Scott Morrison has asked a national conference of Christian churches to help him help Australia, while revealing his belief that he and his wife, Jenny, have been called to do God’s work.
In a video that emerged of the Prime Minister speaking at the Australian Christian Churches conference on the Gold Coast last week, Morrison also revealed that he had sought a sign from God during the 2019 election campaign and that he had practiced the Gospel tradition. of the “laying on of hands” while he was Prime Minister.
He also describes the misuse of social media as the work of the “evil”, in reference to the Devil, and called on fellow believers to pray against its corrosive effect on society.
While Australians are familiar with the non-evangelical Christian beliefs of John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull, Morrison is the first Pentecostal Christian to hold the position.
Morrison has been open about his faith, inviting reporters to Horizon Church in Sutherland County during the 2019 election campaign, and describing his subsequent victory as a “miracle” victory. Footage of him calling for prayers for state and territory leaders during the Covid pandemic has also been released.
The Prime Minister flew to the conference from Sydney using his taxpayer-funded plane. No video of the address has been promoted on his Facebook or official pages, nor has his office released a copy of his speech, as usually happens when he speaks in his official capacity. of Prime Minister.
The video, which was released by Vineyard Christian Church and later distributed by the Rationalist Society, provides a rare insight into Morrison’s personal religious practice and the beliefs that guide him and the rapidly growing Pentecostal movement in Australia.
Asking the public for their help and prayers, Morrison reveals that when he became prime minister, his pastor gave him advice on election night to “use what God has put in your hands…to do what God has placed in your heart”.
‘Scott, you have to run’
Speaking of a difficult time in the final fortnight of the election campaign, Morrison shared the story of asking God for a sign before visiting the Ken Duncan Gallery on the NSW Central Coast.
“I have to admit I was like, ‘You know, Lord, where are you, where are you? I’d like a callback if it’s OK,” Morrison said.
“And there, right in front of me, was the biggest picture of a soaring eagle I could imagine and of course the verse hit me.
“The message I got that day was, ‘Scott, you gotta run so you don’t get tired, you gotta walk so you don’t faint, you gotta spread your wings like an eagle to soar like an eagle. ‘”
He told the conference that he and Jenny had been grateful for the “incredible prayers and support” sent by Christians across the country, and shared with the crowd that he had practiced the laying on of hands, a tradition Pentecostal healing and faith-building. .
“I’ve been to evacuation centers where people thought I was just hugging somebody and praying, and laying my hands on people…laying hands on them and praying in various situations,” he said, referring to a visit to Kalbarri. in the Pilbara following Cyclone Seroja.
“It’s been a long time, it’s been a long time, and God has, I believe, used us in those times to be able, out of pride, to provide a little relief and comfort and just a little comfort.
“And we will continue to do so for as long as this season lasts. This is how we see it. We are called, all of us, for a time and for a season and God would have us use it wisely and for every day that I get up and go there’s just one little thing that’s in my head and which is ‘for such a time as this,’ Morrison said in reference to a Bible verse seen as a call to arms for Christian practice.
Speaking about the importance of community, Morrison also discusses at length the work of former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, praising his book Morality for emphasizing “the dignity and worth of every human being and the responsibilities they have to one another. towards others “.
“He was talking about community and that you can’t replace the community with governments, the market, with other institutions; you can’t replace family, you can’t replace marriage, you can’t replace the things that are so personal and ingrained that come out of us as individuals with power systems or capital systems.
“You know, you cancel a human being and you cancel the community, because the community is just human beings that God loves and are meant to connect us to each other.
“It is so important that we continue to reach out and let every Australian know that they are important…that they are meaningful, and that we believe they are created in the image of God, and that understanding that they can go on a journey that I’m very confident you can undertake, and I’m counting on you to do it because it’s not my job, it’s yours.
He also talks about threats to the sense of community, calling identity politics ‘corrosive’ to society, while suggesting prayers are needed as Facebook can be used by ‘the evil one’ to undermine social cohesion. .
“Of course, social media has its virtues and its values and allows us to connect with people in a way that we have never had before – wonderful, wonderful – but these weapons can also be used by the evil one and we have to report it.”
He said identity politics was an “absolutely corrosive” threat to society, which denied the value of the individual while promoting tribalism and misunderstanding.
“If you think of yourselves not as individuals but as warring tribes, you know it’s easy to start disrespecting each other; it’s easy to start not understanding the person in front of you.
It’s also inspired by conversations he had with his stepfather about his faith when he started dating Jenny when he was 16.
“He was very frustrated with me because I wasn’t answering all the questions and I said, ‘Roy, you know, I can’t fix the world, I can’t save the world, but we all believe two in someone who can,” Morrison said.
“And that’s why I came here for your help tonight, because what you do and what you bring to the life and faith of our country is what it needs.”
At the start of the speech, Morrison also acknowledges “the other members of my group of Christian believers in Canberra”, including “Brother Stuie” – Stuart Robert, the Minister for Employment.
“Australia is very secular”
A political historian, Judith Brett, said Australians were wary of religion in politics, and Morrison’s religious beliefs stood out the same way Tony Abbott’s Catholicism was out of step with most people’s views. Australians.
“Australia is a fairly secular society and our politics haven’t been driven by religion as much as in the United States,” Brett said.
“Essentially Australia is very secular, and the kind of stuff he’s saying if it was in the 19th century, it wouldn’t stand out as particularly particular, where people praying for you and doing God’s work were doing much more part of a widespread common stream meaning even if people weren’t particularly church going, but that makes it seem odd in what is effectively a secular society.
But she said the address was “without content” and did not call for any radical change in religious policy on issues such as abortion law or same-sex marriage.
“It doesn’t seem to have a lot of political content, it doesn’t make it more sympathetic to people trying to live on Newstart, but on the other hand, it’s not trying to ban abortion, and it doesn’t don’t try to backtrack on same-sex marriage legislation.
“He’s not a warrior, he’s not a political warrior. That may be a guiding philosophy, but it’s rather nebulous.