July 11, 2019

Horse 2569 - Pray Harder And The Taste Of Banana Might Go Away

If you go to Coles and wander down the confectionary aisle, you can buy a packet of banana lollies for $1. Rest assured, although they look like little bananas, and are even made with the same ester which is chemically identical to that in bananas, the list of ingredients tells us that they contain 83.2g of sugar per 100g and absolutely zero actual banana. A prolonged diet of these, would most likely give you a free case of diabetes and rot your teeth away; which would be fine if you don't mind getting diabetes and having no teeth.
Likewise, I have consistently found over the years, that Hillsong Church, is like the banana lollies of Christianity. They look like a big church and even flavour what they have to say with some nice words that make them sort of taste of Christianity, but they mostly contain sugar and prolonged diet of Hillsong is likely to give you a free case of diabetes and rot your teeth away. In doing research for this post, I decided to listen to a sermon on Hillsong's YouTube channel and as expected, I found that yet again, I heard an "inspiring message" which contained lots of lovely tasting words but no bible references. I mean, I guess that the aim of Hillsong is to inspire people and to lift them up emotionally, and I supposed that this does sort of anethestise the general feelings of helplessness and anxiety that people might have in an ever confusing and chaotic world but I'm just not sure if that is actually worship of the living God.
To all those people not of faith who happen to be reading this, I am sure that you've arrived at your conclusions rationally and openly see these banana lollies for what they are. We have different views of the world, but I'm sure that we can play along nicely together for a bit.

It is not often that I comment on Hillsong's stuff (notwithstanding the fact that I find what they have to say rather unpalatable) but the appearance of the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, at Hillsong Conference 2019 at the Qudos Bank Arena, sort of made me cringe a little.

Here is a video of that:

I mean, you can pray for people with mental health, veterans, people with disabilities, and families but if you actively cut their services, then what's the point.
I note that what is absent, are any prayers for the alien and the foreigner; who have come seeking asylum, and in many cases fleeing their countries in fear of their lives; presumably because that would mean that he as Prime Minister would have to confront both the actions of the government of which he is the leader of and the actions of the department which he was the head of.
I just don't know how with a clear conscience, you can pray for the nation at a public event like the Hillsong Conference, while at the same time be utterly complicit in multiple human rights breache, and not only that, enshrine them in policy. How you can stand and receive the adulation of people who purport to espouse a set of beliefs, while on the other hand actively abuse and oppress people who seek refuge in your country, is beyond me.

I know that I am instantly going to put many people off side by this but I have no problem whatsoever with the Prime Minister expressing his faith in a public event like this. Granted that I might be able to be shown that I have a hideously biased opinion here by virtue of being a Christian, but I equally have no problem with public expressions of faith by politicians of any religion or political persuasion. If my own Member of Parliament, Ed Husic, was to pray publicly in a mosque or masjid, and even if he did so on television, he would be acting in a private capacity as Ed Husic.
My problem with the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, praying publicly like this at Hillsong is precisely to do with the exercise of his faith, or rather the lack thereof, as Prime Minister. I know that Section 116 of the Constitution binds the parliament from making laws with respect to religion but it does not and should not preclude Members of Parliament enacting policy where the exercise of religion just happens to coincide with the Section 51 aims of peace, order, and good government. I really don't know why Mr Morrison expects God to act on the nation's behalf, when the nation is actively waging war against God's long standing concerns for vulnerable people. Mr Morrison himself is up to the eyeballs in that war.

One of the recurring themes of the Old Testament is that aliens and foreigners should be treated like respected guests. The Kingdom of Israel, which is the major object lesson of the Old Testament is frequently chastised for both being unfaithful to God and for being cruel to people. The story of the New Testament is mainly the opening of the new kingdom with Jesus as King, and his concerns and the concerns which should follow, have to do with how you should act but how you should love. Practical love in the New Testament actually involves radical hospitality, even to people who are supposedly your enemies.
The thing is that as a nation, refugees fleeing their homes and old country because it is just so awful, are hardly anyone's enemy, except as if the only metric through which you view people is reducing them to economic units of labour and/or consumption. To that end, Mr Morrison as the Minister for Home Affairs, declared open war on refugees and asylum seekers, and as Prime Minister of Australia, he continues the current mission of waging war against people of limited economic means.

Yet again I find myself looking at the words of Jesus' brother Jimmy.

"If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?"
- James 2:16

I mean if you learn all the fancy words but never do anything to prove the case, does that do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? If it is reasonable to think that God exists, then it is also reasonable for him to act. If you refuse to act kindly, which is what we do as a nation to refugees, asylum seekers, the poor, people on welfare benefits, first peoples, and the elderly, then you can hardly expect to be treated kindly by God. There is a difference between fancy words and actually caring for people and God knows it.

Sure, you can pray for love all you like but as the Prime Minister you actually have quite a lot of power to turn that into policy. I don't care about nice feelings; I want to see action, and what I have seen from both sides of politics in this country is a very real commitment to withhold love from the vulnerable.
I note that earlier in the day that this was going on, Federal Court Justice Debra Mortimer published a judgement excoriating the Federal Government after it failed to comply with a 14 June order to transfer a refugee with “serious medical and psychiatric issues” to Australia under the medevac laws. I also note that The Morrison Government has promised to repeal the medevac laws; so that it no longer has to care about providing adequate medical care to refugees and asylum seekers.
People forked over $369 to go to the Hillsong Conference and from where I sit, this looks for their $369 they got a packet of banana lollies; which everyone opened, got a sugar rush and a lovely taste of banana.

No comments: