I finished my last piece with this quote and begin this one by repeating it.
“Power must be malevolent possession when you are prepared to forgo the principles of a secular government and your country’s well-being for the sake of a theocracy.”
What is meant by a secular government?
It could be as simple as where religion and politics are separate. Where:
“Religion is not removed from the public sphere; rather, it is just one voice among many, including those with no religion.”
Arguably or ultimately, however, how you see secularism will depend on what version you use, for it can vary from country to country.
For me, as far back as I can remember, it meant religion should not interfere with politics in Australia. It can have a say, but that is as far as it should go.
Lenore Taylor tweeted and, in doing so, explained the right of the press to report on the religious activities of our Prime Minister.
I have no issue with the prime minister's christianity. Every Australian is free to practice whatever religion they choose. But when the PM gives a public speech explaining how his belief informs and motivates his leadership, then it is in the public interest and we report it. https://t.co/a9gpEc83rA
— Lenore Taylor (@lenoretaylor) April 27, 2021
Section 116 of our Constitution says:
“The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.”
What is a theocracy?
It is a government or a state led by immediate divine guidance or officials who are regarded as divinely guided by God.
The Bible says in Romans 13 of the New International Version:
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.”
The problem I see here for the Prime Minister is that the denomination he belongs to are literalists. By that, I mean they believe every word of scripture is accurate and literally true even if there is some difficulty in marrying the past with the present.
Scott Morrison has never been afraid to lay his faith on the line and, in doing so, has always taken the risk of upsetting those of little or no faith. Most politicians prefer to park their faith outside the house rather than taking it with them into a room of political debate. Not our PM.
His recent speech to those assembled at the Australian Christian Churches biennial conference raised a few eyebrows among those unfamiliar with the language of the Pentecostal church.
His use of expressions such as “speaking in tongues”, “called to do God’s work”, “laying on of hands”, the “evil one” when referring to the devil Suggests that God, without so much as an application, made him Prime Minister, going so far as to describing an encounter with a picture of an eagle after asking God for a sign during the closing weeks of the election campaign.
Unless you are of the faith, these things can be hard to fathom. As is this:
“God has, I believe, been using us in those moments to be able to provide some relief and comfort and just some reassurance.”
I think what atheists find most offensive with religion is not only that they reject theist belief, but also the injustice, immorality and hypocrisy that often comes with it.
In opining about the meaning of community, he walked both sides of the street.
“Morality is about focusing not on you but on the person next to you. It’s about focusing, for me, on you not me. That is the essence of community. You can’t pass a law for it. You can’t create a building for it. It is essentially what springs from each and every one of us. Community.”
A community was both individualistic and collective. Morrison concluded that community was everything but mustn’t express itself in “identity politics” – this to me seemed to be a contradiction in terms because identity politics is but a description of how individuals with shared values come together to form collectives and fights against oppression and injustice. However, it had to fit into the conservative philosophy about the individual.
Religion does not have a monopoly on morality. Or anything else, in my experience.
Social Media is a “weapon”
Scott Morrison sees social media as a weapon from the side of evil:
“… but those weapons can also be used by the evil one, and we need to call that out.”
Praying for people and “laying hands on them in various situations” would be confrontational if they knew and were affronted by the attention. Some would say this is an unwanted invasion of their space if they knew what was secretly being done.
Social media is a weapon “used by the evil one”, The evil one being the devil. Even Christians find it difficult enough to put together a coherent description of their God. You get that many variations; it becomes a word game. You can imagine what pictures people might paint of the evil one.
But perhaps the most controversial notion is that Scotty was put in his current leadership position by God. That’s a huge mouthful for people to swallow. Some would say impossible – no wonder the polling was so far out.
Does the scripture include leaders like Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler, or does it mean only the charismatic Pentecostal Christian ones?
There is sure to be another scripture you can refer to that will sought it out for you.
Most churches exist to do good works. Some see their existence as working for the poor or disadvantaged. Others like Catholics are institutionalised, while others like the charismatic churches see their presence as being to save souls.
Nobody can go to Heaven unless they confess that Jesus is their Lord and saviour. All others go to hell. That includes some rather fine people.
More from Scott Morrison’s recent speech:
“And this came home to me, importantly, during the last election campaign, in fact, and I was up on the Central Coast, and I was up there with Jenny. It was a pretty tough week actually, last couple of weeks of the campaign and I was at Ken Duncan’s Gallery. And I hadn’t, I didn’t know we were going to go to Ken Duncan’s Gallery, we were speaking at a rally that day and we had to go and hold somewhere as we often do before we go over to the next event. And, uh, I must admit, I was saying to myself “where are you?”, where are you? I’d like a reminder, if that’s okay”. And so I walk in, so I didn’t know i was supposed to be at Ken’s Gallery, and Ken’s a great Christian guy and I walked into his gallery and there right in front of me was the biggest picture of a soaring eagle that I could imagine. Of course, the verse hit me that soaring on the wings of an eagle, run and do not grow weary, walk do not grow faint. But the message I got that day was, “Scott, you’ve got to run to not grow weary. You’ve got to walk to not grow faint. You’ve got to spread your wings like an eagle to soar like an eagle.”
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
And why the reference to an eagle?
“Eagles are the “king of birds”, and throughout the Bible, God likens Himself and His children to an Eagle. Eagles are mentioned 34 times in the Bible and are considered an international symbol of strength, stamina, power, majesty, authority, and freedom. You can’t fly as an Eagle unless you stay strong.”
Coincidence is never a possibility when it gets in the way of a good God encounter story.
As an expression of Christianity in practice, the Prime Minister travelled to the conference from Sydney using his taxpayer-funded aircraft.
There was no video of his address, nor was it promoted on his Facebook or official pages. His office has not released a copy of his speech, as usually occurs when he speaks in his official capacity as prime minister.
He never mentioned women in the current context or how the Bible traditionally portrays them. Just as well, l think.
My thought for the day
Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, is the best way of providing solutions to human problems.
PS: George Christensen is to retire at the next election. That’s a weight off my mind.
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