Does David Marr have an anti-Catholic problem?
Does David Marr have an anti-Catholic problem?
I am extremely sceptical of emotive people who place themselves into the centre of public discussion. It is not that they may have a valid point. It is that the validity of the point and the evidence to support such a point is often lost in a quick grab to pull upon the heart strings or to trigger base level anger over an issue. The other kind of person that alerts my sceptical nature is the person who uses their own dogma on a subject as the self evident position to which all other viewpoints can be criticised. To be more specific Australia Journalist David Marr appears to suffer from both of these human weaknesses.
To watch him in action is to see a person playing the crowd with a number emotional pin pricks then he applies his own bohemian and leftist dogmas as if it is the final word on every subject. It is a shame that such a talent appears to be wasted on what looks like entertainment for a narrow cheer squad rather than doing the hard yards and produce evidence to support his case. For Marr the trigger point of his ire seems to be those that disagree with his narrow leftist viewpoint. This includes catholics in positions of influence and anyone who is not an ultra left bohemian stereotype like he is.
In the past week David Marr has published his view of Tony Abbott in the Quarterly Essay title ‘Political Animal’. In it he made a good many negative claims about Tony Abbott, the most reported was the unsubstantiated allegation made that he had intimidated a female SRC candidate Barbara
Ramjan 35years ago by punching the wall near her face.
Whilst an allegation from 35 years about a 19 year university student might seem like a bazaar waste of everyone’s time (ie:if you have to go back 35 years to find dirt then you are really desperate) , the nature of the allegation plays into a theme that the Australian Labour Party has been harping on for some years: namely that Abbott is a misogynist thug and has a problem with women. If the electorate has less an IQ point between them then this kind of slur might find traction but so far that is not the case. It also seems that Australian do know a smear campaign when they see one.
Former close friend of Abbott at university, Greg Sheridan, has weighed to reject the allegation, stating that there no was discussion about this allegation at the time from anyone. Even after 35 years the best witness to the allegation is a former Labour Party candidate and left-wing lawyer David Patch who claims he was told about it. In two articles written for The Australian newspaper Sheridan blasts the accusations as false and totally out of character with the Tony Abbott he knew at that time. In a follow up editorial he makes this observation about Marr’s essay,
“David Marr’s sloppy, frequently inaccurate and almost absurdly unfair little pamphlet on Tony Abbott, Political Animal, involves not only sloppy mistakes and ludicrous allegations. Much more than that, it involves a great act of historical forgetting, a kind of willed historical ignorance.”
Yet it is in an interview with ABC radio that Sheridan gives his greatest condemnation accusing Marr of running an aggressive anti-catholic campaign. The audio link is below:
Sheridan makes the claim that it is “the most shameful sectarian anti-catholic campaign he had ever seen…” The interview is well worth a listen because Sheridan also criticises the ABC for its uncritical acceptance of the unsubstantiated accusation by a long term political opponent. Greg goes as far as contacting members of the Labour Party at that time to confirm that no one had heard about this accusation before.
Australian journalist Gerard Henderson is also questioning the nature of the accusation in his weekly column called ‘Media Watch Dog’ (not to be confused with the ABC’s ‘Media Watch TV’) Henderson does what Marr should have done and goes to the Sydney University to access the microfiche records of the student SRC magazine called ‘Honi Soit’ where there was plenty of criticism of Tony Abbott but absolutely no mention of the wall punching allegation. With any corroborative evidence from 35 years or any contemporaneous evidence since this case looks very shakey.
Henderson also quotes from recent Quarterly Essay called ‘Political Animal’ to show the style Marr has used in his so called ‘analysis. I have added a few extracts from Media Watch Dog including Henderson’s comments below:
Page 3 : Here is Marr’s initial description of Abbott – “loudmouth bigot” when at university; “the homophobe”; “the blinkered Vatican warrior”; “the rugger bugger”; “the white Australian”; and “the junkyard dog of parliament”. All clear?
Page 8 : The Jesuit priest, Fr Emmet Costello S.J., spends his priestly career ministering “to the rich, pursuing death-bed conversions in harbour mansions and bringing distinguished lapsed Catholics back into the fold”. That’s all he does, apparently. He is a friend of Abbott.
Pages 8-9 : Three men recruited Abbott into the Peace With Freedom movement – which was supported by B.A. (Bob) Santamaria’s National Civil Council. The first, journalist Peter Samuel, was “cranky”. The second, Professor Warren Hogan, was “embattled”. And the third, trade union organiser Joe de Bruyn, was a “hard-line Catholic”. Get the picture?
▪ Page 13 : Marr refers to the fact that Abbott’s girlfriend Kathy McDonald fell pregnant while at university (it was found out, years later, to someone other than Abbott) as “the old Catholic catastrophe: no chastity, no contraception, no abortion, and…no marriage”. Marr seems to believe that such a fate only befell young Catholic women in the 1970s. So what were the non-Catholic orphanages all about, then?
▪ Page 36 : Marr accuses Abbott of running “a Jesuitical line” on refugees. Marr seems unaware that many contemporary members of the Catholic religious order the Society of Jesus – or Jesuits – are very sympathetic to the refugee cause. Including Fr. Frank Brennan S.J. So where do you find the “Jesuitical line”? This is yet another example of Marr’s anti-Catholic sectarianism.
▪ Page 61 : According to Marr, Abbott sounds like “a Vatican ideologue”. More anti-Catholic sectarianism for which Marr is well known.
Reading these quotes gives the impression that David Marr really does have a problem with Abbott on a very personal and vindictive level. Not just because he is Liberal Party leader and Marr is a Leftist zealot, but because Abbott happens to be too catholic for Marr. The most despicable of all creatures apparently.
The question is whether anti-catholic bias has been part of a pattern by David Marr or is this just a once off brain snap for the Quarterly Essay. In other words did Marr set out write a hatchet job on Tony Abbott because he happened to be catholic? To answer this question in the affirmative would speak volumes about the vindictive and bigoted nature of David Marr.
I did manage to search up some immortal quotes by David Marr from a previous interview/debate he had on the ABC network program ‘Q&A’ from around 2001.
David Marr on Q&A when referring to the newly Appointed Cardinal Pell
“Dr Pell’s view of homosexuals is spiteful and horrible.
He even blames the homosexual community itself for the suicide of troubled gay men.
He blames not the Church, of course — which is the last institution in Australia pumping out hatred of homosexuals — he blames the homosexual community itself on the grounds that it is our fault because we recruit homosexuals.”
Later in the same interview:
“I think all of these things have to be determined by what’s actually said and what’s actually done.
I don’t think it’s compassionate to say the kind of hateful things that the Church and Dr Pell says about homosexuals, about some women and people who practice ordinary forms of birth control.
The hatred is so powerful.
And it’s called by the Church ‘compassion’.
I don’t speak that language.
I speak another language.”
More from Marr in the same interview:
“But he has an extremely strong syllabus, which is not supported by most Catholics, of insistence on the most formal moral rules and all of the genital morality of the Orthodox Catholic Church and this is what really pumps it out.”
Or as Gerard H would say: “More anti-Catholic sectarianism for which Marr is well known.”