Joe Hockey

The Amazing Joe Hockey Movement

The Amazing Joel Hockey Movement is a Christian Comedy Folk band/singer. I thought he was funny when I was in high school – I confess I haven’t listened to him much since…

The Amazing Joe Hockey Movement is the series of responses around the blogosphere to Joe Hockey’s vaguely stupid defence of the notion of Christianity in a speech to the Sydney Institute that was published in extract form in the Sydney Morning Herald the other day. It’s received a fair bit of press coverage. With speculation that he was using this speech to round out his character in order to one day make a leadership push.

The backbone of this speech is the idea that somehow the best place to learn about God is not the church – who take things all too literally – but the vibe. It’s mabo. It’s the serenity. It’s stupid.

The notion that somehow Jesus would be unhappy with the idea of people taking the Bible seriously – which he seemed to do throughout his life – is preposterous. It comes from some sort of social superiority complex that for some reason believes that we’re much more enlightened than those who came before us, and that we can stand in judgment on thousands of years of backwards thinking.

I read an annoyingly superior piece along this vein in Sam De Brito’s new “Building a Better Bloke” group blog. Apparently the idea that Jesus “wasn’t a Christian” should be profound. Newsflash. Jesus was the archetypal “people of God” – Christianity is just the way that concept has been branded since we follow him. That’s a dumb proposition, and it just gets dumber.

Apparently Jesus was not about restoring our relationship with God – you know, the “repent, the kingdom of God is near” stuff… no, he was about:

“These are the real issues Jesus was interested in: POWER, PRESTIGE and POSSESSIONS. He hits them again and again.”

I bring this up mainly because a commenter calling himself “the thinker” made this interesting point in the comments…

“In the same way it is the philosophies we as a culture evolve” – I have to pull you up on this one and refer you to scientific anthropology. This is a common mistake which we humans who accept evolution make all the time. We erroneously assume that culture within human society evolves in a forward manner, the same way as genetic evolution did.

Anthropologically, the scientific evidence is that human culture rises and falls more like a flat sine wave. When American culture crashes it can fall to the same depth as Roman culture when it crashed (or even further). There is NO cultural ’safety net’ for a modern culture which will prevent it falling past a specific level cultural level attained in the past. Also, remember that on a genetic scale we are no smarter as humans than the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, the Mongols, the Huns etc as evolution takes longer than 2,000 years to significantly improve human brain power.

I thought that was interesting.

Anyway, back to Hockey. While suggesting that Christianity should be all about style – without worrying about substance – he made this odd statement about politics.

“The trend I see in politics is one where personality is winning over the substance that should be at the heart of political life.”

Somewhat contradictory methinks.

For a more astute takedown of Hockey’s statement read this response from Phillip Jensen. Or the letters to the editor that came in in response, or Gordo’s response to those letters. Here’s a snapshot from Phillip Jensen…

But Mr Hockey’s expression of values, with or without belief in any particular god, scarcely defends faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus – the man who is God. Christianity, void of Jesus’ divinity or sin bearing crucifixion – is hardly Christianity. Such a statement is not extremist literalism. The cross, not the golden rule, is at the very centre of Christianity. All religions do not teach the same truth when the death of Jesus is central to Christianity and denied by the Koran.

He noticed that the Opera House is usually playing music inspired by faith. But his kind of faith did not and will not inspire such music. He noticed that members of religious organisations are nearly twice as likely to be community volunteers. But his faith has not and will not lead to more community volunteers. He noticed the decline in religious observance in Australia. But he fails to notice that it is those who take their scriptures seriously that are retaining adherents and growing.

There’s a “backfire” pun here somewhere

Malcolm Turnbull’s tenacious UteGate attacks were a serious miscalculation. It seems that it’s not a case of the public “not caring” about the issue – but rather caring that they had to continue putting up with an issue that nobody but Turnbull cared about.

He’s now a less popular leader than Costello (who has announced his retirement) and Joe Hockey. As usual, Peter Hartcher’s SMH analysis is worth a read.

Stimulus rains on cats and dogs

Apparently “literally hundreds” of cats and dogs will be receiving stimulus money inherited from pensioners who’ve died since filing their last returns. If these pensioners bequeathed their estates to their feline or canine companions and a tax return was filed the animals get the one off payment.

Joe Hockey is jumping up and down crying fowl (because chickens don’t often get these sorts of rights)… he thinks it’s a waste of money.

But really, the stimulus is only effective if the recipients spend the money. I don’t know if cats and dogs are renowned savers, and I would have thought pet stores needed the stimulus money as much as everyone else. If they go out of business where are desparate pensioners going to get their food from?

Frankly I think the money that went to pensioners overseas was more concerning – but I don’t really see how complaining that the Government is pumping money into the economy (via our pockets) is going to score any political points at all.

Passing Degas

Annabel Crabb reports on an uproar in Federal Parliament yesterday regarding the National Gallery’s purchase of a $1.1 million painting of a woman going to the toilet. It’s by Degas. The gallery bought it at an auction. In the interests of protecting any prudish readers I have painted clothes onto her to include her here.

degas1

In the real thing she’s not wearing any clothes. Seems a little tasteless to me. The opposition seized on the opposition to slam the Government for the national institution’s decision to purchase the painting rather than using the money to create jobs (some of the money came from taxpayers, most from benefactors).

Line of the day:

“”It’s not as if this is Blue Poles. It’s Yellow Pools!” protested one Opposition tactician, believed to be Joe Hockey.”

So should the Government be spending money on foreign art? Aren’t Australian artists going hungry? This could have fed twenty artists in Australia for a year – and paid for 20 paintings.

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