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Is Scott Morrison the Christian Prime Minister? – AP

This article first appeared in Australian Presbyterian

Kevin Rudd is attacking him.  The Guardian is attacking him.  The SMH and ABC are attacking him.  Social media are attacking him.  Comedians sneer and mock.  Fellow politicians issue solemn warnings.   None of this is new or surprising, but it is the subject of their attack, Morrison’s faith, which is surprising.   Peter FitzSimons – never one to pass up the chance to have a go at biblical Christianity – used his Sun-Herald column to mock and wonder why in an increasingly ‘less religious’ country we have such a ‘religious’ PM. I thought we were supposed to be a multi-cultural tolerant society, where people can believe whatever they wish, and are free to express that belief? If Scott Morrison were a Muslim, Hindu, or Jew – would he be subject to the same mockery as he is because he is a Pentecostal?   Would Kevin Rudd write about Islam in the way he writes about Pentecostalism?  If he did, I suspect he would be prosecuted!

What did Morrison do?  What did he say?  The two most commented on remarks, that he made in a private gathering of his own church, were about laying on of hands, and an observation that social media, as well as being a force for good, can be used to do the devil’s work.  As if to prove his point, in a social media discussion on who was the worse dictator, Napoleon or Hitler, I was told that worse than either was, wait for it … Scott Morrison.  Who knew that we are being governed by Hitler’s grandchild!

On the other hand, there are those Christians who regard the Prime Minister as ‘our man’.  A Christian in the highest seat of power.  Isn’t that wonderful?   I tend to be somewhat cynical about these things and have, in my two years here, been observing ScoMo’s behaviour and how he is treated.   It is a fascinating and revealing study.  Perhaps as an outsider, I can be forgiven for sharing a few observations on your Prime Minister (I would like to call him mine, but I am not a citizen and am not allowed to vote).

To compare Scott (I love the Australian habit of calling senior politicians by their first name although I was a bit surprised when I first heard a prayer in church for Scott, Gladys, and Anthony!) with Hitler is of course nonsense.  But it is not much better to compare him to Trump.  There is nothing Trumpian about Morrison.    I find him to be quiet, dignified, balanced and truthful.  There may be policies I disagree with, and aspects of how he deals with things – but overall, he is one of the more impressive politicians that I have seen.  In my view, and that of my wife, we feel blessed to be in a country with such a leader – at least when we compare what we have here with what we have back home in Scotland, and what exists in both the UK and the USA.

I recall watching him giving a press conference on the edge of someone’s garden, and the man came out and asked him to get of the grass.  Morrison apologised ‘sorry mate’ and moved.  No fuss, no airs, and graces.  I loved it.

But what about the crazy religious stuff?  I haven’t come across any of it.  For example, the latest attack was on what he said at his church conference and at a couple of other speeches, including his speech to the United Israel Appeal in Sydney where he argued for human dignity, morality, and individual responsibility.

“In short, to realise true community we must first appreciate each individual human being matters. You matter. You, individually.  And in this context I would also argue we must protect against those forces that would undermine that in community, and I don’t just mean, as I’ve recently remarked, the social and moral corrosion caused by the misuse of social media, and the abuse that occurs there. But I would say it also includes the growing tendency to commodify human beings through identity politics.”

Those who espouse identity politics may regard this as blasphemy – but in a real democracy you can’t demand that only your religious/philosophical view be taken on board as public policy, whilst others have to be silent.  Scott’s identity is as a Christian.  Is that not acceptable?  It appears that some identities are more privileged than others.

However, there are others who criticise him, not just for his political views (for some he is too right wing, for others too left), and not just because he expresses his Christian views.  I have heard some Christians state that he does not express his Christian views clearly enough!   Take for example his address to the United Israel dinner, it was critically observed this was not a Gospel address.  Precisely.  He was not there to preach the Gospel.   But it was a somewhat brilliant demonstration of the effects of the Gospel and of common grace.

We don’t elect Scott Morrison to be the Christian prime minister.  We expect him to be the Prime Minister for all Australians (and for those of us who are strangers in a strange land).  He will get things wrong and make mistakes.  He may even stumble and fall – which is all the more reason we should pray.   Instead of sniping from the side-lines, we should be thankful that we appear to have a man of integrity, who is not ashamed of his faith, but also not exclusive of others.     He is not the prime minister for Christians, but he is a prime minister who is a Christian.  In this day and age, we should be thankful for that.  We pray for Scott, not just as we would and should pray for any political leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2), but also as a brother.  May the Lord keep him, guide him, and protect him from the bigots, the intolerant, and the mockers,   ‘that we may live peaceful and godly lives in all holiness”.  

Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God – AP

12 comments

  1. Excellent analysis. Yes Christians need to be in public life and to be ‘out’ about their faith. But what we face today is a combination of residual ‘sacralism’ (the idea that the same religion is followed by all citizens and must be endorsed by the state) and post-Christendom (this religion is no longer ‘Christianity’). Many of those who attack Scott will assume (perhaps unthinkingly) that the common religion most share is ‘secularism’ & Scott must be seeking to rival this with ‘Christianity.’ Christians in public life strive to build a state that serves all equally.

  2. Is it any wonder that the world mocks people with a Christian faith? It’s always been this way, and any other opinion can be accepted but not if someone declares they are Christian. What we would give for a Scott Morrison to be PM in Britain right now!

    1. It is perfectly possible that the practicing Roman Catholic Leader of the House , Jacob Rees – Mogg , might succeed Boris Johnson at some point .

      However , please don’t expect J R-M’s RC beliefs to change the UK’s direction of travel by reversing idiocies like Gay Marriage or the self – harming Human Rights legislation.

      One of Rees – Mogg’s favourite Latin tags is the arrantly stupid and context – free ” Vox Populi Vox Dei ” which , as far I know ,was first coined by Alcuin of York who ridicules it in his full quotation.

      Also , Rees – Mogg’s Catholicism is of the English variety and thus undamaged by the Jansenism of the more common , imported Irish variety.

  3. The strange fact is that five of the last six Australian prime ministers have claimed to be Christian, and the one who wasn’t drew equal press ire for her atheism.

    I think some people did struggle to reconcile to reconcile Scott the Christian with Scott the manager of a particularly cruel (yet effective) refugee policy.

    Anyway, another great article David.

  4. “Would Kevin Rudd write about Islam in the way he writes about Pentecostalism?”

    Excellebt article overall. One question – did Rudd attack him based on his religion? I missed that in the media. If so, it is interesting because Rudd was very outspoken about his own liberal Anglican beliefs/social gospel. 🙁

    My only concern about Morrison is his government’s hawkish response to China.

    He is the first PM to speak out directly against the corroding effects of identity politics and his leadership in the COVID crisis has been generally very strong.

  5. When it comes to religious mockery , the BBC are a nonpareil outfit :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Xgk6g-ovjM

    We eagerly await a “Scottish” Muslim three old asking his Pakistani – descended parents why he is the only one in the family eating during Ramadan and is the Prophet Mohammed best friends with the winged horse who bore him up to Islamic Heaven.

  6. Do you think ScoMo will last until the next election now?

    Two months ago, his position looked unassailable but since then, we’ve had

    1. the revelations about the culture of sexual abuse in parliament house,

    2. delays and disruptions around the vaccine roll-out,

    3. the potential alienation of a lot of Indian people with the hardline border shutdown stance

    4. the deteriorating relationship with China with the accompanying sabre-rattling and loss of major trade deals.

    Don’t get me wrong; I like ScoMo but he is potentially alienating a lot of female voters and the Indian community so it will be interesting to see what the next lot of polling says. All talk of an early election seems to have ceased when ScoMo seemed like a shoo-in before. Of course, Dutton us there, waiting in the wings to stab him again.

    It is interesting and sad, too, that some of his biggest critics at the moment are liberal and progressive Christians with their irrational hatred of Biblical/Doctrinal Christianity.

    1. I thought I’d look up Dutton’s beliefs just in case he does become PM one day (heaven help us if he does!) There is surprisingly little out there.

      His father is a Catholic, his mother is an Anglican and he attended an Anglican school in Brisbane but there isn’t much on Dutton himself except for a time he tried to buy into an American-style “war on Christmas” debate.

      Finally, I found this:

      “Peter Dutton, who makes no claims to strong religious affiliation…”

      https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2021/05/01/politics-morrison-and-faith/161979120011549#hrd

      So probably not a deeply religious person – certainly not another Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott or Scott Morrison – but very much a conservative cultural Christian.

  7. As a Christian he should be honestly telling people about the vaccine and its potentials also even as politician should run the country like David did, always looking and live for the truth. If like he said he is doing God’s work then he shouldn’t allowing Australia of becoming worse then Communist country.

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