Easter means different things to different people. To some politicians, it appears to mean -- amongst other things -- opportunity!
South Australian state premier, Peter Malinauskas, is well entitled to his Christian faith – yet the majority of his Croydon electorate are mixed-faith or have no religion at all, says the National Secular Lobby.
Easter has for many Australians long been simply a family affair, while a variety of Churches focus on revitalising Christian traditions in their gradually diminishing flock.
But premier Malinauskas has apparently sought to politicise Easter for personal electoral gain, and to promote his own devout faith via his political reach – neither of which are socially acceptable in 2023.
How much -- in taxpayer dollars -- has been spent on the premier’s recent promotional exercise, letterboxing his entire electorate with the crusading cry “Christ has Risen”, eulogising the “Feast of Feasts”, complete with a print of a westernised Jesus in flowing white robes?
The National Secular Lobby would like to wish all those for whom Easter has a special significance a safe and enjoyable weekend of celebrations. And Peter Malinauskas need not have gone any further than that – unless he had his own political and religious agenda.
How does he consider the reactions and feelings of electors who have strong beliefs in other faiths – or indeed the growing majority of the public who are non-religious?
Most of the population are no longer willing to tolerate hurtful and harmful behaviours badged as some sort of benign religion, often shrouded by a wall of secrecy. This is something the Conservatives and much of the Catholic Right of the ALP still have some difficulty in grasping.
Basic to our democracy has been the separation of Church and State. People have freedom to practise any faith they choose. Some politicians get elected because of it; some despite it. But there is an expectation that those in public office, funded by taxpayers, respect all belief positions and do not proselytise for their particular brand of religion.
Mr Malinauskas is the member for a very multicultural, multi faith electorate. In the last Census, figures show Croydon was just 36.1 percent Christian, with 34.6% of constituents reporting no religion and 23% having other faiths.
One could conclude the Premier has been willing to offend and exclude two thirds of his electorate in order to appease his religion’s expectation of evangelism to others.
It also potentially raises the question of inappropriate use of taxpayer money. There are 42,872 people in the Croydon electorate. Even if it cost just $2 to print and send each card, that’s almost $90,000. Money better spent health, education and social housing.
So what do you think, Premier? And who paid?