God’s judgement?

Mackay based MP James Bidgood has been in political hot water for selling to the media a photo he took of a person outside Parliament House who had tried to set himself alight.  Graham Young has queried what all the fuss is about – a view I tend to agree with. If it was wrong to take and sell the photo, it would also be wrong for the media to print the photo – which they did.  Perhaps MPs are meant to above this sort of thing.  It may have been distasteful in the circumstances, but I could say that about many of the paparazzi style photos the news outlets take.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of that issue, I must say I find this report about Mr Bidgood’s views much more concerning.  If he is quoted accurately, all I can say is everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but I hope he never becomes a Minister (a political Minister, that is)

“There needs to be some justice and I believe there is God’s justice in action in what’s going on here (the financial crisis), ” Mr Bidgood said. “(If) we look at Bible prophecy, we are going towards a one-world bank and a one-world monetary system.

“And if you believe the word of God, and you read Revelations … you will see clearly what is being spelt out. We are in the End Times.”

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  1. Perhaps he’s got his missing bit of the Book of Revelations”

    “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
    And I saw, and behold a green horse: and he that sat on him had a market graph; and a bear was given unto him: and he went forth short-selling, and to bankrupt.”

  2. This quote from an article in the Australian (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,24750170-2702,00.html) is even worse:
    “In 1987 there was another march for Jesus. That took place in April. And guess what happened in October 1987? The stock market crashed. All property values lost one third of their value and over a million people lost their homes.”

    If they’re quoting him correctly, he’s basically saying that Jesus made a million people lose their homes.

  3. I can’t see what the fuss is about either, photographing something that is newsworthy, in a public place, and selling the resulting image violates no law and is by no stretch of the imagination immoral or unethical.

  4. Would “God’s justice” send ordinary people’s hard-earned cash into the hands of corporate criminals? I have a bit of a problem with that.

    But I think this fellow is quite accurate in saying we are moving towards a one-world bank and a one-world monetary system. Otherwise financial havoc would not have been wreaked on nearly every country on earth.

    For people who are practising Christians, what he says about the “end times” would definitely have some value.

    I personally find it hard to believe that any God would leave millions of the world’s children to die of starvation and disease, or huge numbers of people to die brutal deaths in wars.

    Who made God? Where is He? Some people might be interested in giving HIM a very well deserved black eye.

  5. I imagine he’s betting that the End Times won’t actually start until after the next election. Maybe he’ll change his mind if he gets re-elected.

    It’s almost enough to make you wish for De-anne’s return.

  6. Iain Hall’s comments on ethics strike me as a little bit dubious. I know that if I saw someone douse himself with petrol and try to set himself alight, it wouldn’t occur to me to try to get a photo. It does strike me as a little bit crass, though hardly a hanging offence. I agree that his religious maunderings are much more of a worry.

  7. I kind of agree on the photo issue, although it doesn’t sit comfortably that MPs would seek to publicise sensational acts such as this by selling photographs. The fact that others do it for a living with full support of the media is irrelevant. What next – chasing celebrities through the streets with Pentax in hand, because the opportunity was there?

    But as stories go, his questionable belief that God actively meddles in our day to day lives is bigger news. Bidgood has smacked face first into the omniscience versus free will paradox. On one hand he says it’s our fault and on the other he says the current crisis was prophecised. It can’t be both.

    If we are witnessing (inerrant) biblical prophecy then it is absolutely out of our hands. God can’t be wrong, theoretically, so if he predicted this, it has to happen and we are powerless to stop it. (Though when things improve, we’ll be told we benefitted from God’s mercy, just wait and see).

    Alternatively, if the current crisis is the result of mis-spent free will and if, therefore, it is within our means to fix it through prayer, repentance or whatever, then it clearly cannot also be the prophecised end times – unless we are more powerful than Bidgood’s God and can actively re-write bible prophecy.

    (I delve a little further into the omniscience paradox on my own blog)

    Of course, paradox aside, the real question is why Bidgood’s God would throw average families out on the streets and rob pensioners of their life savings just to teach some idiotic American bankers a lesson in high finance?

    This man sits in our parliament.

  8. And I dont sit in our Parliament.I think also,that there is a lot that is frightening today,and, I doubt wether Christianity is the problem,but, how the man practices it.The crime of photoing a self-immolator,if it transpired,may have made Bidgood behave in another manner.His photo was good PR for Police,but not himself.I doubt the statements made here,really are a bad reflection on Bidgood.It his willingness himself to fall on his own sword.If it wasn’t for the fact he is ALP, I would say,he might be a good man,who just didn’t think it through,but acted quickly.All the other strange matters of Faith mentioned here,are problems of a lack of clarity in why these matters of ” Earthly” doings are somehow the mentionable in a Bible.I find matters that are factual and of this world today,making me almost crying inside for some sort of assistance,in just knowing these deplorable facts.I find it much easier,in part then ,to know reason itself,cannot always accomodate matters of reality.The Police in the circumstance,may have been really disturbed,if they, hadn’t succeeded.Be careful please.Acting quickly isn’t either sin or crime,but acting quickly.He took it like a man,even if he is a bloody Pom.The sadness for him is dealing with the Australian newspaper,who owner said what,about the Iraqi matter and how long the conflict would last!? Bidgood thus survives as OK in my mind with the comparison of the reckless and proven dangerous statements of Rupert Murdoch.

  9. I understand that the Bible also suggests not casting stones lest we be judged … one thing that I personally worked on for many years was our National Mental Health Strategy http://www.mentalhealth.gov.au that was an ALP initiative in 1992 interestingly even the conservative Coalition funded 2x additional 5year Plans which menas this is the 15th year in 2008. During that time the National Mental Health Reporting Guidelines were developed and publishing these sorts of photos can cause copycat suicides … something we had to deal with a lot in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) when I managed a community based psychiatric recover program for 2years. I was also a Ministerial Appointee Deputy Chair of the NTCAG or Community Advisory Group for 6years which included launching our Mental Health Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention National Action Plan with its explicit process and outcome indicators which is available for use online at the above website … More recently I have helped reduce the annual 2.5 suicide rate on Kangaroo Island to zero this year by helping draft a PPEI Action Plan and integrating the SA Premier Appointed Social Inclusion Commissioner Monsignor Cappos Recommendations.

    If more of us used that ratio of 2x ears to 1x mouth more and addressed our stinking thinking with a checkup from the neckup by focussing on a wellness over illness model then more of us can as Guy Pearce said in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, “get off that CMross, we need the wood” & I say for carbon credits!

  10. Matthew:

    I don’t believe in what the bible says about not casting stones. Are we to turn a blind eye to everything? I should think not.

    I think the idea also conflicts with “being your brother’s keeper”.

  11. I think the point is that he saw someone douse themselves in petrol, about to set themselves alight, and presumably did not try to intervene to stop them. And yes, actually, maybe politicians are meant to be “above this sort of thing”.

  12. The Police did a fine job,they are in the photo! And,what particular right would a Politician have,if he was endangering the man himself,by assuming, the Police wouldn’t intervene.It is unlikely copycat crime emerges from the Australian Newspaper,accept for matters business,opinion, and actions at election time.Bidgood may have also wanted tis man’s case to go in some other manner than to fire.The critics of him here,are not providing any evidence that,apart from the Police,who may have been closer than Bidgood,that Bidgood was being a selfish promoter of Christianity! And taking a photo of someone in these circumstances is immoral,when it includes the fine work of Police!?If the man had of lit himself,and this was published,what would be the reaction to Bidgood then!? Even by Police!? Some critics are just having a shot,rather than thinking the matter through.People can also copy cat Police,Editor’s of Newspapers etc. can’t they!?

  13. Obviously Mr Bidgood is not burdened with the gift of discernment. As an elected representative of the people, any pollie should avoid using their political platform as a pulpit. Leave the preaching outside. It certainly won’t help the career and it would likely alienate some of the constituents. Plus it is scary to trust your future to someone who thinks we are all going to hell in a handbasket!
    Question for consideration; faced with a decision on legislation which would seemingly fulfill prophecy and hasten the end of the world, collapse of society etc….what would/should a committed believer do? Personally I am not comfortable with this at all.

    As for the financial crisis, A Deity who deals in the futures markets would be rightly accused of insider trading and banned from the floor.

  14. I tent towards the belief that our incendiary and our photographer were in cahoots – perhaps for a good cause.
    If a person is committed enough to pour petrol over themselves they must be mighty annoyed about an issue. If they do that in public there must be a reason to make a public issue of it.
    With the way the press operates these days it is not beyond reason that the only way media attention could be achieved is through our parliamentarian taking the picture, immediately offering it to the press for payment at the heat of the moment – and in order to clear his own decks, our photographer/parliamentarian offering the payment to charity.
    That sounds like a reasonable scenario to me.

  15. When training to work with homeless youth, who suicide far too often, we were taught that journalists’ codes of practice generally discourage photographing suicide attempts, and discourage description or portrayal of methods of suicide. It is generally thought, apparently, that suicide reports in the media _do_ have some copycat effect. I find it distasteful that an MP, even one formerly a photographer, would immediately take a photo of someone in mental anguish and then seek to sell it for publication . I’m not so sure I belive the later amendment of the demand for cash as a demand for money for charity.

    And as I said about Ms Palin, how can you have confidence in the long-term strategic judgement of someone who believes that Jesus will return any day now and transport a chosen few to heaven when they are dealing with the future of the environment, and the future of our country? It is not clear to me why a person with such beliefs is in Parliament anyway.

  16. I think this guy bidgood is off with the fairies in those weird religious comments he made in that committee or whatever it was he needs to keep that stuff to himself.

  17. There is a collossal difference between fact and how Australians choose to model their world views.
    The age of greed is dying. The postures that supported greed and denied truth are falling away before our eyes.
    We do not need to rely upon any sort of prophecies or false posture. We most certainly do not have to believe another set of using bastards trolling along, wanting to take advantage of the situation caused by the apparent collapse of capitalism.
    Now, I read denial in this thread. Denial of cause and effect.
    If it is possible that people might begin to think laterally about what happens to themselves – or what appears to happen out there in the public sphere – we might begin to order our lives.
    Great changes are happening in Australia without much direction from the peasant class.
    This is Xmas, or is it ‘Saturnalia’, 2008 – the near end of the first decade of the 21st Century; and yet it is back to ‘Corn and Circuses’. The Federales right now are advancing the peasants a grant of largesse in order to keep the merchant class of the ‘Republic’ bouyant.
    And meanwhile someone is annoyed enough to risk immolation while someone else risks his own principles and his parliamentary career in order to make it known.
    The Christian spirit if it must be – the spirit of decency as it should be – does not prosper in concert with greed.
    I insist that our incendiary and our photographer/parliamentarian set out to make a much needed point.

  18. A Non Farmer:

    I hope you’re right. Most of what you say does make sense.

    But I don’t think I’d go as far as to say that the peasants are receiving “a grant of largesse”.

    The money isn’t much, and it’s also being paid to middle income earners.
    Even then, it’s only a drop in the ocean compared with the colossal superannuation ripoff amounting to around 20%.

    The biggest handout – an extra $14,000 for first homeowners – is not being assests tested, as least not to my knowledge.

  19. Hello Lorikeet,
    I confess to be one of those peasants – what some call ‘beneficiaries’ with a curl of the lip. I don’t want to get far off Andrew’s track but since you mention it – you are right. Not much money at all and should have been implemented earlier and incrementally lifting all incomes to a reasonable base line. Clearly the logic is there and understood by ‘governance’.
    Trouble is that governments are scared of the resentment that will blossom amongst those who consider themselves reliable taxpayers.
    So instead of speaking the truth and permitting the public to weigh the pros and cons of any initiative or any event – the whole show has to be wrapped in artificiality.
    This, ‘spin’, applied equally to incidents and high policy, came to my notice when a certain ‘Easter Island Statue’ of a PM would convey the precise truth so long as every single word was weighed and carefully assessed by the listener. He used a code of sorts to real purpose and certainly in a less cynical fashion than some newbies whose main qualifications appear to be enough attention span to watch an episode of ‘Yes Minister’.
    The Present Malcolm has much to learn from his predecessor, including dignity, as have the rest of our parliaments.
    Golly he ever breezed it out when he lost his trousers.

  20. A Non Farmer:

    Yes, in essence it’s a continuous crawl up the butts of “middle Australia” and its double income earners – I hasten to add not low paid working couples.

    I don’t think Turnbully will get far with his confrontational attitude.

    I think the Age of Greed will only die when there’s nothing left to grab, and everything has been “repossessed” in one way or another by global government.

  21. Different laws for different people. God, this is Australia, everybody knows that! The very fabric of our society is based around different laws for different people. Heck, its such a magical place this country you can really see Gods work where you can drive over a magical line between QLD and NSW… where the roads are designed differently (of course) and the cars are repaired differently (of course). “of course the stupid people will fall for that” yelled the monkies in parliament. “We’ll make 7 times the money on rego’s as people move interstate!”. Actually, smart people are often just moving overseas.

    “We are One” yells the aussie anthem now probably owned by BigPond / Telstra. A nice slap in the face to show what really owns the ‘spirit’ of this country. Big ol’ corporations like Qantas and Telstra. Paying billions to fabricate the feeling of community and care. They are great at that. Just had to blow up a couple mountains and rape a few villages to do it. But you know, the ad looks nice.

    Its all trickery though. Why is it I find it impossible to find somebody who is happy with the government? And the few that do think its all grand? Generally apathetic folk who just believe stuff without verifying it personally, or have given up or they made their money back in the convict days running the slave camps.

    Many australians actually see eye to eye on this stuff and can be diplomatic WITHOUT these authorities forcing medication into the water. WITHOUT our friends at the TV networks creating nice giant size ice cream scoops of distraction in the form of sensationalised and irrelevant stories most people can’t actually act upon… just sit there stupified… goggle eyed at the massive world while these guys at the news stand keep you informed and remind you of how overwhelming it all is. “Don’t worry folks, a comedy is coming up next”.

    If God is real, than the devil is a company that can so detachedly intertwine comedy and vital news. TV / NEWS = no integrity

  22. You have to wonder, in the words of Jack Johnson “mama, why don’t the news people cry when they talk about people who’ve died”.

  23. Lorikeet – Dec 7th re casting stones & brother’s keeper’s.

    There’s complexity & subtlety in these stories. As they come from a body of belief that is nowadays not so widely known, its worth spending time on them.

    In the tradition in which I was raised, one of the pivotal stories exemplifying how we should regard each other’s foibles & failings spoke of an encounter between Jesus and a group of priests who had found a woman guilty of adultery – punishable, in that place & time, by death.

    The religious politics of the day were such that the priests sought to ‘wedge’ Jesus by stating that Old Testament law demanded stoning, and asking him how he thought the woman’s case should be dealt with. He responded by not responding.

    Instead, he bent down & started writing in the dirt with his finger – apocryphally he transcribed some rather pointed biblical passages. After a while he straightened, and challenged whichever of the priests was sinless to throw the first stone.

    This was a challenge that Jesus knew could not be taken up. The theology in which the priests were trained was unequivocal – everyone had sinned, and on hearing the challenge they began to drift away. St John – in an aside that lends the story veracity – notes that the older, more experienced priests left first.

    There’s no turning a blind eye here. There’s no attempt to deny whatever had happened. There’s no special pleading or minimising actions. Rather, its about putting things into perspective, the perspective being that we are all very fallible and that we should not be too hasty in condemning others, especially when condemnation carries dire consequences.

    The story is entirely consistent with the notion of being one’s ‘brother’s keeper’. It is about being supportive of others when they stuff up, of caring about people on the basis of who they are, rather than on the basis of what they have done. In other words, condemn the action, not the individual.

  24. Feral:

    Yes, I know most of that. I was raised in the Methodist Church like you.

    Are you then suggesting we should open up all of the jails and let all of the dangerous criminals back out?

    Should we write up placards condemning murder, rape, theft etc and leave those in the prison cells instead?

    Bobby Norris:

    I’ve seen tears in the eyes of newsreaders on a fairly regular basis.

    You didn’t mention the people who come here from other countries and don’t seem to care if those left behind are starving or dying from cholera. Some think it only equates to Australians scavenging in bins.

  25. Feral – this was actually quite instructive – thank you. I wonder, though, purely as a matter of principle now, not referring to the unfortunate Qld MP, and I’m sincere about this, when does a pattern of behaviour or beliefs by the individual put them in the “not suitable for this or that role in life” category? I guess it’s like declaring an interest in local government. If you had a belief that is at odds with the mainstream, ought you to act on that belief in discharging your duties as an MP? It’s an old question, and has been spoken of here before, as well as elsewhere, byrt Edmund Burke, the famous UK politician, for example. Does the elected politician have the right to vote as her/his conscience dictates or should he/she follow what they believe to be the views of the majority of thier constituents?

    If it is correct that our Qld MP, to get back to him, has religious views that include believing that the world we now live in has only a short tiem to run, is it right in your view that he has a say in the future the rest of us may believe in? (Not much of a say, to be sure, given he is a oncer for Qld.)

  26. That’s quite a question Dolphins, & I don’t feel that I’ve given it enough serious thought to do it justice. But FWIW I’ll express a few tentative views.

    Instinctively, I’m suspicious of simple dichotomies, and I think this dichotomy excludes some important nuance. The politician-constituency relationship seems to me to be rather complex, and to involve a mix of principle and pragmatism.

    For instance, think of the case where an electorate votes for a politician who is widely-known to hold views not held by many of his/her constituents. In such a case, I think the electorate has made a judgement that it is prepared to wear an occasional decision by their representative that may be at odds with the broader views of the community. I think too that the electorate expects that their representative may show leadership on difficult issues or during crises. So there is an implicit acceptance by the electorate that their representative may act according to conscience.

    However, problems are likely to arise where an electorate unknowingly elects a representative holding views not shared by his/her constituency.

    I think there needs to be a reciprocal consideration of the electorate’s views on the part of the politician. It’s partly about determining what is public and what is private – ie deciding when it is appropriate that the politician’s personal beliefs gain ascendency – and about making decisions that are in the best interests of the constituency. And politicians are aware that they are subject to periodic review…..

  27. When we vote, there’s a sense of collectively vesting our decision-making to an individual. It doesn’t mean that we voters can dictate that person’s decision-making: its more that we prefer to have that person making decisions on our behalf rather than any of the other candidates.

    Returning to the QLD politician, I’d say he has as much right as anyone to have a say in planning our future. But I’d hope that when he was making decisions that he would take into consideration the possibility that his literalist interpretations of the Book of Revelations might be incorrect. I’d hope that he would act prudently by planning for a future that he apparantly believes might not occur.

    Must say though that I’m glad he’s not my MP.

  28. This photo incident still dragging on!?I tell you from my first posting on this subject to now,much has happened in the world ,including defining it even sharper as Australia and my life.Honestly,I think,Bidgood has been overkilled here.Because he rapidly ,decided he was guilty of something,I know from my regular computer use,that whatever his sin or crime was,and, has anyone checked out,wether he would have a right to handle someone before the Police in the Police presence,or if the Police were closer in a dynamic sense,that it simply pales into insignificance,and some people here are embarassing themselves,honestly! And I guess why Andrew has accepted the fate of the Democrats,is a sense of ridiculing a man,turns into a feast of righteous indignation,as the world and its moon go through a number of spins.If I hadn’t been by myself returning here to see what has gone said since my last post,I would of laughed quite loudly.I am actually,sort of proud of myself,for defending Bidgood,his silence since the event,reinforces my feeling he is a good man,but,ALP, and his Christianity,if, this remains his public behaviour cannot be accounted for as the dramatically criticised here.I have farted how many times since then!? Thankfully no-one had a match!?.

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