I've heard of Christmas elves, but never Christmas trolls.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has urged Australians to "rise up again" in response to news a school in his electorate changed a religious Christmas carol to make it more secular and inclusive. His faux outrage reached new heights when he told 2GB's Ray Hadley "You make my blood boil with these stories".
The Kedron State School's decision to change the ending of a carol from "We wish you a Merry Christmas" to "We wish you a Happy Holiday" is, according to Dutton, "political correctness gone mad". And if there's one thing Peter Dutton knows best, it's how to be politically incorrect.
The laundry list of Dutton's indiscretions is long.
There was the time he walked out of the chamber during Kevin Rudd's Stolen Generations Apology, literally turning his back on Indigenous Australians and on progress. Then there was the time he called a female journalist "a mad f**king witch" in a text message; a text he accidentally sent to the journalist.
And who could forget the time he joked about rising sea levels wiping Pacific islands off the map because Pacific island leaders were late to a meeting: "Time doesn't mean anything... when you're about to have water lapping at your door." (What do you call it when someone who is themselves a bad joke makes a bad joke?)
I wonder where all the Pacific islanders will go when their islands are under water (five of the Solomon Islands have already been swallowed by the sea). Perhaps they will find themselves arriving in Australia by boat. Someone had better inform the Immigration Minister.
The great mystery is how, despite rising sea levels and circling sharks, Dutton has somehow managed to keep his head above water and avoid a political bloodbath.
Dutton is political incorrectness gone mad, and his latest attack on a public school is positive proof of how disconnected Liberal Party MPs such as Dutton are from voters. Rhetoric like Dutton's only serves to deepen social divisions, and, as any expert in immigration will tell you, we need to be working hard to strengthen social cohesion, not undermine it.
There is nothing outrageous about a publicly funded state school, which caters to children from all religious and non-religious backgrounds, changing the wording of a Christmas carol so all its students feel included. What's outrageous is Peter Dutton's behaviour, and the human rights violations Australia is currently committing in offshore detention centres under Dutton's watch.
For all the many faults of institutionalised religion, to their credit, the Catholic Church and numerous other Christian denominations in Australia have come out strongly in support of the humane treatment of asylum seekers. These are Christians who understand that when Jesus said "Love thy neighbour as yourself" he meant everyone, not just white, male Australians.
So if Dutton thinks he can get in on the Church's good graces by fighting to keep the word "Christmas" in a carol, he's going to need a Christmas miracle, because I'm yet to meet a single Christian who doesn't think he deserves coal for Christmas.
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