Separation of Church and State

John Hargreaves 19 April 2016 29

church-politics-stock

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.


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29 Responses to Separation of Church and State
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justsomeaussie justsomeaussie 9:51 am 06 Aug 14

There is no better example of this issue in the $250 million continued funding for the school chaplaincy program. A program specially design to put specific religious people in secular schools.

A program so brazen as for the government to reject professional mental health service providers such as councillors, social workers and psychologists and instead chose a position where the primary requirement is for someone to hold a specific religious belief.

This is program is nothing more than a church money grab.

Jesus never charged anyone for his teachings so why is the government giving money to churches?

HenryBG HenryBG 10:04 am 06 Aug 14

justsomeaussie said :

Jesus never charged anyone for his teachings so why is the government giving money to churches?

“go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”

Sounds like he was charging to me…just cutting out the middleman (the ATO).

John Hargreaves Ex MLA John Hargreaves Ex MLA 12:59 pm 06 Aug 14

HenryBG said :

justsomeaussie said :

Jesus never charged anyone for his teachings so why is the government giving money to churches?

“go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”

Sounds like he was charging to me…just cutting out the middleman (the ATO).

It is easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than to enter the kingdom of heaven. Joe Hockey take note.

dungfungus dungfungus 1:09 pm 06 Aug 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

HenryBG said :

justsomeaussie said :

Jesus never charged anyone for his teachings so why is the government giving money to churches?

“go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”

Sounds like he was charging to me…just cutting out the middleman (the ATO).

It is easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than to enter the kingdom of heaven. Joe Hockey take note.

Do the wealthy Labor politicians (Keating, Hawke, Rudd) have special dispensation to ignore what Joe Hockey has to take note of then?

Canberroid Canberroid 1:11 pm 06 Aug 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

HenryBG said :

justsomeaussie said :

Jesus never charged anyone for his teachings so why is the government giving money to churches?

“go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”

Sounds like he was charging to me…just cutting out the middleman (the ATO).

It is easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than to enter the kingdom of heaven. Joe Hockey take note.

I’d rather Joe Hockey keep his personal beliefs and bible scripture separate from his job.

Affirmative Action Man Affirmative Action Man 2:11 pm 06 Aug 14

Mr Hargraves you will no doubt have noted that your comments are usually met with a touch of cynicism.

You seem to have forgotten that Kim Beazley led the charge against the NT’s euthanasia laws.

You seem to have also forgotten that bible basher Rudd & Julia Gillard both had a chance to rescind the chaplaincy program but piked it.

John Hargreaves Ex MLA John Hargreaves Ex MLA 5:15 pm 06 Aug 14

Affirmative Action Man said :

Mr Hargraves you will no doubt have noted that your comments are usually met with a touch of cynicism.

You seem to have forgotten that Kim Beazley led the charge against the NT’s euthanasia laws.

You seem to have also forgotten that bible basher Rudd & Julia Gillard both had a chance to rescind the chaplaincy program but piked it.

Oh I haven’t forgotten those at all. I was appalled at the time and remain so. thanks for reminding me. But… they are not in power now and the whole Cabinet then didn’t reek of religious fervour as it does now.

John Hargreaves Ex MLA John Hargreaves Ex MLA 5:21 pm 06 Aug 14

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

HenryBG said :

justsomeaussie said :

Jesus never charged anyone for his teachings so why is the government giving money to churches?

“go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”

Sounds like he was charging to me…just cutting out the middleman (the ATO).

It is easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than to enter the kingdom of heaven. Joe Hockey take note.

Do the wealthy Labor politicians (Keating, Hawke, Rudd) have special dispensation to ignore what Joe Hockey has to take note of then?

Nuh… I’m fine though!

Me too!

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

HenryBG said :

justsomeaussie said :

Jesus never charged anyone for his teachings so why is the government giving money to churches?

“go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”

Sounds like he was charging to me…just cutting out the middleman (the ATO).

It is easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than to enter the kingdom of heaven. Joe Hockey take note.

I’d rather Joe Hockey keep his personal beliefs and bible scripture separate from his job.

and Tony Abbott, and Kevin Andrews, and Christopher Pyne, and Julie Bishop, and the rest….

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:06 pm 06 Aug 14

And all of that without mentioning the Split and the DLP (with which some Labor Senators may well be voting on a same sex marriage bill) – well done!

justin heywood justin heywood 7:37 pm 06 Aug 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

….Stories abound about the Catholicism of most senior members of the federal Cabinet.

……

What? They’re Catholic? You don’t say? I’m pretty sure that there are Catholics in all the parties John. And I’m also sure that most members are influenced by their beliefs.

Stories abound about you too John, but if your own beliefs influenced decisions that you made, then that’s as it should be.

I see a re-emergence of the coming together of church and state in a closer relationship which is scary

Well I see a political environment emerging where barefaced bigotry is OK, as long as you have the correct enemy. Ask yourself:
If Abbott was a Muslim, would you be making this post?
If Abbott was a Labor member, would you be making this post?

I don’t think you would.

bundah bundah 8:09 pm 06 Aug 14

It may be the 21st century but it’s bleedin obvious that many are still entrenched in dark ages thinking. Obviously God has his fingers in everything, especially politics!

Masquara Masquara 8:18 pm 06 Aug 14

John Hargreaves, you have lost it. Julie Bishop is actually pro choice. She is no “Catholic”!

Steven Bailey Steven Bailey 9:19 pm 06 Aug 14

Affirmative Action Man said :

Mr Hargraves you will no doubt have noted that your comments are usually met with a touch of cynicism.

You seem to have forgotten that Kim Beazley led the charge against the NT’s euthanasia laws.

You seem to have also forgotten that bible basher Rudd & Julia Gillard both had a chance to rescind the chaplaincy program but piked it.

I don’t think John has forgotten anything. He’s just telling you what he believes.

dungfungus dungfungus 9:24 pm 06 Aug 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

HenryBG said :

justsomeaussie said :

Jesus never charged anyone for his teachings so why is the government giving money to churches?

“go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”

Sounds like he was charging to me…just cutting out the middleman (the ATO).

It is easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than to enter the kingdom of heaven. Joe Hockey take note.

Do the wealthy Labor politicians (Keating, Hawke, Rudd) have special dispensation to ignore what Joe Hockey has to take note of then?

Nuh… I’m fine though!

Me too!

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

HenryBG said :

justsomeaussie said :

Jesus never charged anyone for his teachings so why is the government giving money to churches?

“go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”

Sounds like he was charging to me…just cutting out the middleman (the ATO).

It is easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than to enter the kingdom of heaven. Joe Hockey take note.

I’d rather Joe Hockey keep his personal beliefs and bible scripture separate from his job.

and Tony Abbott, and Kevin Andrews, and Christopher Pyne, and Julie Bishop, and the rest….

justin heywood said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

….Stories abound about the Catholicism of most senior members of the federal Cabinet.

……

What? They’re Catholic? You don’t say? I’m pretty sure that there are Catholics in all the parties John. And I’m also sure that most members are influenced by their beliefs.

Stories abound about you too John, but if your own beliefs influenced decisions that you made, then that’s as it should be.

I see a re-emergence of the coming together of church and state in a closer relationship which is scary

Well I see a political environment emerging where barefaced bigotry is OK, as long as you have the correct enemy. Ask yourself:
If Abbott was a Muslim, would you be making this post?
If Abbott was a Labor member, would you be making this post?

I don’t think you would.

“….Stories abound about the Catholicism of most senior members of the federal Cabinet. ”
In the previous Labor government/s, stories were abound about the unionism of most senior members of the federal cabinet……
Every political party has its distinctive doctrines. I am comfortable with Catholics. Not so with unionists.

Steven Bailey Steven Bailey 9:42 pm 06 Aug 14

I agree with you John. I too see a re-emergence of church and State. I also see an emergance of a new Progressive force designed to counter the anti-democratic influences on Australia’s polity. As a politician, I admired you. We are creating a broad church – join us, you’re more than welcome.

2604 2604 12:17 am 07 Aug 14

Stories abound about the Catholicism of most senior members of the federal Cabinet. I need not go into them all again….It happened before when the feds took away our sovereignty in negating our laws on same sex marriage…
Actually, what happened was that the previous Labor administration was against same sex marriage, largely because of opposition from powerful conservative union figureheads. Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Kevin Rudd, Chris Bowen and many others in the Labor cabinet voted to defeat a private member’s bill which would have allowed same sex marriage in 2012. The only reason Gillard et al allowed a conscience vote rather than the traditional Labor practice of binding MPs to decisions of Caucus was that they knew the Coalition would be voting as a bloc against the bill, and it faced certain defeat.

Then, five minutes after the Abbott government had assumed power, ACT Labor miraculously produced its unconstitutional same-sex marriage legislation, whinged when it was struck down, and proceeded to complain about how Tony Abbott doesn’t respect the sovereignty of the ACT. Not only did ACT Labor use the issue of gay rights as a tool to score points against Abbott and his government, it insulted our intelligence by pretending that the timing of the legislation’s introduction had been coincidence, rather than an attempt to spare federal Labor embarrassment and inflict embarrassment on Abbott.

As for the whole “separation of church and state” thing, what you’re really saying is that you’re not a religious person and therefore you don’t want decisions of government made according to a religious moral code. You want them made according to your own moral code, which no doubt has much to do with political correctness and little to do with common sense or what is an effective way to organise society.

Walker Walker 2:08 am 07 Aug 14

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

HenryBG said :

justsomeaussie said :

Jesus never charged anyone for his teachings so why is the government giving money to churches?

“go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”

Sounds like he was charging to me…just cutting out the middleman (the ATO).

It is easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than to enter the kingdom of heaven. Joe Hockey take note.

Do the wealthy Labor politicians (Keating, Hawke, Rudd) have special dispensation to ignore what Joe Hockey has to take note of then?

Nuh… I’m fine though!

Me too!

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

HenryBG said :

justsomeaussie said :

Jesus never charged anyone for his teachings so why is the government giving money to churches?

“go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”

Sounds like he was charging to me…just cutting out the middleman (the ATO).

It is easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than to enter the kingdom of heaven. Joe Hockey take note.

I’d rather Joe Hockey keep his personal beliefs and bible scripture separate from his job.

and Tony Abbott, and Kevin Andrews, and Christopher Pyne, and Julie Bishop, and the rest….

justin heywood said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

….Stories abound about the Catholicism of most senior members of the federal Cabinet.

……

What? They’re Catholic? You don’t say? I’m pretty sure that there are Catholics in all the parties John. And I’m also sure that most members are influenced by their beliefs.

Stories abound about you too John, but if your own beliefs influenced decisions that you made, then that’s as it should be.

I see a re-emergence of the coming together of church and state in a closer relationship which is scary

Well I see a political environment emerging where barefaced bigotry is OK, as long as you have the correct enemy. Ask yourself:
If Abbott was a Muslim, would you be making this post?
If Abbott was a Labor member, would you be making this post?

I don’t think you would.

“….Stories abound about the Catholicism of most senior members of the federal Cabinet. ”
In the previous Labor government/s, stories were abound about the unionism of most senior members of the federal cabinet……
Every political party has its distinctive doctrines. I am comfortable with Catholics. Not so with unionists.

Explain why.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back VYBerlinaV8_is_back 8:32 am 07 Aug 14

I sometimes wonder whether religion is really to blame, or whether discussion and debate that includes moral or ethical standards is really what is going on here. Some people are very quick to jump to ‘but X is Catholic’ as though that somehow justifies disagreeing with an opinion or position, but is this really the issue? There are many, many Catholics (or variants of Christianity) in Australia, and the majority of them seem to get along just fine, and abhor things like paedophilia and sexism as much as the next person. We also, for that matter, have plenty of devout Muslims who are in exactly the same boat (so to speak).

I have noticed during my lifetime a significant reduction in use of the terms ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. In some ways this is good, because it is an enabler for freedom of expression and acceptance of others, but in other ways it has opened the door to problems that may not have been as common previously. I think it would be fair to say that the concepts of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are far less taught and indoctrinated than a couple of generations ago. Is this a good thing? I’m still thinking about it.

Obviously different people have different opinions about the cause of such changes, and the impacts of bringing some of a more traditional approach back. I’d encourage us all to look past the superficial and think about (and debate) what is really going on. Have our current pollies ever really advocated joining church and state? Have they taken a firm stance on an issue of conscience? Have they taken a position we strongly agree, or strongly disagree with? I say they have certainly polarised parts of the community with some of the issues that have been raised in recent times.

I think there’s more going on here, and it would be good to explore that further. Also, I think it’s good that people feel strongly enough to exercise their democratic rights of public debate. If nothing else, encouraging people to think and take a position is a good thing.

watto23 watto23 1:51 pm 07 Aug 14

Affirmative Action Man said :

Mr Hargraves you will no doubt have noted that your comments are usually met with a touch of cynicism.

You seem to have forgotten that Kim Beazley led the charge against the NT’s euthanasia laws.

You seem to have also forgotten that bible basher Rudd & Julia Gillard both had a chance to rescind the chaplaincy program but piked it.

Both sides are guilty of mixing their religious beliefs with politics. The coalition though being conservative in nature tends to be the one guilty of mixing religion with politics more often.
Its not always the case, there are catholics who are gay and atheists who are redneck conservatives.

dungfungus dungfungus 4:14 pm 07 Aug 14

watto23 said :

Affirmative Action Man said :

Mr Hargraves you will no doubt have noted that your comments are usually met with a touch of cynicism.

You seem to have forgotten that Kim Beazley led the charge against the NT’s euthanasia laws.

You seem to have also forgotten that bible basher Rudd & Julia Gillard both had a chance to rescind the chaplaincy program but piked it.

Both sides are guilty of mixing their religious beliefs with politics. The coalition though being conservative in nature tends to be the one guilty of mixing religion with politics more often.
Its not always the case, there are catholics who are gay and atheists who are redneck conservatives.

I don’t recall mixing religious beliefs with politics being a crime so why do you use the word “guilty”?
And you can’t help yourself in accusing the coalition as being more guilty than the other (unamed) side can you.

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