Friday, January 12, 2007

conservative heavy

Christopher Pearson had a story in The Weekend Australian headlined: "Rudd needs to learn real Christians are cultural conservatives". This will no doubt be news to all the Christian liberals out there.

"Rudd has long understood the electoral benefit Howard has accumulated by virtue of his attachment to Christian values, low-key and reticent although he is about his beliefs".

Wait a minute--Howard is "low-key and reticent"? We’re talking about the same prime minister who just announced he’s writing cheques for religious salesmen to come spruik in schools? Pearson takes issue with Rudd’s claim that "the starting point with Christianity is a theology of social justice":
"He will have lost himself a lot of votes with that claim. The orthodox position is that Christianity begins with the incarnation, God in human flesh, culminates historically in the redemption and anticipates the general resurrection and the end of time. In the meantime there is the transfigured life believers find inside the church, Christ’s mystical body and bride."

I guess by "starting point" they both mean something like it’s original or fundamental basis, but it’s hard to see how Pearson’s interpretation of the religion’s "starting point" is useful. He says Rudd "wildly overstates the importance" of social justice in Christianity and invokes both the Old and New Testaments as providing proof that homosexuality is justifiably "deplored". After all, if a prejudice is thousands of years old, it must be okay. So, "real Christians" hate gays.
If Rudd is "conservative-lite", does that mean Howard is "conservative-full strength"? If he is, does he stand for the values that Pearson argues "real Christians" do? Or is Howard, too, merely "conservative-lite"?
"Rudd is trying to impose his party’s agenda on the churches and re-badge God as a social democrat, precisely the strategy that he and Wallis accuse the Right of adopting."

It’s also precisely the strategy Pearson is adopting in his attempt to rebrand God as a cultural conservative again.