At least two prime ministers have said that they would not allow their religion, or faith, to interfere with their politics. What nonsense. Politics is about how we get on with each other. So are morals. It would be absurd to say your morals are irrelevant to your politics.
But people who are religious commonly draw heavily on their religion for their moral views. Indeed, some people of religion have been heard to say that is difficult to envisage a biding moral code without the backing of a religion (putting to one side the difficulty of settling on which one?) If a person’s religion is vital to their morals, it is equally vital to their politics. Next time you hear some people say that their faith does not affect their politics, ask them whether that means that they can put to one side the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount. It is pure bullshit.
Although, to be frank, some people worry that some politicians ignore the demands of their faith far too much. Some take that view about the way we deal with refugees. They say, for example, that everything we do on Nauru violates almost every part of the Sermon on the Mount. That position is gaining support – from at least 6000 doctors who have their own moral position to advance. For them, there is nothing new about finding a position adopted by both major parties to be immoral.
Now, it is suggested that our current prime minister is considering getting us to join Guatemala in recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the moral lightweight championship of the world. He will abandon principle to seek a vote. How much lower do we have to sink before something snaps?
Then there is the reaction of President Trump to the apparent murder of a journalist by Saudi Arabia. He says that any sanction will not include limiting the sale arms (that are used for the butchery in Yemen). He says that such a sanction would cost the U S too much in money and jobs. The Great Republic, it seems, cannot afford to be decent. How is Trump’s position different to that of a bank robber who tells the judge that he needed the money to feed and clothe his children?
There may then be something to be said for the proposition that politicians do not give full faith and credit to their religion. But, then you look at the Kavanagh catastrophe, and you call for the bucket.
Readers must be in turn fascinated, confused and astounded by the increasingly lurid fiasco surrounding the US Supreme Court confirmation hearing of judge Brett Kavanaugh. When I read that this 53-year-old man with a seemingly unblemished character and all the right credentials in jurisprudence had suddenly been accused by a woman of molestation when he was 17 and she 15, and that despite years “recovering” her memory of the incident, she still couldn’t remember any concrete facts about it, and what’s more, no one else could confirm her accusation, I laughed. Not the standard feminist response but this episode had turned into the theatre of the absurd.
Angela Shanahan, The Australian, 29 September.
Well, at least the contributors to that paper never claim that their faith does not affect their politics. But it is sad when someone claiming adherence to the Beatitudes laughs off attempted rape. That is worse than bullshit. It is cruel.