The total separation of church and mind

I couldn’t go past this quote from Tony Abbott in last night’s Christian Forum arranged by the Australian Christian Lobby.

Faith has influenced my life but it does not and I believe, should not, shape my politics.”

How very un-Catholic of Abbott, bordering on the Gnostic.  It also borders on nonsensical.  If, as Abbott suggests, faith has influenced his life, how can it not flow into his ideas, opinions and passions?  Does he have a magic switch to flick when he walks into a shadow Cabinet meeting?  Does he become a secular humanist – oh no, hang on, you wouldn’t want that influencing one’s politics either would you?

It’s also inconsistent with his behaviour.  I wonder what role Abbott’s beliefs had when he sought a conscience vote on the anti-abortion RU486 drug?  Or when he publicly announced he had advised his daughters to keep the precious gift of their virginity?  How does he reconcile it with his public utterances of support for the Pope, Cardinal George Pell and his “mentor”, Catholic political activist BA Santamaria?

In a perfect world it’s hard to see how the so-called protestant religious right can vote as a block this next election.  Their traditional party of choice, the Liberals, are led by an out and out Catholic, albeit one who suggests he will not allow faith to influence his politics.  Rudd pilfered some of the religious vote at the last election by posturing as a Jesus-inspired socialist but his self-confessed devotion to Dietrich Bonhoeffer is tarnished by reports of his foul-mouthed tirades.

I suspect there are sufficient numbers of Protestants who will feel tricked enough by Kevin ’07 that their default settings will kick in and the conservatives will be the beneficiary.

So what did Abbott hope to achieve with his suggestion that faith influences his life but not his politics?  Was this comment scripted (and therefore a core promise) or unscripted (and therefore open to contradiction and change)?

It seems to me that Abbott has sniffed the winds and has decided that the majority of the Christian vote is likely to fall to the right this time, come hell, Abbott duplicity or high water.

So perhaps his comments are more aimed at followers of Richard Dawkins, than Christ.  Is it the first strike to a public moderating of his previous persona as the seminary-trained hard liner?

If so, take it away Steve Taylor:

It’s a personal thing, and I find it odd
you would question my believing in a personal God
I’m devout, I’m sincere, ask my mother if you doubt it
I’m religious, but I’d rather not get radical about it
The old-time believers had timidity and grace
but this new generation doesn’t know its place
you’re entitled to believe, but the latest Gallop Poll
says you mustn’t interfere–that’s the government’s role.

I’m devout, I’m sincere, and I’m proud to say
that it’s had exactly no effect on who I am today
I believe for the benefit for all mankind
in the total separation of church and mind

It’s a personal thing, and I plainly speak
(from the same code of ethics that I held last week)
as I promised if elected this election day
with the help of God almighty…I’ll do it my way


One Response to The total separation of church and mind

  1. mzilikazi says:

    Two days and I’m officially obsolete.

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