Politics

Scott Morrison reveals ‘disappointment’ over religious discrimination bill failure at Sunday Mass


Scott Morrison has attended Sunday Mass at a Lebanese Maronite Catholic Church ahead of his 60 Minutes interview. Here’s what he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has compared his religious discrimination bill disaster to the biblical story of Solomon and warning the Church is “under persecution” after attending Sunday Mass at a Lebanese Maronite Catholic Church.

Ahead of his 60 Minutes interview on Sunday night, Mr Morrison was in South Australia to launch the development of the South Road tunnels, the state’s biggest infrastructure project.

On Sunday morning, Mr Morrison also joined His Grace Bishop Tarabay in Westbourne Park where he said he’d rather see his religious discrimination bill scrapped altogether than “undermined” by changes.

Last week a number of Christian groups across the country reacted with fury over the drama surrounding the government’s barely breathing bill, claiming they are also facing discrimination.

Mr Morrison on Sunday said his appearance at the Chruch was to provide “some encouragement” to the community.

Later, on 60 Minutes, when Karl Stefanovic told Mr Morrison he may need a “miracle or second coming” to win the election, the PM said, “I believe in that too”.

Mr Morrison is member of a prominent Sydney Pentecostal church and has previously said prayer could aid political unity.

The Morrison government shelved its controversial religious freedom laws last Thursday after five Liberal MPs crossed the floor to vote with Labor and the crossbench in an effort to protect gay and transgender students.

As it stands, the religious discrimination bill is technically still breathing, but the likelihood of it being passed is incredibly slim.

Speaking to the Maronite community, Mr Morrison warned “the church today, whatever denomination you may subscribe to of the Christian faith, is under persecution this day all around the world.”

He said he was “devastated” by the failure of the bill where he claimed was “seeking to protect Australians of religious faith from discrimination”.

“We sought to add to those protections and we were unsuccessful. And that is a bitter disappointment. But I do not regret bringing that forward.

“There were many unkind things said about people of religious faith in this country because I know their experience of community is completely different.

“Now there are many more wonderful services, including those provided by my own Government, that assists all of that, that we work closely together.

“And so it is disappointing that the very attempt to provide additional protections was undermined by those who would seek to undermine the very religious institutions upon which so much of Christian community depends, whether in our schools, our charitable organisations or the many things that are done indeed even in the communities like we share in today.”

Mr Morrison compared the bill to the biblical story of Solomon; about making a sacrifice to win a power struggle.

“I felt very much like the woman before Solomon. You will know the story,” he said.

“Solomon, known for his great wisdom and the two women came and they were arguing over whose child was theirs. And one of their children had died during the night. One of the women had rolled over, I assume, and the woman’s child died. And she rose earlier, and she took her deceased child and put it under the other woman, and she took the alive child and took her, her or him, not sure what it was, over to her breast.

“And so they go before Solomon and Solomon wisely says, OK, why don’t we cut the child in half. And the woman whose child it was said, no, the other woman can have my child. And at that moment, Solomon knew who the mother was.

“So, I would rather lay down our attempt to secure those additional protections, than see them compromised or undermined.

“And I’m sure that communities of faith all around this country, you all understand that. I share your disappointment, but I have not forgotten upon which everything else rests, and that is not something that I would forsake.

“So there will be those who will say that I have been humiliated and all of those things, but happy to suffer those things in a cause that I believe strongly in and that I know you share. “We will see where this goes in the future.

“But we don’t rely as Christians or indeed those of other faiths, but certainly as Christians, we do not rely on governments or laws or any of these things to uphold our faith.

“And no community understands that better than the Maronite community who has suffered under all sorts of prejudice and governments and political systems and wars and famines.”

Originally published as Scott Morrison reveals ‘disappointment’ over religious discrimination bill failure at Sunday Mass

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