Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Religious Holidays: Time for a Change

*Pic: blair_25, Flickr, HERE. blair_25 says: ‘Christmas at Sunset: Christmas decorations in St Helens, Tasmania. Many streets in Tasmanian towns have such Christmas decorations.’

Australia is changing and changing rapidly from the country One Nation voters call ‘A Christian Nation’.

It is now something completely different and unrecognisable.

Within my extended family, I have a majority Atheists, two Catholics, two Buddhists, a token Muslim, a multitude of remnant Greek Orthodox and the odd C of E and United Church claimants.

Yet I know that not one of them attends a regular, religious service, a few meditate and some ruminate.

Australians every year take Christmas and Easter holidays, which are completely out of synchronization in the southern hemisphere of these northern hemisphere seasonal holidays.

Christmas is a remnant of the Winter Solstice and Saturnalia and Easter, celebrated the start of Spring, a derivative of a fertility festival It is now a Christian celebration of the reborn. Confused by the commercialization and the marketing of Christmas try adding in the real reason for Easter, the sale of Chocolate eggs. Even in ‘Christian’ Australia these holidays have mutated into a sales and marketing campaign.

My query with all this started shortly before Easter 1986, when as a new publican of about 12 weeks at Knopwoods in Salamanca, the State Licensing inspectors arrived to have a serious talk. The biggest problem was that I was concerned with stimulating trade and was wanting to start Tuesday nights as Gay nights, Thursday nights as Pub Poetry and also was about to install a purple behemoth Italian Espresso Coffee machine, the first in a Tasmanian Hotel.

The very pleasant Inspectors reached the end of their spiel and casually mentioned that Easter was coming up and that I had ‘to close on Good Friday and Easter Sunday’, it was the law.

I responded with something they were just not expecting, ‘It’s not my Easter, mine is four weeks away, I was baptized Greek Orthodox’.

They stopped, looked at each other alarmed, challenged and both asked questions at the same time. These poor white bread, Anglo Tasmanians had never before had a ‘foreign’ publican, confused and dis-orientated the inspectors had assumed I was a Catholic, like every other Publican they knew.

‘But you are a James’, one said. ‘Yes, but my mother was born in Athens and immigrated to Sydney at the age of three in 1929; she married a 6-foot red head with the surname James and guess what, not one of her 7 siblings married a Greek’.

Out of the box, we were racing across the cultural divides as I explained that the religious Greeks still worked to the Julian Calendar and the inspectors and I had different timing for religious holidays. I stated that I was taking the opportunity to open on ‘Your’ Good Friday and ‘Your’ Easter Sunday.

The following week I was contacted by the Licensing Commissioner and he pleaded with me not to open.

I didn’t open, mainly because when I arrived at work on their ‘Good Friday’ morning. Salamanca was empty, not one car, parked or moving, not a person in sight, quiet, silent, an autumn sunny day, no tourist, everything closed (as if there was anything else to open).

Salamanca in those days had no restaurants, both having closed for good in the previous weeks. There was not one business on the first floor and behind most street level doors were abandoned warehouses and rotting floors. There was no Ball and Chain or coffee shops, no newsagency or tourist traps. It was quiet, still and dead. Not a good Friday at all to open for business. I went home and played with my toddlers and spent the day, happy away from work.

The following year I opened, the good Commissioner agreed that I would not be prosecuted and happiness reigned in my multi-cultural world.

Yet the thing is, these religious holidays no longer reflect this Modern Australia.

I know that everyone wants a break, sometime, but wouldn’t it be better to rethink these and our Colonial Holidays.

The Queen’s Birthday is not even on her birthday; what is that really about?

Why can’t the Buddhists take the day off next October 7th for Buddha’s Birthday and go to work on Christmas Day, like any other day.

Why does my Muslim son-in-law have to take off Easter but has to go to work on ‘Eid? Why can’t my pagan neighbours dance naked on the winter and summer solstice, happy in the knowledge that they have all day off to digest their magic mushroom omelette.

My Hindu friends celebrate Diwali from October 30th until November 3rd, in 2016; why can they not trade this off against, a useless for them, Christmas Holiday.

Why are these legal religious holidays still happening, for what is to most Australians a forgotten religion?

It is obvious we are notionally a Christian Nation with the poorest attendances at Church during these religious holidays. Jesus, the real Christian children, are actually recognised in published scientific papers as the meanest kids in school.

My Mother once stated that there was not a day went by when she was at School, that one of the children in her family were not attacked by the ‘Anglo’ Australians going to or leaving school. That was the thirties and now, over half of our population have a parent born somewhere else in the world.

The biggest religious congregation in Tasmania is in West Hobart at our local Mosque, so many nationalities go there and we give them nothing for their religious holidays.

Let’s be generous and show our new communities that we are not going to let the mean Christians rule, and tell them when to celebrate; that we are expansive and welcoming and interested.

Show some love.

Tasmania can lead here and change the designated holidays, by legal means, by relaxing customs, changing the workplace and Union rules and working this out for ourselves. It can be done with some love and care and the sooner the better.

Australia is a moving feast, we are a dynamic nation, old but new, our food is a hybrid of new and some old tastes and so should our parties and celebrations be varied.

I like nothing better than to go to see the Sudanese dance their shoes off and the crazy Hindus know better than anyone how to have a good time.

It no longer is an Irish craic that gets me going but the sounds of Asia – and we are now part of Asia.

I look forward to the day we have a Buddhist Prime Minister and a Muslim Opposition Leader or maybe the other way around.

It is coming, so let’s stay on top of this and get these changes happening.

It should be a simple recognition for those at work to register their holidays three months ahead.

It should be simple for me to indulge my neighbours as a sign of our changing Australia. It should be simple for you to contact your parliamentarian and request change and it should be simple to enact it,.

Contact your union rep and your religious leader. Make it so.

*Greg James is a malcontent capitalist. He has employed (and fired) a lot of people and spawned many business opportunities for himself and others. Some have been wild successes and some abject failures. Greg refuses to accept that Tasmania is second rate, it is only the people who occupy it who are second rate. Greg is a self and state educated owner-operator. He has been Chairman and President of State and Federal organizations, has owned a gay bar, built a suburb and wasted his life hoping that others around him would see the light as he see it. His brain is addled, his motives suspect and age has caught up with a life well lived. He writes about himself in the third person.

• Rob Walls in Comments: With you all the way, Greg…take issue with only one small item of fact. The Ball and Chain was in business as far back as 1971, when I first ate there.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Lynne Newington

    July 30, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Not me; I have the strength of my convictions when I make a decision, put my name to what I say and take the consequences.
    As for Bertrand Russell….I was once in a similar position and said then jail me.
    I never went to jail and didn’t receive a conviction either.
    In one instance I set a precedence refusing to compromise myself proving might is not always right.
    But then we aren’t all made the same…….

  2. Len

    July 30, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    If you are a convert to an empire then you are part of that empire; as you describe it. That is whatever the term means. We all have both a personal and collective cross to bear and we cannot escape these influences.
    Bertie Russell said “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong’ but it did not stop him telling a magistrate who offered him the chance to avoid prison if he promised to “be good”.
    Russell replied “I wont” and served his time.

  3. Lynne Newington

    July 30, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    @41. Don’t put me in that category Len; I was a convert to one imperial empire and won’t have my name included in their failings.
    I’m with the Jewish faith on original sin, that man is born pure and in the image of God and sin being the result of his freedom, a condition of his moral responsibility and must be prepared to accept the consequences of his choices. Not like these ecclesiastics with their placating, leading not only their own but those who trust them to despair many paying the ultimate price to save the image of the church and its pocket.

  4. Len

    July 30, 2016 at 11:07 am

    The priests that follow the empire builders! “Go ye unto all the world” certainly caused some serious human problems; although from place to place they did both good and bad and that is the fault of us all. Mankind has a conversion streak in it that might be taken as an original sin. Um! Shall we say defect. It is perhaps a mistake to take ourselves too seriously and a greater to take other people at all seriously.
    If we look at the dreadful power wielded by human associations in all their complexities we realise that we are all as individuals priests and we all wear an invisible vestment. Most tend to hide it the ordained and declared wear it so to speak on their sleeves.

  5. abs

    July 30, 2016 at 1:00 am

    you knew Bertrand Russel?
    wow, impressive! genuine.

    i play with real coins as well, len. good to know we are both evolutionally primed in that department.

    “Faith and religion are not solely responsible for pain and suffering, they must carry the burden of their sins along with every other human activity, including that of all human beings in all callings and in all ages. ”

    I agree broadly. we would, however, differ on whether religion and faith are on a par with all other human activities in terms of carrying the burden of their sins. not all other human activities carry such a power and reach, to those in control of the message.

    Whilst religion and faith are not the power corruption that infests them, they turn a blind eye to the benefit they reap, hey?

  6. Len

    July 29, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Most coins have two sides, and there is evil and good in all human activity. I play with real coins because I am not dishonest enough to play any game with a double header. As a young lad I knew Bertrand R who was known for making some very deep and profound statements out of the blue in after dinner conversation. Many of which started some very deep discussions. Once I heard him say “As an acknowledged expert you must not take me too seriously. I have many answers that await questions and many questions that await answers.” Bernard Shaw replied with one of his quick verbal retorts “Bertie, I can answer all of your questions if you promise not to bother my answers with unanswerable questions.”
    One is not at all interested in disproving God and one has never tried the issue in either direction. “Presume not God nor yet the heavens to scan…..etc”. Faith and religion are not solely responsible for pain and suffering, they must carry the burden of their sins along with every other human activity, including that of all human beings in all callings and in all ages.
    Some of Russell’s observations were entertainingly delightful.
    “Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.” ..”The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt”…”Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”….”The tea pot is too often full of grouts.”

  7. abs

    July 29, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Len, the FSM (which you describe as “an absurdity beyond discussion”) is actually the most central starting point to discussion about ‘disproving God’.

    as stated it is a modern version of ‘Russel’s teapot’ by philosopher Bertrand Russell.

    you so glibly dismiss the work of a philosopher widely considered one of the 20th century’s greatest logicians. A man who earned a Nobel Prize in Literature.

    in your dismissal, you demonstrate what you accuse me of (having a closed mind). The principle illustrated by ‘Russel’s teapot’ and the FSM form a fundamental foundation upon which science is based, yet you label it an ‘absurdity beyond discussion’. that there, len, is demonstrated absurdity.

    i am fully aware that faith comforts and sustains. you seem so mixed up in the strawmen you have tossed about, that you have missed the fact that i have not disputed this (nor much of what else you have thrown at me, BTW).

    faith and religion are solely responsible for so much suffering through out history. to ignore this is absurd. no amount of distorted romanticisation about a bygone era can hide this.

  8. Len

    July 27, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Sadly one cannot debate anything with a closed mind. One makes no assumptions whatsoever. One is aware of FSM as an absurdity beyond discussion. One also asserts that if faith in anything whatsoever comforts and sustains people it is justifiable and justified. No doubt you could read Dawkins and correspond with him to greater advantage than with an open mind.

  9. abs

    July 27, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    len, you seem to have a wrong idea of parsimony. it is central to scientific method. it is not narrow, it is concise. but i think your intention is to project that my use of it means i am narrow of mind. conveniently suiting your agenda, hey?

    your accusation of contempt with perfect intellect are also wide of the mark. your writings here are equally open to this accusation.

    the flying spaghetti monster (FSM) is central to the debate point of your statement about there being no evidence that god does not exist. it cannot be done, as is the case with the spaghetti monster. the spaghetti monster is a debate tool, not an entity (although the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a recognised religion in some countries).

    I suggest you acquaint yourself with ‘Russel’s teapot’, as the FSM is seen as a modern version of this analogy used to “illustrate that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making scientifically unfalsifiable claims, rather than shifting the burden of disproof to others” (wiki).

  10. Len

    July 27, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    One hardly thinks “spaghetti monsters” form any part of a serious debate. One doubts that any opinion or concept not acceptable to you, no matter how founded on wisdom and universal experience far greater than that of any individual, could be debated with a fixed mind. It is case of don’t bother name with other suggestions when my mind is already made up.
    If you narrow “parsimony” keeps you happy, and where ignorance is bliss it is foolish to be wise, so be it, but you might allow other people to find their own comforts. Although they may be weak and beneath the contempt of you own perfect intellect that could not possibly be wrong.

  11. abs

    July 27, 2016 at 2:11 am

    len, it is your choice if you want to make statements that are not supported by evidence. …

    you have failed to answer direct questions. i see the more you are challenged, the more vague your responses become.

    parsimony in the context that i put it is about accuracy without verbosity. something your writings could improve upon if debate is actually what you are interested in. but i begin to think that you are not. ‘i believe’ is not a strong position to debate from.

    ps dont forget to thank the flying spaghetti monster, i hear he is good with handling fire

  12. Lynne Newington

    July 26, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    I’m not sure God would hold it against Mussolini either way, giving the Church the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven for binding and loosing.
    As for today….I’m not too sure he would be so condescending.

  13. Lynne Newington

    July 26, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    Yes Len, I did read that as a matter of fact but slipped my mind and I can’t recall the ad lib.
    Smart about dessecting the classicals, if they practiced that throughout there would be no issue with celibacy.

  14. Len

    July 26, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Lynne, 28. Should one acknowledge that we live in interesting times? There is a wonderful story about
    the Italian Mussolini going to heaven where he was greeted by a host of angels singing his praises and seated on a throne of solid gold higher than the throne of God Himself When asked why this should be so God replied “Because you are greater than I. I gave the people one day of fasting, you gave them seven. I gave them faith you have taken it away.”

  15. Len

    July 26, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Parsimony, some association with stinginess, restricted vision and limited embracement.
    Proof you want of certain aspects of my observations. Proof you want of God. Proof one may want of the assertions of many professions who discount what they cannot explain.
    When young one never heard of young people taking their own lives. Now we we have social nannys and the horror becomes not uncommon. Perhaps the old ways were not that bad afterall. People learned to live in the world as it is, to strive for a better world, and to think less about themselves and more about others.
    Yes, and Plato and all the great writers and thinkers in history lest I cloth greater matters in motely garb for I am the equal of Disraeli and all other men which thank God I am not like.

    28 Lynne, The point you raise is interesting. Michelangelo’s David is also depicted uncircumcised. He did not want to offend the reigning church authorities at a time when the Jews were related to Judas who betrayed Christ and was thus an enemy to the Christian message as they saw it. The church as you know actually desexed many classical figures.
    Possibly another example of parsimonious myopia.If you cannot explain it leave it out. We may acknowledge the big bang but we must not ask who lit the fuse.

  16. abs

    July 26, 2016 at 1:30 am

    len, are you, as i assume, of some faith persuasion ? (as your writings suggest). …

    you state in #25 – “The fact remains that there is no evidence that a creator does exist or does not exist. Perhaps more of the former than the later”

    this is the confusion many have. to infer that one needs to disprove a ‘creator’. without evidence that something exists there is no rational imperative to provide evidence that it doesn’t.

    the is equally no evidence that the flying spaghetti monster does exist or does not exist.

    in my profession of psychology we abide by the rule of parsimony to communicate effectively, otherwise it is seen as intellectual arrogance 😉

    i would like you to provide a source for your claim in #15 that – “Some so called trained specialists have sent more people over the edge than a cautionary tales from scripture.”

    big statement there len do you have evidence or is it just your ‘belief’?

    BTW, are you now comparing your writings with those of Aristotle??

  17. Lynne Newington

    July 26, 2016 at 1:08 am

    Hi Leonard; Athough not an historian myself I’m going by Jewish history albeit there be many and varied versions depending on the author……For me, sizing it all up, I stick to the simple fact Jesus was always a dedicated Jew following all it’s concepts according to the Torah circumcised on the eighth day etc…..I also found it interesting he is always depicted on the cross with a loin cloth in the Catholic Church at least, to hide his “Jewishness” something the Romans never followed through on even today “turning him into an honourable gentile” as someone once wrote
    As far as the Sabbath, what the church binds on earth is bound in Heaven, even to the changing of the Ten Commandments if you like to take the time to compare, so what’s a Sabbath between friends?
    Not sure about the Germanics you refer too..

  18. Leonard Colquhoun

    July 25, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Yes, as noted in Comment 26, there was an early change from the “Jewish Old Testament Sabbath to Catholic [Christian] New Testament Sunday”; however, this was mainly an internal Christian religious observance. The Roman year was divided into 12 months, and we English-speakers still use those Latin names.

    But Roman months had no further sub-divisions such as ‘weeks’; instead each month had three specifically significant days. One of them gave us our word ‘calendar’, another was immortalised by Shakespeare’s “Beware the Ides of March”, and the third – do you know it?

    But “and mainline religions following suit throughout history” – I don’t think so, and any insinuation of Christian brand-imperialism is unwarranted here. Link – http://www.omniglot.com/language/time/months.htm

    Interesting that the Germanic languages (which include English, but with lots of tres bon extras) retained their traditional weekday names, and did not adopt Christian ones after converting.

  19. Lynne Newington

    July 25, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Interesting subject….changing of Jewish Old Testament Sabbath to Catholic New Testament Sunday and mainline religions following suit throughout history.

  20. Len

    July 25, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    You assume that I am of some faith persuasion since you expected me to pray for you. As for evidence and belief? What can one say. A near question came up from the floor many times during my academic career. The fact remains that there is no evidence that a creator does exist or does not exist. Perhaps more of the former than the later. In my world that which some might find “cryptic” would be considered educated. The already established foundation of conversation on which one might build.
    Was it Watterson who said that the surest sign that there was other intelligent life in the universe is that none if it has ever tried to contact us.
    That for which you search, although your glance is diverted when observed, has been sought throughout the history of mankind. Aristotle tells us “that the mark of an educated mind is to entertain a thought without accepting it”. No doubt he was somewhat “cryptic” too.

  21. abs

    July 25, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    len, you appear to be straw-manning again.
    what assumptions of mine do you refer your ‘intellectual dishonesty’ to??

    could you try not to be cryptic in you next attempt?? you may understand what you try and convey, but that may be where it ends.

    you do understand the difference between ‘evidence’ and ‘belief’ don’t you.

  22. Len

    July 25, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    No,no 22. One has no intention of praying for anyone. Debate is only for the open mind. Where ignorance is bliss ’tis folly to be wise. The convictions of my youth have not turned in age to bigotry. Your assumptions are intellectually arrogant even to the extent that you presume on the faith and convictions of other people. That, as far as this writer is concerned you have entirely wrong. The pot so often calls the kettle black. One may pity many including oneself, but alas, one is too well read to sow seeds in barren ground.

  23. abs

    July 25, 2016 at 12:58 am

    in scuttling away with that conceding non-response in #21, len, you’ve missed the opportunity to say you’ll pray for me 😉

  24. Len

    July 24, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    18. Dear me!

  25. Sally.

    July 24, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    The Ball and Chain closed in 1983 and reopened in Nov 1988, after being the Hard Rock Cafe for about a year in 1987.

  26. Rob Walls

    July 24, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    With you all the way, Greg…take issue with only one small item of fact. The Ball and Chain was in business as far back as 1971, when I first ate there.

  27. abs

    July 24, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    no straw men pls Len. making a comment on a blog site is little evidence of harbouring ‘strong feelings about religious clerics’. your claims that i think ‘all faith is pointless’ are baseless (see ‘straw man’). you will waste your time trying to put words into my mouth.

    the rest of you diatribe is just too vague for me to comment on (but there seems alot of that ol’ chestnut: …’in my day things were better….’. )

    although I will say this. religious institutions display the arrogance you speak of. they hold that their position is the right position. for me, i see the evidence. that evidence is the reality that the world holds more ‘religious’ people claiming to follow the ‘right’ way than atheists. evidence that most humans need to believe in a higher power to feel safe. i feel safe in the understanding that we are mere animals. more evolved than other lifeforms, but no more special so as to avoid the fate that awaits all other creatures.

  28. Len

    July 24, 2016 at 2:57 am

    One must suppose that you have some strong feelings about religious clerics and that you hold a belief that all faith is pointless. Typical atheistic point of view. A view that will spend hours fighting against something in which it cannot believe. It is throwing the baby out with the bath water and a view founded on vanity and self-esteem. Only arrogance supposes that it knows everything and that one’s personal opinions are the only right opinions and that anyone who has the audacity to disagree with them is weak or stupid or both. A view that puts one’s personal values and actions above all others. Somewhere in the Bible there is a man who prayed “Thank You God that I am not as other men.” Shakespeare might be more acceptable? “There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio than are dreamed of in your philosophies”.
    In former times we were encouraged to practice religion, in our case the Christian faith, because it taught us right from wrong and in general terms to do good things. We did not need
    specialised people at our schools, such things were out of the question. We learned the a.b’s and c’s of life from our parents and teachers, and perhaps sometimes the slaps ran dangerously close to cruelty, but they rarely really hurt us. Then along came the P.C. brigades who told us that saying no to a child would harm it for the rest of its life, giving it any form of a smack was cruelty. These people told us that The Easter Bunny was wrong,Big Ears was a child molester, Santa Claus was an evil lie and that all things that might be classed as part of our social heritage were a sin against humanity. So we have been encouraged to rear our offspring as objective God objectors, who can do whatever they like without correction and then we wonder why they are running off the rails of a law and order society. Under the old system children did not commit suicide and it is just possible that without all these social nanny people they might do so less in todays world. Perhaps in short, we have thrown God out of his heaven a little too early. The baby has gone out with the bath water.
    Perhaps what you call delusional thinking has a much greater value than you suppose. Perhaps in removing some things in our cultural heritage we have damaged that wonderful thing possessed of humanity called the “Imagination” and in so doing damaged our children.

  29. abs

    July 23, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    a lot of words there, len. most of it is a bit too cryptic. i do not understand you ‘nanny state’ reference

    if some clerics are ‘well qualified to listen and advise’ (i doubt our respective interpretations of ‘well qualified’ equate) then they could be employed as school counsellors under a system that is absent of any influence from rituals of delusional thinking about imaginary entities. you speak of danger, len. the potential for a child, who is contemplating suicide, being directed to a chaplain not possessing adequate training is dangerous.

    p.s. some scientists belief in creation/intelligent design. being a scientist does not provide immunity from ritualised fears of death

  30. Len

    July 22, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    14, One don’t take to the idea of a Nanny State much. It’s too American to be funny or tolerable. Some clerics are of course,well qualified to listen and advise. A surprising number are MD’s and professionally qualified in many different disciplines, can be found in the priesthood. Even some scientists believe in God. We seek on this weary journey that we call life, which is after all nothing but a sexually transmitted fatal disease, comfort where we may find it. Some so called trained specialists have sent more people over the edge than a cautionary tales from scripture. Making deliberate holes in the daily fabric of other people’s lives is very dangerous. When we have made them even with the best intentions in creation, other people fall through them. Best me thinks to let the fabric wear thin all on its own so that other people can learn to live on the edges all on their own.

  31. abs

    July 22, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    len, the reality is that religion affects society on so many levels when it should not. one prime example is tax payers (including atheists’) paying for chaplains to be in roles where trained specialists should be.

  32. TGC

    July 22, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    GJ should form an ‘Independent’Party and shoot for a Senate position in 3 year’s time then move for legislated changes to abolish all ‘religious’ holidays and replace them with as many- or even more ‘any name will do’ holidays.

  33. len langan

    July 22, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Why all the fuss. It is astonishing how much time and energy some spend on trying to destroy a God they do not believe in.
    If a faith, belief or tradition pleases and comforts some people why no let it comfort them.
    So much energy spent on throwing the baby out with the bath water is a waste of good holiday.
    When romance dies in us a little of us dies with it and we are all the poorer for that sad demise.

  34. Peter Maddox

    July 22, 2016 at 12:46 am

    “The west is founded on Christian beliefs and ideals” I certainly hope not otherwise if we are to follow the Bible we would all be into Genocide, mass murder, rape, pillage, plunder, human/animal sacrifice, slavery, oppression of women and child abuse as laid out in the scriptures …….come to think of it, you may well be right on the money there!

  35. mark h

    July 21, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    When the work of the Useful Idiot is done …


  36. Clive Stott

    July 21, 2016 at 6:10 am

    I think we should have more religious holidays.

    We never know when the shops are going to be open now on holidays so it would make life much more interesting!

    If we linked all our current holidays with more religious holidays this would be really good. It would take the heat out of any arguments that some workers get more holidays than others.

    Besides it would cut back on all the other days taken as holidays such as student free days, sick days, public service days, etc. Think of the savings.

    Think of productivity. There would be none. Right away all company losses would be reigned in.

    People could work out which religion they want to join.

    We could then grant a religious holiday such as CofE Day, Mormon Day, Roman Catholic Day, Scotch Presbyterian Day, etc.

    There are enough religions to fill in the above gaps.

    Rarely do people belong to more than one religion so that means people only get one day off a year!

    That should please the government.

    However, seeing we are an inclusive country there would be nothing stopping everyone else celebrating someone else s religious day.

    We wouldn’t be able to start our mowers or chainsaws until 10 o’clock everyday!

    Now that must surely be a bonus.

  37. Philip Lowe

    July 21, 2016 at 2:00 am

    I have just read “God Is so Not Great”, by Christopher Hitchens. What a fabulous writer and what a liberating read.

    All you need to read it is an open mind. It’s a cure for all of those silly outdated religious impositions, ie Religous holidays, Fish on Fridays, no bacon any day of the week, or pork sausages. Get over those mumbo jumbo taboos.

  38. Darren

    July 20, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Typical regressive left, destroying western traditions and ideals for the sake of destroying western tradition and ideals.

    The west is founded on Christian beliefs and ideals, and although the influence of Christianity has lessened over the years the lives we enjoy today in the west can be credited to the individualism and democracy promoted by Christianity.

    Why don’t we change all the traditional holidays in evey country to a combined secular calander of holiday’s? Why only attack Christianity and no other religion? Oh yeah, because of that white guilt, it’s ok to express sharia law but don’t you dare show a cross or a bible to anyone. All you progressives want to do is destroy western values, to pander to the most “oppressed” group, with your bullshit Marxist theory.

  39. Mick Kenny

    July 20, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Perhaps we could look to historical precedents, in places like Spain and Turkey, instituted by Muslim states, places where the expelled Jews of Christian Europe found refuge, for example.

    In the end, I agree that religious holidays are historical oddities sorts today, yet for those of varied faiths who do wish to observe such occasions, take time off for parenting, illness or bereavement, ‘paid’ leave is a hard-fought right whatever the basis. I hope we do not forget this particular historical milestone in ‘labour’ relations.

  40. Rossi

    July 20, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Totally agree! Choice of religion and its expression should be a personal thing and not mandated by the state in the form of religious holidays such as christmas and easter (take note Hansonites). The 2016 Census next month should show a more realistic level of religious affinity around the country with the new format for the religion question. The “No religion” choice will be top of the list and considered before the smorgasboard of inherited and adopted labels, including atheist. If, as expected, this choice outnumbers all others then we will know Australia is primarily a secular society, so should allow different groups to celebrate as and when they prefer by mutual agreement.

  41. JDN

    July 20, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Destroying traditions and family values for the sake of being progressive while bashing on ‘evil’ Christians while praising Islam.

    The mental gymnastics of the regressive left are pretty astounding.

    “Australians every year take Christmas and Easter holidays, which are completely out of synchronization in the southern hemisphere of these northern hemisphere seasonal holidays.”
    News flash, people prefer to take holidays during warmer months of the year.

    “The biggest religious congregation in Tasmania is in West Hobart at our local Mosque”- Do you have a source for this Greg?

    “Why are these legal religious holidays still happening, for what is to most Australians a forgotten religion?” Incorrect, over 60% of Australians still hold Catholic/Christian beliefs.

    I suppose you also fall into the crowd of people who want our national flag changed to get rid of all the evil christian cross’s.

    Why don’t we go as far as Swedens approach to diversity, and remove cross’s from all Christian churches and replace them with directions to the Mecca as not to offend the soon to be majority Islamic population.

    “I look forward to the day we have a Buddhist Prime Minister and a Muslim Opposition Leader or maybe the other way around.” A little off topic, but it’s interesting that some of the fiercest resistance against Islam originates from Buddhist communities around the globe, fueled by the instincts of culture preservation.

    Idea’s like Greg’s are cancerous to our Western society and ideals of civil freedom.

    Take a look at the UK’s recently imported Islamic population, over half believe that homosexuality should be reinstated as crime. I can’t understand the ignorance within the left to these statistics. It’s literally a step backwards in the fight for LGBT acceptance.

  42. Leonard Colquhoun

    July 20, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Utterly basic response: why TF bother? (Aka: who gives a shit?)

  43. Pete Godfrey

    July 20, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    It is easy to see now why Christian leaders just adopted other peoples holidays and changed the names. Maybe we just need to change all holidays to non Holydays.
    If all holidays were secular then any religious folk could call the day what they want. As you point out Liz wasn’t born on the day we celebrate her birthday. Not sure why we do that bit anyway, I guess I am not into cowtowing, genuflecting and grovelling that much.

  44. Jordan

    July 20, 2016 at 11:31 am

    * picture is of New Norfolk Tasmania, not St Helens.

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