The emergence of the enlightened catch up of the Liberal Party (and hopefully their Coalition Party colleagues, the Nationals) to allow MPs a conscience vote on same sex marriage is very welcome.
When I heard about this about-face, I ruminated on the old question about the separation of Church and State. I think it is really a myth; an old wives tale; but for some, an aspiration.
The idea is that things political are the purview of the parliament and things religious are the purview of the church (read organised religion). A good idea in the theory and not happenin’ in reality.
We think we are so sophisticated in our Australian politics that there actually is a separation between the two. The proponents of the existence of such a state quote the differences between our political system and that of the Middle Eastern States, Malaysia, Indonesia. Note these are all Muslim countries. They quote the movement to install Sharia law as the rule of law in some of these countries.
Yeah, well what about the “In God We Trust” bit in US politics, what about the pervasive religious right in US politics at all levels? But the Americans are right, of course cos they are Christians. Tell that to the US Jews, the US Buddhists and the US Muslims.
And what about the UK, and by extension Australia? Our joint Head of State is also the paramount decision maker in the (Christian) Church of England. How does that work?
We are seeing the melding of church and state in the current Abbott Cabinet. The religious right are imposing their views into the political machinery of Australia. Stories abound about the Catholicism of most senior members of the federal Cabinet. I need not go into them all again.
But be not surprised. It happened before when the feds took away our sovereignty in negating our laws on same sex marriage and when the Andrews Bill struck out the Northern Territory laws permitting medically supervised voluntary euthanasia.
We all thought that when Archbishop Mannix and Bob Santamaria died, the strength of religious interference in politics may have waned. (BTW… who remembers the Santamaria’s Epilogue series on TV, and the work of the National Civic Council in suppressing those commies?)
I see a re-emergence of the coming together of church and state in a closer relationship which is scary.