To Mr Bernard Gaynor

Around about puberty, more than sixty years ago, I became a non-theist and a feminist. I have remained a loyal and proud Australian all my life.

As such, I am very pleased that you, ex Major Bernard Gaynor, are no longer representing Australia in any public role and am proud of our military for acknowledging it is no longer appropriate for people whose public profile is as yours is, should be in their employment.

In deference to your right to have your views aired and considered, I  read some of your blog postings. It is your privilege, in this country, to be able to make such comments as you have made.

I was astounded by your initial claim that you are a purveyor of “the truth”, an absolute with which many brains much deeper than that of former Majors such as yourself, or retired old ladies such as myself, have struggled over many ages. But then, to do you justice, it is a common phenomena for the very religious to regard their own views as an absolute truth and, as you, yourself, have so splendidly illustrated, use the very notion of everyone else’s religion except one’s own as an apparently axiomatic example of a mistaken thought process.

I leave aside here any need to comment on you anti-Islamic, anti-abortion  or anti-gay ideology. These are your personal views and, while I disagree with them, I have no problem with your having them, as long as you do not act upon them or assume it is your duty to do so in the name of the Defence Forces.

But what astounded and distressed me was what you think is the role of the military! In your words their “mission” is that of “destroying our nation’s enemies”. And how broadly you go on to define “enemies”!

I do not want the military forces that we have to protect us, bent on destroying anyone. If we can protect ourselves and those weaker than ourselves in a live and let live capacity, that is much more agreeable path to follow. We are all human and all have rights to exist on this planet in communities of mutual support. It is only when rights to do this are infringed that we should have to go to war. And it is not OK to attack other people’s rights to live because their ways do not accord with ours.

That we think we have a consistent enemy going back to the days of the crusades is more than laughable. It is, and always has been what is dangerous.

Our next enemy could well be New Zealand arguing with us about Tasmania! Have we a mission to destroy them? I would loudly say “no” and repeat that no one, in my name, has a mission to destroy anyone. That it happens in wartime is something sad, not a “mission”. We have seen this sadness often, for example, in WW II when many fine German men and women lost their lives because of the fixed ideas of military leaders, as did many of our own brave soldiers and citizens.

We need brave and daring soldiers in the forces and I have no doubt that you, as Major Bernard Gaynor, were a brave and daring soldier. Thank you.

But Mr Bernard, I think you are wrong, very wrong. My strong view is that there is no god, no absolute truth. Yes, Mr Gaynor, I have studied the  King James version of the Bible. I have read translations of the Koran. I have read various translations of small portions of Taoist works and have studied Philosophy. I try to do right, not based on Christian viewpoints (as so many Christians, such as you, try to claim) but based on universal humanitarian views.

I fundamentally disagree with you. I disagree more than any Muslim who shares with you the notion of a same Abrahamic god.

But I do not wish to “destroy” you. I hope you and your family have happy lives. 

And please, please, do not advocate the destruction of anyone on my behalf because of their beliefs.


About Anne Powles

I am retired from paid employment. During my working life I have been variously and sometimes contemporaneously, wife, mother of four, lawyer, teacher and psychologist. I have also been a serial education junkie. As are we all, I have been an observer of the world around me. Here I have recorded some of my memories, observations and theorisings.
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2 Responses to To Mr Bernard Gaynor

  1. Dom says:

    The Isamic God punishes homosexuality by death. That is what they do in Islam

    • Anne Powles says:

      Perhaps still in some Islamic countries, but it is not approved of in others. Similar differences occur and have occurred in different Christian countries at different times. I do not approve of an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth either!

      My basic thesis is that the world must move from a barbaric, retributionalist viewpoint and move to more humanitarian based acceptance.

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