Philobiblon: Australia's 'religious' prime minister

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Australia's 'religious' prime minister

Watching the SBS news last night (this is Australia's second, 'multicultural' public service broadcaster, although sadly it now has adverts) I was astonished to learn that the Prime Minister, John Howard, who is now on his fourth term of turning Australia back to the 1950s (since March 1996), was yesterday visiting an Aboriginal community for only the THIRD time ever.

It fitted nicely with my current reading, Marion Maddox's God Under Howard: The Rise of the Religious Right in Australian Politics. She argues that while his extreme views on social policy have commonly been attributed to his "Methodism", despite the fact that he has been an official Anglican for decades, this is in fact used as a smokescreen for pure political cynicism. She notes that the Methodist church, which no longer exists, being part of the generally very liberal Uniting Church, was anyway much more catholic (yes a lower-case C)and liberal than is generally imagined, with as much concern about the societal damage of capitalism as of permissiveness.

More (hopefully) tomorrow.


Blogger Susoz said...

I haven't read it but I have seen many critical references to that book - I'm not sure what their main objection is, but even many liberal reviewers seem to have a problem with it. I'm suspicious about that, it will be interesting to hear what you think.

4/07/2005 03:19:00 am  

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