You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Monday, September 29, 2003

The media hounding of Prince Harry on his Australian visit continues. Yet another reason to abolish this gilded cage of an institution; it's as cruel to those born inside it as it is demeaning to those who aren't.

And please let the obvious fact be noted that it's not republicans who are making Harry's life a misery. It's not us who buy New Idea, Women's Weekly and the other magazines because they've paid the paparazzi big bucks to get the coveted money shots of this poor kid going about his private business. Diana didn't die in a car crash because she was pursued at high speed by republican reporters wanting her photo for the next edition of Common Sense. We want the royals to be treated the same as everyone else, for better and for worse. It's the monarchists who put them on a pedestal -- a very narrow, shaky and elevated pedestal with sharp rocks around the bottom.

Friday, September 26, 2003

WHEN CHARACTER WAS KING, AND THE MOON WAS IN THE SEVENTH HOUSE...Will the real Great Communicator please stand up? Skimming through various different blogs brought up, on the same day, the following interesting juxtaposition of quotations from America's 40th President:

Exhibit A:

"Ronald and Reagan and the King James Bible. A transcript of one of Ronald Reagan's famous radio adresses. In this address, Ronald Reagan, the great orator, eloquently gives his thoughts on the "Good News Bible" (also called the Good News for Modern Man and Today's English Version) in comparison to the Authorized Version or the King James Bible."

(Thanks to Boar's Head Tavern (again!) for the link to that KJV-only site.)

Exhibit B:

"I have learned painfully that some "idealism" is in effect a flight from reality... To show you how "over idealistic" my training was — I awoke to the realization (almost too late) that even in marriage I had a little guilty feeling about sex, as though the whole thing was tinged with evil. A very fine old gentleman started me out on the right track by interesting me in the practices of, or I should say, moral standards of, the primitive peoples never exposed to our civilization — such as the Polynesians. These peoples who are truly children of nature and thus of God, accept physical desire as a natural, normal appetite to be satisfied honestly and fearlessly with no surrounding aura of sin and sly whispers in the darkness ... I guess what I am trying to say is that I oppose the dogmas of some organized religions who accept marital relationship only as a "tolerated" sin for the purpose of conceiving children and who believe all children to be born in sin. My personal belief is that God couldn't create evil so the desires he planted in us are good and the physical relationship between a man and woman is the highest form of companionship ..."

(Link via Andrew Sullivan's weblog.)

America's first (and, so far, only) divorced President, whose wife had an abortion and who ran the White House using astrology ... hey, but at least he didn't use the Good News Bible or the New World Translation!

The president with three names of 6 letters each also didn't read any of the numerous rebuttals of Margaret Meade either, by the sound of it.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

WMD's - Wal-Mart's Marketing Desecration

Some might see thins as good news but . . . I don't think so. Sounds like peddling the word of God for a $1 billion profit

Wal-Mart Stores in the United States have seen the light. The world's biggest retailer has discovered Christian-themed merchandise is one of the fastest-growing categories around. With offerings ranging from best-selling books and videos including "The Purpose-Driven Life" and "Veggie Tales", Wal-Mart's annual sales from Christian-themed merchandise, which is estimated to already exceed $1 billion annually, is growing at a rapid pace.

On a company-wide basis, Wal-Mart now offers 550 different Christian music titles and more than 1,200 Christian book titles. While Sears and Target sell Christian music, neither have pursued the Christian product category as aggressively as Wal-Mart, says C. Britt Beemer, chairman and founder of America's Research Group, a consumer behavior research and strategic marketing firm.

"Right now, this category is not even a drop in the bucket for Wal-Mart," says Beemer, referring to the retailer's revenue of $239.82 billion in 2002. "It will just keep getting bigger and bigger for them, which is why Wal-Mart is looking at this as a huge opportunity for the future."

[Carrie Coolidge, 15 September 2003 (c) 2003
http://www.forbes.c om/2003/09/15/cz_cc_0915wmt.html]

PC vs Mac -> Culture Wars?

Strange how we like to view things as a duality between a dominant, overbearing insensitive "majority" and a fragile, persecuted, painfully self-aware "minority". The lines could be drawn almost anywhere - "The United Nations" vs "The United States", "Microsoft vs Linux" and even "Personal Computer Users vs Macintosh Lovers" have a read for the conversion experience of a Macintosh user at

From comedian Argus Hamilton :

“The Baltimore Sun said Monday al-Qa'ida suspects at Guantánamo are confessing when given McDonald's Happy Meals and Twinkies. Forget bamboo slits under fingernails and Chinese water torture. No prisoner can withstand the American Way of Life.”

There's another reason why al-Qaeda recruits might be keen on consuming Twinkies.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

You Know You’re REALLY Politically Correct When...


1. ... being a good civil libertarian, you believe that people labelled "criminals" by society should be treated with understanding, rather than subjected to vindictive, retributive punishment which can't undo the past - unless, of course, they kill or injure anyone who's burgling their house, in which case they should be hung by their thumbs to teach them a lesson.

2. … the last two articles you wrote for Cosmo were "Fred Nile and the Taliban: Both Equally Determined to Oppress and Disempower Women" and "How YOU Can Lose That Summer Cellulite!!!"

3. … you abhor the Christian Right because they want to impose their own religious agenda on politics, and also because their agenda is to reverse the achievements of the civil rights movement under its great leaders the Rev Martin Luther King Jr, the Rev Ralph Abernathy, the Rev Jesse Jackson, the Rev Eugene Rivers, and the Rev Al Sharpton.

4. … you believe that all nations should abide by the decisions of the world community, as declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations, especially where necessary to give protection to persecuted ethnic minorities and uphold their fundamental right to self-determination and land... you also think it's an outrageous injustice that so many Palestinians lost their ancestral homes as a result of the 1947 partition and subsequent Zionist occupation of Palestine.

5. … you can keep a straight face when you hear Carmen Lawrence explaining that abortion must be legalised or else women will be driven to suicide.

6. … you demonstrated against the WTO and MAI because, as an anarchist, you think international trade ought to be more strictly controlled by government regulation.

7. … you don't go to church because Christian religious ceremonies involve male-centred ritualised violence, and exclude women from participation … and anyway, it clashes with the World Cup on television.

8. … you kept lobbying for more women in Parliament even after Pauline Hanson was elected.

9. … you make the perfect guest for The Panel or Good News Week because you can pad out an entire hour just by repeating "Brian Harradine" while everyone falls over laughing.

10. … you oppose citizen-initiated referenda because "a government is elected to govern", and you don't want minorities dictating the elected government's agenda … you also think that after 300,000 people marched over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, John Howard should reverse his previous opposition and officially apologise to Indigenous Australians.

11. … you oppose the death penalty, even for convicted murderers, because killing is inherently cruel and degrading; you also want euthanasia legalised so individuals can end their lives painlessly and with dignity as a result of their own autonomous choices.

12. … you produce documentaries for the ABC's religious affairs department. Your last two productions were (1) a report on the tragic lessons of Hindmarsh Island and the incapacity of mainstream Australian law to respect the distinctive differences and traditions of minority groups, as shown by the "Secret Women's Business" fiasco; and (2) a report on how federal anti-discrimination law offers hope to the re-formers valiantly struggling for ordination of women against the tiny minority of anti-equality bigots within the Anglican and Catholic Churches.

13. … you refused to watch or rent The Lion King because it embodies obviously degrading stereo-types of Hispanics, gays and Blacks - and you've written angry protest letters to Cheech Marin, Elton John, Nathan Lane and Whoopi Goldberg bringing this to their attention.

14. … you send a $500 donation each year to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and another $500 donation each year to a committee of Hollywood celebrities lobbying to restore His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his rightful position as traditional leader of an independent Tibetan people.

15. … you volunteer to re-master old Elvis, Gidget and Mouseketeer movies just so's you can insert that cru-cial inverted comma between the two i's in "Hawai'i".

16. … you went to all the pro-East Timor rallies; you threw eggs at US and Australian military buildings and personnel; but, try as you might, you just couldn't bring yourself to shout the words "Troops In!" this time.

17. … you write to the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People in the USA and warn them they'd better change their title to "National Association for the Advancement of People of Colour".

18. … you've been campaigning for the Bible to be removed from school libraries because it depicts violence, misogyny, homophobia, rape and murder … you are also campaigning vigorously against censorship by those awful religious fundamentalists who want to deny teenagers their First Amendment rights to listen to rap albums by 2 Live Crew.

19. … you absolutely despise John Howard, darl, because you're deeply committed to opposing to all forms of prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination and that boring little Methodist midget isn't.

20. … you agree that no one should ever say the word "Negro" instead of "Black" or "African-American". Not ever, any time, for any reason, period. You also insist that Latino people have the right to speak in Spanish rather than English.

ET SIT FORTIA VOBISCUM “The Gospel of Mark has suffered its share of calumny over the years. As the first gospel to be written, it’s been shamelessly edited and added to, and the Gospel of Matthew is essentially a `Special Edition` ordered by an increasingly confident Christian Church, in which a few troublesome details are edited out, some chintz is added in, and Greedo shoots first.”

Comment by “Thrasymachus” (18 September 2003) on

Monday, September 22, 2003

<strong>"The Gospel of Supply Side Jesus" is a parody of a Jack Chick tract from a book by leftie American satirist Al Franken. Thanks (once again!) to the Boar's Head Tavern crowd for this link.

VALE SLIM DUSTY. Same week as Johnny Cash, too. (Trivia: What does Johnny Cash have in common with Vincent Van Gogh? Answer below.)

Some years back, for my sins, I was exiled to live in Canberra (for any non-Aussies reading, this is our national capital, a frighteningly neat and ordered mini-city where everything was built in either 1927 or 1972).

Now, there are many good things about the Australian Capital Territory; good roads, dry weather when it's warm (although prone to devastating bushfires), and the world's most representative electoral system (this title devolved on the ACT in 1998, when Tasmania's major parties decided that it was easier to keep Greens out of Parliament by cutting the number of seats per electorate than by persuading voters that Labor and Liberal had better policies). BUT the ACT has one serious problem. The good burghers of Canberra have no idea how to merge in traffic.

In other States of Australia, even much-vilified New South Wales and Queensland, drivers have a basic under-standing, an unwritten social contract of the road. It doesn't need to be enforced by the courts, because it already has informal sanctions attached; Let's all do it this way, and we won't have a car crash. The protocol is this: The merging car, the one entering the freeway or parkway or roadway, maintains its normal speed and waits for a slot to come along in the nearest lane (that's leftmost, here in Oz). In return, any cars already in that leftmost lane will move into the centre or right lane to make room, if possible, for the newcomer.

Sounds pretty sensible, huh?

Doesn't work that way with Canberra drivers.

Instead, everyone zips along in the left lane and stays there. And won't move over even if another car is trying to merge. Yes, even if there are completely empty centre and right lanes to slide over into. The newcomer has to come to a complete halt in the merging lane and wait until the road is empty.

The majority of Canberrans are federal public servants of some kind. It came to worry me greatly that decisions about federal government grants and my student allowance have been, and are still being, made by people who have not grasped the concept of move over a lane while you're doing 100 km per hour so that someone trying to merge at 60 km per hour won't have to slow to a complete stop.

How this relates to Slim Dusty is that I started trying to compose a … well, I'd never say a parody, but a song to the tune of his classic The Pub With No Beer:

"It's lonely away from Australia and all,
Getting hassled by youths at the Belconnen Mall
But our roads, they are wide; and the courts, they will vindicate us,
As we drive around Canberra in the Saab with no indicators …"

The second verse was going to end:

"We've got GET OUT OF JAIL cards to use, like our leader Kate has,
As we drive around Canberra in the Saab with no indicators …"

– but then Kate Carnell (non-Aussies: think that Romulan Senator chick in Star Trek: Nemesis who tries to betray Shinzon to Picard, crossed with The Simpsons' Governor Mary Bailey) was ousted as Chief Minister. Her present successor in that role – not being a parliamentary representative of the Liberal Party – has not inherited Kate's and her co-partisans' immunity from the traffic laws of this great brown land. So that verse is now functus officio. I had other lines but I can't remember 'em now.

PS: [1] Not that drivers outside the ACT are always smarter. You'd not believe how many have swallowed the dodgy scientific theory that entering a private car-park nullifies the ordinary laws of physics so that using indicators is not necessary; if you side-crash another driver who didn't realise you were turning, no impact will arise.

PS: [2] Johnny Cash and Vincent Van Gogh: JC was traumatised as a child by the sudden death of his older brother, named Jack. VVG was traumatised as a child by his parents taking him to the graves of his several (three, from memory) older brothers – all named Vincent too, and all of whom had died in infancy.

What I meant by "the world's most representative electoral system" (at risk of sounding like a total anorak) is that the ACT and Tasmania both use the Hare-Clark system of optional-preferential proportional representation in multi-member electorates. This produces the best balance between reflecting the voters' choice among competing political parties, and the voters' choice among individual candidates. It's not as minutely proportional as the party-list systems used in countries like, say, South Africa (where there are 400 seats so that if a party polls 0.25% of the votes, anywhere in the country, it wins a seat; if it polls 10% of the votes, anywhere in the country, it wins 40 seats, and so forth). But then these party-list systems usually give voters little or not choice among individual candidates. The candidates at the top of each list are guaranteed to be elected (much like Senators in Australia).

Tasmania used to have five 7-member electorates, whereas the ACT has one 7-member and two 5-member electorates. However, Labor and the Liberals in Australia found the voters had a pesky habit of electing Green MPs, which made it difficult for one of the Big Two to win an absolute majority of seats, as is its constitutional right. Solution: reduce the number of seats per electorate from 7 to 5, which raised the threshold for winning a seat from one-eighth of the votes (12.5%) to one-sixth (16.66666667%). No, I don't like the Greens' policies either, but if one in ten or even (at their best) one in six of your fellow citizens decide to vote for them, it's wrong to pretend that they didn't.

Friday, September 19, 2003

INTERESTING ONLINE POLL RESULT AT NEW STATESMAN ... This is from their e-newsletter to subscribers (which includes me, at least until I get purged for deviationism):

From: NS updates
Reply-To: NS updates

New Statesman - Monday, September 22, 2003 issue



Should the UN take control of Iraq?

47.6% said YES
52.3% said NO

To read your comments:

(The comments are at that URL, but not the vote stats, it seems.)

52.3% of NSS readers voted against UN control over Iraq? Of course, two caveats:

[1] Online polls are notoriously subject to manipulation. "Vote early, vote often" and spam the e-ballot-box. Maybe if an e-magazine were to limit its cyber-suffrage to paying subscribers only, you'd get a better sample. But then, how many pro-Palestinian people would pay Marty Peretz $25 a year for the privilege of increasing the "NO" votes in a hypothetical "Should Arafat be assassinated?" online poll run by The New Republic from 0.001% to 0.002%?

[2] Knowing the likely readership of the New Statesman, there's a good chance the bulk of that 52.3% were rejecting UN control not because they want Iraq to remain an American/ Coalition protectorate, but because they want Saddam restored to power now that the casus belli (presence of WMDs) seems to be "not proven", as the Scots (eg, George Galloway MP) would put it.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

I have just now received this e-mail FROM THE PRIME MINISTER HIMSELF!!!. I will keep you posted on further updates!!!!

Thank you for writing to me via e-mail. I appreciate the
comments you have made.

Although there will be no further correspondence via e-mail you
may receive a reply via Australia Post if you have supplied a
postal address.

My office may also take the liberty to forward your
correspondence to other government ministers for their

Once again, thank you for your email.

Yours sincerely

John Howard
Prime Minister

The Prime Minister of Australia said recently that no-one had said to him that they were upset that the value of their house has risen. So I wrote him a letter:

Dear Prime Minister

I am angry that the price of my home has risen.

Although this may have immediate individual benefit for my family unit, it means that corresponding prices for subsequent homes that we would otherwise been able to afford have also risen, at a rate far beyond our ability to catch up.

[... My] opportunity to move into a larger home to accommodate increasing family size have now been severely curtailed. We may be forced to limit the intended size of our family to match the size and affordability of homes.

What is the government planning to do to apply the brakes to an already overheated housing market, in light of the probable burst of this bubble in the very near future, to make homes more affordable?

Media reports of record consumer debt and the potential of even slight interest rate rises exacerbate this problem.

Along with thousands of intending and existing homeowners, my family and I are being compromised of the chance of accessing the great Australian dream.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003


"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing."- Edmund Burke, British statesman and philosopher

A must see movie for anyone interested in the life and
times of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. 5 stars
For further information and session times check out:

Village Voice review here

Looking for Nemo? Found him here
Thanks to Tim Blair for this link

“You Can’t Be A Deacon Without Right Doctrine”
You can’t be a deacon without right doctrine
You can’t be a deacon without right doctrine
There are heretics in many a church, but none in mine
You can’t be a deacon without right doctrine

"Dr Mulder, who is an ordained Presbyterian minister, is a member of the Presbytery of Transylvania ..."

No, not an Onion spoof or an X-Files pastiche or even a LarkNews parody, far as I can tell. US Presbyterians laying down the, err, [l]aw on sexual misconduct by clergy. Thanks to the Boar's Head Tavern for that link.

Vatican Official Praises 'Passion' Clips
Excite News: "'From what I could see of the trailers, it seemed to be an excellent film,' Foley said."

Wait until he sees the finished version!

DESTROJ THE RHODESJAN APARTHEJD REGJME!! SANCTJONS NOW!! Former Australian Democrats Senate leader Natasha Stott Despoja yielded to the bourgeois patriarchal institution of marriage a fortnight ago. In one of those historic ironies, the Senatrix's new lord and master happens to be named Ian Smith -- which will no doubt endear him no end to the various skivvied beardoes who gravitate to the Chippocratic Party. It's nearly as ironic as the fact that a decade ago, John Bjelke Petersen – son of former Queensland premier Joh – married a young lady named Karyn Fletcher.

Please feel free to add any general comments about the BLOG - colour, layout, design, features, content etc HERE

Check out Who wants to be a Bible Scholar?.

The sites promotes itself thus:
Names, dates and places do not constitute the animating spirit of the Bible, but without a basic, working knowledge of its contents, it is unlikely that you will want to reach for a deeper understanding of the world's greatest book.

One for Ned Flanders.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATION I took the Denomination Selector Quiz, too, and like the good Father I also came out as Orthodox Presbyterian. It's an interesting exercise (although one of my Catholic friends was a bit askance at the suggestion that you choose your doctrinal beliefs first and then choose your denomination as a result!), but it has a few glitches that should be tidied up.

First, PLEASE fix the spelling of "Wesleyan"! (Yes, I'm a terrible pedant.)

Secondly, the list of denominations is heavily weighted towards the USA; in other English-speaking countries, the "rogues' gallery" on offer is quite different. For example, here in Australia the two main Presbyterian churches (one Continuing and one Westminster) are both very conservative. The Continuings represent that sizeable minority of Prezzies who opted in 1977 not to join the new Uniting Church along with almost all of the Methodists and Congregationalists. Because the new UCA skimmed off the most liberal Prezzies, the rump left as the PCA was a bastion of the purest Calvinism. Then, in the 1980s, American evangelists started planting Westminster Presbyterian churches in Australia because, for them, the local versions weren't Calvinist enough. Both the Continuings and the Westminsters dismiss their American and New Zealand sister churches as "apostates".

Likewise, in Australia the largest and most active Anglican archdiocese, Sydney, is very low-church ("Cromwellian", in the words of one miffed liberal or High Anglican priest who writes on religious affairs for The Australian newspaper). To lump Archbishop Peter Jensen in the same "Anglican/ Episcopalian" basket as Frank "Eminence Grizz" Griswold or John Shelby Spong is more misleading than illuminative. Denominational labels alone can be confusing.

Finally, the questions aren't always worded that well, or clearly enough to draw out the really salient denominational differences. For example, a better way to sort sheep from goats (so to speak) in views of the Eucharist would be a two-parter along the lines of "1. When we receive Communion, we are eating and drinking the body and blood of Jesus Christ. 2. When we receive Communion, what we are eating and drinking is no longer bread and wine." So Catholics and Orthodox would answer Yes/ Yes, Baptists and other Zwinglian Protestants would answer No/ No, and Lutherans, Anglicans and Presbyterian/ Reformed would answer Yes/ No. And Hugo-Adam Crowl could answer No/ Yes. [For those who have met Hugo-Adam Crowl, no explanation is necessary; for those who have not met Hugo-Adam Crowl, no explanation is possible.]

Likewise, "the Bible is free from error" is open to different nuances. Millard Ericksen (in his big tome Christian Doctrine) identifies three or four different "inerrantist" positions.

I'll blog some more on this later, hopefully with a revised set of questions.

I was very impressed with the response of Gladys Staines to her husband's murder by radical Hinduists. A model for Christian compassion? It would be hard for most of us to even see her point of view, let alone stand in her shoes.

Widow of murdered missionary chooses to stay in India
And finally to a special interview with Gladys Staines, the widow of the Australian missionary murdered in India along with their two young sons. Mr Staines had worked with lepers in India for more than 30 years, and was sleeping in his car with his sons, when a mob armed with axes set the vehicle on fire and prevented the victims from escaping. Mrs Staines has refused to leave India, remaining with her daughter in Orissa, where she's taken over her husband's work with lepers, and she's also building a hospital there in memory of Graham, Philip and Timothy. Read the rest

Monday, September 15, 2003

I put a google search button on just now to improve the functionality of this page for ME, as it is already my home page (vanity, vanity, vanity).

Now I can goofle all I want!

I have spent my day stringing and unstrunging my bow, and the song that I have come to play remains unsung . . . or words to that effect as I have spent the last hour playing around with the colours of my blog ... still not happy :-(

Here is a "Christian Denominator Selector Quiz" that i found interesting:

Christian Denomination Selector quiz
A® Selector
By Mike Hopkins

This is the place where you can figure out where your Christian beliefs match up with. This is the simple, clear, and accurate way to examine your beliefs and figure out which Christian denomination would be most appropriate for you. [...]

I came out a "Presbyterian Church in America/Orthodox Presbyterian Church"

Thursday, September 11, 2003

And I think I will get rid of squawkbox TV and replace it with haloscan - also a very cool looking blog utility.

Viva Blog!

I think I will try and change the look of my blog to be more like Mark Shea's Blog. It's really, really cool and sets the standard for the genre.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Matthias Media -- What some of you were: stories about Christians and homosexuality: "This book was the 'Australian Christian Book of the Year in 2002. Click here to read the judges' comments.

Despite what the secular media and the gay community say, there are many Christians who do not wish to embrace a gay identity. These are people who, because of their commitment to Jesus Christ and their belief in the Bible, choose not to act upon their same-sex attraction.

In What some of you were, edited by Chris Keane (from Liberty Christian Ministries), you will have the privilege of reading the stories of people who have made that choice. They wish to share their struggles and the way in which God has worked powerfully in their lives. Also included are articles which shed light on this complex issue from a Christian perspective.

This is a book for two sorts of readers: for those who are struggling personally with this issue, and are looking for inspiration, hope and encouragement; and for the general Christian reader, to be informed about the issues, to understand the personal pain and suffering of those involved, and to be equipped to help. The book also includes a discussion guide to help small groups talk through the issues, using What some of you were as a basis.

For a FREE download of the Table of Contents, Preface, and first two chapters of this important new book, Click here."

"Hellfire rains down as gay clergy debate turns into slanging match
By Kelly Burke, Religious Affairs Reporter
September 3, 2003

Two church leaders have gone toe to toe - accusing each other of violence, bullying and intimidation - in their dispute over the rights of gay clergy.

Last night, at a meeting in a Strathfield parish church, the national head of the Uniting Church in Australia, the Reverend Dean Drayton, was called in to address the warring factions of the Sydney Presbytery.

The row over gay clergy allegedly came to push and shove in the same church on August 12, when the Reverend Bill Crews, a liberal Uniting Church minister and 2GB broadcaster, clashed with a conservative, the Reverend Doug Clements, from the Wesley Mission.

Mr Clements claims Mr Crews bullied him and prevented him from reading a verse from the Bible, shoving him away from the lectern during the Presbytery's last meeting.

Conservative evangelicals are now demanding that Mr Crews resign as chairman of the Sydney Presbytery.

A letter demanding his resignation has been forwarded to the Presbytery's secretary, Peter Bentley, on the grounds that Mr Crews contravened resolutions on violence and bullying. Moreover, Mr Clements alleges Mr Crews has proved he is incapable of acting as an impartial mediator.

But in a statutory declaration, also sent to Mr Bentley, Mr Crews denies this version of events. He says it was Mr Clements who was verbally aggressive and insulting, by insinuating - through his choice of a Bible verse - that there were Godless men among them.

"I did not threaten him in a physically, verbally aggressive and violent manner in spite of being goaded into doing so," Mr Crews said.

"I will admit to being very angry at his calling some people Godless and letting him know it . . . [but] on no occasion did I threaten him physically. I did not shove him from the lectern or microphone."

Relations between Sydney's evenly matched evangelical and liberal camps have been on a collision course since the Uniting Church's national assembly passed a resolution in July that confirmed the right of individual presbyteries and congregations to ordain and appoint practising gay clergy on a case-by-case basis.

Journey: Clergy clash in Sydney: "Clergy clash in Sydney
By Journey staff
September 03, 2003

According to Kelly Burke, religious affairs reporter, in today's Sydney Morming Herald:

Two church leaders have gone toe to toe -- accusing each other of violence, bullying and intimidation -- in their dispute over the rights of gay clergy.

Last night, at a meeting in a Strathfield parish church, the national head of the Uniting Church in Australia, the Reverend Dean Drayton, was called in to address the warring factions of the Sydney Presbytery.

The row over gay clergy allegedly came to push and shove in the same church on August 12, when the Reverend Bill Crews, a liberal Uniting Church minister and 2GB broadcaster, clashed with a conservative, the Reverend Doug Clements, from the Wesley Mission.

Mr Clements claims Mr Crews bullied him and prevented him from reading a verse from the Bible, shoving him away from the lectern during the Presbytery's last meeting."

Father McKenzie, writing the words
of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near
Look at him working, darning his socks
in the night when there's nobody there
What does he care