Over the weekend the ABC’s Q&A asked their Twitter followers if Catholicism had done more harm to Australia than Islam. Attached to the question was an article from The Guardian with the implied answer. The piece, written by Labor’s Kristina Keneally, and published back in February 2017, was titled: “Catholicism has done more harm to Australia than Islam.”
At the time, Keneally wrote in defence of the ABC’s Yasmin Abdel-Magied after she was criticised following an appearance on Q&A in which she claimed that Islam was the most feminist religion.
Has Catholicism done more harm to Australia than Islam? via @GuardianAus #QandA https://t.co/wooFueaun0
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) March 3, 2019
“It seems that every Australian Muslim who pokes their head up in public is expected to own, explain and condemn any terrorist act carried out by any extremist Muslim anywhere in the world,” Keneally lamented. “Why isn’t this same outrage applied to Australian Catholics?”
“If we were going on body count the Catholic clergy has done more harm to more Australians than extremist Muslims,” she went on to argue. “More than 4,000 reports of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic church [sic] made to the royal commission. God knows how many more are unreported.”
The following day, The Guardian amended their piece to reflect the fact that not all 4,000 allegations of incidents of abuse were against clergy but also included lay people and religious sisters.
Keneally concluded her piece by characterising opposition to Islam as people picking on “little girls in hijabs, all in the name of making Australia safe”. That’s simply not the case. The reason why people take issue with Islam, as opposed to Christendom, is because Islam’s religious text can be used, and often has been used, to justify acts of terror. Anyone who suggests otherwise simply hasn’t read the book.
The Bible, on the other hand, cannot be used in such a way, as it explicitly condemns sexual immorality, pedophilia, and terrorism. A man who follows his Bible with consistency will find no opportunity to justify any of these injustices.
What Keneally fails to understand is the difference between an injustice carried out consistent with an ideology and an injustice carried out contrary to an ideology. Do Christians have to wear the sins of those who act contrary to the fundamental teachings of their faith?
Make no mistake, the horrors of history — and the horrors of the present — bear witness, not to the cruelty of Christendom, but to the cruelty of humanity when they deviate from Jesus’ command to love your enemies and do good to those who hate you. Every abuse and injustice, even those carried out by the church, is preceded by an explicit rejection of the New Testament.
Whenever an injustice is brought to light, and every injustice should be brought to light — especially sexual crimes against children — then it is the responsibility of all to correct that injustice. Failure to do so is to deviate from the biblical command to, “Do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). That is the Christian position. That’s part of Jesus’ command to love your neighbour.
Kenneally may consider Catholicism a danger to children, but what she seemingly fails to acknowledge is that many children have been killed in the name of Islam. Furthermore, according to Islamic tradition, Islam’s founder married a six-year-old and consummated the marriage when she was only nine.
But hey, we’re really only concerned with her hijab.