Blogs with keyword: Faith

Posted on Wednesday 26th May 2021 at 4:03am

The other day, a TV commercial from more than 30 years ago popped into my head. In a rollicking exposé of hidden interests and purposeful agendas, I explain why.

The other day a TV commercial from more than 30 years ago popped into my head. It was a humorous slice-of-life scene in which a teenage son gobbles down a breakfast bowl of Sultana Bran cereal. He complains that his health-kick girlfriend had made him eat vegetarian the night before. His family eye each other with mirth as he eats.

The punch line? “Don’t mention it’s healthy and they’ll eat it by the boxful.”

sultana_bran_ad_1990.jpg The Kellogg's Sultana Bran TV commercial from 1990.

Despite having worked in advertising research for years, I’m sure I hadn’t thought of this ad for at least a couple of decades. So what brought this vignette suddenly to mind?

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Filibuster | Flip-flop | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Euthanasia | Belgium | Catholic Church | Catholic

 

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Posted on Saturday 13th March 2021 at 11:57pm

Anti-VAD campaigners have caused themselves further major embarrassment by repeatedly cherry-picking statistics to try and establish a case that the full data conflicts with.

Here we go again. Branca van der Linden of Catholic anti-VAD website “HOPE”, and the Australian Care Alliance — endorsed by a number of well-known, committed Catholic doctors — have just published more egregious misinformation against VAD. This time they've collectively piled it on Victoria's general suicide statistics, recently updated by the Victorian Coroner. So what did they say, and how did it misrepresent the actual situation? Let's take a look.

The reason the statistics are being discussed is because in 2017, Victoria's parliament legalised voluntary assisted dying (VAD) for the terminally ill. The law came into effect halfway through 2019, and 2020 was the first full year of its operation.

Australian Care Alliance gets the basics wrong

Here's the Australian Care Alliance's (ACA) splashy page trumpeting that Victoria's suicide rate has jumped 21.2% from 694 in 2017 to 842 in 2020.

Keywords: Bull | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Branka van der Linden | Religion | Catholic | Statistics | Rhetoric | Rhetoric: Suicide

 

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Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020 at 11:19pm

The latest media release from the Australian Christian Lobby against voluntary assisted dying (VAD) law reform exposes the soft underbelly of their desperation -- headlining their argument with a bullshit anecdote.

"Bullshit!"

That was the reaction of Dutch Senator Erik Jurgens when I asked him about a Dutch euthanasia anecdote spread by Mr Paul Russell, then head of the Australian anti-VAD Catholic front organisation "HOPE". In 2011, Mr Russell had been spreading the story:

"I often use the story of the death of a 26 year old ballerina in Holland [sic]. She had contracted a form of arthritis at this young age and her dancing career and dreams were dashed. An American oncologist who spoke later to the killing doctor reported the Dutch medico as saying something like 'One doesn't like doing it, but it was her choice.'" — Paul Russell, "HOPE" [my emphasis]

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Australia | Netherlands | Paul Russell | Religion

 

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Posted on Sunday 4th October 2020 at 4:13am

Swiss law allows assisted suicide with only one condition: assistance may be rendered for non-selfish motives. So has a significant increase in assisted deaths lead to so-called "suicide contagion"? I spill the beans.

Supposed Dutch suicide contagion from assisted dying

Recently, Dr Theo Boer, an Assistant Professor at a "black-stocking" (strongly conservative Protestant) theological college in the Netherlands, was at it again — criticising the Dutch euthanasia law to anyone who would listen: "don't follow the Dutch euthanasia law path because it leads to 'suicide contagion'".

I've exposed Prof. Boer's cherry-picked nonsense before. Astonishingly, he even ignores data from the Dutch Euthanasia Commission, despite the fact he used to serve on one of its five Regional Review Committees.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Belgium | Netherlands | Switzerland | Theo Boer | Margaret Somerville

 

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Posted on Friday 18th September 2020 at 4:47am

A recently-published account of a grandmother's death paints a scathing picture of Victoria's voluntary assisted dying law. So what's its provenance? I expose a trail of vested-interest backing, leading to a particular source. Hold on to your hats…

A friend pointed out to me an opinion piece published this week in MercatorNet that slams Victoria's voluntary assisted dying (VAD) law. Written about an elderly woman with cancer who used the law to die peacefully, it's an angry diatribe written by the woman’s granddaughter-in-law: one Mrs Madeleine Dugdale.

Update 21-Sep-2020

Mrs Madeleine Dugdale's article has been withdrawn from MercatorNet without explanation. Here's a screenshot of the original.

dugdalegranscreenshot620.jpg

And this is Mrs Dougdale's "about" page after the article was withdrawn.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Filibuster | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Australia | Religion | Catholic | Claim response | Legislation | Rhetoric | Rhetoric: Suicide | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Tuesday 15th September 2020 at 12:42am

If you're wondering how religious the organised opposition to voluntary assisted dying (VAD) law reform is, current ructions in Tasmania provide a marvellous petri dish of evidence.

If you're wondering how religious the organised opposition to voluntary assisted dying (VAD) law reform is, current ructions in Tasmania provide a marvellous petri dish of evidence.

Catholic church call to arms

Back in 2011, the now Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, wrote a lengthy, deliberative editorial against VAD, calling on the church to enlist people with no obvious religious connections to help the church fight VAD law reform. He wrote:

“The man or woman in the street … may well be open to persuasion that permissive laws and practices cannot be effectively narrowed to such circumstances”; and

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Filibuster | Flip-flop | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia

 

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Posted on Sunday 30th August 2020 at 9:13pm

Hobart Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous makes a number of incorrect representations about voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in his recent Talking Points article (Hobart Mercury 23rd Aug). And, most of his own flock disagree with his opposed stance.

Hobart Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous makes a number of incorrect representations about voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in his recent Talking Points article (Hobart Mercury 23rd Aug). And, most of his own flock disagree with his opposed stance.

Let's take a look at the facts, and the Archbishop's 'alternatives'.

NOTE: While The Hobart Mercury published Archbishop Porteous' arguments, they declined to publish this rebuttal.

Key points

  1. Archbishop Porteous wrongly equates VAD with general suicide and insinuates they are lonely deaths when they aren't.
  2. He claims that palliative care can always help, when palliative care peak bodies clearly state that it can't.
  3. He insensitively co-opts Covid-19 victims and their families into his arguments, despite them having nothing to do with VAD.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Australia | Tasmania | ANZSPM | Palliative Care Australia (PCA) | Religion | Catholic | Rhetoric: Palliative care can always help | Rhetoric: Suicide | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Friday 21st June 2019 at 10:00pm

The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney has released a grotesque and appalling video that blatantly misrepresents Belgium's non-voluntary euthanasia practices as being 'caused' by their voluntary assisted dying law. They're not.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney has released a video which blatantly misrepresents scholarly research about non-voluntary euthanasia practices in Belgium. The lead author of the peer-reviewed research has slammed the video as "cherry-picked", "scaremongering" and "appalling". His full statement about the video appears below.

 

Watch the 1 minute video here.

 

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Non-voluntary euthanasia (NVE) | Australia | Belgium | Catholic | Claim response | Rhetoric: Slippery slope

 

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Posted on Wednesday 10th April 2019 at 8:39pm

HOPE’s Director, Branka van der Linden, is at it again, foisting more misleading information on unwilling members of Parliament. I expose the rot and provide some background on Mrs van der Linden.

HOPE’s Director, Branka van der Linden, is at it again, foisting more misleading information about voluntary assisted dying (VAD) on unwilling members of Parliament. I expose the rot and provide some background on Mrs van der Linden.

Van der Linden’s latest email to all WA MPs states:

Subject: WA Report relies on troubling Belgian study

 
[MP Salutation] --

Did you know that a study showing that one person in Belgium is euthanised every three days without their explicit consent also found that:

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Faith | Australia | Anthony Fisher | Paul Kelly | Paul Russell | Alex Schadenberg | Margaret Somerville | Branka van der Linden | Religion | Catholic | Claim response | Legislative reform | Lobbying: Opponents | Statistics | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Tuesday 2nd April 2019 at 7:23pm

Anti-assisted-dying ginger group 'HOPE' continues to pedal egregious misinformation to politicians considering law reform: this time to Western Australian MPs.

The Catholic-backed anti-assisted-dying ginger group, HOPE, was represented for years by Paul Russell. He's retired and Branka van der Linden is now at the helm. But its penchant for pedaling egregious misinformation hasn't changed. Van der Linden recently sent an email to all WA members of parliament, containing three points.

Van der Linden's email reads:

 

Dear [MP salutation],

Did you know that the WA majority report that recommended assisted suicide for WA either dismissed or failed to report on the following statistics?

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Belgium | Netherlands | Oregon | Branka van der Linden | Claim response | Legislative reform | Statistics | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Monday 1st April 2019 at 9:59pm

Revealed – how Dutch ethicist Theo Boer uses smoke and mirrors to suggest assisted dying is out of control in the Netherlands, and a possible explanation why.

In my most recent article in the Journal of Assisted Dying, I forensically analyse Dutch ethicist Professor Theo Boer’s 2017 paper purporting to find suicide contagion from assisted dying in the Netherlands. It doesn’t go well for Professor Boer, to put it mildly. You can find the full article here.


I also find an astonishing coincidence that occurred in 2014, the year Boer went feral against the Dutch euthanasia law.

Multiple fatal flaws


Keywords: Bull | Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Flip-flop | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Euthanasia | Belgium | Netherlands | Article review | Claim response | Lobbying: Opponents | Statistics | Rhetoric: Suicide 'contagion'

 

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Posted on Sunday 25th November 2018 at 9:03pm

The Canadian Medical Association has quit the World Medical Association over assisted dying and plagiarism.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has quit the World Medical Association (WMA) over assisted dying and plagiarism.

The WMA has long held that assisted dying is unethical and must be condemned by the medical profession, despite a significant proportion of contemporary doctors believing it to be a valid and ethical option in restricted circumstances.

Assisted dying is lawful in Canada, where it is called Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).

Keywords: Fearmonger | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Canada | Catholic | Rhetoric

 

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Posted on Saturday 11th August 2018 at 11:33pm

In this week's Senate debate, misinformation about indigenous Territorians' attitudes toward lawful assisted dying will abound. Senators should reject such rubbish.

In 1996 the Northern Territory Rights of the Terminally Ill Act (ROTI) came into effect. Just four people had used the Act when seven months later an Act of the Federal Parliament extinguished the NT law, by cancelling the Territories’ authority to enact it.


This week, the Senate [federal parliament] debates the Restoring Territory Rights (Assisted Suicide Legislation) Bill, sponsored by libertarian Senator David Leyonhjelm. If the Bill passes both houses, the Territories will again have the authority to legislate the matter of assisted dying.


Opponents of lawful assisted dying have been sharpening their knives to ensure that Senator Leyonhjelm’s Bill fails and that Territorians remain second-class citizens. In this post I expose one of the desperate and disgraceful pieces of misinformation opponents use to try and curry fear about law reform.

Opponent signals


There are signals from many quarters that assisted dying opponents are dragging out the tired old argument that indigenous Australians are too fearful of assisted dying to allow reinstatement of the Territories’ legislative authority.


The signals are clear, though so far mostly behind the scenes. Nevertheless, they predict a full onslaught of invalid “fear” claims in the parliamentary debate this week.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Filibuster | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Australia | Australian Capital Territory | Northern Territory | Religion | Catholic | Legislative reform | Lobbying: Opponents | Statistics | Rhetoric

 

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Posted on Friday 13th October 2017 at 10:11am

Anglican and Catholic bishops seem to be going out of their way to alienate their constituencies over social policy law reforms.

Anglican and Catholic bishops seem to be going out of their way to alienate their constituencies, including in respect of voluntary assisted dying and marriage equality law reform. As a result, the writing on the wall is writ large for the continued decline of religion in Australia.

Many Australian clerics are trying their hardest to foil Parliamentary attempts to drag Australia into the 21st century on social policy. They seem to care little for the ongoing demise of their own constituencies.


Religion declining since the 1960s


Keywords: Fearmonger | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | New South Wales | Victoria | Catholic Church | Religion | Christian | Anglican/Church of England/Episcopal

 

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Posted on Thursday 12th October 2017 at 1:50am

I challenge the latest religious right commentators opposing Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill to skip the flip-flopping and engage constructively.

I challenge the latest religious right commentators opposing Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill to skip the flip-flopping and engage constructively.

They’re at it again. This time it’s the religious right’s latest ‘think tank’ front group, the impressively-named Institute for Civil Society. Sounds grand, doesn’t it?


But if you look into their lot in life, it’s to protect ‘religious freedoms.’ By that, they mean the right to lawfully discriminate against others of whom they disapprove, while at the same time arguing that they not be discriminated against.


Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Filibuster | Flip-flop | Fudge | Faith | Physician-assisted dying (PAD) | Australia | Victoria | Religion | Rhetoric: Killing | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Thursday 14th September 2017 at 10:20pm

I expose the misinformation and incoherent arguments of the Catholic church recently published in Fairfax media.

It’s very disappointing that Catholic theologian Dr Joel Hodge’s recent editorial in Fairfax media about assisted dying law reform contained misinformation: the same old tired and discredited story trotted out as though it's true. Dr Hodge also repeated an old and curiously one-sided (Catholic) examination of the hypothetical slippery slope.

Unhappily, the kind of misinformation that Dr Hodge advances muddies the waters and cruelly stands in the way of legislative action, which most Australians want.


Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | New South Wales | Victoria | Catholic | Legislative reform | Lobbying: Opponents | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Sunday 6th August 2017 at 3:36am

Victorian MP Mr Daniel Mulino's "carefully researched" minority report against assisted dying contains multiple serious errors and misinformation. He must withdraw it.

Last year, the Victorian Parliament's Legal and Social Issues Committee concluded an extensive investigation into end of life choices, publishing a report of over 400 pages recommending improvements to palliative care and for assisted dying. Catholic-backed Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (‘shoppies’ union) Labor member of the Victorian Parliament Mr Daniel Mulino furnished his own minority report, opposing the majority recommendation for assisted dying law reform. That’s entirely his right. However, his report contains multiple, serious cases of misinformation. He must withdraw his report.

Daniel Mulino, Labor parliamentary member for the Victorian Region of Eastern Victoria,1 and a member of the Catholic-backed ‘shoppies’ union,2 was a member of the Legal and Social Issues Committee that thoroughly investigated end of life decision making and produced a 400+ page report in 2016 making recommendations for law reform and regulation.


Keywords: Flapdoodle | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Australia | Victoria | Paul Russell | Alex Schadenberg | Margaret Somerville | Religion | Catholic

 

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Posted on Sunday 6th August 2017 at 2:31am

Religious leaders have the right to argue for their faith. But they deserve scrutiny when they put forward misleading arguments.

In Monday’s Herald Sun, Victorian Archbishops Philip Freier and Denis Hart, and Bishops Ezekiel, Suriel, Lester Briebbenow, Bosco Puthur and Peter Stasiuk published a half-page advertisement admonishing the Victorian government for its initiative to legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill, an ad similar to the one published by religious figures in 2008.

I have no quarrel with individuals of faith regarding their own private beliefs. However, the bishops’ attempt at public “leadership” through the advertisement is deserving of redress for its multiple fallacies.


The ‘abandonment’ fallacy


Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Religion | Catholic | Legislative reform | Lobbying: Opponents | Rhetoric: Palliative care can always help | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: Suicide | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Thursday 22nd June 2017 at 1:05am

The Catholic Church fundamentally flip-flops on its position between assisted dying and refusing life-saving medical treatment, regarding theoretical risks for ‘the vulnerable.’

The Catholic Church in Australia is reeling from revelations at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, of a shocking number of cases that have occurred under its ‘pastoral umbrella.’ Yet it presumes to tell the rest of us about the hypothetical moral dangers of assisted dying laws for ‘the vulnerable.’


To add insult to injury, it flip-flops on its stance.

Never mind that the argument is contradicted by evidence


The Church’s favourite argument — already contradicted by scholarly analysis that curiously seems to be of no interest to the Church — is this: if people are given the choice of assisted dying, they will feel compelled to choose it, coerced by doctors, greedy relatives or others; subtly or otherwise.


Keywords: Fearmonger | Flip-flop | Faith | Australia | USA | Catholic Church | Paul Russell | Religion | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Wednesday 21st June 2017 at 3:14am

More empirical evidence from the Netherlands contradicts Professor Margaret Somerville’s ‘suicide contagion from assisted dying’ theory.

I’ve previously published an extensive analysis of how Professor Margaret Somerville, of the Catholic Notre Dame University of Australia, cherry-picked her way through select data that seemed to be (but wasn’t) consistent with her ‘contagion’ theory from assisted dying to the general suicide rate. I provided ample evidence from lawful jurisdictions that comprehensively contradicts her claim. I also published the summary in ABC Religion & Ethics.

Yet Somerville still says despite extensive real-world experience to the contrary, that “I believe that my [suicide contagion] statement will prove to be correct.”

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Netherlands | Margaret Somerville | Catholic | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: Suicide

 

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