Episode 150 features an interview with Meredith Doig.
We started with a brief overview of Meredith’s career and then had a discussion about The Rationalists and what they do and their objectives.
Questions for Meredith included:
Has there been an increased focus on opposing religious privilege in the last few years as opposed to debunking pseudoscience? The Iron Fist is biased but senses the encroachment into Australia of American style religious political operatives and the Tea Party takeover of the Victorian Liberal Party is a prime example.
The challenge to the Chaplaincy program. How did that come about and do we have a problem?
The need for an Australian equivalent to the American Freedom From Religion Foundation to take on legal cases. Freedom For Faith is a pro-Christian legal think tank and the new ACL leader Martyn Iles pioneered The Human Rights Law Alliance and therefore, unfortunately, legal challenges will be a growth area of Christian activism. The USA has to deal with the Alliance Defending Freedom and Project Blitz and we will probably have to do the same. Do we need to get lawyers like Dean Stretton and Luke Beck to form some sort of FFFR in Australia?
What is the state of play in terms of co-operation between The Rationalists, The NSL, (new leadership is Peter Monk (President); Janine Gebert (Vice President), The Atheists Foundation, The Humanists, FIRIS, QPSSS. John Menadue, Quilette, Marion Maddox, Catherine Byrne, Luke Beck, Dean Stretton, etc
Can we have an “Association of Free Thinkers” or is this like herding cats?
The Ruddoch inquiry. Did you get a fair hearing and do you have any predictions? Did Christian groups get more access to politicians and isn’t this a perennial problem? Newcastle Lord Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.
For an example of privileged access see this article from Eternity News “We are making progress in this important work,” Professor Patrick Parkinson told a Freedom For Faith (FFF) conference in Sydney this week. “I have been kept closely in touch with the Ruddock Inquiry. I have been kept informed by the Prime Minister’s office and we have been making progress.” And see this article from The Stirrer.
We need a lobby group. I didn’t think the NSL was lobbying but maybe they are. From their latest newsletter “We are ramping up our active secular lobbying in Canberra. We are currently negotiating with high-profile donors to provide sufficient funds necessary for NSL to commence our primary strategy — to have an ambassador and small support team to “directly lobby MPs at parliament house, on specific secular issues.”