Anti-Catholicism in Australia: Media Reaction Dominic Perrottet

After the shock resignation of Gladys Berejiklian, Dominic Perrottet has been voted leader of the NSW Liberal Party and Premier of NSW.  Does anyone outside of the Liberal party, the political media and the chattering classes, care? 

Those of us who are Christians should; firstly because, in general, we are to pray for those who are our political leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2) and secondly because, in particular, we can learn a great deal about today’s Australia from the reaction to Mr Perrottet’s election.

I don’t know much about him. But I do know that he is a ‘conservative’ Catholic, (which just means that he believes what the Catholic Church teaches), a father of six and that he voted against decriminalising abortion.

I know this because the ABC told me and contrasted him with his rival and friend, Rob Stokes, who is an Anglican believer with a family of three and who also voted against decriminalising abortion.

The Sydney Morning Herald also gave us these crucial facts before publishing one of the most disgraceful and dishonest hatchet pieces I have ever read in a mainstream newspaper.

The Reverend Dr Stephanie Dowrick who describes herself as a social commentator, author and interfaith minister, wrote a piece titled “NSW must do better than Dominic Perrottet as Premier”.

Even by SMH standards, it reached new depths of intolerance, ignorance and bigotry.   It attacked the Catholic church as being ‘a rigidly male-dominated institutional church”.

One wonders in passing how an ‘interfaith minister’ is going to do interfaith with Catholics, Orthodox Christians or indeed Muslims.  The list of approved ‘faiths’ is going to be quite small.

I am intrigued by the level of anti-Catholic bigotry displayed in this article and elsewhere.

Coming from Scotland I am not unused to a level of anti-Catholicism – although it is important to notice that this bigotry in Scotland, at least in recent decades, has largely come from secularist progressives, who despise the Catholic church, and not from bible believing Presbyterians!

It seems as though conservative Presbyterians have a great deal in common with conservative Catholics.

The article also relied on ignorance and complete dishonesty.

In an attempt to smear Perrottet through guilt by association, our ‘interfaith’ minister attacked the Prime Minister for belonging to a denomination that believes in a 6,000-year-old earth, is expecting the world to end soon and that Christians of other denominations are going to Hell.

If Ms Dowrick was not so busy transposing her prejudices from her time in the US, to Australia, she could have done a five-minute read of what the ACC believe on their website and found out that none of what she said is true.

Doubtless, there will be some within the ACC who may share those beliefs (there are after all almost 400,000 of them) – but it is not their official position, and I have yet to come across any Pentecostal who believes them.

But apparently, it’s ok to smear and deceive if you are doing so in the name of ‘love’.

Dowrick then states that Scott Morrisson believes in a prosperity gospel that sees accumulating wealth as a sign of God’s favour, and justifies neglecting the poor.   According to Ms Dowrick ‘individual salvation is everything’.

Apart from the illogicality of the remark (if individual salvation was everything then why is Scomo involved in politics?), it’s once again just a straightforward lie.

Pentecostals, like many other Christians, tend to be very committed to the poor – more so because many of them are ‘the poor’.   Unlike the virtue signalling progressives many of whom talk about how much they are ‘for the poor’, but don’t live amongst them.

And the lies go deeper.  Ms Dowrick claims that 1 per cent of Australia’s population believe these things and 15% of the Government cabinet.  Again this is reminiscent of the kind of ‘the Jews are taking over the world’ conspiracy theory.

Perhaps the SMH should get a Facebook-style fact-checker for its articles – before they publish such nonsense?

Apart from the dishonesty, misrepresentation, smears, spin and lies – is there anything else to like about the article?

Indeed there is.  Stephanie tells us that we are entitled to hold whatever religious beliefs we like, as long as we hold them ‘privately’.   How kind and tolerant of her!

Our beliefs must not be acted upon, publicised, or have any place in the public square.  This applies to Catholics, Charismatics and Calvinists – but it of course does not apply to Stephanie or those who share her doctrines.

They are so obviously right that they must determine all public policy and all politicians should be required to adhere to them. How can you possibly be the Premier of NSW if you don’t share all of them?!

The founders of modern Australia had the sense to decree that there should be no religious test for public office – but our modern ‘progressives’ want to reintroduce that test.

Perhaps the most stunning piece of the article is when Ms Dowrick warns us about fundamentalism.

“Fundamentalist thinking is also highly divisive. The world consists of “us” – and the rest of you. High levels of conformity are demanded; to doubt, self-question, is unwelcome or forbidden.”

As an example of a lack of self-awareness, this is hard to beat.  Ms Dowrick, and the readers of the SMH who wrote with gushing praise for her in the letters column, clearly think that their beliefs are not fundamentalist.

Yet they too divide the world into ‘them’ and ‘us’; they too demand high levels of conformity;  to doubt, self-question, their fundamentalist beliefs are unwelcome or forbidden.

This fundamentalist ‘progressive’ ideology, in its righteousness and self-righteousness around central questions of identity, sexuality, gender politics, minority rights and an unwavering conviction that this is the ‘one true faith’, is far removed from the Christianity of Jesus, the Christianity of the Bible, and the Christianity of most of the Church.

This progressive ideology demands that women have the right to kill their own babies, but denies that men and women the right to consent to seeking to live faithful Christian lives.

This progressive ideology demands that all schools teach their doctrines, and wants to deny Christians their basic human right to have their children educated according to our philosophy.

This progressive ideology will not tolerate anyone of any faith who does not bow down to their idol.

This progressive ideology judges people by their gender, and yet does not know what gender is.  It professes to be against racism but insists that people be judged according to the colour of their skin.

Ms Dowrick’s whole article is but the worst example of the kind of intolerance, ignorance and bigotry that Christians in Australia have to put up with today – often from within the Church.  But thankfully there are others who are aware of it.  I would suggest you read this excellent article from Murray Campbell, a Baptist minister in Melbourne.

Here is one quote:

Does Australia really want to exclude from  political life Aussies who hold to traditional forms of Christianity? No doubt many would say yes. Today’s letters to the Editor are praising Dowrick. But let us understand, this is not a sign of a maturing and tolerant society, but one that is losing its moorings.”

Amen to that.

Note as well that the SMH have a habit of printing a lot of letters attacking and mocking biblical Christianity – not because this is a fair reflection of the letters they get – but so they can continue to give the impression that all ‘right thinking’ people think right – like them!

It is by Ms Dowrick’s definition, the worst kind of fundamentalism.

Australia is coming to a crossroads.

We can choose to go the way of Ms Dowrick and the cultural elites of our society, as their fundamentalist progressivism leads us deeper into darkness, irrationality and despair;  or we can return to the basic traditions of Western democracies, founded upon Christian liberal principles, which give us equality, diversity and tolerance.

Given the choice between Western democratic liberalism, with all its flaws, and the kind of secular fundamentalism and intolerance that would make even the Spanish inquisition blush – it’s a no brainer!

That is why this biblical Presbyterian will stand shoulder to shoulder with my Catholic brother – even if I disagree with him on some doctrines.

At least he will let me disagree.

And both of us will agree that there is yet more truth to come from Christ and his Word.

___

Image by CEBIT Australia.

About the Author:

David is an experienced presenter and debater on the place of Christian faith in the public sphere, and a prolific blogger at The Wee Flea. He was the minister at St Peter's Church, Dundee, Scotland for 27 years. David is the Director of Third Space, a project of the City Bible Forum in Australia.

5 Comments

  1. John Launder October 5, 2021 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    Well said David. As an 80 year who has been a Christian social activist all my life and tried to love my neighbour with out exception, I find it extraodinary that some one Ms Dowrick claims to preach Chist’s dictums. Where is Love your neighbour in her view of Christianity. Politically I may be a bit further left than Mr Perrottet, given some of my background but his conservative values and love of his family and the Christian concept of “family” I totally agree with, It is this loss of respect for mothers and fathers as the traditional basis of ‘family’ in society that has gioven us such a multitude of social problems and so many confused individuals in society and those who exploit them.

  2. Marnie October 5, 2021 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    Praise God you are game to speak as l am Pentecostal and we know what Jesus is doing Amen 🙏

  3. Jill England October 5, 2021 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    I do agree with ‘Rev’ Dowrick (I wonder which church actually ordained her?) that the Roman Catholic Church is ‘rigidly male-dominated’. That is definitely my only point of agreement, though. Yes, it is a shameful piece of writing. And, as you point out, the lack of self-awareness is breathtaking. Let’s hope the SMH has at least some discerning readers. And let’s pray that Mr Perrottet’s work and conduct cause her to stop and reflect.

  4. Marie October 6, 2021 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Australia is a democratic country where people are free to choose their spirituality and their belonging to any denomination of their choice. It is true that not religions preach love, truth and respect. As long as they respect the dignity ot the human being, respect their freedom and basic human rights within the brackets of their faith exclusivity, they are contributing to the well being of the community. People are essentialy spiritual beings and it is the duty of the Government to see that these needs are met. The spirituallty of any person cannot be kept in private as it is an integral part of who they are. This why it is important to have politicians who hold honouring values and reflect them in their mission to fair for the welfare of all. Unfortunately some Australian politicians Leaders who claim to be Christians trade their spiritual values for the world fallen ones. They are the ones who contribute to the turmoil of this modern world and harm their citizens rather than caring for their welfare. We judge good leadership by their fruits and it’s appalling in Australia and especially in Victoria. People globally are watching the cruelty of some Politicians on their citizens. Australia has fundamentally changed under bad leadership. These leaders have betrayed their voters.

  5. Leonard Carroll October 28, 2021 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    The world would be a much better place if we behaved as Jesus told us to. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
    Love the lady and pray for her. I used to be Catholic and left that church for what I believe to be unscriptural aberrancies. However, I acknowledge that they are the first in line in the fight against abortion, organizing soup kitchens, visiting the sick, et cetera. I will pray for you, Ms Dowrick, and trust that others will do the same. A few years ago, I gave my last $250 to a Muslim gentleman that I had never encountered before, such that he could visit his dying mother in Sydney. I had to hock several jewellery pieces that week to feed my family; however, we survived and have never missed a meal unless fasting. I hope that the Muslim gentleman met a loving Christian to pay his way back.
    Oh, for a genuine Christian revival in this world where we treat people as Jesus did!

    Leonard Carroll

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