The eyes have it

The eyes have it

I have been collecting your unwanted eye glasses for the Christian Blind Mission for some years but now I have handed over to another helper, Gail Doggett. So please continue to to leave your unwanted eyeglasses at Terry White Chemist in Lismore for Gail to forward them to the Blind Mission. Thank you to all who have helped me.

Lois Keep


Preschool blues

(Dear Mr Iemma)

Im dreaming of a funded preschool

Just like the ones in other states

Where the teachers are trained

And families arent strained

To keep their kids from dire straits.

Im dreaming of a funded preschool

With every ballot slip I write

May your promises come right

New South Wales preschools will fight!

Bianca Urbina

The Channon Childrens Centre

Bathing blues

Thank you Lib for mentioning the elephant the Memorial Baths (Echo, January 4).

Its sad but somewhat inevitable given the size of the plot of land Council worked with. I still feel it would have made a wonderful Pool of Remembrance (non-bathing just contemplative), with the ancient fig trees standing guard around it.

So its going to shut in winter, making questionable the investment in the water-heating system and further reducing patron numbers. Sounds like a financial disaster for the ratepayers. Of course summer wont be all that flash re income either there is a dearth of recreational water (particularly for young children) and shade (critical consideration in the Northern Rivers region).

I do however disagree with your assessment of the proposed aquatic facilities in Goonellabah. This could be Councils third chance lucky (lets remember the SCU debacle in this picture). A decently conceived facility could generate income (perhaps even provide a positive overall cash flow).

It would give young people something enjoyable to do, promote healthy lifestyle choices and water safety/early training, and even give the city a drawcard for professionals and business people (emphasising the tree rather than the seachange model).

For this to happen the facility will need an inspiring and creative water play area, perhaps a diving pool, a water slide, a low cost gym (re surrounding demographics and YWCA presence), a good caf and some short-term child-minding facilities. If I really drew up an ultimate wish list I would add steam-room, sauna and plunge pool. Mind you the whole thing would have to be under a roof or substantive shade structure. Lismore should not aspire to become Melanoma City.

Liz Gibbs


Personal observations

For quite some years, readers have been subjected to the opinions of Lee Andresen. Amongst other things he claims to be an authority on Aboriginal affairs, conversation, fluoridation, science, philosophy, the humanities, teaching, and now on God himself (Echo, November 23). He seems oblivious to the facts which contradict almost everything he has written.

As John Hannaford has said, God deeply loves Lee Andresen, and every person on earth. But contrary to Lees assertions, He does not approve nor condone homosexual acts, and has explicitly said so. Homosexual acts have negative implications and serious health risks, which are not in Lees best interests, personhood, destiny or eternal destination. Thus legislating in favour of condoned perpetuations of homosexual acts is not in any homosexuals best interests, nor their partners, any child, society or nations.

Having studied Lee Andresen through his letters, articles and in person, I believe the following to be accurate.

Lee says he was born homosexual. He was not. He was gifted rather with leadership qualities. He also early learnt how to get his own determined way. As he grew he combined these to give him a sense of power and dominance. We see evidence of this, for example, in as a member of a coastline conservation group, he continually seeks to dominate Ballina Shires decisions re coastal issues. Also as a constant letter writer, he seeks to browbeat us readers into accepting his false views on science, humanities, history and God, even reminding us that he has a doctorate so that we will support him, and thus clear the way for him to get what he wants.

Now he seeks to force our government and society into accepting his self-chosen lifestyle. This is so he can gain status and emotional and financial advantages. In his arrogance he demands society abandon Gods written Word, and in its place elevate his opinion to that authority. Indeed he claims his homosexual acts glorify God and are a fulfillment of the purpose God has for his life. Further, his latest letter (Echo, November 30) incorrectly states that the Australian Constitution requires a separation of church and state; that Australia is a secular democracy and thus, the church has no say in government policy making. But conversely, he and his tiny one per cent have all the say!

Perhaps Lee Andreson should relax, turn on the telly and watch Dr Phil. He surely needs his counsel.

W Vale

South Lismore

Edited for length

Like the Inquisition

In response to a letter in your paper at the end of 2006 about whether religion, particularly Christianity, is private or not, I would like to remind your readers of the last time religion tried to make itself so very, very public. It was called the inquisition and it murdered millions by strangulation, burning and torture in the name of God and those zealots who in their self-righteous, fanaticism thought that their view of what constituted religion was the only legitimate one. In fact they believed it so vehemently they decided it was okay to break one of Gods commandments, the one that says Thou shalt not kill in pursuing their madness and fidelity to the word of God. This is what happens when people try to publicly impose their beliefs on the private lives of others. This is what is happening in the Middle East and is in danger of happening in the West under the leadership of fanatical religionists who think they, and only they, have the true word of God just because they have read the Bible! George Bush is one and John Howard is another. What madness is this debate leading to in your pages? What business is it of anyone else what one person chooses to believe? What right do religious zealots have to condemn anyone for their beliefs, and how dare they challenge the personal integrity of those who do not choose their path? To all you holy rollers who having read the Bible think you are saved I have one thing to say: Mind your own bloody business and leave others alone to pursue their own path. Jesus condemned no one so what gives you the right to, apart from your sense of self righteous importance. Hypocrites!

M Mizzi


Rum and the lash

This country was founded on rum, sodomy and the lash, and despite the ministrations of early flogging parsons, our fascination with alcohol and homosexuality continues.

A long conga line of male love (thats an image that will excite the fundamentalists) connects us to these founding fathers, who through their travails helped produce the basically decent and tolerant society we have today.

To those enlightened souls who equate advocacy of same-sex marriage with mental disturbance (Gavin Begbie), or who equate homosexuality with rape, paedophilia and adultery (Graeme Hagen), or who think that gay rights advocates should exile themselves to a country that facilitates this disgusting habit (John Lenon), any Australian man who has sex with men is entitled to say: Just a moment, mate. We were here first. If you cant cope with the full civil and moral equality of your fellow man, why dont you pack up your rabid moralising and hate-filled social attitudes and depart for one of those deep South American states where Leviticus (including permission to enslave people of a different race) is still taken literally?

Better still, try Afghanistan, which also has experience of a minority who enshrined a fundamentalist reading of scripture in their constitution and daily conduct of government. (The Taliban would love the Jehovahs Witnesses description of sodomites Worthless fruit born of a rotten tree that began this present debate.)

Your luggage will be light. Reading of only one book is allowed.

Such escapees from debauchery would find in their new God-fearing states at least officially no rum, no sodomy, lots of the lash, and very little love of their fellow man.

They will have arrived at their spiritual home.

Peter Mullins


Sexual apartheid

Over the last few months I have read many homophobic letters in the opinions section of The Echo, some of which have been religiously based. I feel its important to highlight that lesbians and gays are currently being marginalised, vilified, dehumanised and silenced by our governments, schools, churches, workplaces, families and individuals within the wider community. This takes the form of negative prejudiced action but also a subtle yet debilitating lack of recognition.

This inequality, verging on inhumanity, is most evident in our societys legal practice regarding relationship recognition impacting on family, adoption, education and employment. Institutionalised homophobia or discrimination by apathy is an issue of legislation, schools, media, employers, churches and wider society. But first and foremost, it relates to the personal development and quality of life for individual human beings those affected by interpersonal discrimination such as verbal and non-verbal bullying, physical and sexual assault, rejection from family and members of the community and any form of second-class treatment based on sexual orientation.

I would like to go on the record as stating that as a young Christian man I consider this modern form of sexual apartheid to be disgusting, un-Christian and unmasculine, especially when we as a society have already concluded that the same discrimination based on gender, race and religion etc is totally unacceptable. Supporters of this apartheid are clearly not doing the work of God and are just like people who opposed the gaining of legal equality for women and racial minorities.

How can any real Christian be dedicated to opposing lesbian and gay rights, yet at the same time play ignorance in response to the homosexual youth that are eight times more likely to commit suicide due to societys modernistic norms? How can someone in the year 2007 consider it justified or even moral to oppose an Australian citizen and, more importantly, a human beings legal and social equity? How can anyone who has ever been witness to the love shared between two souls of the same sex not believe that homosexual love like heterosexual is equal?

And finally I ask those reading to imagine if you were a lesbian or gay 10-year-old. Would you feel safe and self-confident if you were raised by Mr Hagen of Manifold Ministries, John Lennon of Alstonville or Gavin Begbie of Byron Bay (Echo, December 21)?

As a 19-year-old heterosexual Christian, (speaking, I hope, for the greater part of the Christian community) I pray for the adolescents and children for whom this issue is a reality, and a sad reminder to the rest of us that our modern social equity is in need of some fine tuning.

D Alexander


Edited for length

Historical interest

I recently came across some old newspaper articles from major Australian dailies from the end of October 2001. Australia was in the throes of a federal election campaign. The quality, controversy and outspokenness of the articles are nowhere to be seen in our newspapers these days. It was quite a shock to read and absorb the extent of censorship we now live under.

One of the headings Beware of Warmongers and Lies Too Easily Told was a warning to the general population, who were about to vote, not to be hijacked by the intense atmosphere of fear generated by 9/11 and John Howards lone decision to go to war in Afghanistan.

I had already forgotten that John Howard involved Australia in the invasion of Afghanistan while the country was in the midst of a federal election campaign, minus a sitting Parliament. The Cry to War was a cunning utilisation of age-old fears and excitements we all carry and an excellent campaigning tool.

The writer was worried that an unpopular, divisive, high-taxing government could be returned with an increased majority, mainly because voters were freaked by their fear. It was such a wonderful tool for John Howard that he went on to use it again at the next election with the untrue Tampa incident reining in the voters once again.

The writer warned of the propaganda war being waged against bin Laden and the Taliban, untempered by any acknowledgment that the US had encouraged and empowered the Taliban in Afghanistan when Russia was the enemy.

In the weeks following Saddam Husseins execution we would do well to remember that the US also aided and supported Saddam Hussein in the same way encouraging his war with Iran for many years and supplying him with weapons of various kinds, as well as battlefield intelligence.

An investigation by the Senate Banking Committee in 1994 determined that the US Department of Commerce had approved, for the purpose of research, the shipping of dual-use biological agents to Iraq during the mid 1980s, including Bacillus antracis (anthrax), later identified by the Pentagon as a key component of the Iraqi biological warfare program.

Yes, we do need to be more far more interested in history as John Howard says, but it has to be truth in history, not doctored by those in power as a brainwashing tool to enable the growth of their own selfish and degraded objectives.

Lynne Oldfield

Nimbin Edited for length

Youth centre suggestion

Whilst reading Saturdays paper, a property in North Lismore was brought to my attention, particularly because of its low price of $70,000. The property contains a two-storey brick building and a timber building.

After some thinking, I had an idea that Lismore City Council could purchase this property and use one of the buildings as a community youth centre. It wouldnt have to be too high-tech or flash, just with a pool table, a few old couches, a CD player and a space for dancing for instance.

Local bands could also perform there, which would not only be great experience for them, but also provide entertainment for youth. The centre would only have to run a couple of nights a week, and I feel that Council would be making a wise investment in purchasing this.

To pay for electricity, water and rates etc there may be a small fee upon entering of just a few dollars, along with Council funding. This centre would be drug and alcohol free, but maybe a small fridge could be supplied to store drinks.

If you added up all the damage of vandalism lately, you would find that the cost exceeds the costs involved to make a youth centre. If just a few of these vandals used this centre, it would be making a difference. The other parts of the property could be used for other community gatherings and organisations.

Please, Council, consider this.

Sarah Hort


Missing guns

Sadly, Ballina Shire Council has vetoed searching for its two World War I trophy guns believed buried in a former dump...wont even ask for a staff report. General manager John Christopherson said the search could be difficult like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Mr Christopherson had not studied information about the possible burial site provided by ex-serviceman/military collector, Bruce Buchanan, of Townsville, formerly of Ballina. His late father, Council employee Robert Buchanan, told Cliff Murray for his Ballina Council history, that one gun had been buried in a dump which became part of an industrial area. As a boy Bruce Buchanan recalls seeing the larger gun lowered into a hole, then the smaller trench mortar dropped on top, between the tip and an old shed.

Eleven years ago Bruce Buchanan read my Northern Star article about war memorials, and told Ballina Council that he knew where the guns were buried. He said no interest was shown.

When he contacted me a month ago, I suggested he try Ballina Council again. His details have been listed for consideration in Ballinas shire-wide, community-based Heritage Study. But they might not make the study, which could take years.

Bruce Buchanan will visit Ballina in 2007... an ideal opportunity for a dig. Even if damaged, those weapons could be potent symbols of the horrors of war.

I hope Council will study Mr Buchanans data constructively, with a view to checking the presumed site.

Lest we forget.

Marelle Lee

Lennox Head

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hygge is the Danish word for enjoying life's simple pleasures

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