Preachers in schools? Not cool! #100daysofblogging #day17

$250 million school chaplains program is not about helping struggling kids. If it were about helping kids, they wouldn’t have banned secular social workers from participating. Chaplains are not necessarily trained and qualified to help vulnerable, struggling kids, and are especially unprepared for helping with kids from minority cultures who are the most likely to be in need of help.

The policy is little more than the Liberal Party scratching the backs of their friends in the church, who see this as a prime opportunity to indoctrinate and recruit some ‘young blood’ to their aging institutions.

Why exactly the Liberal Party believe it is a good idea to give preachers special access to our school kids, I’m unsure. Even the Liberal Party’s own ‘Commission of Audit’ disagreed with the notion.

Personally I think it absurd to put ‘Chaplains’ in public schools, and here’s 5 reasons why: Continue reading Preachers in schools? Not cool! #100daysofblogging #day17

Dealing with death (and other wonderful thoughts)

I gave the title a little colour, but this really is a post about dealing with death. Recently I have had reason to think a lot about death, though it has never really been far from my mind in recent years.

When I was about 12 one of my favourite uncles died, then my best friends father (my basketball coach) during my final year of high school. There was a break then, for 6 longs years until I lost 2 of my friends from high school in just 2 years, both of them best friends, both of them to suicide. Around the same time my grandfather, after receiving a lung transplant and living an extra year and then some, succumbed to emphysema.

These deaths all register as major events in my life and all came with various degrees of grief and resulting personality shifts. But the impact of those was dwarfed by what I experienced when my 19 year old cousin Jessica Rose Joss was taken away from us in a car accident. That one is still hard to even talk about. She was so young and full of energy and life and for that to be extinguished is heartbreaking.

And I guess that’s what I am getting at here. Dealing with death is heartbreaking. Everyone has a different way of dealing with it and none of them are particularly pretty. Continue reading Dealing with death (and other wonderful thoughts)

Religious extremism on the rise in post-Saddam Iraq

The rise of religious extremism in Iraq is a result of the US-lead invasion in 2003. In dire times it is not uncommon for people to turn to religion and extremist groups who knew this used Anti-US sentiments to gain support in Iraq after Saddam’s fall.

Extremists groups crossed the border from Iran (the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq // “Badr Corps”), Saudi Arabia and Jordan (“Al-Qaeda in Iraq”). Prominent religious leaders, whose strong stance against the presence of Coalition forces in Iraq had won over many Iraqi’s, began to envision an Islamic theocracy in Iraq. Damage caused to important religious sites also inflamed caused people to rally behind their religious leaders, who have become more extreme as the occupation continues. As a result of the invasion and the cunning of extremist leaders, religious extremism has thrived in Iraq since 2003.

Through out history it is noted that people tend to turn to religion in times of crisis and war as faith allows us to remain optimistic. This means the already deep roots of religion in Iraq became suddenly much more important during and after the 2003 invasion, providing religious figures with the confidence to speak their minds and promote their own motives. Irani religious leaders including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani provided imported Shiite leaders with credibility and support by endorsing the United Iraqi Alliance (Shiite Bloc) in Iraq’s first round of elections. Continue reading Religious extremism on the rise in post-Saddam Iraq