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On January 27, 1999, an obituary appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, for "Bernard Judd, MBE, OAM, Wowser". It was written by Alan Gill, the Religious Affairs Editor for the Herald for many years. Alan said of Bernard that he was "in his younger days, a Protestant controversialist at a time when 'No Popery' was an evangelical battle cry." Alan says that Bernard's "views about 'Rome' and 'Romish tendencies' among his fellow Anglicans mellowed considerably in the 1970s and beyond." The obituary states that Bernard expressed his opinions "in trenchant letters to the Herald. At some stage in mid-career he upset the Fairfax management so much that he was banned from the letters' page, an order rescinded under the editorship of David Bowman in the late 1970s."

Here is evidence from the pen of one of Sydney's most respected journalists that the Sydney Morning Herald once enforced a ban for an unspecified number of years on a man who later was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, and who was also made a Member of the Order of Australia. Are we to believe that this was the only such ban made by the Herald? Are we to believe that the bans stopped when this particular one was rescinded in the late 1970s (by which time Bernard had altered his views on the Roman Catholic Church)? And are we to believe that the Herald is the only newspaper in Australia that does such things?

Another paragraph from the obituary needs to be quoted here: "At a time when the subject was never mentioned, Judd spoke openly about political and police corruption. He befriended the journalist Bob Bottom and organised a hugely successful seminar on 'organised crime'."

My attention was drawn to this obituary through the Letters page in the Herald, where a relative of Bernard Judd wrote, on January 27, 1999: "Your obituaryŠ stated that one of your predecessor's blackbanned his [Bernard's] letters to the Herald. My letter to you assumes such a ban was personal rather than familial."

A second letter appeared with this one. It was from Jim Payne, former Commonwealth Secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society in Australia.

I worked with Jim Payne as National Public Relations Officer for the Bible Society, in 1974 and 1975, prior to my meeting with Bob Bottoms in Broken Hill. Jim withstood strong pressure from church representatives in New South Wales, Victoria and Canberra to have me sacked from my position with the Bible Society because I had spoken up in defence of the Children of God at a rally held in Canberra in 1974. The American patriot, Patrick Henry, is quoted as having said, "I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it." Bob Bottom, Jim Payne, Bernard Judd, the Children of GodŠ they all seemed prepared to take a stand against the status quo. Their causes may have varied considerably, but they each encountered opposition because they failed to conform.

I would suggest that what lies behind moves to censor any new thought or idea in society is inadequacy on the part of the establishment to counter the arguments being presented. Where there are valid arguments against a new thought, the arguments themselves will stand as the best defence. This is not to say that censorship necessarily proves an idea to be correct. Someone has said, "Being persecuted does not make you a Galileo. You must also be right!" Censorship may be merely a lazy reaction to a bad idea.

Society feels most threatened in areas where it has not been prepared to seriously think through the issues. This commonly happens with regard to changes in sexual attitudes. The changes may, in fact, be quite wrong. But until people are able to question their own definitions of what constitutes right and wrong, and to consider improvements, any change in the area of sexual morality will automatically represent a threat.

But the same can be said for changes and/or criticisms in any area of our lives, where we have acted unthinkingly, and made assumptions without ever questioning them. One area where this is most common is in our attitudes toward money.

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