Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 12: religion without morality. professions without ethics.....

No,  this will not be Sunday's sermon. It will be about the collapse of religious and of professional ethics in the western world. I group the two together because we are living through a disappearance of morality in religion, and a disappearance of ethics in the professions

For evidence of the disappearance of morality in religion, just check the faith page of any Saturday issue of the Irving press. But morality is important because without rules to govern our behaviour as a society, we won't have a society very long. But the clergy who write for the Faith page pretty much ignore morality and so, as I look at church events, do most of the churches.

The clergy who write the sermonettes are drawn from a very narrow group of sects whose sole interest is in escaping hell. It's so narrow it could not have happened by accident. It's as though the Irving press, conscious of its own moral flaws, wants clergy who are as trivial as their newspapers.

As for lack of ethics in the professions, we're long accustomed to that in law and politics. More disturbing news comes from other professional worlds. In the U.S, for example, psychologists have long been recruited to give advice on torture (just as clergy are recruited to give pro-war speeches). Now the code of ethics of psychologists usually requires that the profession must use its skills only to help people - not to torture them or to manipulate them.

But that's been old-fashioned for generations. Psychologists have long ago  sold their skills to help spread propaganda, and to advise on torture methods. Now, the leading psychologists in the U.S. have taken it a step further. They have changed the professional code of ethics to permit such conduct.  See the URL below.

Since this association includes professors of psychology, it is another example of some in the academic world who happily sell their ethics to the highest bidder. So beware of any academic the Irving press quotes with praise.

And it's certainly not just academics who sell out. Some (many)  journalists take a back seat to nobody when  when it comes to dumping ethics. I knew one, a journalist of no great talent, in Montreal who built his career on kissing up to Brian Mulroney as he ran for Conservative leader, and then as P.M.. That gave him a steady job as a newspaper columnist with lots of rewarding requests to be interviewed on TV and radio. And, of course, lots of inside scoops from Mulroney himself to build his name on. And he wasn't the only one.

Jounalism ethics have become pretty close to mythical in North America. Most of our news services in the private sector have always been liars and propagandists. But it's become far, far worse over the last thirty years or so. Today, in North America, CBC is far the best of traditional news sources. But Harper is doing his best to change that.

Forget the Globe and Mail, The Washingon post, The New York Times - and use the National Post only for wrapping fish. Oh, and forget the British Broadcasting Corp.  The only trustworthy of the conventional news services are CBC, The Guardian, el Haaretz from Israel, and Al Jazeera from the Muslim world. And, sometimes, The Independent. But I have never known the Irving press to quote from any of these sources. It goes for the liars and propagandists every time.

As far as I know, this has not affected the journalism programmes in our universities. But it does leave many journalism professors in despair of the profession.

As an example of the Irving approach to the news, we have its reporting on the Greek crisis. In the Irving version, it's all the fault of the Greeks (just like the poor in New Brunswick were the cause of  the recession.)  But Al Jazeera has quite a different version. below from Al Jazeera.

But no matter whose  version is correct, what is undoubtedly true is that the bankers of the European Union, who have trillions of dollars, insist that all Greeks must suffer pain, hunger, insecurity, lack of medical care, homelessness, and early death for generations to come in order to pay a debt. Hey! Ya gotta pay yer debts (unless you're a billionaire who pays politicians to keep taxes on billionaires among the lowest in the world; and also put their money in offshore banks so it can't be taxed, anyway.) For generations, Greeks are being forced to accept huge and damaging cuts in education, health care, basic foods. Many are going to die early. But, hey - remember the words of Jesus. Ya gotta pay yer debts. (and Jesus has a special clause in there which permits billionaires to skip taxes.)

It would make a great (and honest) sermon for the Irving Chapel. With special music.

However, don't hold your breath waiting for the Irving press to carry this story.

Another story we won't see in the Irving press is that the seabird population of this planet has dropped by 70 percent since the 1950s.

Why won't we see it? Because this planet's billionaires have killed stories of climate change and disappearance of species. They make their money out of polluting and destroying - and they've been doing it all over the world. And they don't intend to stop.  Greed does that to one.

It's no secret that oil billionaires spent billions on propaganda claiming that climate change was not happening. That explains toady Harper and his refusal to act on the evidence. It may also explain why New Brunswick's provincial Liberals are skipping a national meeting of premiers  to discuss the issue.

Remember the Malaysian passenger jet that was shot down over Ukraine a  year ago? Weirdest thing.  It's a year after, and western scientists have been examining it all that time - and still we haven't heard what shot it down.  Well, it's not weird. It's a lie.

We aren't going to be told what it was. And our obedient news media aren't asking. The U.S. is determined to leave the impression Russia did it. That's because American big business want's a war with Russia. Is it possible Putin did it? Of course. But very, very unlikely. Not because he's a nice guy but because he had nothing to gain by shooting it down.

Nor can there be any doubt of what shot it down. We all saw the very clear photo of it after its crash. Its wings and body were marked by evenly spaced holes that could only come from a machine gun - and the plane was way out out machine gun range from the ground. So it was either an aircraft machine gun - or it was two of the biggest centipedes you ever saw walking side by side and stomping holes in the plane with their feet.

Then I have two items below that you many not see in the Irving press.  Actually, they are two items on the words of Pope Francis at recent talks in Latin America. One is from a source the Irving press claims to rate very highly but, so far as I can tell, never reads. That's The Guardian.

The Pope attacks corruption and ungoverned capitalism that is destroying South America. (He could have said  that it is destroying all the world.). This should be on the Faith page, but I've seen no sense anyone on that page would have the intelligence or guts to say it.

This is important because our version of capitalism has penetrated most of the world. It's a dreadful corruption of capitalism. It's a guarantee of non-stop wars and massive suffering. It's based on greed, pure and unlimited greed. It's a violation of any ethical or religious principles I have ever heard of. And it's going to hit all of us. This is the ultimate evil. (And, in the light of that, I am astonished that a clergyman of any church would consent to conduct a service at the Irving Chapel. Even with special music.)

But the news isn't all bad.  A senior American judge with a background of serving international justice at a very high level has said he believes that Dick Cheney (VP under George Bush and the man who really ran the government) will be arrested and tried for war crimes some day. (He thinks Bush won't - because Bush is such a trivial twit that he's not worth the effort.)

And what does all this tell us about the coming federal election? It tells us that Canadians have no idea of the problems that they are facing, problems that MUST be dealt with by the next government. Time is limited.

There is not the slightest chance the Liberals or the Conservatives will even look at the problems. Indeed, they are two of the problems. The NDP is limited in what it can do because Canadians have no sense of what the problems are. Of the three, the NDP is the only honest one. But the changes we need can happen only if the Canadian people wake up. And that's not going to happen if our news media have anything to say about it.

We, all of us, are Greece.

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