In an interview on Sky News last night, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott explained that Islam was in dire need of a reformation:
“All cultures are not equal, and frankly, culture that believes in decency and tolerance is much to be preferred than one that thinks that you can kill in the name of God, and you’ve got to be prepared to say that.
“I think if there is a problem today, it’s not just a problem within Islam, which is very serious indeed. It’s also the problem of a lack of cultural self-confidence, a lack of cultural self-belief here in the west generally and even here in Australia,” Abbott, a staunch Catholic, said.
What he’s saying is controversial, no doubt, but it’s a sentiment echoed by a lot of atheists who argue that the Qur’an and Hadith are very straightforward about how infidels must be treated. To be sure, most Muslims reject a literal interpretation of those punishments and actively condemn those who take their faith to extreme lengths. It’s wrong for Abbott to paint all Muslims as part of a nasty culture when the problem is with a subset of the group that is cherry picking the worst passages to follow.
But let’s step away from that discussion for a moment.
Did you see the last few words in that excerpt?
The person who says Islam needs enlightenment is a “staunch Catholic.”
The Guardian‘s Kristina Keneally, a fellow Catholic who is very unhappy with the direction her Church is headed, wasn’t about to let Abbott get away with his obvious hypocrisy:
Our church denies women the ability to use modern technology and medicine to control their fertility, even though Pope Francis told us this year that we no longer “need to breed like rabbits.”
Our church thinks nothing of having a couple of hundred old, celibate male bishops tell the rest of us about the “proper role” of sexuality in a relationship, or what it is to be a good parent, or what a child needs in a family. How many of those guys have even been on a date in their lives, much less know what it is to live in a sexual or family relationship?
You talk about Muslims needing a better understanding of the proper relationship between church and state. What about all those Catholic priests who never reported sexual abuse of children to the police?…
So I welcome your urgings for religions to undertake reformation. Next week, when [Cardinal George] Pell is giving evidence at the royal commission, I look forward to your comments about Catholicism and what our church needs to do to drag itself into the modern world.
Such a great piece. And a powerful reminder that many of the voices calling for Muslims to get their act straight belong to faiths that have done plenty of damage of their own.