Sep 12 2017

About us

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We are interested in openly exploring ways of understanding religious faith in an increasingly secular world.

This is our way of saying what the national Sea of Faith body says are its aims, viz. “The Sea of Faith Network is an association of people who have a common interest in exploring religious thought and expression from a non-dogmatic and human-oriented standpoint.”

We welcome anyone, linked with a church or not, who wishes to share in our search.

We meet the fourth Thursday of each month at the St John’s Church Hall, Corner of Wright Street and Highgate, Maori Hill, at 6.00 pm. Tea and coffee available from 5.30 pm. The programme will start at 6 pm. Contribution $5.

Next Meeting:

Freedom of Speech
Discussion led by
Alan Jackson
Thursday, 28th SEPTEMBER
St John’s Church Hall,
Cnr Wright Street
& Highgate
Tea and Coffee
will be available from 5.30pm
The programme will start at 6.00pm
Contribution – $5

On 7th January 2015, an attack was carried out at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. It was in response to cartoons published by the magazine which portrayed Allah in a way offensive to some Muslim radicals. They killed 12 and injured 11 others. A refusal to accept the violence and an expression of solidarity with all those around the world who prize freedom of expression came into our vocabulary “Je Suis Charlie”. World leaders and millions of others used the phrase, and marches were held around the world in support of freedom of speech.
This was not the first time extremists had reacted violently to cartoons. A Danish newspaper published 12 cartoons in 2005 – later demonstrations led to 200 deaths (according to an estimate in Wikipedia).
In May 2017 Stephen Fry and Radio Telefis Eireann were investigated by Irish police after an interview on a TV show in which he asked “Why should I respect a mean-minded, stupid god who creates a world so full of injustice and pain? Because the god who created this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish. We have to spend our lives on our knees thanking him. What kind of god would do that?”
The host of the programme, Gay Byrne, said that Stephen hadn’t wished to cause offence. But that’s what the internet is for, controversy, debate and people’s opinions.”
The police dropped the investigation because there were no injured parties.
In recent times, the visit to New Zealand by the Dalai Lama attracted opposition from China. The University of Otago and the Dunedin City Council came under huge pressure to prevent him from speaking, and the Mayor had to plead alternate engagements and deputise Counsellor Jinty McTavish to hold the interview which was held in a Town Hall packed with New Zealanders (including several of you and me) who were keen to hear what the Peacemaker had to say.
Very recently there has been a Palestinian Christian speaker whose visit to New Zealand has been opposed strongly by Zionists. He spoke about the possibilities of peace and the two-state solution for Palestine – Israel.
In a play Henrik Ibsen showed how a medical doctor with evidence which might harm the economic welfare of the community (but likely cause harm to visitors by drinking the polluted waters from the spa town) might be denied the right to bring his views to the attention of the community – and the doctor was labelled An Enemy of the People.
We have some famous whistle-blowers; Karen Silkwood who investigated problems at a nuclear power plant (immortalised in the film bearing her name), Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange are all well-known names. If you Google “Whistle-blower” you will see a huge list of people who have opposed cover-ups. They are vigorously opposed by those (mostly in power) who would wish their actions to remain secret.
The investigation into the US-Vietnam war by the US Department of Defense was leaked by Daniel Ellsberg and led to an accusation in 1971 by The New York Times that the Johnson administration had lied to Congress and the public.
Everyone remembers Watergate – the Democratic National Committee headquarters which was broken into in 1972 during the reign of President Richard Nixon. He resigned as a result of the revelations by The Washington Post.
Prof David Tombs highlighted the CIA lies to Senate over torture in a recent Archibald Baxter Memorial lecture.
Openness, the right to know – freedom to speak, where do we draw the line?
This is the topic for the month.
Newsletter Editor:
Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street
DUNEDIN 9010
Ph: 473 6947
alanjackson@xtra.co.nz

 

To request further information email either: Gretchen or Alan

We are associated with The Sea of Faith Network NZ