Kate has an enviable track record of fearless and relentless inquiry, speaking truth to power in the fine tradition of her profession.
No, that’s not sarcasm; she’s one of the few proper journalists remaining in the nation. Her work has resulted in some high profile cases being prosecuted through the courts as a consequence of the facts she unearthed. The Eddie Obied scandal being one excellent example. If she retired tomorrow, she’d be remembered as one of the finest and noblest journalists of her generation.
Today, Kate has turned her attention to Israel Folau’s church and its teachings.
You can follow the link above if you’re really interested in her findings. Spoiler alert; a fringe denomination of Christianity has views that are outside of mainstream dogma.
We could engage in whataboutery at this point and wonder when the investigations are scheduled to inform us of the religious beliefs other famous people, particularly those of faiths other than Christianity. That would be a fallacious argument, obviously; Folau’s version of Christianity is under the spotlight precisely because of his statements, he’s made public what most people keep private.
What is interesting about the media and commentariat’s major obsession with the Folau case is “the dog that isn’t barking“.
What’s meant by this aphorism is, can we identify what subjects aren’t being offered to us?
In the example of McClymont’s exposé, what haven’t we been told that we might have reasonably been expecting from a deep dive into a fringe religious organisation?
Here’s some church-related issues that spring to mind based on decades of scandals here and overseas;
- Financial irregularities
- Sexual abuse of minors or the vulnerable
- Ostracism of the relatives of the congregation
- Brainwashing of the congregation to remove themselves from society
- Demagoguery or authoritarian behaviour by the leaders
- Calls to violence against detractors or a designated scapegoat
Check Kate’s article for yourself but I couldn’t find evidence of any of the above list.
Flip that on its head; if you wanted to run a takedown piece on a religious institution, what would be the easiest topic to target to be able to ask awkward questions and spray innuendo?
Financial irregularities would be my choice. It’s the simplest job in the world to run a rule through financial accounts and drop hints of unreasonable expenses or unexplained transfers of funds.
That someone of Kate’s calibre and obvious skill hasn’t written anything along these lines suggests one of two reasons;
- The church is “clean”, and/or
- Kate’s heart just isn’t in it.
If my analysis is correct, there’s hope for at least one individual in the profession we used to call journalism.
It’s probably worth clarifying my personal faith regarding this issue first; I’m an atheist who enjoys the benefits of where the Judeo-Christian tradition arrived in 2019. Perhaps a “cultural Christian”, if you will. I have no animus whatsoever toward homosexuals, to use the cliché, some of my best friends, etc.
What is most irritating about this sorry, pathetic little kitchen sink drama is that the media coverage has become more divisive than the subject it is reporting on.
What I mean by this is, previously, I could go to the rugby and cheer my team, I could go out for a beer after work with my gay friend and I could have Sunday lunch with my devout Christian relative.
Those three worlds were never in conflict. In fact, that last paragraph describes at least half a dozen weeks of my life last year, where I did all three of those activities in the same weekend.
I didn’t have to choose between them. It never crossed my mind that I would have to.
Why do we have to choose? Why is the media coverage of this so keen for us to make that choice?
Why is a national newspaper making a habit of going into a fringe denomination’s house of worship and reporting on their beliefs? And, whataboutery, why aren’t we offered the corollary view from the Lakemba mosque?
Perhaps the last word is best taken from Kate’s article, from a quote by Australian Christian Lobby managing director Martyn Iles;
Mr Iles also said: “The unity we share for the cause of free expression is the key issue driving the need for Israel’s legal fight and public campaign. All of us may one day find that our beliefs stray outside of the narrow band of political correctness and that will be a day when we treasure our freedoms.”