Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Some Deception from Scientology

Before I start, I must stress that in Australia the organisation known as the Church of Scientology is considered under the law as a legal religion. So I think that it might be best that I say a little about it's legal history in Australia.

In South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria have at one point or another banned the CoS from operating.

Victoria passed the Psychological Practices Act, 1965 after the findings of the Anderson Report (or in it's formal name Report of the Board of Enquiry into Scientology).

The recommendations started with:

"The Inquiry has revealed the real nature of scientology and its serious threat to the mental health of the community, and it is evident that its continued practice should not be permitted."

In 1968 the government of Western Australia passed the Scientology Act (1968),
and South Australia followed suit with the Scientology (Prohibition) Act, 1968.

These were overturned in 1983 after the High Court decision in Church of the New Faith v. Commissioner of Pay-Roll Tax (Victoria) which found that Scientology was a religion.

For those that don't know the Church of the New Faith was an organisation created by Scientology to counter the acts brought against them, but by that time Western Australia and South Australia had repealed their acts in 1972 and 1973 respectively.

And now with that very brief history of Scientology and the Law we move on to the present day.

This was reported yesterday in The Advertiser: Parent anger at religious 'advice' (In case something happens to the online version the printed versions details are: Kleinig X. 2007. "Parent anger at religious 'advice'" The Advertiser 29 October 29 p.23).

The briefest description would be that uniformed police officers have been found distributing Scientology related material at a Government school.

The version that I will give you is as follows.

Uniformed police officers went to Whyalla High School and distributed a pamphlet entitled "Whyalla High School presents the way to happiness, a common-sense guide for better living" after showing them a DVD on living a moral life.

There were two things that showed that it was a Scientologist production. The first was that the website it linked to was a Scientologist one. The second was that if you looked very carefully at the copyright information you would find out that it was written by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.

The book apparently did not contain any religious material. All well and good you think? Well no actually, this is what the police had to say:

"Police Assistant Commissioner Graeme Barton confirmed that two officers had visited the school to give lectures on bullying and that the claims of religious instruction would be investigated."

They were supposed to be giving a lecture on bullying. I fail to see where a pamphlet called "Whyalla High School presents the way to happiness, a common-sense guide for better living" has anything to do with bullying.

What makes it even more annoying is the blatant deception that the CoS has used to spread their "message". They used two uniformed officers to distribute a pamphlet that directed children to a site about Scientology, the pamphlet itself managed to convince parents that it was something from the Education Department, something that the department denies. What makes it worse is that this occurred in a Government school. They are places were proselytising is a big no no.

There is one other thing that makes it somewhat hypocritical.

They showed a DVD on morality, but they were acting in an immoral way, just like Scientology itself claims to be the most ethical group in the world, this was an unethical way of doing things.

If they don't seem to be able to gain more followers in a regular way, then maybe they should be looking at themselves and fixing what they need to fix?

I think that the name of the song that I am listening to fits well with this post...

Now playing: Sneaky Sound System - UFO
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Family First

For those that don't know, the Family First party is one of the many minor parties here in Australia that have something to do with Australian politics.

This is a party that has taken advantage of the vacuum created by the virtual collapse of the Democrats to take a rather important role in Federal Politics, and also in State Politics.

In comparison to the US major parties they would be the Australian equivalent of the Republicans (just like the Liberal party). They are conservatives who are also religious.

Clearly I won't be throwing my vote away on them in either election.

I wrote earlier on how they wanted to have a sex-education system that supported their religious viewpoint, but today I read this (I can't find an online edition of the printed article so this one will do).

Again, for those that don't know Maslin Beach here in South Australia is the first official nude beach in Australia. And Family First wants it banned.

This is a beach that was specifically chosen for nudists to be nude without bothering anyone.

The argument basically boils down to a man following his religiously driven ideology to impose on the lives of people who aren't causing any problems on a beach that is far enough from people so as to not cause offence.

Now I don't know the exact law but I am pretty sure that there is something in there that prevents housing from being built in a certain radius of said beach to protect the beach goers of the southern half from perverts who would take advantage of housing there.

We live in a state with so many bloody beaches that we can go to that people wouldn't could go to other beaches and not have to worry about nudists.

Aldinga beach is a wonderful beach to go to, it is called the 'Silver Sands' because of the composition, which is to the north of the beach, while Sellicks is not too far from the proposed stuff at Pt. Willunga and would be just as good.

Or, shockingly enough you could just go to the beach at Pt. Willunga. No nudists there.

But no.

In our society if we don't like something we complain about it. "Ooh, The Chaser had a song making fun of dead people" (which to be honest is for most quite true, the dead are nearly always remembered better then they actually were) "they can't do that it's just wrong". Or "My God they are showing sex ads at 1am and my young child saw them while I was breastfeeding him" (link to come there).

Since when was there a right in democratic countries to not be offended by things?

Now playing: E.S. Posthumus - Pompeii
via FoxyTunes

Monday, 15 October 2007

Skeptical Magicians?

After being shown some comics that were about a certain psychic fraud lady I was looking through the archives and found this.

Since they allow hotlinking (apparently) I will post it here:

Maybe this explains Penn & Teller and James Randi's work as skeptics. They are trying to make themselves more powerful...

Now playing: Groove Armada - Hands of Time
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Casualty(ies) of War, and Hypocrisy

About four days ago a soldier died in Afghanistan. Normally this would not be much of a problem for a person in Australia until you hear that it was an Australian soldier.

Since Australia followed the US into places like Afghanistan and Iraq they have been doing quite well in making sure that their troops return home in one piece.

This isn't the first soldier to have died for Australia in Afghanistan. SAS Sergeant Andrew Russel died from an anti-vehicle mine in 2002. For the sake of the family of this victim his name has not been released to the public. Which is fair.

I hope that the family of this currently unknown soldier can have enough time to heal before we learn his identity, and that they are supported by their friends and also those around them that may not be their friends.

I also hope that other Australians serving in Afghanistan will be ok, especially since it seems that attacks are on the rise there.

There is one thing that I thought of when I wrote this. I feel more for this family then I would for an American family or an Afghani family.

I guess it is easier for me to relate to an Australian then it would for the others that I mentioned. This is rather hypocritical though. I do feel sorry for the families affected from the other countries but all to varying degrees.

Is this really what being human is? Caring more for certain people because they live in the same country as you?

Why is it that the news makes a bigger deal about a casualty from the country they are from then about the civilians who live in the country in question?

Why is it that the enemy and the civilians are faceless compared to the coalition troops?

Some people already recognise this but I think the rest of the people should too, think about the other people, and not just your own people, and think (and feel) more for the civilians, those who don't have the training a soldier would to fight, people who are trying to keep living in the homes that they lived in for years.

Don't forget about them, but don't do it at the cost of the soldiers as well.

They are all people too.

Now playing: The Herd - I was only 19 (live)
via FoxyTunes

Monday, 1 October 2007

I Hate Telestra

As we all know a few days ago the protests in Burma took a drastic turn when the Burmese army opened fire on the protesters.

When that happened I was trying to get on here so I could write about it.

But no, Telstra in their infinite wisdom decided to make it so I couldn't go on.

Their internet sucks.

If you are on one of their plans, you might as well go to someone else because for the same price that you pay at Telstra you can get a higher download limit from pretty much anyone else.

I have trouble getting onto secure pages with this ISP and all the computers that we support do not download that much stuff.

When they claim to slow us down to dial up speeds you find that when you use dial up it is a hell of a lot faster.

Maybe they should pay Sol Trujilo less money. He doesn't deserve it because he is doing a really shit job running Telstra.

I honestly don't know how I managed to get on here today.