Obadiah reflects on language and elections


Original sin: “One of Queensland’s biggest hospitality companies had an ‘unconscionable’ workplace deal that legally allowed it to avoid paying staff penalty rates for two decades,” The Financial Review reports.

Reading a few pars down, the Fair Work Commissioner Jennifer Hunt says it was “difficult to understand” how an employer could have knowingly deprived many employees of penalty rates for so many years.

Call Obadiah cynical, but your columnist has no trouble understanding how someone might want to take advantage of others. It’s called sin.

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Reader feedback: should Obadiah use the words “conservative” and “progressive” to describe people for and against same-sex marriage for blessings in church? That is while writing news, with the old-fashioned aim of being objective.

Of course, objectivity is one of those lofty aims that one never reaches. But as a Christian, Obadiah is used to falling short of the ideal but continuing to strive. It’s the path of a sinner.

Surely, some readers ask, Obadiah could say “Biblical” to represent those with a conservative view. Actually, quite a lot of readers ask that.

That usage might be a winning argument if we were only being read by those with a conservative – against same-sex marriage – point of view. But here’s a rather increasingly inconvenient fact to take into account. Those favouring same-sex marriage are starting to use the word “Biblical” to describe their position. For example, in the slow-moving split in the United Methodist Church, progressives use “Biblical Obedience” to describe their stance.

Which probably infuriates more than a few conservatives. It’s part of an old game of church politics – of not letting “the other side” have any “good” words to themselves.

Obadiah finds that all wearisome. So he tries to use “conservative” and “progressive” to keep things simple. Better suggestions are, of course, welcome.

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A good reason to have voted Liberal: Obadiah is pleased to live in a country where his local Liberal Party candidate is a woman who wears a hijab on her corflute pictures. He seriously thought of voting for her purely on that basis. But it is a secret ballot!

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A good reason to have voted for Labor: Obadiah thinks the low-paid heroes of Covid, the cleaners and supermarket shelf stackers who turned out to be on the front line, deserve a reward. And although Obadiah knows that Albanese’s support for a 5.1 per cent increase in the minimum wage was quickly “walked back”, he thinks it was a good idea.

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The day after: On Sunday, we were all sitting in church with people who voted a different way from us. Unless everyone in your church voted the same way, and Obadiah believes that will be rare.

Even in churches that show up on the National Church Life Survey as 90 or 95 per cent coalition voters (yes, there are some) the presence of so many conservative parties in this election will have split their votes.

Yet we will have prayed, read the Scriptures and been exhorted to follow Christ. Just a normal Sunday.

Australia is not a one-party state for Christians. Unlike that other place with a House of Representatives and a Senate.

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Farewell Scott Morrison: The former PM selected Habakkuk 3:17 as the first Scripture to read to the Horizon church congregation in what he described as his last words as PM. He choked back tears as he read “Even if the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, if the yield of the olive fails and the fields produce no food, even if the flock disappears from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls (flicks away a tear) yet I will triumph in the Lord.”

It is possibly the most anti “prosperity Gospel” verse in the Bible – and a great one to turn to in times of difficulty.

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Slacktivism is a tremendous new-ish word that means thinking that online activism really will change the world in whatever direction you wish. A similar equally dismissive phrase is “keyboard warrior”. But here’s a way you can change the world, serve science, and make Australia better with just a few clicks. Go to Flutracking.net, and just like the URL says, help researchers track how flu spreads.