Sometimes it seems that I grew up in a golden era — at a time when world peace seemed possible, and Australians of all faiths lived together harmoniously. Religious wars were something that happened ‘somewhere else’. There was also no such thing as culture wars. We had a strong two-party system, one representing business, while the other was perceived as the workers’ champions. There was even an accord between business and labour. Fancy that! The way people voted was less about one’s religious affiliation or to which dioceses one belonged, it was predominantly about class. That is what it seemed like to me anyway. However, that has all changed.
To the astonishment of many in the community and within the political class itself, we have watched a takeover of one political party by the ‘religious right’. Who had ever heard of a ‘religious right’ in this country until just a few years ago? It feels very un-Australian to me, or at the very least, troubling.
I am agnostic, and as such, I am apparently by default a ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’. Or so the current orthodoxy goes. These terms are used pejoratively by the shouty people these days. In the past, the word liberal if applied to a person, meant that you voted for the Liberal Party. Apparently, the Liberal Party of Australia is now not actually liberal, but a conservative political party — it being full of members of the religious right. Conservatism and religious righteousness has become synonymous. Talk about the (lack of) separation of Church and State!
Is this sounding like a rant? It is not meant to be, certainly not at this time of year, when so many Christians and non-Christians alike are looking forward to Christmas Day. I’m not completely ignorant about Christianity. When I was a child, I read the Children’s Bible cover to cover many times. I also said my prayers every evening. They were usually about asking God’s or Jesus’ assistance to keep everyone safe and well. You can’t argue with that, can you? I must say Jesus really impressed me back then and still does. He sounded like he was kind, generous and tolerant. I don’t think you can argue with that either.
My husband has a lot of difficulty coping with Christmas. Well, he doesn’t really. Cope, that is. I wonder if it relates to the religious right thing? Or maybe it is because his mum is no longer with us, or because one of our canaries died on Christmas eve, or because of its association with tragic loss of life (eg. the 2004 tsunami, and now we can add the New Zealand volcano eruption deaths), or maybe it is because kindness to him is not just a one-day wonder, etc, etc. Jesus would probably be quite sympathetic toward my husband if he (Jesus) was alive now, don’t you think? He would probably say, “Listen, Tracy’s True Love. It doesn’t matter what you do on Christmas Day. It is more important that you are kind, generous and tolerant all year round. So it’s my birthday, no big deal.” Does it seem possible that he might say something like that?
Anyway, every now and then, I play a few Christmas carols despite His Grumpiness, because, well, singing, and because it does no-one any harm (my singing is not that bad!), and it may just bring a little joy to someone. Here’s one carol that I really like. Why don’t you sing it with me? No harm in that.
For Ragtag Daily Prompt — Band.