Telstra turns over; Hell just a click away + Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth!

OBADIAH SLOPE 

Saturday 16 April 2016 

Telstra turns over: “Telstra has quietly retreated from a public campaign pushing for same-sex marriage after it kowtowed to the Catholic Church which threatened a boycott,” The Australian reported. Obadiah thought there were two things wrong with this story. The first is that there is no such thing as quietly retreating from any campaign about same-sex marriage. For or against. This is such a hot button issue that any move like this is bound to be reported – so many people are up in arms that any move by a high profile company will make the press. It’s just the way the world works now.

Secondly, and perhaps more controversially, pressure by Christians will also be reported, even exaggerated, so do we want to reinforce the impression some people have that Christians are bullies? (The Catholics pointed out they never actually called for a boycott, only to begin dialogue.)

Telstra part two: Predictably, “Australia’s largest telco, Telstra, says it has abandoned its public campaign for marriage equality to allow clear air during the proposed plebiscite – not because of pressure from the Catholic church,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported the next day.

“However, when asked directly about the influence of the church on Telstra’s decision, a spokesman declined to say whether pressure behind the scenes had persuaded the telco to back down.” Do we score this a partial victory for the Catholics? Obadiah thinks that it is unlikely Telstra would have shifted their position without a reason. Did they decide to stop campaigning of their own accord? You decide.

Click here to visit hell: So says the New Yorker this week, which drew our attention to a new, interactive project offering virtual visits to view late-medieval Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch’s most famous painting, “The Garden of Earthly Delights”. The triptych shows a “debauched world flanked by the chaste Eden that preceded it and the torments that await its depraved residents in Hell”. Choose from a 15-step narrated tour, or, as the New Yorker’s Alexandra Schwartz put it “succumb to the same temptation that got humanity into this mess in the first place and ‘freely explore’”, which allows you to zoom in and out of the enormous and intricate work at your pleasure.

Empty glory: Obadiah was reminded of how useless he was when confronted with designing gossip pages for a weekly, when standing in front of a wall of Polaroids images at the blockbuster Andy Warhol/ Al Wei Wei exhibition in Melbourne. You see, he could never remember who the “famous” people were. “It’s full of very famous people that you don’t know of,” a mother standing close by explained to her child about the Warhol Polaroids. “They were taken by the artist who had a factory where they held fabulous parties.”

Peering closely, Obadiah observes that the Polaroids are rather faded, rather like the fame of many of the sitters. “Sic transit gloria mundi,” thinks Obadiah in Latin, in a pompous moment. “There goes the (empty) glory of the world”.

Happy Birthday! Queen Elizabeth was born on April 21. That is her real birthday. In the UK, the Bible Society, Scripture Union and Hope Together (an umbrella group of churches) are organising street parties across Britain for the real birthday celebrations. They are using a special book, The Servant Queen and the King She Serves, to mark the celebration. Eternity has reported on the Queen’s forthright testimony in the book.

The Servant Queen from HOPE Together on Vimeo.

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