It seems that our very own prince of the church, George Pell, is a busy prelate these days. Not content with running Tony Abbott and Kevin Andrews, he’s corralled John Howard and Steve Fielding. This is dangerous stuff – look what’s happening in Washington – bigger cast, same story line. Thankfully, so far Howard hasn’t used the George Bush line of praying to God before he takes decisions.

Our own model of a modern major general, Michael Jeffery, recently raised eyebrows and hackles in some quarters when he declared he had found Christ while serving in the Vietnam conflict, where it should be said he distinguished himself with many acts of bravery. There is an opinion afoot that as governor general, his religious beliefs should remain with him – unlike John Howard who would admit to being anything if he thought there was a vote in it.

Which brings us to the wedge. Senator-elect Fielding admitted to Tony Jones on Lateline that he and Howard has spent 90 minutes together. It wouldn’t be drawing a very long bow to assume the subject of those illegal migrants, who have spent years in detention centres and who like the governor general found Christ, was raised. And it’s surely no coincidence this was leaked – only to The Australian – to give the public a taste of things to come after the July swearing in of the new Senate.

Steve Fielding will soon become the most important man in Australia – whatever he wants, he’ll get. Howard must be sweating – Fielding is a conservative in some things, a liberal in others, particularly any policy which he believes traduces working people.

But back to the interference of the Christian Right. George Bush’s United States has become a bastion of bigotry, anti-Islam, gay bashing, war mongering – and that’s just for starters. The warning bells are ringing here and we should be alert – and alarmed.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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