Scott Morrison: Let Us Pray

Life is truly strange. One can be blissfully walking the dog when, out of the light blue of morning, a question flashes before you like a comet piercing the sky. It is this: how to decide between a lump of coal and six days.

Granted it is not a comparison of like with like. One is 3D and the other four. The genesis of this poser was easy to pinpoint. I blame Scott Morrison.

The new Prime Minister seems able to reconcile each with the other. The six days is all the Lord’s work in creating life, the universe and everything. The coal is testament to the indifference of evolutionary forces. They exist, despite being at odds to each other’s existence.

Who can let these concepts, no sorry these incontrovertible facts, reside in the same house? Scott Morrison, and those of similar faith. Here is the man who can take a lump of coal into the chambers of Parliament and sit it down next to his beliefs as a member of the Pentecostal brethren.

Morrison is a member of the Australian Christian Churches. He goes to the Horizon Church in his electorate on Sundays. He told The Herald-Sun that the church “are a wonderful group of people who love God and love each other and love other people and just want to be a positive influence in the country. It’s just like the Baptists and things like that — we just have better music.”

He isn’t, of course, the first PM to be a churchgoer – both Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott, for instance, sat among the pews.

In his first speech to Parliament in 2008, Morrison said that from his faith he derived “the values of loving kindness, justice and righteousness, to act with compassion and kindness, acknowledging our common humanity and to consider the welfare of others; to fight for a fair go for everyone to fulfil their human potential and to remove whatever unjust obstacles stand in their way”.

The PM is a testament to the view that there is none so true to their faith as those who cannot see beyond it.

Up to a point. He wasn’t at the time the Immigration Minister. Some uncharitable souls might suggest the only “unjust obstacle” in the way of a fair go for asylum seekers was the Right Honourable Member for Cook.

The PM is a testament to the view that there is none so true to their faith as those who cannot see beyond it. Which makes Morrison truly remarkable. Enter the lump of coal.

Coal is the result of a very, very old process of nature. Old doesn’t quite do it justice. There were massive formations in the Carboniferous period (about 300 million years ago) and the Mesozoic Era (250 million to 65 million years ago) for instance. This puts them, to put it mildly, and it is hard to argue otherwise, much earlier than when the authors of the Bible lived.

Yet it is a pillar of the Pentecostal movement that the Bible is to be taken literally. They say: “We believe that the Bible is God’s Word. It is accurate, authoritative and applicable to our everyday lives.”

And this: “We believe in one eternal God who is the Creator of all things. He exists in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He is totally loving and completely holy.”

There is no equivocation here. Of course, the Pentecostal flock are no different from the followers of other religions: there must be a framework  – unchanging and unbending – that holds together the universe and every particle of that universe, including your good self and soul. And thus give it meaning.

We have Scott Morrison’s assurances that his “personal faith” is not a “political agenda”. This is good.

Forget the evidentiary research, in this dark and secular world, faith needs a strong and guiding light. This is especially true as religious following declines.  To that end, “We believe that our eternal destination of either Heaven or hell is determined by our response to the Lord Jesus Christ.

“We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back again as He promised.”

It is not surprising then that Morrison is determined to defend “religious freedom”. He is going to take “a proactive approach when it comes to ensuring that people’s religious freedoms are protected”.

He told Fairfax that “at the end of the day, if you’re not free to believe in your own faith, well, you’re not free.”

Given the doctrinal basis of his Pentecostal faith, helpfully posted on their website, enshrining the freedom to believe in what they believe is imperative. To read it is as if one is lifting a veil onto another world. It is akin to the Rapture episode in The Simpsons meeting a beatific-eyed choir of angels on high.

For example:

▪ We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, namely the Old and New Testaments in their original writings. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is infallible.

▪ We believe in the personality of the devil, who, by his influence, brought about the downfall of man, and now seeks to destroy the faith of every believer in the Lord Jesus.

▪ We believe that man was created by God by specific immediate act and in his image and likeness, morally upright and perfect, but fell by voluntary transgression.
Consequently, all men are separated from original righteousness, being depraved and without spiritual life.

▪ We believe that salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

▪ We believe in the everlasting punishment of the wicked (in the sense of eternal torment) who wilfully reject and despise the love of God manifested in the great sacrifice of his only Son on the cross for their salvation. We believe that the devil and his angels and whoever is not found written in the book of life shall be consigned to everlasting punishment in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

▪ We believe that the heavens and earth and all original life forms, including humanity, were made by the specific immediate creative acts of God as described in the account of origins presented in Genesis, and that all biological changes which have occurred since creation are limited to variation within each species.

We are, on the basis of this creed, back to the land of shadows and superstition. Fire and brimstone. Really? The devil and his angels. Really? Cecil B. DeMille would love it. When a rite of observance can be speaking in tongues you know you’re back in the time of reading prophesy from the entrails of goats. There’s not much science here. Some might argue, it’s creationism.

Of course, to give the benefit of some semblance of  sense, not every follower would follow every single pronouncement. Free will and all that liberating philosophy. You might expect some natural selection, some keeping of the bits that help and jettisoning those that don’t. (Something like leadership aspirations, perhaps.)

We have Scott Morrison’s assurances that his “personal faith” is not a “political agenda”. This is good. We can take his word then that in matters of public and national interest, there will be no pleas to God (sorry, too late, but let’s give him a break he’s new to the job).

It is also reassuring that Horizon Church senior pastor Brad Bonhomme felt the need to play down the church’s role. “There will be some that assume whatever policy direction the Liberal Party might choose to take, some would assume I or our church will be involved in that. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

This week in his first question time as Prime Minister, Morrison said his government believed “in a fair go for those who have a go”.

There’s no doubt he loves this country. Indeed, love is all around when he speaks just at present.

In his maiden speech, Morrison quoted from the Old Testament’s Book of Joel: “Your old men will dream dreams; your young men will see visions.’’

This is God’s word after a swarm of locusts has descended upon a ravaged land and brought catastrophe upon the people.

Let us pray.

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5 responses to “Scott Morrison: Let Us Pray

  1. “We have Scott Morrison’s assurances that his “personal faith” is not a “political agenda”.

    And yet we have him out of the blue and completely ignoring bi-partisan convention or consultation in matters of major Foreign Policy announcements, making the moving of the Australian Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognising that divided City as the Capital of Israel, and doing it on the eve of an important conference with the nations of our region, including the largest Muslim population in the world.

    Many, including myself, saw this at first as nothing more than an attempt to boost votes in the Wentworth Bye-election of the time and poor international politics. My view has changed after some research into the beliefs of the Pentecostal church of which he acknowledges to believe a member of and whose doctrine he practices. It seems very clear from my readings that the Pentecostals fervently believe in and support the State of Israel and their rights as Jews to the the City of Jerusalem, not only as their Capital, but as their god given property and possession.

    How then, can Mr Morrison expect us to accept his statement that his “personal faith” is not in fact, his actual “political agenda”, and even possibly the real reason for his “push” to be Prime Minister of this country. How many of this county’s Prime Ministers can you count, who have had such a meteoric rise through the ranks into this position. I am driven to the conclusion that Mr Morrison is a man on a mission and that mission has very little to do with the Wentworth election of the time, which just happened to have elements that made it appear that it might, but was in fact, just a convenient confluence to create a smoke screen, while he seized the opportunity to follow Trump’s lead on Israel and Jerusalem, which fit exceedingly well with his beliefs in fulfilling the interpretation of certain Bible prophesies, held by his faith.

    If this is indeed the truth of his Prime Ministership, is he then a very dangerous fraud?

  2. I hear you Brother McFayden.

    Here’s my take: those who believe in a life hereafter, should be banned from holding political office. No skin in the game. They don’t understand that there’s no do-over once the final siren sounds…

  3. Yeah right rasberry….it was the Christians all along responsible for all the shite in the Middle East. Or was it the Yazidis, or the few Jews left in the muslim countries?

    I agree with you on this point: “It never ceases to amaze me how often, how easy it is for people to become flippant smartarses, while safetly observing from afar, destruction of others homes, families, loves and lives.”

    If the cap fits ….wear it!!

  4. I agree Archie, I also am unworried about members of the Horizon Church doing any of those things you mention.

    No, what is worrying is the influence religions have on past and present government. The christians were all over the decision to go to war with the Middle East. Christians lock up asylum seekers. Christians are in the business of welfare. Christians (and private companies) need to get the fuck out of the business of welfare.
    Terrorism has brought horror and I won’t be mimimising it. But do I have to point out, the coalition of the willing has nuclear weapons, drones, and military might. People are suffering horrendously. I’ve heard described this; a huge shadow that blocks out the sun and as we’re looking up, the shadow explodes at us. Leaving death, or lost limbs, but always destruction. Civilians. Children.
    It never ceases to amaze me how often, how easy it is for people to become flippant smartarses, while safetly observing from afar, destruction of others homes, families, loves and lives.
    So back to the article. Warwick’s pointing out hypocracy, struck a nerve did it?

  5. G’day Warwick…..somehow despite their ‘fundamentalist’ faith, I am curiously unworried about members of the Horizon Church strapping on a suicide vests; or hiring a truck to mow down fans leaving Kardinia Park; or shooting a Chinese Australian accountant on the steps of a Parramatta Police Station.

    C’mon Warwick, why don’t you give us a similar dissertation on more ‘topical’ forms of religious fundamentalism, together with examples from amongst serving politicans.

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