Sun, 31 May 2020

Morrison's tears, Court's delusions and the pandemic

Independent Australia
07 Apr 2020, 08:52 GMT+10

The last thing we need is the Prime Minister praying alongside religious fanatics or weeping over the personal cost of the pandemic he is supposed to be leading us through, writes Dr Jennifer Wilson.

PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON came close to tears on Thursday, as he spoke of the "personal cost" the COVID-19 pandemic is extracting from him.

According to this News report:

It isn't clear from the article what the PM's personal toll actually is. He acknowledges that he has the comfort of his wife and children to return to each evening, as well as his mother, apparently removed from her aged-care facility since the outbreak of COVID-19.

We know the Prime Minister's living conditions are superb, as the family are hunkered down in The Lodge. Undoubtedly there is sufficient food and toilet paper and it's likely that wife Jen has not had to forage in a succession of empty-shelved supermarkets in order to find these basic supplies. There are probably housekeepers, cleaners and drivers. Morrison and his family are hardly doing it tough in times such as this.

It's hard to find the personal cost in this picture - unless, of course, the Prime Minister is referring to the demands of his job. At least he has one, we could be forgiven for observing. He is surrounded by expert advisers; he is not left to make onerous decisions on his own. Indeed, Morrison's main task appears to be fronting the media and passing on to us decisions made by others - including the National Cabinet - some of whom have chosen on occasion to ignore him and make their own choices about their respective states.

The article also refers to Morrison's "vulnerability" - to what or to whom is not specified. The impression created is that Morrison is not coping well with the task at hand. This is not the time when we need to see the Prime Minister at breaking point over the personal cost to him of a pandemic - particularly when it's difficult to ascertain exactly what that personal cost is compared to what many others are enduring.

This insight into the Prime Minister's emotional state comes the day after it was revealed that he had taken part in an online COVID-19 prayer meeting from his parliamentary office. Morrison committed Australia to God during this event. He appears to liken his role in the current pandemic to that of Moses parting the Red Sea with his staff, allowing fleeing Israelites to escape the Egyptian army, which was drowned in its entirety when the sea closed after them. This has spawned him a new nickname on social media, #ScoMoses.

Of course, Morrison is entitled to take part in prayer meetings, though some may baulk at the idea of this being done from his office. Church, state, separation, you might quite legitimately protest. What is seriously alarming about this meeting, however, is that it was organised, in part, by former tennis star, now pastor, Margaret Court.

Margaret Court started her own church, Victory Life, in Perth. Like Morrison's Horizon and his mentor Brian Houston's Hillsong, Court's church is of the Pentecostal variety. Court and her followers are virulently anti-gay and express the belief that transgender athletes are controlled by "the Devil".

Court's most recent advice to her followers is that they are protected from COVID-19 by the blood of Jesus:

What, in the name of all the gods, is the Prime Minister doing engaging in a prayer meeting, from his office in Parliament House at the time of a pandemic, with people who believe they are protected from the virus by Christ's blood?

Morrison must believe this as well, must he not? Otherwise, how could he validate this travesty with his presence? How could he give credence to this insane belief, unless he too endorses it? We would hope that the leader of a country struggling against the ravages of a pandemic would want to put a million miles between himself and these crazed delusions, but no. Instead, he prays with their author and commends us to God.

Given Morrison's apparently precarious emotional state and his bizarre affiliation with religious fanatics who believe in the power of Christ's blood rather than science to halt the progress of COVID-19 - at least for them if not for the rest of us - we appear to be in unsafe and unstable hands.

The last thing we need right now is the Prime Minister weeping over the personal cost of the pandemic he is supposed to be leading us through. The other last thing we need right now is superstition instead of science. We can only hope there are enough sane heads around him to keep him under control, as we are stuck with him throughout this crisis.

I don't think even Trump has recommended Christ's blood as a preventative. Yet.

You can follow Dr Jennifer Wilson on her blog 'No Place for Sheep' or on Twitter @NoPlaceForSheep.

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