Scott Morrison’s faith is an asset, not a liability
The prime minister’s speech to the conference of churches on the Gold Coast has sparked a contest between people of faith and progressives. Despite an avalanche of criticism from the progressive media, Scott Morrison has taken the fight up to the progressives and their mantra of identity politics and he is confident that the Australian public will side with him.
There is evidence that he is right. As Paul Kelly pointed out in an op-ed in Wednesday’s Australian newspaper, Bill Shorten lined up with the progressives to attack Scott Morrison’s religion in the 2019 election campaign and came off second best.
The low point came when Shorten asked Morrison, during a televised debate, whether he believed, like rugby player Israel Folau, that homosexuals would go to hell.
This is an argument that was emulated by Kevin Rudd in an article in ‘The Guardian’, in which he impugned the beliefs of Pentacostals as being unchristian and undemocratic. Rudd opined:
“His tradition, Pentecostalism, often emphasises the highly individualised "health and wealth gospel' – that if you are godly, then you will be both healthy and wealthy. Questions of human sexuality tend to elicit a deeply conservative, fundamentalist answer. The Pentecostal tradition also includes communicating with God through 'speaking in tongues' and the ability to discern God’s will by being attentive to those around them with the prophetic 'word of knowledge”' In other words, some Pentecostal leaders believe they can communicate directly with God.
Mr Rudd went on to say:
“First, Morrison made extensive reference to kings and prophets from the Old Testament. Morrison’s exegesis was highly individualistic. In the case of Isaiah, Morrison’s speech implies that, during the last federal election, God spoke to him through a painting of an eagle (which Morrison interpreted as him being elevated by the divine in his earthly contest against the Labor party).
“Such a politically partisan interpretation of biblical passages is disturbing for our secular democracy. More fundamentally, it is worrying if the prime minister believes God somehow speaks directly to him.
“Second, there is a troubling section of Morrison’s speech where he indicates that humans aren’t capable of fixing problems on Earth. Instead, he says, that’s the responsibility of God; and what the country needs, therefore, is the growth of the church.”
This is a misrepresentation of Morrison’s position.
The PM made specific reference to the theologian Rabbi Jonathon Sachs, who in turn reflects the philosophy of Austrian economist and philosopher, Friederich Hayek, that it is impossible for any single individual within society to know what all the other individuals in society need and want.
As Morrison said in his speech, the duty of an individual is to take responsibility for themselves and to help their neighbour.
This emphasis on the individual is an anathema to the progressive cult of identity politics.
In his second speech to the Australia-Israel Association, Scott Morrison attacked identity politics as being contrary to the Judeo-Christian values that subsume the jurisprudence of the western enlightenment.
Morrison said identity politics threatened these values and the rights of the individual. Their objective was the destruction of traditional institutions because they are the constructs of white male privilege and therefore systemically biased against minority groups.
In his second speech, Scott Morrison warned that identity politics could evolve into tribalism and conflict. He argued that the idea that people were governed by their identity was flawed because all individuals were different. He said the government’s role was to protect each individual from dictatorship by the mob.
The prime minister believes that his perception of liberal values derived from the Judeo/Christian faith will prevail over the nihilism of progressive politics.