Criticisms from former Labor Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, aimed at Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison’s Christian faith, are asinine, petty, and hypocritical.
In response to Scott Morrison’s speech at an Australian Christian Churches conference in April, Rudd told the ABC’s 7:30 Report,
“The idea that anyone leading a political party could believe that it is ‘God on our side,’ is just the stuff of real danger in my view.”
Rudd’s problem with Morrison is largely manufactured outrage.
Morrison never said or alluded to the absolutizing of the Church through the State by way of hyper-nationalism.
In ripping apart Morrison’s testimony concerning answered prayer, Rudd twisted what Prime Minister said, and skewed the message to serve his own ends.
No where in the speech – which was transcribed by Crikey – does Scott Morrison say about the 2019 election that “God was on our side,” nor did Morrison suggest that Australia should become a theocracy.
The Prime Minister spoke of being the image bearers of God. A key part of healthy Biblical theology, and a major part of the fabric from which Western Civilisation was formed.
Contrary to Rudd’s self-centred accusations, Morrison asked those gathered to be what they are called to be: a landmark; a beacon of hope under the 24/7/365 Lordship of Jesus Christ.
In essence, Morrison was calling the Church to be image bearers of the self-revealing God in a sea of poisoned politics, societal division, ideological extremism, and the subsequent surge of political turbulence.
There’s nothing Morrison said that justifies Kevin Rudd’s venomous anti-Church and State tantrum.
Granted, his concerns about the excesses of Pentecostalism weren’t all that off the mark. I’ve seen some dumb stuff done in the name of the Holy Spirit.
While criticism of certain aspects of the Christian denomination are necessary, the more appropriate platform for such criticism is theological analysis, not trial by media.
Certainly not trial by ex-Prime Minister, who from his political pulpit, appears to be saying that the Christian faith should be constrained to four walls on a Sunday, and read through the lens of Das Kapital.
Rudd’s bourgeois leftist social justice Christianity, is as concerning as cultural Christians who keep Jesus in his Sunday box, bringing Him out for a cameo at Christmas, and Easter. Only apply if necessary. Particularly if there’s an election on, and the mood feels right.
By using Morrison’s Christian faith, to shove his own bigoted bourgeois leftist, Marxist Jesus of “Social Justice,” down the throats of Australians, Rudd appears to be completely unaware that his self-righteous chest-beating negates proclamations about his own Christian faith.
For example, Rudd, in his article for the Guardian placed his own “garden-variety theology” (whatever that is) against what he alleges is Morrison’s “radical political theology.”
His juvenile outbidding of Morrison should be read as it appears to have been written: “Morrison isn’t a real Christian. I know, because I’ve always been one.”
It’s not the first time.
In a quarterly essay discussing faith and politics, Chris Uhlmann explained how Rudd “compared his faith, with that of John Howard, and [did so] to find his opponent wanting.”
Could Rudd’s hypocrisy be any more blatant?
He condemns Scott Morrison for bringing “religion” into politics, but was not averse to using God in his 2006-2007 election campaign.
In a 2006 essay for the Monthly, Rudd appealed to the strength of German Evangelical (Lutheran) theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Rudd appears to have used Bonhoeffer’s Christian opposition against the Nazi state, to inadvertently portray the Liberal National Party as Nazis, and the Australian Labor Party as anti-Nazis, for the goal of winning the 2007 election.
Spot the irony. Kevin Rudd, a “Christian Socialist” employed an ecclesiastically Conservative Christian theologian, who stood up against National Socialism, to promote Christian Socialism.
Bonhoeffer wasn’t a fan of the all-consuming, and never satisfied, economic leviathan, stating, (and I’m quoting him verbatim): ‘a lack of obedience to Scripture is characteristic for the teaching of the social gospel.’ (DBW 12, Memorandum, p.242)
Around the time of the 2007 election, when it came to roles played in society by both the Church and State, Kevin Rudd was all for it, writing,
‘The function of the church in all these areas of social, economic and security policy is to speak directly to the state: to give power to the powerless, voice to those who have none, and to point to the great silences in our national discourse where otherwise there are no natural advocates.’
Adding to this, he then asks secular politicians not to reject the Christian perspective:
‘A Christian perspective, informed by a social gospel or Christian socialist tradition, should not be rejected contemptuously by secular politicians as if these views are an unwelcome intrusion into the political sphere. If the churches are barred from participating in the great debates about the values that ultimately underpin our society, our economy and our polity, then we have reached a very strange place indeed.’
It’s telling. Kevin Rudd is okay with the Christian perspective in politics, as long as it’s the Leftist authorised version.
A deceptive, flowery version informed for the most part, by false doctrines that submit the Lordship of Jesus Christ to the tyrannical lordship of Karl Marx.
It’s not Morrison’s faith in politics that needs a health check-up, it’s Kevin Rudd’s.
‘Socialism’s real error’, said Christian, ex-Marxist and French scholar, Jacques Ellul, is ‘the one that lies behind all the rest, is that it ended up formulating a new religion, setting up gods: history, proletariat, socialism, revolution.’ (Jesus & Marx, 1988. p.139)
As Simone Weil asserted: ‘Marxism is a badly constructed religion.’
Rudd’s hypocrisy and its utterly self-important nonsense beg the question, why is #kevin07 still being taken seriously?
The former populist P. M has discredited himself by letting his lust for media attention assuage his narcissistic opportunism.
Watching Kevin Rudd’s responses to Leigh Sales on the 7:30 report was like watching a sketch from the Comedy Company.
The election of Kevin Rudd ignited over a decade of destabilisation in Australian politics. Him calling the Prime Minister “wacky” is genuinely laughable.
To be in Christ, is to be in the Church.
Crucially, and perhaps most importantly, is that Rudd’s criticism of Morrison, not only misconstrues the role of church and state, it neglects vocation.
Vocation is God’s sovereign grace working through human hands, where, says, Lutheran scholar, Gene Veith, ‘His Word extends into the world.’
Through vocation the spirituality of the cross is lived out in ‘parenting, farming, labouring, soldiers, doctors, judges or retailers.’
It’s impossible for a genuine Christian to be separated from Jesus Christ.
The distinction between church and state is not to be understood as a separation between the secular and sacred.
A Christian defined by their church attendance record, melanin, ethnicity, or loyalty to a political ideology – is not a Christian.
Jesus is bigger than Sundays.
First published on Caldron Pool, 3rd May 2021.
©Rod Lampard, 2021.