SkepDad


Tony Abbott on #qanda

Posted in #atheism,#qanda by skepdadblog on April 6, 2010
Tags: , ,

I enjoyed seeing Tony Abbott mano a mano with the crowd last night on Q&A.  Aside from his frankly disturbing donkey laugh, he came across fairly knowledgeable, straightforward (almost to the point of gormlessness) and inoffensive.   I disagreed with him on gay marriage, nodded at his position on border protection and generally enjoyed the program.

My one major concern was his comment about the pope (paraphrased pending the transcript):

“I won’t criticise the Pope… he is my Pope…”

Now leaving aside the fact that the catholic pope is, as is increasingly evident, a criminal accessory to child rape; and leaving aside Chairman Rudd’s alleged closeted bible-thumping; how should I feel about a Prime Ministerial candidate who is subjugated to a foreign head of state?

According to 2006 census data, 74.2% of Australians do not recognise the catholic pope as their spiritual leader.  This is probably on the low side, as anecdotally many who categorise themselves RC on the census do not recognise the authority of the Vatican over their daily lives.

Should I be concerned that Tony holds his pope, who the majority of Australians do not recognise, above criticism?  In the case of a conflict of interest, where his country demanded (for example) cutting diplomatic ties with the Vatican over its crimes against humanity, would he do it?  Could he put the people of Australia before his pope?

If Abbott had said the same about Brown, Obama and Mugabe – “I will not criticise them, they are my mentors” – would we feel differently?  What about the British royal family?

To ask Abbott to embrace true secularism is probably a bit too much of a stretch, but as the Australian Prime Minister his loyalty must be to his country and to the people of Australia first.  His own faith, and deference to his spiritual leader, must be a very distant second.