Episode 94 – 4 May 2017

1:13 The Iron Fist and Hugh Harris discuss the NSW SRE decision. Here is one opinion and here is the alternative

10:38 A discussion on the role and importance of Christianity and Judeo-Christian ethics in our Australian culture including references to  Kevin Donnelly’s article on celebrating Christianity’s role in our society and Hugh’s response and another Kevin Donnelly article claiming Barnaby Joyce is right about Judeo-Christian principles. Hugh argues Judeo-Christian values are a myth contrived by the USA moral majority.

31:29 Major discussion. We are wasting our time waging a grassroots battle. To reinstate secularism we need to focus on influencing powerful people.

Democracy for Realists

Voters are too busy to care about policies but even if we convince the grassroots, they will vote for a party based on tribal affiliations, not on policy platforms.

Lobby groups don’t waste time changing public opinion. They go out and lobby powerful people.

When people identify with a group, they will follow whatever the group leader pushes.

All we are doing is preaching to the converted.

How much do the various secular groups co-operate?


Please follow and like us:
Posted in Podcasts

6 comments on “Episode 94 – 4 May 2017
  1. Kevin Donnelly says:

    Really enjoyed the discussion – a bit of an echo chamber though.

    Two people with the same views and beliefs supporting one another and no attempt to balance the issue.

    Sorry to have upset Hugh so much 🙂

  2. Hugh Harris says:

    Hello Kevin

    I appreciate your concern, but happily, my tears are finally dry. 🙂

    And yes, isn’t much of the internet and media an echo chamber. I would be very happy to hear your views on these topics and see if we can identify some points where we actually agree.

    I suspect there’s a lot of common ground there. ie. Free speech, rule of law, democracy. And secularism also, although we may disagree on the definition or emphasis.

  3. Kevin Donnelly says:

    In the monograph I wrote for the IPA, The Culture of Freedom, I had a chapter on Christianity but also a chapter on reason and scientific rationalism – both vital to the success of Western culture. in the newspaper piece I do accept that we are a secular society where there is a division between church and state.

  4. Hugh Harris says:

    I’m glad you acknowledge our secular society. Indeed, our secularism was driven to some extent by Christian sectarian disputes. That, as you know, is why our education system was designed to be compulsory, secular and free.

    But, we must differ on the definition of secularism. I note you write about prayers in Parliament as if they demonstrate the importance of the Bible. Whereas, I would say they are an infringement on secularism, and a relic of the past. Why don’t we include the prayers of other religions? How is the promotion of one set of beliefs, within a pluralist nation, consistent with secularism?

    Where I might view secularism as religious-neutral, it’s clear that you view it in a way consistent with the privileging of Christianity within our government and institutions. I think that’s the debate we need to have, and, with respect, I doubt most Australians would be on your side.

    • Kevin Donnelly says:

      In relation to school education, that you describe as secular, it is significant that all states have legislation that allows teaching about religion in schools, either formally as religious instruction, or informally as part of the broader curriculum. Parliaments begin with a Christian prayer because, in the same way that David Cameron described Britain as a Christian country, so is Australia in terms of our history, institutions and main religious beliefs. Christianity accounts for over 60{d28f9698906480850f72a7ded7166dc3586413104102f20727e89d1e8d1f11c8} of the population compared to Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism that count for about 2{d28f9698906480850f72a7ded7166dc3586413104102f20727e89d1e8d1f11c8} to 3{d28f9698906480850f72a7ded7166dc3586413104102f20727e89d1e8d1f11c8}. We are a secular state but at the same time it is impossible to ignore the significance and on-going influence of Christianity – up to 40{d28f9698906480850f72a7ded7166dc3586413104102f20727e89d1e8d1f11c8} of health, education, welfare and aged care organisations and bodies are either Christian in origin or operated by Christian organisations.

      • Hugh Harris says:

        1. Education: Referendums were required to allow religious instruction. Section 116 was supposed to safeguard secularism, like the establishment clause in the US, however it has been interpreted loosely, and the States have been free to allow religion in schools. the US is a more religious country, but it is also more secular. Mentioning the role of religion in schools reveals your acknowledgment of the apparent inconsistency with secularism.
        2. I don’t mind teaching religion, or the Bible, in state schools, but it should be taught as comparative religion – by teachers. Not the current version of evangelical and often fundamentalist Christianity by untrained preachers, using materials, such as Connect, which are designed to make disciples of children. Ron Onks, on the Gold Coast, boast of making scores of disciples in 2 months. This point is underscored by the government funds dedicated to a whole Catholic school sector. Parents have religious schools to choose from.
        3. If you want to justify Christianity in terms of demographics (“60{d28f9698906480850f72a7ded7166dc3586413104102f20727e89d1e8d1f11c8} of the population”), then you will have to accept Christianity’s retreat as the nonbelief becomes the dominant belief system. In the 2016 Census it’s likely “No Religion” will overtake Catholicism to become the most populous category. Therefore, prayers should go.
        4. Similarly, this would mean that our tax free Christian owned institutions in health, education and welfare, would need to pay tax and give up their exemptions to anti-discrimination laws. Furthermore, I don’t see why the church’s participation in these areas (due to Christianity’s historical influence) should provide Christianity with special consideration in today’s increasingly irreligious society.
        5. Because something was so in the past does not imbue it with virtue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Only just found this podcast. LOVE IT

Really great to see some honest conversation, that doesn’t seem concerned with making the truth more palatable for the fair of heart. I think we really need a lot more of this.


Great listen

Fantastic podcast and gets better every episode. BUT if you can’t handle the truth about the dismal state of Australian politics give this one a miss.

The Happy Dog

Look forward to this podcast every week

This is an entertaining and intelligent discussion of politics, religion, education and other important issues in Australia. If you’re not interested in politics or if you’re confused by it then you need to listen to these guys. They remove the mystery and put forward an analysis of the issues that will entertain and inform you.


Ep 81, one of the best and most enjoyable

Wel done Trevor and Hugh, one of the best Eps to date. Professional delivery by both.


Episode 68 right on the mark

This episode was just the right length, but more importantly, was a little more measured in addressing the topics. I admire the Iron Fist in the way he can craft rational statements about appalling behaviour in the topics discussed, and I found the 12th Man to be a good balance to the Iron Fist. I wish the Velvet Glove wouldn’t giggle at important topics or when religious thinking is described – we already find them ridiculous, but laughing every time is a bit much after hours of listening to episodes. This is a fun but semi-serious podcast that everyone should listen to, and I thank them for making the time to produce it.


Keep it going…

A refreshing podcast. Rational discussion on topics many won’t tackle honestly. I don’t agree with everything you say but I love the way your subject matter is explored and sometimes debated. Great work guys.


Making baby Jesus cry

Don’t listen to these baby eating heathens, God will kill an angel for every episode that you listen to.


Presenting the Inconvenient Truth

These guys are at the forefront of challenging religious privilege. If you want to be up-to-date on all the wacky goings-on by the religion pushers in this world and their attempts successful or otherwise to influence the political and social spheres of our lives then this is your podcast. We need more of this advocacy for a secular world view. Be like me or Bill and don’t miss an episode.


Christmas Special

All podcasts are great but the christmas special takes the cake. Excellent show guys.


Australian Centred Debate

This podcast is great for those looking for debates about secularism, religious power structures and Western liberal democratic ideals, all with a focus on the Great Southern Land. The two main protagonists bounce ideas off each other and occasionally guests are brought in to give different perspectives (I love to hate Right Wing Tony!). These are not Left Wing Nutters, I know as I tend to that description too often myself and disagree with them at times. Rationality and free thought rule! The boys don’t mind if you throw in your two cents, in fact, I think they love to hear from the public. Very worth a listen.


Great Job

I look forward to this show each week. So informative! Thank you.


Stumbled upon

I stumbled on this podcast and enjoyed a number of podcasts. I love the deconstruction of the arguments and the range of topics. The input of the 12th man, right wing Tony and in particular Hugh Harris and Objective morals and Moral relativism. I am a atheist/secularist and would love to see you guys on Q&A keep up the great work. Secularism is a fight worth fighting for.


Not getting any worse

I’ve been listening for a year now and you haven’t gotten any worse. It’s nice to hear a good Australian perspective with varying views. Keep it up.


Always well worth the time

The Fist and crew do a great job of debating and dissecting a range of secular topics. Great work, and always an amusing listen.


Well balanced podcast

I’ve been listening since the first episode and it has proven time and again to be my favourite podcast. The guys have a balanced view of the world and politics. Well worth a listen.


Back catalogue

Greeting Fist, Glove and Man. I’m working my way through the back catalogue and enjoying it immensely. Your discussions contain the kind of intelligence and fluid thinking with a touch of irreverence that I have been looking for in a local content podcast. Keep up the good work.

Tony W

Love your work

Love your work, your podcasts are excellent and your political commentary and general banter really improve my day! Thank you!


Sensible Secularists

A provocative and informative discussion of current affairs at the intersection of religion and politics. The perfect antidote to religious privilege and snowflake culture. Best listened to at 1.5x speed.


Episode 139 Comedy Classic

G’day Iron and Velv. When I found you blokes, I had finally found some Australian voices of reason and common sense. After listening to a chunk of the back catalogue and keeping up to date with the podcasts, I became a patron, you fellas should be on the Senate. Anyway, episode 139 was a little strange at first, until the nutter came out. And then, oh mate, it became comedy. Where did you dig up that crazy nutter? Thanks Fist and Glove. Watley


Hi guys, many thanks for

Hi guys, many thanks for your podcast which I have just discovered. I am looking forward to exploring the back catalogue. It’s great to hear Australian voices doing such a podcast. One thing though – it’s a bit blokey. Ever thought of having some women on?

Ms McIntosh


Possibly my favourite Aussie podcast. Nice one to do the gardening to!


Great Aussie Secularists..

Finally found some Aussie voices speaking about our issues with Australian accents and with Aussie guests from a secular point of view. Great work guys!



Congrats on 3 years! I’m a fairly new fan (thanks to Caitlin Langley) and this is becoming one of my favourite podcasts. Keep up the great work. – Andy Dowling, Andy Social Podcast / Self Starter Podcast / Bass Player in LORD (don’t worry, we’re not a Christian band!).

Andy Dowling

Glad I found it!

Finally! So glad to find other like minded people in Australia! You’ll be pleased to know I joined the Labor Party just before discovering your podcast and yes, I am as secular as they come!

Matt Chalk

An Enjoyable and Engaging Listen

I’ve been listening to the Iron Fist and Velvet Glove Podcast for a while now and have found it really engaging. The discourse is most often very intelligent and insightful. I often feel like I’ve learnt something when I’ve finished listening. However, I think that sometimes the hosts can be limited in their perspective and that can limit the depth of the discussion, but overall a great podcast you should all listen to.


Regular per episode donations

One off donations

Enjoy this Podcast? Please spread the word :)