Politics from the pulpit

Scott Morrison is Australia’s first Pentecostal prime minister. He is a member of the Horizon Church in Sutherland, which is part of the Australian Christian Churches network. He attends regularly. No one, including the author of this piece, would deny him the right to choose his religious affiliation, or to apply his Christian beliefs in his workplace.

What were disquieting though were the reactions and the proclamations of Pentecostal leaders about his ascension to prime ministership. Gareth Hutcheons wrote about this comprehensively in The Guardian, from which I quote extensively. Do play the video at the head of this article.

Last Sunday, pastor Adam F Thompson from the Voice of Fire Ministries and Adrian Beale from Everrest Ministries told a congregation at Hope City Church that “Morrison’s elevation to power was divinely inspired”, and warned that “darkness” will spread across Australia and Christians will be persecuted if Morrison does not win the next election.

Thompson, who claims that supernatural signs accompany his ministry and that he can interpret dreams, proclaimed that he’d received a message from God that Morrison and the Coalition must win the election. “The Lord woke me up at 4.30 am this morning.”

Thompson continued: “Scott Morrison, he’s a born-again Christian, he’s probably one of the first ever born-again prime ministers, but it’s not time to celebrate at the moment. This is a crucial time right now … In the next six months it’s time for the body of Christ to put its differences aside … and come together and agree that Jesus is the Messiah and start praying together for our prime minister, and for our government. I really see that the body of Christ is going to have influence in the political arena of this nation. (my emphasis).

Thompson was adamant: “…if the prime minister doesn’t get elected in this next election there’s going to be darkness coming. And I’m not being negative. The laws are going to change where darkness is going to come and there will be persecution on the church.”

He asked his congregation if they truly wanted a Pentecostal revival and reformation in Australia, and went on: “If it doesn’t happen in the next year…the laws are going to come in, where they’re going to change and darkness will come. The Lord is saying he wants us to rise up and pray, rather than come into persecution where we’ll have no choice.”

Beale from Everrest Ministries lead his congregation in prayer for Morrison, calling on God to help Australians grasp the value of his intervention in the leadership spill. “Just as Scott has come to the fore, unexpected Lord, you’ve kept him hidden for a time such as this…Lord, we pray that the whole of the body of Christ in Australia would grasp the value of what you’ve done, Lord, and get behind our new leader … and that the next election would be won so that godly principles would be put into place, rather than the enemy having his way.”

Another pastor, Warwick Marsh from the Australian Christian Values Institute claimed three days of prayer and fasting had been answered with two miracles. “Firstly the Senate voted down the euthanasia in the territories proposal. This was an absolute miracle. Secondly, the Liberal Party voted in a new prime minister, Scott Morrison, after a week of political turmoil… Many people here in Australia of faith believe this was a miracle of God. It would seem that this is a direct answer to our prayers, as we prayed against the erosion of our Christian freedoms under the forthcoming Ruddock report.”

Other Pentecostal leaders too declared that Morrison’s rise to power was a “miracle of God” that answered three days of prayer and fasting, and that God had intervened to ensure he defeated Peter Dutton in the leadership contest.

Morrison’s office says he has never met Thompson, Beale or Marsh.

Is that enough to alarm you? For the first time in decades, we see pastors of a church, in this case the Pentecostal Church, telling their congregations that the election of our new prime minister by the Liberal Party room was a ‘miracle’ of God, brought about by prayer, and that if he is not re-elected, darkness will descend on our nation, and the church. The clear message to their parishioners is: ‘Vote Morrison in again, or else!’

Those of you who are as old as I am will remember the political influence wielded by another cleric, Daniel Mannix, who was Archbishop of Melbourne from 1917 to 1963. He was notorious for his blatant attempts to inveigle his parishioners to vote the way he indicated. Mannix's best-known protégé in his later years was B. A. Santamaria, Tony Abbott’s idol. Mannix authorised Santamaria to form the Catholic Social Studies Movement, known as ‘The Movement’, to organise within the unions and defeat the Communists. The Movement was so successful in its efforts that by 1949 it had taken control of the Victorian branch of the Labor Party.

Mannix’s involvement in politics continued for many years. Eventually it was opposed by Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney, and also by the Vatican which, in 1957, ruled that the Movement should not interfere in politics.

We’ve experienced before the downside of religious figures exerting political influence. It’s been a long while since the Mannix era, but it looks as if we may be in for a reprise, this time from the Pentecostal Churches.

Is that what we want? If not, we had better speak up!

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Joe Carli

20/09/2018

How could it be better said?...: “The policy of the emperors and the senate, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects. The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.” ? Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Perhaps this?..:

It is an American thing, surely, this religious-ising of politics in the West...; the vacant ecclesiastical stare, the glib reference to god....it's certainly un-Australian..for all those childhood years of catholic indoctrination has taught me only two things ; a to never take religion seriously, b to always leave the Melbourne Cup sweep kitty in the hands of a nun!..

Not to say religion hasn't penetrated is that the right word? into the political life here, it's just that in Australia, I to believe it has followed the well-intentioned path of European Christianity via plain, run of the mill bribery and corruption..sort of Fagan and his child army..god bless 'em...just simple down-to-earth deceit! Why, even when I was an altar boy under old Father Collins be nice, I could see there was a degree of honest intent in the religious soul. Once, I snuck a look around the door from the altar boys' into the priest's vestry and there he was, with a small glass of the altar wine in hand and he gazing deeply into it, presumably looking for IT"S soul I've seen the same look since, with other men, before tackling a "hair of the dog" on a Sunday morn' at the local , then softly consecrated it with ; "Saint Benedict , bless my soul ! " and quaffed it in one gulp, kissed the cross on the surplice and we ascended into the fray!....it was Pentecost...he must have needed it!

Joe Carli

21/09/2018

Jesus Christ!!... is everybody???..it's shouting into an abyss!....so bugger it you deserve this:

Atheist.

Better we promote the ”worship” of Atheism,

Substituting neither Godhead nor Gaia,

Or even rough and hearty “mother nature”,

Leave them bide..such will float easily, unassisted.

Believe instead in this world observed about us,

Step out of a morning into the wash of sunrise,

Let it’s warming ambrosia pour, balm- over the body.

Stand transfixed at noon and hark frenzied activity

Of life at full throttle.

Or again..sit or lay comfy in the velvet cloak of evening,

And from your grip, let slip worry and concern,

Leave such fall gracefully into the miasma of night’s shadows,

For what is night but the metaphor of life’s end.

And finally allow Morphia’d sleep cleanse the mind,

And with dreams wash away this impertinence

Of temporal existence.

Joe Carli

21/09/2018

Hey!...it doesn't "correct" verse!!..How about that?

Joe Carli

21/09/2018

https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/the-silence-of-the-lambs/

Ad Astra

21/09/2018

Joe Carli

I see that you share my memories of the Mannix era, and my apprehension about the influence Pentecostal leaders will attempt to exert on politics in the Morrison era.

When the Pentecostal churches themselves now see an opportunity for such influence: “I really see that the body of Christ is going to have influence in the political arena of this nation”, beware!

Ad Astra

21/09/2018

Folks

Do take a look at what Pentecostal Preacher Warwick Marsh has to say about Scott Morrison's elevation to PM in the 'Featured Video' near the top of this page. It's both revealing and frightening.

Joe Carli

21/09/2018

Yes..I had a look at that video...I have to confess that I have a close relative who metamorphosed from Catholicism to Pentacostalism....a tragic case...at least the Catholic "faith" was started on a pun..a light joke : "Thou art Peter, the rock petra = Latin = rock, and upon this rock I will build my church"....good one!...Humour has always been a mainstay of the Catholic religion..after all..look at The Pope...HE's GOTTA be a joke!!!and I think the first half-dozen Popes were Jews..

So the video didn't surprise me... that sort of gormless testifying is a hallmark of their stupidity..The worrying things is..If THOSE proselytisers are so obviously thick...what can one expect in the line of rational voting considerations from their acolytes?... I remember I was in Rome with that certain relative..in one of the "God-shops" leading to ST. Peter's Basilica and he was outraged at the blasphemy displayed in one of the souvenir shops there selling a 3D. picture of "Winking Jesus"... you know..those plastic pics if you twist the frame from one side to the other... I d it! .. and I recall a tiny bit of graffiti scrawled on the wall of  the gate leading into the square there.. ; "God is an athiest" ... how true ... how true ...

Joe Carli

21/09/2018

" I see that you share my memories of the Mannix era, "...I too grew up in that brain-dead mongrel era..as a matter of fact, I have a slip of correspondence in my archives from those times of B.A.Santamaria..between the man himself - not long before he passed away - and myself... I disagreed with his Right-wing rantings - I didn't say it quite that - but I admired his sense of history...I have to confess to being a Roman History addict... The fact that he deigned to even reply to my correspondence showed the dedication he had to "spreading the word"..

Joe Carli

22/09/2018

Is it all over bar the weeping?...The last days of radicalism.. https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/the-last-days-of-radicalism/ …

How many umbrellas are there if I start with two and take 2 away?