Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tony Abbott: Silly sceptics thrive on bias

Our Federal Health Minister, Tony Abbott, has a opinion piece in today's Australian following the barrage of abuse of stem cell research. Worth a read and some letters-to-the-editor in support. The full article is here but I copy an exert.

I'm not aware of a single position from any politician to whom this tag is applied advocated on the basis of scripture or an appeal to religious authority. Every position has been argued on the basis of human values, not religious teaching. Yet it is now rare for stories about particular politicians on particular topics not to be embellished with gratuitous adjectives such as "devout Catholic".

A senior journalist from a leading paper today called my office wanting to know whether I had discussed stem cells recently with Pell. As if it were anyone's business; as if such a discussion would somehow discredit any position I might hold; and as if any journalist would dare cast aspersions on conversations between a non-Christian politician and a leader of their faith. The journalist was told that from time to time I did indeed have discussions with the Cardinal; they were always instructive and I wished they were more frequent. Two generations after it was thought sectarianism had finally vanished from public life, this is doubtless evidence that I am the Vatican mole in the Howard Government.

It's worth noting that when Bruce Baird, Steven Fielding and Barnaby Joyce invoked their Christian consciences to oppose the Government's immigration bill, there were no calls to keep religion out of politics. Media outrage is confined to expressions of the church's moral teaching, not its social gospel in what is, at the very least, a chronically politically correct double standard.

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