There has been a lot of discussion about religion and politics in the media during the past several days. Much of the material centres on the new Federal opposition leader. Because he is a conscientious Catholic, and a conservative to boot, a spate of articles – many of them bordering on paranoia – have appeared.
As usual, our secular left is foaming at the mouth, warning about a theocracy about to be unleashed on Australia. One gets the impression from reading some of these anti-religious crusaders that if we don’t act quickly and decisively, soon all Australians will be forced to attend regular church services and all copies of The God Delusion will be burned.
Of course the blatant hypocrisy and double standards here is simply mind-boggling. We have had for several years now a Prime Minister who constantly and proudly displays his religiosity. He conspicuously trumpeted his faith in order to woo Christian voters before the last federal election, and he is quite happy to offer photo ops outside of church each Sunday.
In many ways he has been far more vocal and outspoken about his faith than previous PMs, certainly more so than John Howard. Yet while Howard – and now Abbott – are regularly being bashed for daring to in any way bring their faith to the political arena, Rudd has been allowed to get away with it for years now. How come?
Quite simple really. Rudd is a lefty, and secular leftists do not mind the public expression of religion beliefs, as long as it matches their own viewpoint. It is conservative Christianity that the secular left most detests. Thus Howard and Abbott are enemies of the state, and about to unleash a holy war on Australia. But Rudd offers no such worry.
A good illustration of how Ruddian religion is fully compatible with the secular left was nicely illustrated this past week. It involved a press release put out by Labor Senator Kate Lundy saying: “ABBOTT MUST RULE OUT INCLUDING BIBLE STUDIES IN NATIONAL CURRICULUM”. It refers to a suggestion by Mr Abbott that Australian school children should be aware of significant books such as the Bible.
I wrote that story up here: billmuehlenberg.com/2009/12/20/the-bible-a-book-without-peer/
In the Weekend Australian Angela Shanahan had a column on this, in which she pointed out that this press release “was issued from the Prime Minister’s office”. If so, we have hypocrisy big time going on here: Rudd is free to trumpet his faith, but he does not want Abbott to have the same privilege.
And as Shanahan points out, there is duplicity aplenty here: “The manoeuvre fell in a hilarious heap when, in a later interview, Lundy’s frustrated verbal mangling inadvertently accused her boss of doing what she wanted to accuse the Opposition Leader of doing. ‘What I think is important here is that we challenge Mr Rudd on his propensity to want to inflict his personal religious views, very strongly held, on the rest of the Australian population.’ No one doubts the Freudian nature of this stuff-up.”
Rudd it seems is free to push his religious views on the rest of society, but Abbott is not. Another clear example of this blatant set of double standards by the secular left is on show in today’s Australian. Arch-libertarian and secularist Ross Fitzgerald today whines about “Whatever happened to secular democracy?”
In his piece he whips up a storm of hysteria over Abbott and his supposed attempt to Christianise Australia. In his article he manages to attack just about every Christian individual and organisation that has dared to take seriously the public expression of Christianity. Thus he attacks Fred Nile, Gordon Moyes, Salt Shakers, Danny Nalliah, the ACL, Jim Wallace, and George Pell. Have I left anyone out?
He is convinced that a religious takeover of Australia is just around the corner. Yet Mr Fitzgerald, who is a regular supporter and promoter of the smut industry, tells us our salvation is coming from the newly formed Australian Sex Party. He says, “Wallace needs to take a cold shower. That there is now an Australian political party prepared to challenge the pious claptrap that dominates most of the other parties is refreshing.”
But in truth it seems that it is Fitzgerald who is the one desperately in need of a cold shower. His bigoted attack on religion in the public arena only tells us about his prejudices and narrow-mindedness. The fact is, everyone is religious; everyone has a worldview which they want promoted in the public square. Fitzgerald is of course publicly pushing his worldview, secular humanism, but does not want others to have the same freedom.
But that is what a democracy is all about: allowing people you disagree with to be able to have free expression in public. And he thinks he has clinched his argument by appealing to a poll which says 32 per cent of NSW voters think there is too much religion in politics. Sorry, but that means a whopping 68 per cent do not think there is too much.
Given that a similar percentage of Australians claim to be Christian, why should the majority of Australian citizens be excluded from the public expression of their views, simply because Fitzgerald does not like them? Perhaps he would prefer to live in a country where messy things such as democracy and freedom are not allowed to interfere with his anti-religious bigotry.
This is just another case of the secular left going ballistic whenever their turf is challenged. They have for such a long time now had a stranglehold on the public arena, that whenever the smallest expression of religious conviction is heard in the public square, they go bonkers.
They believe that religious people – especially Bible-believing Christians – should be seen, and not heard. And if the secularists really had their way, these believers wouldn’t be seen either. They cry much about freedom, democracy and tolerance, but they are among the most intolerant whenever a Christian dares to open his mouth in public.
Until Australia becomes a secular dictatorship, on the order of the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, religious expression in the public arena will continue to occur. If the secularists don’t like it – tough. That is what living in a free country is all about.