I AM confused as to why we should be donating money to help pay for the rebuilding of the Notre Dame cathedral ('PM says no to government fund for Notre Dame aid', Herald, 16/4).
Our federal and state governments refuse to provide adequate funding for our health and education systems and many other relevant Australian causes, yet with only approximately 27 per cent of Australians identifying as Catholic, why does anyone think 100 per cent of Australians should be directly or indirectly paying for this?
The Catholic Church is one of the wealthiest financial entities on the face of the planet, so they have more than enough funds in their own coffers to perform the repairs thousands of times over.
If the Sydney Opera House were to burn down tomorrow, how much money would the Catholic Church be donating towards its repair?
William Hardes, Lakelands
LAME OR BLIND IF ALONE
JOHN Arnold (Letters 19/4) says all religions are 'voodoo' and have no place in a modern world that uses science to explain existence and phenomena.
But I say religion helped make modern science possible, specifically Christianity's idea that a rational being created a rational universe capable of being investigated.
And since science can't explain all existence and phenomena, I also say Mr Arnold's error is scientific over-reach or scientism.
Science is inherently incapable of explaining the existence of countless intangible realities including justice, mercy and love. It can't tell us why there is something rather than nothing, nor can it say where everything comes from.
Science explains how things work, but not what they mean, and it says nothing about what we should do.
I think Einstein got it right: 'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'.
For me a spiritual worldview is important, as is taxpayer funding of taxpayers' religious schools and institutions, in determining what is in the best interests of an enlightened 21st century society.
As for Mr Arnold's opinions on the adverse effects of religion, comments by Israel Folau and voting on gay marriage, they remain just that. Many others have different views.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE
IT doesn't take long for chickens to come home to roost. In answer to the one-eyed and, and in my opinion, dumb retorts to my call to reinstate Michael Hagan (Letters 17/4), I can now say that I told you so.
Yes, I am a paid-up member of the Knights. Yes, I have played rugby league, and yes, I have been in the past a large employer of Novocastrians so I do know what performance-based employment is all about.
Sadly, again we have witnessed a second-rate performance from our team against the Titans. One can only shudder when they have to face the Roosters and the Rabbitohs. The reality is that they, as a team cannot compete with the major teams and do not display the basic skills. I humbly retract comparing them with our past greats, but I think that with what we are paying these players we can surely expect to get better than what is offered at the moment.
The buck stops with the coach, and for the life of me I cannot see any chance of improvement until the whole team evaluates their present performance and perhaps, if they can't improve, be as the Knights of old and fall on their swords.
I am a staunch Novocastrian and want our team to represent the team and town with maximum effort. This club is better than this, it is not a retirement venue for veteran players. Those with this mentality should pack their traps and move on, leaving a space for younger and hungrier nobodies to stake their claim. If changes are not made soon, at the end of the season we can expect to enlarge our wooden spoon cabinet.
Dennis Crampton, Redhead
BASK IN EASTER'S AFTERGLOW
IN an increasing secular society it is encouraging that the Newcastle Herald provided its readers with at least two timely reminders of the impact of Christ's message ('Good Friday has a message for all', Opinion 19/4)
It is refreshing to see an Easter editorial go the heart of the Easier story instead of treading a cautious approach lest they conflict with the beliefs, even non-beliefs, of others in the community. The closing words ("it doesn't hurt non-Christians to consider the messages of Christ - that we should love one another, show compassion and care for the poor and outcast, aspire to peace, and turn the other cheek on occasion to avoid confrontations") are a challenge to all to think and act with respect and dignity.
Equally, affording Bishop William Wright the opportunity of his Opinion piece ("Why we can be glad there is an Easter", Opinion 19/4) reinforced that "belief in Jesus' resurrection is the foundation for a lot of people's lives of joy, of hope, of confidence in the future, of aspiration to live lives worthy of what has been done for us".
Long after the taste of chocolate and hot cross buns have disappeared from our palates, the message of Easter and the hope it gives will remain.
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook
WE NEED A MINISTER
I AGREE agree with the Hunter Joint Organisation of Councils in seeking support for a Minister for the Hunter ('Call to revive state job', Herald 18/4).
It will allow us as ratepayers to seek support for the many challenges that need attention in the Hunter region.
We currently have many issues happening at Newcastle council. In my opinion the most recent decision by the lord mayor to get herself placed onto the airport board by using her casting vote to push it through ('Mayor in $50,000 board job', Herald 27/3) certainly does not pass the old Australian pub test. The appointment of a Minister for Hunter will assist the community to lobby the NSW government to look at how such an appointment was allowed to be made ('Act says Nua clear to vote', Herald 12/4) and also ask for that section of the Local Government Act to be looked at urgently so such appointments do not happen again.
Let us hope that there is an investigation by the Office of Local Government which results in the appointment of an administrator to run Newcastle council.