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Woe To You, ScoMo: The Bible, The Poor and The Prime Pharisee

I have done this before: meeting Scott Morrison on his own biblical turf and ripping him a new one on how his pseudo-christianity is about as far from Jesus as it is possible to be. However, in light of the recent push for drug-testing of welfare recipients and broad discussion of extending the so-called ‘cashless welfare card’ to other payments, a refresher course is necessary. It is fair to say that the Prime Pharisee, as I shall now call him, would be chief among the goats of the parable. Depart from me, ye cursed.

The Christian Bible and The Poor, Part One: The Greek New Testament 

The christian scriptures are quite pro-immigrant as I have said before, but the poor also get a good showing in the text. Rather than simply quote these texts, I think some discussion is warranted also.

We start with the first epistle not written by (or to) John the Apostle, chapter 3, verse 17

Rich people who see a brother or sister in need, yet close their hearts against them, cannot claim that they love God

In other words, if you have means (the Prime Pharisee would say blessings) and do not use them to help the poor, you cannot claim to be a servant of the god you say you love. You might claim this Jesus guy as your saviour, but your attitude to those less fortunate refutes any claim that you have internalised his message. You represent that legalistic, judgemental and bigoted side of religion typified by the Pharisees of the new testament. Hence my new title for you: Prime Pharisee.

The Christian Bible and The Poor, Part Two: The Hebrew Bible

Lest we think that doing the right thing by the poor was a new testament notion, consider parts of the Hebrew text. We proceed with a couple of lines from Leviticus 19:9-10. That is right, Prime Pharisee, this book is good for something besides being anti-gay and killing every second person with whom you interact.

The text says

“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God

This we might see as leaving some portion of one’s crops unharvested in case someone in need should come by. Applying this to the treasury of a nation, some insignificant amount of support for the poor should be something that you, as a self-professed christian, do with joy. Instead, you attach stigma and prejudice to it.

This – THIS – is how you treat the poor? If you would be perfect, he said, sell what you own and give to the poor. Even accounting for the idea that this was an interim ethic, a temporary state of affairs given that the world was supposed to end on Friday, the sentiment is still a good idea and supported by multiple citations throughout the text by which you claim to live.

A Modern-Day Pharisee

Perhaps some explanation of this new title for Morrison is necessary. The Pharisees, as depicted in the gospels, were strict legalists who memorised the Pentateuch (1st five) and were the religious leaders of their day. These were the guys who debated what ‘work’ was for purposes of the Jewish sabbath. A fun group to be around.

The blind legalism and adherence to tradition of this group of extreme religious conservatives is perhaps best demonstrated by the words put into the mouth of Jesus in the gospel attributed to Matthew, 23:23

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former

This we may see as paying attention to the little minor details of the law and not seeing the big picture that, as the epistle to the Romans would later say, love, is the fulfilment of the law (13:10). These guys are the type to quote the text at people saying how many steps you can take on alternate Mondays when the moon is full, but care not a fig for the poor. Ok, I might have made part of that up, but you get the idea.

These guys do the little things and (implicitly) say ‘how righteous am I’ while being as unrighteous as it is possible to be. Relating this back to the Prime Pharisee, he gives his 10% and raises his hand in the air every Sunday, sure. However, he then turns around and orders and implements the most callous, inhumane policies possible. This man is a hypocrite of the highest order. Prime Pharisee indeed.  

Faith, Works and The Poor

The epistles in the Greek New Testament have quite a lot to say about caring for the poor. The epistle of James, for instance, says the following (2:15-17)

if a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead

Ignore here the clear implication that you should only do this for your fellow christians (brother or sister has an implied ‘in christ’ attached to it). Regardless, the point is clear: if you claim to have undergone some form of christian transformation, the change cannot be mere words. Rather, it must be reflected in your deeds. Saying the right thing, without actually doing the right thing, is meaningless. Bringing this home to the Prime Pharisee, he says that he loves Jesus, but his actions do not reflect any form of fundamental self-change. Faith without works, as the text says, is dead.

Works Without Faith: The Other Side of The Sheep and The Goats

I imagine most are aware of this parable, but you may not have noticed this. When the king says to the so-called righteous

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me…

it is noteworthy that what these people believed is not mentioned. Rather, the issue is how they had treated, as the text says, the least of these my brothers. To bring this home to the Prime Pharisee, how you treat the least of these is how he will treat you.

Conclusion: Prime Pharisee

The man calling himself the Prime Minister is the very worst example of the political pseudo-christian. These clowns preach Jesus with their mouths, but their hearts are far from him to paraphrase the gospels. Callous behaviour towards those less well off members of society is in direct contravention of the faith you claim to have.

May I suggest dusting off your translation of the text and reading it once in a while, Prime Pharisee.

 

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13 comments

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  1. Keitha Granville

    Thanks, I have been wondering if anyone would ever mention that the PM can’t possibly be a Christian.

  2. Artemis

    I don’t know anyone who thinks he is a Christian.

  3. Peter F

    Thank you, Dr.Tim.

  4. Robin Alexander

    : Firmly believe the place where he worships is notChristian church! It is Sect that worship Money!they pray for wealthy!all others are worthless beings and not to be cared for! Haveing seen list of their ideals and wants for society it appears to me ancient beliefs not of this present world society! Women always remain in background behind men is one!personally with his other followers in high positions in his government think it does not bode well for non wealthy!as 82 pensioner I live with stress of his impending intriduction Indue card for Aged & Veterens? How low can.he go to impose this on the very oldest population who lived hard working lives fought for our contry! His plan for wealthy dominated society well advanced?

  5. Karen Kyle

    Good article Thank you.

  6. Lawrence Winder

    Nahh.. that’s not the prosperity gospel!

  7. Winifred Jeavons

    I am firmly of the opinion that if our(?) PM thinks he was born again, it did not take. If he really desires to be christian he needs to do it again, this time wlth sincere humility, 2 qualities he utterly fails to display, along with loving his neighbours , recognising the ancient teaching on treating foreigners coming to the nation , and stewardship of the land , as referred to in Genesis.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Robert Kennedy, University of Kansas, March 18, 1968

    “Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction – purpose and dignity – that afflicts us all.

    Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product – if we judge the United States of America by that – that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.

    It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.

    It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

    Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.

    It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.

    And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

    If this is true here at home, so it is true elsewhere in world.”

    Where are our leaders?

  9. Kathryn

    Brilliant summary of the A-Grade callously inhumane bible-thumping Prime Pharisee by Dr Tim Jones! There can be no doubt that if they had an Olympic Games for smug, sanctimonious and heartlessly cruel hypocrites, FauxMo aka MorriScum and his depraved attack dog, the black-eyed demon, Dutton, would win Gold, Silver and Bronze in EVERY event! The ONLY being not looking forward to the demise of these unspeakably evil grubs is Satan himself – probably because he is worried that these two grubby bastards have reached a level of wickedness and having all the repugnant “credentials” to usurp Satan on his throne.

  10. Lantanaman

    I agree with respondents, this fellow, our pm, ex ad man, dares to convince us he is Christian, invoking the power of his God to deliver us from drought, pray for rain, like that’s a solution ain’t it? If you have a go you’ll get a go? Slogan Scomo, give me a break. With this idiot posing as our great leader I dispair for our good country’s future, short and long term, his malignant legacy will be with us long after he departs Canberra.
    What is wrong with so many of our fellow citizens that they can’t see through this film flam man that he has absolutely no substance or honesty or integrity and with him setting the example what hope any of his sycophantic hangers on will emerge from the rabble, they just model themselves on the incumbent, brown nosing for their own pathetic ambitions.
    This government, of which Morrison heads, Heaven preserve us, does a Lord Nelson, blind to the storm clouds gathering to impoverish our country not just fiscally but morally as well. Once respected for our status in the world, that is eroding fast. Come to think of it, not sure we deserved to be well regarded, we just managed, for a long time, to convince ourselves and other nations that we behaved with honour. Plenty of examples that we didn’t, fortune favours the powerful/rich. The poor, the disenfranchised, the downtrodden are left to squabble and scrap for the leftovers.
    It is easier to separate the masses from vast sums of money than to extract similar amounts from the relative few mega wealthy. It costs more to raise Newstart a few measly dollars than to grant huge pay rises to the few politicians. The recipients of Newstart payments must be flat out trying to survive and fulfill their obligations to take on a fight with beaurocracy. I could go on about Robo Debt how evil it is in its conception and execution.
    I once thought Abbott was as bad as it was possible to be, he was only a curtain raiser to this dangerous fool.

  11. Wendy Moore

    Morrison and his ilk are like big fat ugly caterpillars voraciously chomping on the biggest and juiciest leaves, getting fatter and fatter and remaining deaf and blind to the world around them. They presume we are all egocentric caterpillars just like them, consuming and shitting on the earth. Unfortunately you cannot talk butterfly language to caterpillar people.

  12. Aortic

    All hail Cardinal Pell, the modern day Robespierre while ” Cocker sings, ” You can leave your hat on.”

  13. Max Gross

    Evil is as evil does

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