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Why my organisation leaked Scott Morrison’s “evil one” speech

By Dr Meredith Doig

Last week, my organisation published Scott Morrison’s infamous “God’s work” speech. But as citizens of a supposedly secular nation, our crusade continues.

Imagine if our Prime Minister were a hard-line atheist giving speeches about political matters at an atheist convention that he or she wanted to keep from the wider public. Imagine if this Prime Minister’s government were in the midst of drafting legislation that would have devastating impacts on religious communities. I am certain that Christian groups, other faith groups, the media, and the public would be eager to know what such a Prime Minister had to say. And so would the Rationalist Society.

Last week, my organisation made the decision to publish the video of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s speech to the Australian Christian Churches conference, held earlier in April on the Gold Coast.

We published the video because it was overwhelmingly in the public interest to do so.

Australians, on the whole, are uncomfortable with extreme worldviews, whether they are religious or political ideologies.

We also like to think that the religious views of individuals won’t unduly interfere in government. But, even in our liberal democracy, it’s quite possible for a politician to be elected without them fully disclosing their worldview.

We have a right to know what ideas guide the actions and decision-making of those who stand for public office.

If a Christian political candidate believes planet earth was ‘created’ a few thousand years ago and is eagerly awaiting the return of Jesus at the Apocalypse, voters have a right to know. Likewise, if a militant atheist candidate harbours ill intent toward religious people, voters have a right to know.

We published the video because it was overwhelmingly in the public interest to do so. We also like to think that the religious views of individuals won’t unduly interfere in government. We have a right to know what ideas guide the actions and decision-making of those who stand for public office.

Far too often religious views are deemed off-limits. In 2015, for example, then Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie refused to be drawn on questions about whether he believed in creationism, arguing that his religious views were irrelevant to voters.

Far from being irrelevant, the religious beliefs of political leaders are of great interest to Australians – as demonstrated by the public reaction to the video of Prime Minister Morrison’s speech.

There is a legitimate concern about how such beliefs may impact policy-making in the Morrison government.

The Prime Minister has pledged to deliver a Religious Discrimination Bill to parliament before the next election, even though the first two drafts drew widespread criticism from all quarters, including business groups, legal groups, human rights groups, LGBTIQ groups, and even religious groups.

If either of those divisive draft bills had become law, religious people and organisations would have been provided a ‘sword’ they could use to discriminate against and harm a wide range of people. Anti-discrimination laws are meant to be ‘shields’, not swords.

While the vast majority of Australians, including many Christians, support the concept of secularism – the separation of church and state – it is not clear the Prime Minister feels the same. In his maiden speech to parliament, he went out of his way to argue Australia “is not a secular country”.

In response to the release of the video, I have been heartened to hear public figures like Anthony Albanese and Kevin Rudd assert the importance of upholding a secular society which protects people of all faiths and none, and treats them equally.

Disappointingly, very few politicians speak up for secularism, even though Australia is a multi-faith and, increasingly, a non-religious society. With this year’s census expected to confirm a further decline in affiliation with Christianity, people increasingly want freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion.

The need for pro-secular champions in the community and in politics is becoming increasingly important, as religious institutions maintain and seek to enhance their privileged place in government institutions.

For example, in parliaments and councils across the nation, non-Christian representatives – atheists, agnostics, and people from minority faiths – are forced to observe exclusively Christian prayers before getting down to their daily work of representing their constituents.

In our military and our schools, government-funded pastoral care is reserved almost exclusively for the Christian religion, despite the fact that government schools are mandated as secular and the vast majority of recruits into our armed forces are now non-religious.

As Australia’s oldest freethought organisation that promotes reason and evidence as to the basis for policymaking, the Rationalist Society of Australia will continue to inquire into the beliefs of this country’s political leaders. We will, unwaveringly, continue work to advance the cause of secularism.

 

Meredith Doig is president of the Rationalist Society of Australia and also writes a daily bulletin called ‘RSA Daily’.

 

This article was originally published on The Big Smoke.

 

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10 comments

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  1. pierre wilkinson

    a rational act in an irrational enterprise
    Scotty’s hubris will ultimately bring about his downfall,
    but how much secularity will be left in our parliament
    with the blatant promotion of fellow pentacostals?
    thank you for allowing us to see the man for what he is

  2. Ken

    Very well put Meredith. I totally agree with the decision to upload onto
    Youtube Morrison’s speech of which there has been nearly 26,000 views.

  3. Josephus

    Just watched those extracts . Never heard this rotund nonentity talk before and now I see I was right to avoid doing so.
    What strikes me most is his fatuous self satisfaction , his credulity and his humbug . Reminds me of Voltaire gently mocking a naive imagined nun asking the deity to save her pet canary. But that nun had no power.

    People vote for such selfish idiots because they see themselves in them and so feel smug about themselves . Thank the lord I am not an inner city latte sipping etc says the class warrior earning far more than the proles who vote for him.
    This is class warfare and the proles have won . The rich are selfish too cf tax cuts so they vote for the prole too .

    Despair . We march , we sign petitions and they laugh or insult us. More beer and snags for all.
    On the titanic Earth.

  4. Ken Fabian

    It seems important to know which people and organisations our Prime Minister believes are working for Satan and whether he has passed that information on to the Federal Police.

    Less seriously – or perhaps more – it especially seems important to know if Scott Morrison believes – as it appears many devout Pentacostals do – that God wouldn’t ever let global warming happen. Surely not from Humanity burning stinky stuff from the deep bowels of the Earth that burns with Hellish heat and gives off a foul brimstone odor and makes the world hotter, with no way to ever make it back how it was again. But it can make Wealth and Power beyond imagination! Oh, and Great Machines of War for Smiting Enemies…

    How Good was God, for giving Humanity something like THAT?!

    Curiously, thinking it through, if God controls climate and human activities don’t matter, that makes all the global warming so far God’s doing! On purpose. And do people who expect the End of Times soon really expect God’s Global Warming to STOP, because God loves us? Or do they oppose action to prevent climate disruption because that would be opposing God’s Will or something? Making climate activists the tools of Satan, call the AFP?

    Somehow taking the science based expert advice on climate seriously looks more important than ever – and we don’t know what our Prime Minister really believes about it. Knowing if he does take it seriously or doesn’t seems important!

  5. Mr Bronte ALLAN

    This flat earth, happy clapping, lying idiot obviously lives in his own little stupid bubble of so-called “religious beliefs” & wants to “guide” us all into his idea of nirvana? What a loud mouthed, pompous, quasi-religious fucking idiot is he? We NEED to get rid of him, his fucking nasty mob of COALition bastards, & elect back the Labor lot, who are not deluded, do not believe in “supernatural” phenomena & do NOT want ANY religious claptrap forced onto us as the Slo Mo & his lot are trying to do! Great & true article Doctor!

  6. wam

    The truth is what you believe. Christians believe what they are brought up to believe. They get real snakey if you challenge their belief, at any level. Jesus said marriage was between a man and a woman so take it up with him. when jesus died about 1000 years before christian marriage you cannot blame him. Take responsibility for your own opinion.
    I pray for you wam.
    ps Surely no rational human can be a member of a church?

  7. leefe

    “The truth is what you believe.”

    No. Neither belief, nor disbelief, nor doubt change what is.

  8. wam

    Have you seen Rashomon, leefe??
    That shows what you believe is your truth is not my truth

  9. leefe

    A number of times. It’s about personal perspectives on events, not actual measurable reality.

    All the belief in the world won’t stop the planet spinning.

  10. DrakeN

    Few people are genuinely rational; hence religions, fashions, house prices, the successes of advertising agencies and the greedy, self-serving grubs which we routinely elect to govern us.
    Amongst other things.

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