Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Catholicism for Dummies: The Tony Abbott Edition

Did you know that Julia Gillard is the Number One Ticket Holder at the Western Bulldogs Football Club?  Did you also know that George Cardinal Pell is really just the Archbishop of Sydney rather than Australia's  most senior Catholic? There are heaps of Catholics older then George in Australia.

Among the Dummy Catholics however there is little doubt that the Number One Ticket Holder is Anthony John Tony" Abbott. In a series of public gaffes the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal  Opposition has managed to climb over an assortment of celebrity Catholics to champion the cause of the Dummy Catholic.

Thanks to a Facebook item an old story about Abbott's foray into Scripture and sociology has begun circulating again. Back in 2010 Michael Perusco then the chief executive for Sacred Heart Mission published "Bible bashing the homeless, Abbott Style" This story is a reminder that political statements are never old news and should be held up for the ridicule they deserve when delivered by a man who aspires to lead the Federal Parliament in September 2013.

Abbott like his religious mentor, George Cardinal Pell is not a Scripture scholar. So it is somewhat worrying to hear that he quotes from Matthew's Gospel that the poor will always be with us as a rationale for not wanting to honour the Government's commitment  to halve homelessness by 2020. Mr Abbott should take some timeout to read Ched Myers post on this text. And if he wants an interpretation closer to his political ethos I have found this post in the extremely patriotic American Catholic.

This type of Biblical fundamentalism is catching on among politicians who subscribe to small Government. In the USA Congressman Stephen Fincher also used the quote from Matthew's Gospel to propose a limit on the food stamp program for some of the poorest people living in the States.

In the same article Abbott uses the dismissive cliche that people choose to be homeless and so the Government can do little for them. Again if Mt Abbott did some basic research or better still sat down and talked to the people affected by homelessness he would learn how to  address many of the myths about homelessness.

Sending Mr Abbott off to the Facebook page  Catholicism for Dummies isn't going to be very helpful as it will only reinforce his status. Someone needs to bombard his office and email with good old fashioned Catholic Social Teachings before September 14.

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