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Jan 22, 2009

Costello continues to catch the fire

Peter Costello will continue his long association with the extreme Christian group Catch the Fire ministries on Australia Day, writes Bernard Keane.

Peter Costello will continue his long association with the extreme Christian group Catch the Fire ministries on Australia Day, when the group holds a “prayer celebration” at Melbourne Town Hall.

Catch the Fire pastor Danny Nalliah met with both John Howard and Peter Costello prior to the last election. Costello, who has met with Nalliah “a number of times” was outspoken in his support for Nalliah when he was unsuccessfully prosecuted for religious vilification following attacks on Muslims, including calling them “demons” and associating them with drug-trafficking, in the group’s newsletter.

The group has also attacked gays and lesbians, and in December the group criticised the Federal Government for dumping Warwick Marsh as a men’s health ambassador following Crikey’s revelation of a homophobic publication by Marsh’s group. A press release attacked the Prime Minister and Nicola Roxon for “pandering to homosexual couples” and adopting an “official government policy — if you don’t think homosexuality is normal you have a problem. You are to be discriminated against.”

Nalliah told Crikey Costello had provided a special DVD message for the Australia Day event, and would personally attend if other commitments permitted — apparently Costello is attending a citizenship ceremony as well. “The message is absolutely wonderful,” Nalliah said. “It emphasises the role of the church in praying for the nation in a time of economic crisis.”

The group has invited other political figures to attend but says it is unsure who will be there on the day.

Catch the Fire are big fans of Costello’s. “What you see is what you get,” said Nalliah about the former Treasurer. “No flip-flopping.” In fact, Nalliah met with Costello in 2007 in order to “prepare” Costello for the Prime Ministership. Following the meeting, the group’s website offered a follower’s vision of the divine election of Costello, describing:

Jesus visiting Peter Costello. Jesus was preparing his priestly role and as Peter Costello stood in black suite (legal) Jesus began to pull away from his garments invisible threads of law and religion… Then Peter Costello is seated and Jesus stands in front of him and puts His hands on Peter Costello’s shoulders and then standing from behind Jesus again puts His hands on Peter Costello’s shoulders but I notice the right hand has fingers and thumb spread out.

This signifying 5 members and in the 5th term for coalition, the governmental leadership will be on Peter Costello’s shoulders. Current prayer need on my heart is the new Treasurer to stand with Peter Costello as P.M.

While Jesus was evidently playing a little joke at that point, Costello’s faith in Catch the Fire evidently remains strong. While there might have been some political basis for his association with the group in the past — the Coalition consistently received strong support from fundamentalist groups like Catch the Fire and the Exclusive Brethren — it’s now clear that Costello is a personal supporter of this mob.

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12 thoughts on “Costello continues to catch the fire

  1. Helen

    Too scarey for words!

  2. Cameron

    By the way – did Costello front the CTF congregation? MPs attempting to confuse the electorate with religious and other agendas scare the daylights out of me.

  3. David M

    So… what is wrong with Nalliah?

  4. Cathy

    Its time Cossie told us if he thinks Danny Nalliah represents national values. Nalliah has been peddling race and religious extremism since he set foot here 12 years ago with a bad touch of Islamophobia. He’s nudged the Race and Religious Tolerance Act, divided the Catholic and Uniting Churches and ruffled the Islamic community – none of which sound like the guy’s tuned into Australia’s core ideals. Nalliah says he’s embraced this country and left his baggage behind – so why such a soured acceptance of life down under? Today Rudd put another basket case, Samir Abu Hamza, on notice over his fanatic claim that followers “can force their wives to have sex, and hit them if they’re disobedient”. Cossie, Danny and Samir could find themselves buried in thongs this Australia Day if they don’t familiarise with a modern down under!..

  5. Jenny Sams

    I found it unbelievable so went through to the web site. They are either crazy or suffer from a vivid imagination. Costello being friends with this lot will make him even sillier.

  6. Phill

    This man owning the prosperity of Australia up to the sub-prime crash is extraordinary….a drover’s dog could have could have done the same on the back of the mining boom. He gave away small amounts to the breeders in his support of Harvey Norman and hoarded the rest. The evil little node having such extreme connections and having ambitions to lead Australia is truly scary from my perspective. I am Gay and proud, and if ever this mob grasped power I would be little more than gas chamber fodder.

  7. Jenny L

    Forget the tossing sparks mob and for a moment focus on Costello. From the year dot he’s been a socially radical Christian yearning for big time recognition. His conservative political career has burned out and Danny Nalliah fascinates. I’m tipping Hamlet Prince of Malvern will check out of parliament to launch a televangical ministry. As head honcho of a political religious media crusade fame, fortune and leadership will be his. Leap of Faith stuff he is!

  8. Venise Alstergren

    Peter Costello’s whole career has been startling- in one regard only-in his apparent lack of belief in anyone except John Howard. Therefore, like many, many deluded fools our lovely Peter has decided to play the religion/false-patriotism(*) card. Thus doing his absolute best to return to power in the arch-conservative party. If he does get any mileage out of this piteous alliance he will be doing exactly what the Americans do. Bringing religion into a country whose constitution specifically allows people to choose god, or reject him.
    If a notorious god-botherer like Kevin Rudd has more or less kept religion off his agenda, Peter Costello should learn this lesson and stop fooling around in the big boys’ playground.
    Is there no one out there who minds their tax-money going to support a nasty fraudulent piece of goods like Costello?

    (*) False-patriotism and religion are forever joined at the shoulder through to the hip.

  9. John G

    RC David – so far as I can tell – very little?

  10. ChrisJ

    The Prince of Malvern will catch more than fire if he rubs shoulders with Danny Nalliah. Anyway this gig as the star attraction at Nalliah’s anti-Australia Day activities is about Cossie shoring up his political future unless something better doesn’t materialize. In case he’s in for the long haul waiting for Turnbull to drop the baton he’ll need the rock solid constituency he lost when he chased other dreams. The video is about making sure he’s there if he’s not and lest Higgins has a few of the uniting, Baptist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army stalwarts headed for Nalliah’s AD holiday prayer meeting. Pete’s a bet each way and still as confused as ever.