And the 2019 Pulitzer Prize goes to….

Kate McClymont, Investigative Journalist, Sydney Morning Herald.

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;

  1. The church is “clean”, and/or
  2. 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.

Bill’s Opinion

To repeat my previous full disclosure on the subject of religion;

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.”

Quite.

23 Replies to “And the 2019 Pulitzer Prize goes to….”

  1. If I were going to do a hatchet job on our Izzy then I would start by exposing how corrupt, the drug trading, ungodly and thieving bastard like Tongans actually are. Showing the extent of their criminal network and how this Mafiosi like failed narco state continues to fleece money and send it back to their lawless coral quay. A narco state run by their un-elected unconstitutional sodomizer of young boys, a hereditary mafia don, known as the King. One only needs to read the resignation letter of their last attorney general, a position that has never been replaced to see how our Izzy is just another criminal, conman, tambourine banging hoodlum, moving up through its criminal ranks.

    According to the CIA factbook:

    “Tonga remains the only monarchy in the Pacific; in 2008, King George TUPOU V announced he was relinquishing most of his powers leading up to parliamentary elections in 2010. TUPOU died in 2012 and was succeeded by his brother ‘Aho’eitu TUPOU VI.

    The country remains dependent on external aid and remittances from overseas Tongans to offset its trade deficit.”

    She does touch on the growing Tongan problem slightly when she says this about the winners of the 2019 Golden Fleece Award:

    “Scott Morrison is going to hell. So is Hillsong Pastor Brian Houston and most of the donors who gave money to former Wallaby star Israel Folau’s legal defence fund organised by the Australian Christian Lobby, according to the teachings of Folau’s church.”

    Steve at the Pub is also going to hell for his involvement in this scam.

    And this on his father:

    “Those close to Folau say his father wields enormous influence in his son’s life. He is a director of his son’s investment vehicles.”

    According to Izzy it was his father that made him sign his contract with GWS, the one that he didn’t honour. His luaghable defence was that it wasn’t repudiatory conduct by him because his father made him do it!

    Then one should publish the “allegations” that when he played for GWS, he was shagging trannies on drug and alcohol fuelled benders around the Sydney scene. This is the time when he had his epiphany and changed to his current church and football code, as some form of an act of redemption and repentance from his fornicating, drunken, sinful sodomite ways. Just because he flipped, doesn’t mean that he should try and get his fellow teammates to flip.

    As to the question on the morality of marrying your sister, I will leave that for a matter between Izzy and his conscience.

    Then describe how Izzy as a professional sportsman was the first ever to against the norm in that despite him losing the support of the dressing room, he chose to turn the other cheek and keep taking the money.

    Then surely to God one must appeal to what is left of us free patriotic Australians that are prepared to stand up and say no to the nanny state. To say enough is enough to their, continuous, unwelcome and unwarranted, liberty destroying encroachment into every aspect of our society, with this latest outrageous attempt to interfere in and instruct business owners as to whom they cannot stop paying the big money to.

    https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.158%2C$multiply_1.51%2C$ratio_1.776846%2C$width_1059%2C$x_0%2C$y_93/t_crop_custom/w_1600/q_62%2Cf_auto/35f69c3bff20b7f757a49368ec46e933cb63f504

    1. Crikey! You really meant that, and it’s only 3 o’clock in Brisbogan so you can’t have been hitting the sauce too hard yet!

      1. Some more gullible folk do fall for scams intended to deceive them into accepting schemes that set out to diminish their wealth and freedom. For me, rejecting deception is a far better position to be in than taking the bait or worse still pretending otherwise.

          1. And why do you think that the state should have the power to force a business owner to not stop giving an individual money?

          2. I’m not sure I’ve ever said that.

            I may have suggested contract law should be enforced. I’ve not read Folau’s contract though, and unless you can tell me otherwise, neither have you.

            Why don’t you believe contracts should be enforceable?

          3. “Why don’t you believe contracts should be enforceable?”

            When my dad made me sign it.

          4. Yes, that was funny.

            It seems employment law in Australia heavily favours the employee, even if they’ve not acted in good faith.

            When did I suggest the state should force companies to pay people for… whatever it was you said I said?

          5. Good to see that you have now actually formed your own opinion on the Fair Work Act including how it deals with employees acting in bad faith. It wasn’t that long ago that you thought that reading a sub clause of it was some kind of legal interpretation. Now you are also referring to employment contracts as well, another first, we are making big progress here Bill.

  2. News flash AD1517′ Protestants think that Catholics are going to Hell and their church practices pagan rituals!! Has this women never heard of the Reformation? For the last 500 years pretty much every Protestant church has thought this, there is a reason why the Catholic bible is different to all Protestant bibles.

    As for water baptisim, this is the way you were baptised in the New testamant and it does indeed represent the fact that you are born again, having repented your sins and accepting Jesus as your saviour (disclaimer, i have been water baptised at Bundeena beach). Nothing Israel is saying is that remarkable for a Pentecostal church and yes unfortunately there are a lot of Churchs that preach “prosperity” and never mention repentance and salvation.

    Whilst an amusing read the article is just an exercise in taking up column space, I think you are right, the author just did not have her heart in it. I would love to rad the translated sermon from the lakemba mosque, I am sure that would have some juicy material for an expose of a church that is not on the “fringe”.

    1. Lakemba. That’s the place I couldn’t remember and wasn’t bothered enough to search.

      Corrected now, thanks.

  3. I grew up near Lakemba in the sixties when it was your typical working class/lower middle class suburb with the Greek grocers and the Italian milk bars. After many years absence I had reason to drive down the main street of lakemba in the mid nineties, I could have been driving through Baghdad, talk about culture shock. Don’t even think of going near the place during a major moslem religious festival, the place is total gridlock.

    1. Well, “all things must pass”.

      The question is whether what’s new is objectively better or worse?

      I dislike the chauvinism and one-sided nature of criticism of “religion” when there isn’t a cogent argument out for what replaces it. Chesterton’s Fence an’ all that.

      1. “The question is whether what’s new is objectively better or worse?”

        That is not a question that you should devote any of your time as an individual on. Any religion or religious group is not a real thing, whereas individuals are and religions are merely groups of individuals which in themselves have no righst.

        What you should be concerned about and obviously you have highlighted many of the societal problems associated with religious groups over times in your OP, is this notion that a religious group has any rights, and worse still the state will actually adopt these false rights and enforce them on you as an individual, this is the area you should think more of.

        Whenever you see the state defining religious discrimination or religious rights in any form, it is a falsehood and should be resisted. A skeptic would say that they see this religious discrimination problem worsening with this Izzy thing unfolding in parallel with the state announcing that is planning to grab more from us with more religious discrimination legislation coming down the line.

        Most of the Founding Fathers of the US were either Christians or deists, it may have appeared reasonable at the time for them to have founded the US as a secular state, but the thinkers of the time all knew fine well, that such a notion was an abomination and an erosion of an individuals rights.

        Provided a religious group does not threaten an individual and their rights, let them be, don’t compare one religions rights to another and absolutely do not allow the state to give them any rights at all, notwithstanding the fact that the state which is not a real thing has no power to give them rights in the first place.

        1. “….notwithstanding the fact that the state which is not a real thing has no power to give them rights in the first place.”

          That sentence is in direct opposition to the European Union constitution.

          1. I am guessing that it also provides for the EU state taking away and denying rights as well?

          2. The EU is a perfect example of how far the states overreach has extended and how much further they intend to take it.

          3. Well yes. Have you read the declaration of human rights? Rights are given by the state, apparently….

          4. Compare that with the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution:

            “Congress shall make no law restricting freedom of speech, or religion, peaceful assembly, the right to bear arms, and so forth”

            This is very clear and it does not say as determined by law, but MAKE NO LAW.

            Unfortunately we are not winning the war and it hasn’t helped that we are being taught at school that losing this war is a good thing as we continue to hurtle towards a totalitarian utopia.

            Mark Arnold has written a lot on this subject.

            See this short article where he discusses that during an inquiry into US Tax Exempt Foundations the investigator discovered that the Carnegie Endowment Fund for International Peace Peace declared in its minutes that it must do whatever it can to bring the United States into war!

            ……………………………………………

            How Tax Exempt Foundations Have Destroyed the United States

            Dodd then went on to investigate the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Dr. Joseph Johnson, president of the Endowment, actually turned over the records and minutes of the Endowment to Dodd’s researchers starting with the first meeting of trustees in the year the endowment was formed, 1908. According to these records the initial question considered by the trustees was “Is there any means more effective than war, assuming you wish to alter the life of an entire people?” They concluded that there was not. The next question raised by the trustees of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, according to their own records, was “How do we involve the United States in a war?”

            http://fromanativeson.com/2013/02/05/how-tax-exempt-foundations-have-destroyed-the-united-states-by-mark-arnold/

          5. Yes. The USA constitution remains one of my favourite texts in the English language.

            Liberia has almost the same founding text though, so perhaps all cultures are that equal after all.

  4. A spokesperson for vilified rugby star Israel Folau takes issue with a recent SMH attempt at journalism:

    We are extremely disappointed the Sydney Morning Herald’s Kate McClymont did not seek comment from Israel, his family or his church, for her story focussed on Israel’s church and its doctrine.

    The story carried a number of factual inaccuracies which could have been avoided had Ms McClymont simply followed standard journalism practice and approached us for comment.

    The story appears to be based predominantly on quotes from a single anonymous source who has been acting in concert with Rugby Australia. Any suggestion that Israel would stand in judgment of another person is incorrect.

    Why aren’t I surprised … sigh

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