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"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K.Chesterton

"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." G.K.Chesterton

"As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that."C. S. Lewis

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Monday, January 31, 2005

the vast right wing conspiracy spreads downunder

Loony-leftist New Zealand religious academic (Is there any other kind?) who thinks "governments can make us nicer" by "legislating to bring out our best rather than our worst" has her conspiracy theory view of Australian politics fisked by Emma-Kate Symons in Revenge of the Righteous in The Australian of January 29, 2005

Some excerpts:
Repressive, racist, homophobic, sexist, a free market economic ideologue and downright nasty - that's the cruel and jealous God that John Howard, Machiavellian wolf in relaxed and comfortable sheep's clothing, has inflicted on Australia's collective soul.

At least that's the startling finding of Marion Maddox's inquisition into the religious-political state of the nation under our second-longest serving prime minister. God Under Howard, with its pointed subtitle, How the Religious Right has Hijacked Australian Politics, is a crusader's document worthy of a Methodist-raised religious studies academic. And woe betide any who dare question its dogma - that Howard is a rampaging heretic, re-creating the Australian political landscape in the image of the American Christian Right, and in the process destroying the fabric of Australian democracy.

The title and cover illustration leave readers in little doubt about the author's intentions to expose what she declares is "Howard's spiritual assault on Australian values". She casts herself and the mass of Australian people in a role akin to John Proctor in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, fighting nobly against the puritanical, sexually repressive witch-burning forces led by Reverend Samuel Parris. It seems weirdly out of sync with reality, proferring a theocratic dystopia of an Australia more like the Taliban's Afghanistan than the nation we inhabit.

Perhaps it is a tribute to Howard's political longevity that he incites such rage among that vocal minority of Australians who see in his every move evidence of a vast right-wing conspiracy. The list of Howard-despising authors stretches from Bob Ellis to David Marr, Margo Kingston and Robert Manne; it is not a global genre like the profitable industry that is Bush-bashing, but the Not Happy John Crowd has found a willing reading public while failing to convince the mainstream of the Prime Minister's sins...

What makes her perspective unusual is that she does not proceed from the standard secular distrust of all things religious: "Howard and the market God have served each other well. Understanding their relationship, and how Australia has fallen under their thrall, we can reject market idolatry and reclaim more inclusive, loving ways of life," she preaches. She is a different kind of evangelist, longing for a new synergy between religion and politics where "by legislating to bring out our best rather than our worst, governments can make us nicer".

No wonder Howard and his muscular Christian soldiers are winning the partisan battle for Australia's political soul.

Maddox espouses the same tired old utopian Marxist rhetoric that gave us those "workers' paradises" of the twentieth century.

"Howard and the market God have served each other well. Understanding their relationship, and how Australia has fallen under their thrall, we can reject market idolatry and reclaim more inclusive, loving ways of life."

Just like New Zealand, of course...

8:46:00 pm