Woke is a word that has enjoyed a revival in recent times, along with a significant change of meaning. It’s a word I’ve used for years to mean the progression of arising from sleep, as in, “I woke up.” But these days, it’s become an insult that is particularly popular with conservatives, including conservative Christians. So, let’s explore the meaning of woke and find out if I really am a woke bloke.

How it started

Woke was first used by Blues singer Lead Belly in 1938. Lead Belly’s “stay woke” encouraged black people to be vigilant to physical danger. The word was then adopted into Black slang from the 1940s onwards.

The expression “stay woke” became popular on Twitter about a decade ago as a hashtag encouraging people to stand up for those on the margins of society, especially the victims of systemic racism. Woke was also adopted by white people who wanted to stand with their black brothers and sisters in their fight for justice.

Woke gets hijacked

But at the same time, woke was being co-opted by other white people as a derogatory replacement for political correctness. And that’s the way woke is mainly used and understood nowadays. I’ve had this sneer thrown at me a few times when I’ve stood up for marginalised people.

When I speak out for refugees or the LGBTIQA+ community (or any other victims of discrimination), I’m woke.

When I wrote blogs to counter some bizarre conspiracies at the height of the recent pandemic, I was denounced as woke. One Christian leader dubbed me “that woke pastor from Melbourne.” The word has become a condescending insult to dismiss anyone perceived as being a politically correct lefty.

But I like Merriam-Webster’s definition the best, that woke people are “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” That meaning describes my worldview and how I live and should define any genuine Jesus follower. So yes, I truly am a woke bloke!

It was just a couple of months ago when Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said: “Australians must guard against compassion towards refugees as it could undo the government’s hard-fought success in discouraging people smugglers.” [1]  I believe Mr Dutton’s statement reflects a faulty logic.  If the boats were going to start again because of compassion, they would have started when asylum seekers moved to the United States, or when kindness was finally shown to people who were in desperate need of medical help.  The boat turn back policy seems quite sufficient to stop those who are attempting to smuggle drugs, weapons and people.

I have never viewed compassion as something I need to guard myself against.  Compassion is required for the people held in Nauru, PNG, and other detention centres.  People sometimes ask how a holocaust could happen.  It’s quite simple – demonise a group of people making them “the problem” or somehow “less than human”.  From there it’s easy to treat them without compassion, in fact, we’d need to guard against compassion.  Such is the case for the asylum seekers held in Australian detention centres because we all know they are “boat people”, “economic refugees”, or “terrorists” who are trying to subvert our way of life.

What about children?

Right now, there are several children on Nauru who are severely or critically unwell.  Some of them are self-harming and suicidal.  Consider:

  • A 12-year-old girl who was taken to Nauru hospital after attempting to set herself on fire, an incident that was witnessed by other children. She has made multiple attempts recently to end her life.  Several adults have also set themselves on fire on Nauru, one fatally, and some children have attempted to kill themselves by that method. [2]
  • Or the 17-year-old girl who is being treated inside the regional processing centre after refusing all food, fluid and medical treatment. Three doctors have diagnosed her with a major depressive disorder and “resignation syndrome”.[3] A person who knows the girl said she had previously been one of the brightest and most articulate of the refugee children.  “Before she got sick, she was the best-performing student. She had a dream to be a doctor in Australia and to help others. Now, she is on food-and-fluid refusal and begging to die as death is better than Nauru.” [4]
  • Then there is the 12-year-old boy who had been refusing to eat for 20 days and was finally flown to Brisbane last Tuesday. The boy weighed 36kg and is unable to stand.  His mother and sister are being held in detention in Brisbane but are allowed to visit him.
  • There’s a 14-year-old boy with muscle wastage so severe he may never walk normally again.
  • And a two-year-old child whose parents are too unwell to care for him.

I read these stories and find it so hard to guard against compassion, but I’m trying hard Mr Dutton, I really am!  This week, Buzzfeed released the personal testimonies of one child and two young adult detainees on Nauru. I encourage you to listen to their stories and share them with others.[5]

What about families?

The descriptions of families being torn apart and devastated are heart-wrenching. For example, an air ambulance arrived on Nauru recently to take a gravely ill 15-year-old refugee boy to Taiwan.  After protests from his family (about being separated, possibly permanently) and concerns over his fitness to fly, the plane left without a patient.  International Health & Medical Services (IHMS) staff have made frequent requests for the boy to be moved to a place where higher-level care is available.  The Australian Border Force maintains the boy and his family have refused treatment, citing the plane being turned away at the cost of more than $100,000.  If you were in this family’s position, what would you do? I would feel devastated if one of my children were seriously ill and was being moved to a developing country without Christie and myself; a country where she wouldn’t know anyone and wouldn’t understand the language. But there I am getting all compassionate again.

What about the cost?

This year at least 14 legal challenges have been brought before the federal court seeking immediate orders that children be moved from Nauru to a place where higher-level care is available, almost invariably Australia.  The government has opposed each challenge, but each has been successful: every case has either been conceded by the government at the courthouse door or resulted in an order from the bench that children be moved immediately, a process that is costing hundreds of thousands of dollars all in the name of guarding against compassion.

These are just a few examples of the extreme suffering being experienced by the 117 children (and their families) still on Nauru, and all but a handful have already been recognised as legitimate refugees.  Our government should be very concerned about the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum beginning on September 1. “The Australian and Nauru governments are going to extraordinary efforts to cover up the abuse of refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru.  Demolishing the tents and providing new cars to drive around in, won’t hide the reality of the abuse that Nauru is now internationally identified with.” [6]

I hope the media representatives that get to Nauru to cover the Forum will also be allowed to report honestly on the devastating plight of asylum seekers.  May they NOT guard against compassion.

Please join Christie and me in advocating to get the Kids off Nauru.  Go to Kids Off Nauru to find out how you can make a difference, and use #kidsoffnauru in all social media posts.  Thank you for your compassion.


[1] https://www.sbs.com.au/news/compassion-can-undo-efforts-against-people-smugglers-dutton?cid=newsapp:socialshare:copylink

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/aug/23/nauru-self-harm-contagion-as-12-year-old-refugee-tries-to-set-herself-alight

[3] Children suffering resignation syndrome effectively withdraw from life – refusing to eat, drink, toilet, leave their beds, speak, or even open their eyes. They are sometimes completely unresponsive to stimuli. Resignation syndrome is a very serious state of withdrawal that traumatised children can go through when they are “overwhelmed by stress.”

[4] https://www.buzzfeed.com/lanesainty/australias-child-refugees-are-being-diagnosed-with-swedens?utm_term=.rf2qvVoW0#.oq4YNDa3p

[5] https://www.buzzfeed.com/lanesainty/young-refugees-nauru-mental-health-crisis?utm_source=dynamic&utm_campaign=bfsharetwitter&utm_term=.xdoa6xQjX#.jkB2kZ0vB

[6] https://www.sbs.com.au/news/mouldy-nauru-tents-replaced-ahead-of-pacific-islands-forum-in-cover-up-refugee-activists



Last September I posted a blog titled “The World is Getting Better.” In this blog, I made the following statement, In Jesus’ time most people were poor but over the centuries this has changed dramatically.  Since the economic growth of industrialisation the number of people living in poverty has decreased – and has kept on falling ever since.  The number of people living in poverty has decreased massively in the last twenty years.  While there is still much to do we are winning the war on poverty; the world is getting better!”

While we are winning the war on poverty, recent research has indicated that the gap between rich and poor is actually increasing. According to Oxfam, “The richest 1% now has as much wealth as the rest of the world combined.” Oxfam also calculated that the richest 62 people in the world had as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population. That’s 62 people having the same amount as 3.7 billion people!

What it takes to be in the top 1% is fascinating. If you have cash and assets (including your house) worth just over $AUD1 million you’re in the top 1% – the same percentile as Rupert Murdoch, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

The news is not all bad though. Other research shows that those in the middle and bottom of the world income distribution have all got pay rises of around 40% between 1988-2008. Global inequality of life expectancy and height are narrowing too – showing better nutrition and better healthcare where it matters most.

Oxfam said that the 62 richest people having as much wealth as the poorest 50% of the population is a remarkable concentration of wealth, given that it would have taken 388 individuals to have the same wealth as the bottom 50% in 2010.

This is not to be critical of wealthy people; especially when those who have more than enough spend so much time and money helping others. Bill Gates, for example, says he has no use for money beyond a certain point. And he means it. Gates has already donated $US28 billion since 2007 to eradicate deadly diseases around the world and he hopes to double that investment in renewable technology in the next five years.

In June 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett formally announced the Giving Pledge campaign. The organisation’s goal is to inspire the wealthy people of the world to give the majority of their net worth to philanthropy, either during their lifetime or upon their death. By December last year, 141 individuals and/or couples were listed as pledgers on the official website.

However, bridging the gap between rich and poor is not just the responsibility of the super-rich. Governments around the world need to take action to reverse this trend and make sure workers are paid a living wage, the gender pay gap is ended and equal land and inheritance rights are promoted for women.

This is also the responsibility of all people in the top 1% or even the top 10% – anyone who has more than enough, has a responsibility to help those who don’t have enough. The Bible speaks into this need to bring about equality between the haves and the have-nots, Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality” (2 Corinthians 8:13-14). The apostle Paul wrote this to the believers in the Greek City of Corinth about coming good on their promise to help those affected by the famine in Judea. Many of Corinth’s Christians had more than they needed and Paul is encouraging them to take some of their surplus in order to help those struggling with poverty. The same principle applies today. The purpose of giving and generosity is about bridging the gap between the rich and the poor.

One of the things I’ve done in recent years is to decrease the number of latte’s I buy. I used to buy one on most days until I realised it was costing me just over $1,000 a year. These days, I donate that money to help the 8 boys we look after in our Bayside Church Forever Home in South Africa. I encourage you to look for ways you can do the same. Maybe go without something so others don’t have to go without the things they need for sustaining life. Let’s all do our bit to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

If you want to do something practical to help right now, please consider making a donation to Bayside Church’s Home and Away fund.  100% of the money donated goes towards projects aimed at relieving poverty such as Matt’s Place (our twice-weekly lunch program giving a hot meal to the homeless and marginalised people in Bayside Melbourne) and the Forever Home in Johannesburg that I mention in the blog.  You can give on line by clicking on this link.

All donations are Tax deductible if required.

Australia’s former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, opened a can of worms on Q&A last week when he justified his viewpoint on gay marriage by referring to the Bible’s stance on slavery. In addressing the pastor who asked the question, Mr Rudd said, “Well, mate, if I was going to have that view, the Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition … because St Paul said in the New Testament, ‘slaves be obedient to your masters’. And, therefore, we should have all fought for the Confederacy in the US war. I mean, for goodness sake, the human condition and social conditions change.”

Mr Rudd was right – and wrong. Paul did say, ‘slaves be obedient to your masters’ (Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22). But his other statement was wrong. The Bible doesn’t teach that slavery is a natural condition. That was a quote from Aristotle (Aristotle’s Politics, Book One, Chapter five).
Mr Rudd was also correct when he stated “the human condition and social conditions change.” That’s true and is certainly reflected in the Bible’s teachings on many subjects. Over the centuries the church has had to come to grips with the fact that the earth is not flat, women are not second-class citizens, black races are not inferior to white people and the earth is not the centre of the universe. At one time or another all of these things were believed and taught by the church – and Bible verses were quoted in defence of these teachings.

So, what does the Bible teach about slavery? It teaches three main things:

1. It gives laws for the proper treatment of slaves by their masters.
2. It gives guidelines on how a slave should work and respect their master.
3. It gives total condemnation of slave trading and the trafficking of people.

Slavery was commonplace in Old Testament times. In the light of this, the Bible gives some generally good and fair laws on the proper treatment of slaves. The purpose of this was to bring justice and order into a culture that prior to this had been lawless (Deuteronomy 15:12-18). Consider the following:

• Some sold themselves into slavery (Leviticus 25:39; Deuteronomy 15:12-17); others were sold to pay debts (2 Kings 4; Nehemiah 5:1-8).

• Jewish slaves could not be held for more than six years and were given a choice to leave (Exodus 21:2). They could voluntarily choose to remain (Exodus 21:5-6).

• Slavery was more an occupation – servanthood with rights. Their religious rights were protected (Exodus 2:10), as were their civil and economic rights including the right to own their own slaves (2 Samuel 9:9-10).

• Those who came into slavery with a wife and children could take them when they left.

• Slaves who were abused by their masters were to be set free (Exodus 21:26-27).

• Protection of foreign slaves seeking asylum in Israel (Deut. 23:15-16).

• Whether one was an Israelite or foreigner, provisions were in place for the protection of slaves (Leviticus 24:17,22; Exodus 21:20). A minor personal injury, such as the loss of an eye or a tooth, was to be compensated by giving the slave his liberty (21:26-27).
The New Testament does the same. In the times of Jesus there were between 70 and 100 million people living in the Roman Empire, about 50% of these were slaves. The economy of the entire Empire was dependant on slaves. Slaves had no legal rights and were viewed as the personal property of their masters. Some wealthy Romans owned as many as 20,000 slaves. The New Testament authors wrote their books and letters in the context of their culture and economy. In the light of this, the apostle Paul gave instructions on how Christian slaves and masters were to conduct themselves towards each other (Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-4:1), and also to encourage slaves to seek their freedom if at all possible (1 Corinthians 7:21).

Finally, the entire Bible condemns the practice of “man-stealing” (kidnapping) as well as the trafficking of people for slavery (see Exodus 21:16; 1 Timothy 1:8-11). The Hebrew people were severely mistreated in slavery by the Egyptians and God acted decisively to set them free (Exodus 7-14). The same is true for more than 400 years of the African slave trade during which an estimated 15 million Africans were forced to leave Africa to cross the Atlantic to be sold into slavery. It was people of Christian faith, like the Quakers and William Wilberforce, gripped by the Bible’s condemnation of slave trafficking, which finally brought the practice to an end.

Today it is estimated that there are over 27 million people in the world who are subject to slavery: forced labour in agriculture, fishing, mining and factories, domestic servitude, as well as the sex trade. Once again it is Christian organisations that are at the forefront of working against this illicit trade. Why Christians? Because we are motivated by a God who, through the teachings of the Bible, has made it clear that His ultimate purpose is for the freedom of all people. May we work for nothing less.

I’ve taken the title for this blog from an article in this week’s BRW magazine. It’s a refreshing and inspiring article about some asylum seekers who arrived on our shores by boat and have become major contributors to Australian society. It’s an important article because so often “boat people” are typecast in a particular, mostly negative way.

The BRW article tells the story of people like Huy Truong who arrived in Australia on a boat carrying 40 other Vietnamese people in 1978. He was just seven at the time. Twenty-one years later he founded the gifting site wishlist.com.au with his wife Cathy and two sisters. They sold it last year to Qantas and he is now a private equity investor.

Tan Le also came by boat with her mother, three-year-old sister and 70-year-old grandmother. Le was just four years old. Speaking of the dangerous boat trip to Australia she says, “If you think there is any other chance of surviving in a reasonable, meaningful way, you wouldn’t choose such a difficult path and venture into the unknown.” People escaping the prospect of imprisonment, persecution, torture or death because of war, their faith or their race will take drastic action to secure safety for themselves and their families. I would, wouldn’t you? In 1998 Le was named “Young Australian of the year” and is now co-founder of Emotiv, a producer of headsets that read brain signals and facial movements to control technology.

Nathan Werdiger was a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. He arrived in Australia in 1949 as a humanitarian migrant and subsequently founded the Juilliard Corporation, one of the biggest landlords in the Melbourne CBD.

In 1947 Frank Lowy (Westfield founder and Australia’s second-richest person) was a 15-year-old refugee from war-devastated Slovakia. In a speech last year he described himself as a “boat person,” one of 700 who escaped Europe in a rickety tub designed for 70. He arrived at Sydney airport on Australia Day 1952. He was 21.

Each of these people expresses concern over Australia’s over-politicizing, and current harsh treatment, of asylum seekers. Many of Australia’s boat people, past and present, come from places where there is no formal queue to join. One of the solutions to this is for Australia to establish processing facilities in South East Asia where the Immigration Department could assess people’s claims and then re-settle genuine asylum seekers in Australia or other nations. This has the potential to stop the people smugglers who are currently profiting hugely from the illegal traffic of people and are responsible for the drowning deaths of many.

This would also end the current detention of people on Islands like Manus and Nauru, as well as the harsh policy of releasing asylum seekers into the Australian community without giving them the right to study or work. This policy does nothing to support our economy (in fact it is imposing long-term costs on Australia) and only causes further damage to those who are already traumatised.

Huy Truong says, “There’s no better way of humanitarian relief than to give people the opportunity to earn their own keep and feel proud about being a contributor to their society.”

Frank Lowy adds, “To imagine a better life for you and your family and to make the leap of faith required to leave behind all that is familiar calls for a special kind of courage.” Australia has greatly benefited from the courage of these four people (and many others like them). What if they had been intercepted in Australian waters and sent to Manus Island? They would have missed out and so would we!

For further reading check out:

How refugees changed Australian business

Boat People: A Christian Response

The first boat arrived in Darwin in April 1976.  Over the next five years there were 2059 Vietnamese boat arrivals with the last arriving in August 1981.  The arrival of 27 Indochinese asylum seekers in November 1989 heralded the beginning of the second wave.  Over the following nine years, boats arrived at the rate of about 300 people per annum—mostly from Cambodia, Vietnam and southern China.  In 1999, a third wave of asylum seekers, predominantly from Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, began to arrive—often in larger numbers than previous arrivals and usually with the assistance of ‘people smugglers’.

It is my opinion that the Australian public – largely due to media bias – are largely uninformed about this issue and are unnecessarily reactive as a result.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that, compared to the rest of the world, Australia’s boat people “problem” is relatively small.  In the US, for example, it is estimated that more than 500,000 illegal aliens arrive each year.  Similarly, parts of Europe struggle to monitor and control the large annual influx from Africa and the Middle East.  In comparison in 2010, 134 boats arrived unauthorised in Australia with a total of 6,879 people on board (including crew).  Though considerably more than the seven boat arrivals in 2008 with 179 people on board, in comparison with Europe and the US this is still a small number.  In the year 2000, when approximately 3,000 boat people arrived in Australia, Iran and Pakistan each accepted over one million Afghan refugees.  In fact, the burden of assisting the world’s asylum seekers mostly falls to some of the poorest countries.  In 2009, for example, Pakistan was host to the largest number of refugees worldwide (1.75 million), followed by Iran (1.07 million) and Syria (1.05 million).  These figures should help us gain a healthy perspective of the small nature of Australia’s asylum seeker “problem”.  The truth is that there are far more important issues that our politicians and media should be responding too and spending money on – such as health care, infrastructure, taxation reform and care of our aging population.

Secondly, the majority of asylum seekers actually arrive in Australia by air with a valid visa and then apply for protection sometime after their arrival.  In the last year illegal boat arrivals made up 47% of asylum seekers – an increase of 16% on the previous year, but still less than half.  In spite of this, political and media attention only focuses on those arriving by boat.

A Christian response to refugees and asylum seekers should be twofold.  Our first response should be inline with the Golden Rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).  In this statement Jesus is teaching His people to put themselves in the shoes of others – to be compassionate and proactive.  Have you ever tried to put yourself in the place of a refugee?  What must it be like to feel that you cannot stay in your own home, in your city, in your country because staying will mean violence, starvation, persecution, or death?  What level of desperation drives a person or a family to leave the home they love and pay big money to get on a dodgy boat in order to get to Australia?  How would you like to be treated by others if you found yourself in this situation?  Australia demonstrates its compassion by allocating 13,000 places annually to asylum seekers.

But compassion doesn’t mean we have to be a soft option.  Jesus also taught people to “be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).  We do have a duty of care to refugees – but we have an even greater duty of care to those who already call Australia home.  I have no doubt that the majority of those seeking asylum in Australia are genuine refugees, but I also don’t doubt that there are some who will not be a blessing to this nation.  Asylum seekers need to be carefully processed as to their health, safety and identity (not an easy job when many deliberately destroy their passports).  Only after careful processing has taken place should genuine refugees be granted asylum in Australia.  Those who riot, burn detention facilities, and demonstrate other anti-social behaviour should be deported without question.  We do not want to import people who behave in this manner when they don’t get their own way.  Asylum seekers also need to be educated on our culture and values so they can easily assimilate here.

The other area that requires shrewdness is in our dealings with the people smugglers themselves.  These people are greedy at the expense of the most vulnerable.  They care little for refugees; they care greatly for getting rich.  The penalties for people smuggling were increased last year but these increases don’t seem to be a deterrent so far.  People smugglers are bringing refugees to Australia at an increasing rate and somewhere between 200-300 of these refugees have lost their lives at sea.  More needs to be done – in cooperation with nations like Malaysia and Indonesia – to cut this crime off at the source.

This is a complex issue and one that is not going to be solved quickly or easily.  In fact with an increase in global conflict even more people will be forced to seek asylum in safer places like Australia.  We have a responsibility to help these troubled people; we also have a responsibility to make sure Australia continues to be a safe place for its citizens!

Recently Sacred Heart Mission Chief Executive Michael Perusco asked Opposition Leader Tony Abbott whether a government under his direction would continue with the Rudd government’s goal of halving homelessness by 2020. His answer was no.

In justifying his stance, Abbott quoted from the Gospel of Matthew: ”The poor will always be with us,” and referred to the fact there is little a government can do for people who choose to be homeless.

I believe that Tony Abbott is very committed to his Catholic faith, but I wonder at the wisdom of a politician quoting Scripture to reinforce reasons for political policy – especially when the Scripture quoted is obviously misunderstood and in reality, teaches the opposite truth.

Jesus’ statement, “The poor you will always have with you …” (Matthew 26:11) was spoken by him to his disciples who were questioning why Mary had just poured an entire jar of very expensive perfume on his head. This jar of ointment was worth more than a year’s wages. It was an extravagant act which some of the disciples thought was over the top. Jesus disagreed. That’s when he made the comment “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” In other words, you won’t always have the opportunity to do good to me because I’m not going to be around; but there will always be poor people whom you can help. Jesus is not teaching inaction towards the poor – he’s teaching just the opposite.

Jesus’ statement in Matthew’s gospel is a quotation from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy 15:11: “There will always be poor people in the land.” Reading this verse in context reveals that the Bible is encouraging us not to be hardhearted or tightfisted toward the poor, but rather to be openhanded and freely lend whatever their needs. This passage also encourages us to give generously to the poor and do so without a grudging heart. “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” This is one of over 2000 references in the Bible on the responsibility of those who have to help those who have not. The Bible teaches action to alleviate poverty, not inaction because there will always be poor people.

People become homeless for all sorts of reasons including mental illness, domestic violence and neglect. Right now there are over 100,000 homeless people in Australia – over half of these are under 25. Political posturing or misquoting the Bible won’t fix this problem. It will take a concerted effort on the part of all sides of politics along with churches, charities and social welfare organizations all working together to make a difference to those who, for various reasons, find themselves homeless, poor or underprivileged. Let’s not look for reasons to do nothing to help them!


The radio talk-back waves have been crackling with strong debate this week over a Sydney art gallery’s display of photographs by controversial Melbourne artist Bill Henson.  The 20 photographs are of a naked girl and boy believed to be around the ages of 12 or 13.  These photos have been seized by Sydney police and charges are expected to be laid.

The comments on the radio have been many and varied and this issue has obviously polarized the community.  There are a number of things that I find fascinating from this debate but I will focus this blog on two of them:

First is the call by Cate Blanchett, and dozens of other 2020 Summit delegates, for the Prime Minister to retract his criticisms of Bill Henson as they “damage Australia’s cultural reputation.”  And showing naked pictures of adolescents doesn’t do damage?  There is something even more sinister here when the so-called cultural elite want to gag free speech from those who disagree with them.  I applaud Kevin Rudd for his courage in taking a stand on this issue.  Political, church and other community leaders have a right and a responsibility to exercise a prophetic voice that speaks out for truth and righteousness.

The other issue is the justification of these photos by some people.  If a pedophile is found to have such images in their possession they are arrested and jailed – and rightly so!  In one interview these photos were described as “High Art” and that was used as justification for their legitimacy.  So the man or woman found in possession of photos of naked minors in various poses in alright as long as it’s in the name of high art?  The problem here is that we have a society where black and white are viewed by many as merely shades of grey!  That’s why I love the Bible and my Christian faith.  Some things are right – other things are wrong!  Thank you Mr Rudd for speaking out on this – please don’t let people silence you even if they do happen to be famous!