Pearson on Rudd

February 13, 2007

In columns in The Australian, Christopher Pearson has been challenging the authenticity of ALP leader, Kevin Rudd’s Christianity. Pearson claims Rudd equivocates on religion—sometimes Anglican, sometimes Catholic, sometimes privately religious, othertimes suggesting a greater role for the church in state life. Whether or not he has a point, some of Pearson’s poor arguments against Rudd have reinforced for me the importance of sophisticated Christian intellectual engagement in social debate. Pearson just won’t allow for any subtlety of argument.
For example, Pearson suggests that Rudd’s vote in support of legalising the RU486 abortifacient drug was an anti-Christian act. Taking the drug might be anti-Christian and sinful, if one views human life as beginning at conception (as I do), but surely being involved in a political process about its availability is not.
Pearson also suggests, bizarrely, that the Bible contains five passages condemning abortion: one in Galatians and four in Revelations [sic], he says. Galatians 1:15 raises God’s foreknowledge of a human being before birth, but does not contribute anything to the argument about abortion. It is part of the Bible’s overall maximal attitude to human life (the basis of my own view on abortion). I am still struggling to identify the Revelation references: Chapter 12, perhaps, with the child-devouring dragon? But surely Pearson understands this is apocalyptic imagery, not a lesson in ethics? Or does he mean the condemnation of murderers in Rev 22:15? But that pre-empts the argument.
One wonders if Pearson is a Bible reader or merely a Bible wielder, scoring blows for political purposes. I’d love to see the ALP revisit its position on a range of bioethical issues, but Pearson has hardly provided the impetus for it.
In a follow-up column last weekend, Pearson aimed to foil Rudd’s efforts to win back the Catholic vote to Labor. There has been a drift in the other direction over the past decade, and many commentators have noted that Howard’s cabinet looks like a DLP collective! Pearson emphasises the theological distinctives of Roman Catholic and Protestant faiths (a refreshing admission of difference when many paper over such distinctions) and proclaims that Rudd can’t have it both ways. I can’t remember the last time I heard that a politician’s views on transubstantiation might ruin his chances of election. But I do love the fact that it is bringing theology to the fore in our national debates.

Tim Johnson has expanded on my thoughts nicely here

Send CASE an email

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in And Just in CASE

In the Flesh

January 14, 2016

Powerful Words: The Key Role of Words in Care

October 27, 2015

The Powerful Words conference was held at New College on the 26th September. It was planned for chaplains and others interested in pastoral theology and care and was joint initiative of CASE and Anglicare. The conference was based very much on an understanding that Christian chaplaincy is a prayerful cross-cultural ministry that focuses on the needs of others. Chaplains meet people at times of...
The Bible's Story

August 17, 2015

The Bible has come a long way. In the latest issue of Case Quarterly which is published by CASE we look at the 'journey' that took place to arrive at the Bible as we know it today.

In the beginning was the Word, but it took a while for the hundreds of thousands of words in the Bible to be composed, written down, painstakingly copied, preserved, passed around, tested, accepted, collected together,...