In the latest bit of “me tooism” to come from Kevin – call me
’07 – Rudd we find that not only is he prepared to support one
god, he seems to be taking out a divine insurance policy with
the whole lot of them. Last week Kev and John went toe to toe
for the Christians. They both claimed god was a neutral observer
when it came to politics and that although they each felt they
were doing god’s work here on earth, the other bloke most
Looking at the detail of their speeches we find that the
Christian god, if the take home points are any guide, likes you
to earn lots of money, wants you to only have opposite sex
partners, will reward those who do his bidding and caring for
the environment means getting rid all the trees so they don’t
accidentally fall on top of small, fury animals. The Christians
who sat, watched and listened seemed divided. All agreed that
god was on their side but they were not sure which side god
would be on come polling day. Perhaps, like many of us, god
doesn’t really care because she knows it’s all a farce anyway.
But that was last week.
Of course we should not forgot that in the last few weeks Howard
sent in the military to occupy selected Indigenous communities,
took over a local hospital, decided to run local governments in
Queensland, defended a racist, homophobic senior catholic
priest, took over our biggest water system and ticked off Nuri
al-Maliki telling him to stop worrying about the occupation in
Iraq and to just get on with it.
Not to be outdone, Kevin ’07 fired up the policy cannons and
said … yes to everything Howard had done. Well, maybe not yes to
everything, but he certainly didn’t say no. Talk about a small
target. Any smaller and they’d need to put a post-it note on his
back to be able to distinguish the two. But it doesn’t stop
there. This week it was the turn of certain sections of the
Jewish community to find succour at the teat of the public
In a little reported promise last week both Howard and Rudd are
offering tax deductibility or tax exemptions of up to $20
million for “donations” made to improve the “security” at
Orthodox Jewish schools. Overall, the orthodox Jew tends to be
very conservative in dress and ideas – a natural mate for the
conservative and narrow minded politicians they vote for. The
Orthodox Jew is also a very religious one. One, who like Rudd
and Howard, believes that god is on their side and that
everything they do is for the glory of god. If they happen to
prosper out of this arrangement it only means they are ‘in tune’
with the work of the Lord.
So the question has to be asked, “why are the Jews so in need of
“special treatment?” It’s rather simple actually. Because that
newest political failure, Malcolm Turnbull, currently holds a
marginal seat being which is being contested by Waverley mayor,
George Newhouse who, so it happens, is a Jew and the Labor party
George is a popular politician and a tech savvy one to boot! He
must be. He has ten friends on his “Myspace” site, four of whom
are fellow Labor travellers and others who have their privacy
set to “don’t show anyone who I am”. Could it be that Kevin ’07
is just trying to do his own bit of pork barrelling by getting
in with George’s constituency? Nah, that would be too cynical,
don’t you think?
I assume that Kev and John have done their homework on their
offer to subsidise one very small set of religious schools
(there are about 20 of them). From what I’ve seen of other
religious school systems there are the very well off ones (read
- in an affluent area with wealthy families to support them) and
then the majority which are either not any better off than the
local public school or are worse off than them.
So, if each school was to receive an equal share, it would be
about $1 million a pop. For what? That is the central question
and it would seem for nothing more than to try and buy the votes
of some of the Jewish community. Last week the Christians, this
week the Jews, next week I suppose it will the Calathumpians and
I can’t wait for a similar announcement for the few Islamic
schools who serve their communities. After all, if it’s good for
the goose it must be good for the gander.
However, it would seem that in order to get some kind of
recognition at the political level these days and the cash that
flows from it, it helps to live in a marginal seat without a
hospital or one with a large water way through it. It must have
a high proportion of Jewish and Christian practitioners, a small
and ‘dysfunctional’ Indigenous community, have an “ethnic
problem” and a whopping big forest ready to be turned into pulp.
That’s how you get their attention these days. Either that or
move to Iraq!
I have been fortunate to have and to have had Jewish friends.
These people all seem to hold similar ideals and share similar
aspirations to me. None of them are or were ‘orthodox’ in the
sense of being institutionally religious but many of them share
a spirituality that looks deeper than material gain or short
term profit. The Jewish community is, therefore, not unlike any
other. There are those who struggle and those who accumulate
immense wealth. It is the latter group to whom the politicians
are pitching their policies.
The political opportunism being displayed should be an affront
to any right minded person who holds deeply religious views.
However, it is not these people being targeted by the
politicians. Rather, it is the few very rich and influential
players who stand to benefit most out of Kevin ’07 and John (oh
be gone)’s proposals and they do not, in my experience, reflect
the views of the wider Jewish community.
If god is to play a more important and central role in the
Australian political system then we will all be worse off for
it. After all it was god who got us into trouble in Vietnam (god
vs. communism) and it was god who got us into trouble in Iraq
(god vs. the ‘evil’ Saddam). It is god who gets us into trouble
if we’re gay, black, love the environment or don’t worship the
god who is being invoked to support one cause or another.
Our broader community has had a healthy scepticism towards those
who invoke one god or another. Now it seems Rudd and Howard are
more than willing to attempt to invoke a divine insurance claim
in their attempts to buy the votes of a few religious extremists
whose central aim is try and turn us into worshipers of their
particular god. I guess the question for Kevin ’07 and John (oh
be gone) is, “can you now tell us which god it is that you
actually think is on your side?”