Catholics are not Christians. Christ clearly stated that no-one and no icon
    can come between people and God. That is, there can be no role for praying to a Pope, a Saint or the Virgin Mary.
    Catholics form a weird sect that ignore the critical elements of the New Testament.
    All this from an atheist!

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  65. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    Perhaps all the church haters could put the negative aspects of christianity aside for a moment and think of the long hours of thankless work that christians do each week for the people no one gives a crap about.
    It would appear that the state is not exactly doing a better job of welfare than the church (Catholic and Protestant)traditionally has, so why do people still want to take this ground off the church?
    Have you ever thought that strange christian down the road or at work would be an even bigger problem if they belonged to a different organisation? What some people don’t seem to understand is some times even christians bemoan some of the members of our organisations, but out of a desire to uphold the teachings of Christ and care for the more “socially disadvantaged” , these people are given a place in the fellowship often at great personal cost.

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  66. glubbster (344 comments) says:

    Shunda, I personally applaud good Christians (who do not impose their own view of the world on others), but the bad ones out there show that we shouldn’t necessarily praise someone solely for being a Christian. The other problem I have is where they impose their views on others essentially wishing that society makes criminals of people no good reason except that designed by ‘God’.
    Citizens should not be restricted from exercising their freedom to live their life how they want to (so long as they dont impunge on the rights of others).
    Your rant does not address these issues.

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  67. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    glubbster
    So what you are talking about is legislating morality, and that christians have no right to have an opinion on how their country is run?
    I think it is a tad hypocritical to accuse the church of forcing its will on the rest of the country, with the current govt in power.

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  68. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Until they front up with their “God” the ghost botherers are a waste of time ….ignore them.

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  69. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    What about sex before marriage, should that be outlawed? Eying a woman lustfully? Being angry at your brother?

    You confuse what is morally right/wrong with what is legal/illegal. Most would agree that these are not the same.

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  70. Steve (4,561 comments) says:

    Geeze DPF you threw out some bait and they take it.
    Hook, line sinker and most of your arm.
    Funny strange people those Catholics, quite weird.
    There are more important things in life other than being a god botherer

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  71. Reb (249 comments) says:

    You confuse what is morally right/wrong with what is legal/illegal. Most would agree that these are not the same.

    So what’s your point? With homosexuality – you’re confusing what is morally right/wrong with what is legal/illegal?

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  72. Reb (249 comments) says:

    Thank you for that information glubbster – I agree from Scott’s response he probably knows fuck all about psychology (correct me if I’m wrong Scott and I apologise in advance). I endorse Focus on the Family helping people but as soon as those kind of Christians delve into speaking on ‘science’ with authority without having ever studied it they just lose all credibility.

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  73. Seán (397 comments) says:

    Not surprisingly, more jealousy displayed by DPF when it comes to Christianity, especially Catholicism. This is illustrated by the fact he gives zeroes to everything, yet no reasonable explanation to back up his zeroes. He appears to get quite flustered actually. It’s one of the few issues where David lets bias get in ahead of his usual pragmatic objectivity. He refuses to look at the other side’s point of view, even just a little bit, yet he can do this with the Greens! As soon as the word ‘Christian’ or ‘Catholic’ appears, David has already made up his mind. He’s already against whatever is about to be said, because he’s a “classical liberal”.. The other issue I feel David gets overly emotional about is Israel. However other than these two topics David generally has a measured approach that is good to read. One may not always agree but at least he puts a decent argument forward. Not today though.

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  74. libertyscott (359 comments) says:

    The same Catholic Church that until the mid to late 1980s would move sadistic pedophile priests to new pastures when there was a complaint, and didn’t confront it until the previous generation of victims were adults savvy enough to confront this legalised club for perverts. The same Catholic Church that beatified Aloysius Stepinac, the archbishop of Zagreb when Ante Pavelic’s regime was inflicting mass murder and deportations on non-Catholics (something he later criticised to little effect). The same Catholic Church that made a fortune from Mother Theresa, spending next to none of the proceeds she attracted for the poor on improving their living conditions in her “homes for the dying”. The same Catholic Church that spreads fear in small children about what happens to them if they aren’t good, and tells them to be shamed about their naked body. The same Catholic Church that claims to be compassionate, but would rather let someone die a long painful humiliating death than have their wish exercised to end life quickly. The same Catholic Church that turned its back on its own philosophy to enter into the concordat with Nazi Germany in 1933 to give it legitimacy against communism.

    So why would you expect morality from such a gang?

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  75. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    Let’s give science a chance.

    No need to pay heed nor mind to medieval superstitious nonsense.

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  76. glubbster (344 comments) says:

    “glubbster
    So what you are talking about is legislating morality, and that christians have no right to have an opinion on how their country is run?I think it is a tad hypocritical to accuse the church of forcing its will on the rest of the country, with the current govt in power.”
    Shame on you Shundi, I am doing no such thing. You have every right to an opinion, but when you put it on a blog I read, I have every right to critique it.
    I voted National in 05 so dont call me hypocritical. Labour (unfortunately) have a mandate to govern. But dont worry Shundi, it will expire on 8 November 2008. Oh but legal recognition to same sex relationships akin to marriage wont..and this is a very good thing.

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  77. Hoolian (220 comments) says:

    Oh piss off, LibertyScott, you great burke. There is little room on this blog for bigots like you.

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  78. glubbster (344 comments) says:

    Sean, I think your post is simply a personal attack because Farrar has vastly different opinions to you on this issue.
    Its a zero sum game you either score 0 or 1 ie he either agrees or he doesn’t. You cant get 0.5. He has made posts on these issues before – what do you expect? An essay? He actually does justify himself in some of them, but who are you to say he has to? It is called an opinion.
    I could also say you are very sensitive about the fact that the Church has no useful purpose in the political arena and that many people see its views as backward.
    Using words like “jealousy” is immature and pathetic.
    If you think he is wrong say why. Dont just attack the messenger because you dont like the message. Perhaps the truth hurts.

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  79. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    OECD rank 22 kiwi said: Let’s give science a chance. No need to pay heed nor mind to medieval superstitious nonsense.

    Okay, I’m not religious or in any way superstitious. But I would point out that science, like religion, is ultimately based on axioms that must be assumed and cannot be proven. I prefer science because, assuming the axioms, there is a consistency of physical behaviour of matter and energy. Religion does not lead to such a consistency. But they are both based upon unproven and unprovable axioms.

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  80. Scribe (80 comments) says:

    thehawkreturns,

    That is, there can be no role for praying to a Pope, a Saint or the Virgin Mary.
    Catholics form a weird sect that ignore the critical elements of the New Testament.
    All this from an atheist!

    You last sentence was unnecessary, considering your glaring ignorance about Catholicism.

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  81. glubbster (344 comments) says:

    Nonsense Toady, science is science because it is possible to empirically test theoretical predictions within the scientific paradigm, when the predictions of a given theory are consistently not born out by observation, the theory is either modified or discarded. Therefore it is possible to provide knowledge foundations as opposed to mere axioms in order to direct future investigation.

    When was the last time a given religion tried to prove the existence of god…or advocated doing so? The two are separate paradigms – one empirically based the other faith-based – naturally there is a greater reliance on unproven or self-evident assumptions in one than what there is in the other.

    Back to politics:
    Science takes us forward, whereas your party would take NZ backwards with blind beliefs akin to the Church.
    You also use science when it suits ie would you not argue that there is overwhelming evidence of human-created global warming? But when science and/or economics does not suit, your Party simply ignores them.

    I would strongly argue that many policies the Greens come up with are based on blind belief and no evidential or rational
    basis. This is why the Greens are not taken seriously (even by Labour). The Greens should be an environmental party based in the centre of the political spectrum, not some deeply socialist party dressed up with alleged environmental credentials. This is why people like Ian Ewan-Street ended up leaving the Greens and this is why the Greens have no one to blame but themselves for their residence on the cross-benches and their very very limited policy concessions during 9 years of a centre-left government.

    At least the Greens are well-meaning (perhaps with the exception of Sue Kedgely & perhaps Russell Norman), NZ First has had its nine cows and Winnie says he has none because his political career is coming to a horrific end.

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  82. glubbster (344 comments) says:

    Also the Greens have added a useful social liberalism to Parliament enabling numbers in the House for good laws such as Civil Unions. I would argue these conscience issues have been all the the Greens have materially contributed to benefit NZers. At least its something.

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  83. Seán (397 comments) says:

    glubbster – not a personal attack, just an observation after reading his blog for some time now.
    I guess I assumed by default that a rating would be out of 10, maybe 5 as a min total. Don’t see too many ratings as 0 or 1 out there.
    No I don’t expect an essay, but if you read him regularly you will notice he invariably makes a decent effort to put across reasons for his displeasure, disagreement, or even agreement. It’s against the norm for him not to really, hence my point.
    You have taken to assuming my own views here. Keep guessing.
    My point wasn’t that I thought he was wrong – of course he has his opinions – it was more that I believe there are a couple of topics out there where he lets his emotion get the better of his usual rational judgment.

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  84. Reb (249 comments) says:

    No I don’t expect an essay, but if you read him regularly you will notice he invariably makes a decent effort to put across reasons for his displeasure, disagreement, or even agreement. It’s against the norm for him not to really, hence my point… My point wasn’t that I thought he was wrong – of course he has his opinions – it was more that I believe there are a couple of topics out there where he lets his emotion get the better of his usual rational judgment.

    What, you mean like this:

    # Hoolian Says: Oh piss off, LibertyScott, you great burke. There is little room on this blog for bigots like you.

    In response to this?

    The same Catholic Church that until the mid to late 1980s would move sadistic pedophile priests to new pastures when there was a complaint, and didn’t confront it until the previous generation of victims were adults savvy enough to confront this legalised club for perverts. The same Catholic Church that beatified Aloysius Stepinac, the archbishop of Zagreb when Ante Pavelic’s regime was inflicting mass murder and deportations on non-Catholics (something he later criticised to little effect). The same Catholic Church that made a fortune from Mother Theresa, spending next to none of the proceeds she attracted for the poor on improving their living conditions in her “homes for the dying”. The same Catholic Church that spreads fear in small children about what happens to them if they aren’t good, and tells them to be shamed about their naked body. The same Catholic Church that claims to be compassionate, but would rather let someone die a long painful humiliating death than have their wish exercised to end life quickly. The same Catholic Church that turned its back on its own philosophy to enter into the concordat with Nazi Germany in 1933 to give it legitimacy against communism.

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  85. Seán (397 comments) says:

    Reb – if you’re trying to get me to defend the Church on that diatribe you cut and pasted, you’re much mistaken. I have no intention of such, and in fact there’s no doubt in my mind that the Church is it own worst enemy anyway. I haven’t read the thread of comments here, but it seems you guys have gotten off the original post somewhat. I ain’t joining in with the trolls!!

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  86. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    Same old tactic of the church haters.
    Dig up every mistake made by anyone remotely affiliated with any denomination in the last 2000 years as reason to dismiss debate.
    Grow up and get a clue.

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  87. glubbster (344 comments) says:

    Shundi, my above posts would have enabled you to enter debate but instead you have declined, preferring the easy way out.
    I think you are the one dismissing debate with tags like “church haters”.

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