The Not Quite So Honourable Member23 March 2011
I’m an atheist. If a friend invites me to her wedding in a church, I accept. Or a synagogue. Or a Hindu temple. I’ve attended weddings at all these venues. Is that hypocritical of me? No, of course not.
But Tony Abbott (leader of the Opposition in Federal Parliament – for those of you not living with Australian politics) has declared that our atheist Prime Minister shouldn’t have accepted the invitation to attend William and Kate’s wedding at Westminster Abbey next month. And he doesn’t stop there. She’s also unmarried and “living in sin” which should also stop her from attending a Christian service. But she doesn’t believe in sin, so why should this be a problem for her? (And, incidentally, I think William and Kate have done a bit of “living in sin” in their time too but I suppose Tony would have the view that at least William is making an honest woman of her!)
I’m sorry, Tony, but you’re clutching at straws here. I really don’t think the vast majority of Australians would bat an eyelid at this. But I DO think they would consider it extremely rude and a real snub if she declined the invitation on such flimsy grounds. As would refusing to attend the, mainly Christian, funerals of Australian soldiers killed in action. If a Jewish friend invites you to his wedding, do you really refuse? If you’d been Prime Minister, would you, as a Catholic, have turned down this invitation because the marriage is taking place in an Anglican Abbey and the groom will one day be head of the Church of England? I don’t know what the rules are now but I do remember that even when I was a teenager, a Catholic needed permission from his church before attending any services in an Anglican one, and that included weddings.
Julia Gillard has never hidden her atheism, nor that she has a live-in man. She didn’t swear on the Bible when she took office.
You are the Leader of the Opposition and as such we are not surprised when you criticise the Government’s policies. But pick your fights more carefully. This one just makes you look rather stupid, extremely petty and pretty pathetic. And it reeks of sour grapes.