The West Australian
( letters § wanews com au
by Torrance Mendez, p 73, Thursday, April 18, 2013
Don Jackson, a lay preacher and political aspirant who died on March 22, expressed a strong Christian morality in a series of letters and articles published in The West Australian
that either inspired or infuriated readers.
Nowhere was this more evident than on February 3, 1996 when he was guest columnist in a series of articles comparing evolution and creationism. Humans, he said, were created in the image of God and "the theory of evolution is nothing more than escapism from reality".
His words helped ignite what the newspaper described as "a furious debate". Within a week, The West's
mailbag overflowed with a record number of letters to the editor, many of them praising or condemning his views. In one, he was lauded for the courage of his convictions.
The next month, the retired teacher failed to win a WA Senate seat in the Federal election, as a member of the Call to Australia Party, aligned with the Christian moralist and NSW Upper House MP Fred Nile.
Undeterred, Don Jackson continued to write letters to The West
, intoning the cadence of a high churchman, reserving brimstone for questions of morality.
In January 1997, he drew at least 50 letters to the editor after telling readers that successive Federal governments had gone out of their
way to undermine Australia's Judeo-Christian heritage by embracing other cultures and religions.
Not even The West's
children's liftout, ED!, escaped his ire. "Just what is The West Australian
trying to do to our children," he asked in the edition of October 17,1998.
"Tuesday's ED! Magazine, Spellbound, was nothing less than a promotion of the occult with its witches, ghosts, black magic and demons."
When the community was outraged by the murder of an eight-year-old girl in public toilets in 2006, his letter to The West
supported capital punishment.
"We shall continue to be horrified by shocking slayings on a regular basis because murderers know their lives are protected by law," he wrote.
His letter writing often led strangers to phone him at home, supporting or abusing him, but he never responded harshly to critics.
Donald Arthur Jackson was born in East Perth on March 13, 1930, only child to Tom Jackson and his wife, Cora (Gilbert), whose family originated from Victoria. His father, a wanderer from England, served in both world wars, raising his age to fight in the trenches of World War I and lowering his years to join the RAN in World War II.
According to family lore, Tom was meant to join a mate on HMAS Sydney for its last voyage but missed the connection.
Don grew up in Perth suburbs including Mt Hawthorn and Belmont. Family recall his stories about playing in a place called Donkey's Paddock in Bassendean.
Once, he and his mates set fire to the paddock, hoping to find a lost cricket ball. A passer-by helped them extinguish it and save the neighbourhood.
[Picture] Man of letters: Don Jackson was a regular correspondent in The West Australian.
He left Perth Boys' School at 15 for office work but much preferred the year spent on an uncle's farm in
Koorda, sometimes singing hymns on the tractor.
His mother taught him to trust God and, after baptism at the Church of Christ in Maylands, he joined the youth group, enjoying the camaraderie to the extent he became an avowed Christian and yearned to be a minister.
In 1948 he joined WA Government Railways, finishing in 1955 as a train driver with a love of steam engines. By then, he had wed Faye Sloan, who was printing cheques and race books for Sands & McDougall.
In the early 1960s Don sat a course to negate his lack of a Leaving Certificate and progressed to teachers' college at Graylands.
He taught at Collier and East Hamilton Hill primary schools and the School of the Air in Derby before moving to Melbourne to train as a Church of Christ minister at the College of the Bible in Glen Iris.
But when his mother's health deteriorated after seven months, he returned to Perth, intrepidly crossing the Nullarbor in a car that broke down every day.
Don returned to teaching and was also invited to preach at Manning, which he relished, imparting his wisdom in both professions.
In 1970, he moved his family to 6ha [6 hectares] in Caversham, continuing the wine-grape production and trying his hand at growing rockmelons and watermelons, broad beans and tomatoes.
After selling the property in 1976, he and his wife bought a block in Chidlow but plans went awry because of a succession of house-sitting arrangements that lasted several years before they sold
the block still undeveloped.
Don Jackson aligned himself with Uniting Church minister and Aboriginal leader the Rev. Cedric Jacobs, who in 1986 founded the One Australia Movement to contest State elections and play wedge politics.
They formed an alliance with the Rev. Nile's Call to Australia Party with the banner, One Nation Under God, hoping to restore righteousness to parliaments.
For the past 18 years, Don Jackson and another Christian, Kal Nielson, produced an unsigned circular, Repent Australia, sent each month to churches, politicians and Christians to express concern at the direction of the country.
After ending his teaching career at 55, he showed entrepreneurial zeal when a daughter-in-law challenged him to invent a board game. The result was World Quest, a combination of Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble, which once sold at Target but did not break out of the Perth market before production ceased.
He invented many card games, none of which was offered commercially. A keen monarchist, he believed the British constitution kept Australia safe from dictators.
His last church was Grace Chapel in Warwick, which is associated with Teen Challenge in which young people with drug problems enter a program in Esperance.
Don Jackson suffered multiple health ailments and died in Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. He was 83. He leaves his wife of 59 years, sons Alan and Rod and daughter Carolyn and four grandchildren.
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Phone: 9482 3153, Fax: 9482 3157, Email: torrance mendez § wanews com au , Post: GPO Box N1025, Perth. WA 6843
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
from Reuters, Updated Fri 20 Sep 2013, 12:25pm AEST
Pope Francis said the Catholic Church must shake off an obsession with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality and become more merciful or risk the collapse of its entire moral edifice "like a house of cards".
In a dramatically blunt interview with an Italian Jesuit journal, Francis said the church had "locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules" and should not be so prone to condemn.
Its priests should be more welcoming and not cold, dogmatic bureaucrats. The confessional, he said, "is not a torture chamber but the place in which the Lord's mercy motivates us to do better".
His comments were welcomed by liberal Catholics, but they are likely to be viewed with concern by conservatives who have already expressed concern over Francis's failure to address publicly the issues stressed by his predecessor Benedict.
Francis, the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, the first from Latin America and the first Jesuit pope, did not hold out the prospect of any changes soon to such moral teachings.
But in the 12,000-word interview with Civilta Cattolica,
he said the church must find a new balance between upholding rules and demonstrating mercy.
"Otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards."
In the interview with the magazine's director, Jesuit father Antonio Spadaro, the Pope also said he envisioned a greater role for women in the 1.2 billion-member church but suggested it would not include a change in the current ban on a female priesthood.
What do you think of the Pope's comments? Have your say
[Go to the ABC website for this.]
Church should not make homosexuals 'socially wounded'
In a remarkable change from Benedict, who said homosexuality was an intrinsic disorder, Pope Francis said that when homosexuals told him they were always condemned by the church and felt "socially wounded", he told them "the church does not want to do this".
He restated his comments first made on the plane returning from Brazil in July that he was not in a position to judge gays who are of good will and in search of God.
In the interview he added: "Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free. It is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person."
The church, he said, should see itself as "a field hospital after a battle" and try to heal the larger wounds of society and not be "obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently".
Francis's approach contrasts starkly with that of his conservative predecessor, who stepped down in February and now lives a withdrawn life in the Vatican grounds.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual tendencies are not sinful but homosexual acts are.
The interview took place over three sessions in August. The Pope alluded to criticism of him within the conservative Catholic establishment.
"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that," he said.
Pope says church needs 'feminine genius'
The interview was not didactic and formal, in the way of past popes, but easygoing, familiar and friendly. Pope Francis even spoke of his favourite author, Dostoevsky, painter, Caravaggio and composer, Mozart.
The Pope spoke about the role of women in the church, saying their "deep questions must be addressed".
"We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of the woman," he said.
"Only by making this step will it be possible to better reflect on their function within the church."
He hinted that he was open to giving women greater decision-making roles in the church.
"The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions," he said.
"The challenge today is this: to think about the specific place of women also in those places where the authority of the church is exercised for various areas of the church."