On 28 October 2015, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivered the Margaret Thatcher lecture (1) to Tories in London. The crux of his message was that Europe should implement their own version of Operation Sovereign Borders. In other words, turn back the boats.
Most importantly though, Mr Abbott revealed why he is one of the greatest minds (2) of his generation, nay, one of the greatest minds of the last 2,000 years. He did this by declaring that Jesus had got it wrong ... or at least the church had gotten the message of Jesus wrong.
You see, way back in Matthew 22:36-40, a clever Pharisee asked Jesus to declare which of the Ten Commandments is the greatest commandment. The conversation went something like this:
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
The Gospel According to Tony Abbott
According to the venerable Mr Abbott, the bit about love they neighbour as thyself actually came with some caveats. Who'd have thought.
In his speech, Abbott stated: ' "love your neighbour as you love yourself" is at the heart of every Western polity. It expresses itself in laws protecting workers, in strong social security safety nets, and in the readiness to take in refugees. It's what makes us decent and humane countries as well as prosperous ones, but – right now – this wholesome instinct is leading much of Europe into catastrophic error'.
So apparently Jesus got it wrong. The second greatest commandment is flawed because it causes catastrophic error. I'm tipping that omnipotent Jesus did not see that coming.
Or maybe He did, considering that Matthew 5:19 warns against breaking the commandments and encouraging others to also break them.
Whoever breaks a commandment & teaches others to do so, shall be least in the kingdom of heaven.
Based on that, Mr Abbott's eternal happiness is looking a little shaky.
Abbott went on to state that 'too much mercy for some necessarily undermines justice for all'.
Abbott's speech was an interesting contrast to the Sermon on the Mount preached by Jesus, in which He stated, 'Blessed are the Merciful for they shall obtain mercy'.
Not surprisingly, Catholic priests were quite upset about this callous and ignorant interpretation of the bible(3).
Funnily enough, Aussie comedian Wil Anderson immediately created the Twitter hashtag, #TheToneCommandments, and very soon wags across the country were tweeting parodies of the Gospel according to Abbott(4).
Below is Ranting Panda's humble contribution to #TheToneCommandments, with the real scripture printed below each tweet.
|Matthew 5:6 - Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they shall be filled.|
|Matthew 5:7 - Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.|
|Matthew 5:9 - Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.|
|Matthew 5:10 - Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness's sake: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.|
|Matthew 5:3 - Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.|
|Matthew 5:24 - ... first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.|
|Matthew 6:12 - Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.|
|Matthew 5:17 - Think not that I come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.|
|Revelation 2:7 - ... To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life ...|
|Matthew 5:19 - Whoever breaks a commandment and teaches others to do so, shall be least in the kingdom of heaven.|
1. Sydney Morning Herald, 'Transcript: Tony Abbott's controversial speech at the Margaret Thatcher Lecture', 28 October 2015. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/transcript-tony-abbotts-controversial-speech-at-the-margaret-thatcher-lecture-20151028-gkkg6p.html. Accessed 29 October 2015.
2. The Guardian, 'Tony Abbott joins the world speakers' circuit as one of the "worlds greatest minds" ', http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/oct/23/tony-abbott-joins-global-speakers-circuit-as-one-of-worlds-greatest-minds. Accessed 28 October 2015.
3. Sydney Morning Herald, Latika Bourke, 'Catholic priests slam Tony Abbott's anti-immigration Margaret Thatcher lecture', 29 October 2015, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/catholic-priests-slam-tony-abbotts-antiimmigration-margaret-thatcher-lecture-20151027-gkk9cj.html. Accessed 29 October 2015.
4. News.com.au, '#TheToneCommandments: The internet's not done with Tony Abbott', http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/thetonecommandments-the-internets-not-done-with-tony-abbott/story-fnjwnhzf-1227586021417. Accessed 28 October 2015.