Prime Minister Scott Morrison has fired back against what he called ‘gutless…keyboard warriors in their mother’s basement’. Specifically, he is responding to some online likening images of him in church with his hand in the air to a Nazi salute. Now, is it fair to suggest that anyone with their hand in the air is imitating a Nazi salute? No. Mr. Morrison was in church and was, after his own style, reaching his hand out to his god. This is not a Nazi salute. That particular comparison was wrong. However, since Mr. Morrison has put his faith in the public domain, it is subject to analysis, criticism and, yes, mockery and scorn if one sees fit. Faith is not, despite its demands, subject to a different standard simply because it is a faith position.
Full disclaimer here before we proceed. Not only do I despise Scott Morrison as Prime Minister, so I am not inclined to be kind to him, but I am also a non-believer. In quoting Christian texts, I make no claim as to their veracity, I am merely attempting to meet Mr. Morrison on his home turf. I will do my best to be as impartial as possible; no promises.
By Their Fruits, You Shall Know Them
The suggestion that the campaign was suspended for the Easter season turned out to be a lie. Colour me surprised. Mr. Morrison invited the media into his church. If his faith were a personal thing, as he claims, he would not have brought the media in. He does not appear to appreciate the nature of his current position. Anything the Prime Minister does is necessarily political. It is not possible to separate the man from the position. If his goal was to humanise himself or make himself look like a regular person, there were surely better ways to achieve this. Pentecostalism, his religion, is, to put it mildly, a bit of an odd group. Indeed, in some circles, it is viewed as a cult. Clapping and tears streaming down the face as they reach their hands out is, frankly, a little goofy.
I mentioned above the inappropriate comparison between Morrison and the Nazi salute. That was not the only criticism aimed at the Prime Minister around his church stunt. The CFMEU first created, and then for some reason removed, a caption mentioning ‘false prophets (or should that be false profits?’. While it is true that Mr. Morrison never claimed to be a prophet, he does not practice the tenets of his religion, and is thus at the very least a false acolyte. He would be aware of the gospel attributed to Matthew, chapter 8:15, which talks of those who ‘praise me [jesus] with their lips, but their hearts are far from me’. In other words, those who say all the right things but whose hearts are unchanged. Surface Christians we might call them.
Whatsoever You Do For the Least of These, You do For Me
Mr. Morrison is the ultimate surface Christian. He might say he loves Jesus and has faith, but faith without works is meaningless (James 2:17). That is, you actually have to do the right thing for your faith to mean anything. His time in office does not reflect his faith in many areas, but immigration is perhaps the most blatant. The Christian bible is actually remarkably pro-immigrant. Of all the texts that could be used, the most concise is Leviticus 19:34, which states in part ‘The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt’. Indeed is all I have to say to that.
Morrison, in fact, typifies the very Pharisees that Jesus struggled against; those who tithe mint and dill, that is, those who follow the little details of the law, but still treat others like garbage. Not living their convictions while at the same time pretending to be so pious. In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus blasted those who mistreated ‘the least of these’ by saying that they treated him the same way. I do not believe that Mr. Morrison would pass muster either.
Was the Criticism of Morrison’s Faith Valid?
All over social media yesterday, various photos of Mr. Morrison in church were circulated, photoshopped and captioned in various ways. His level of offence at his faith being criticised must be considered hollow, given that he voluntarily put it into the public domain. Earlier this year, he said that he has never hidden his faith. Alright, then it is subject to criticism, mockery and scorn. In addition, given how his faith has informed his political opinions, which influence public policy, he has no right to then turn around and cry foul over it being subject to criticism and scorn. When you stand in a building that pays no tax and pedals at best quasi-historical tales based on limited evidence, you have a great deal of nerve acting outraged when Australians, who are wont to mock things that take themselves too seriously, make fun of you.
A Light Conclusion
Scott Morrison was somehow able to say, with a straight face, that
The thing about my faith is it teaches you humility.
The Prime Minister is, bluntly, the most arrogant politician in recent memory, and that includes Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott. Mr. Morrison constantly passes the buck, blames his predecessor and has an excuse for everything. If your faith teaches humility, Sir, may I suggest going back for another class?
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