When you visit a St Vincent de Paul charity outlet, you don’t feel like you’ve entered an evil clandestine cabal of corruption.
The older ladies sorting donations out of the chipped blue donation bin don’t fanatically launch at customers reciting the bible.
Yet, some of the same people who love hunting for vintage Prada at Vinnies, a lay Catholic organisation that uses the money to help victims of domestic violence and the homeless, have pilloried our new premier for his belief in Catholicism.
What is Premier Dom Perrottet’s crime? He has too many children and a belief structure, an apparent insult to many who live by the harbour.
In a country that expects an old-age pension, they should be cheering for the family that gave them six future taxpayers.
Catholics do more for the destitute than the media influencers who once a year dress up in brand new North Face gear in their perfect Visy boxes and tweet on their fully charged smartphones about how cold it is while taking part in charity sleep-outs.
Catholics put more resources into a St Vincent’s initiative seeking to halve rough sleeping across NSW by 2025 than any level of government at inception.
Last year, the St Vincent de Paul Society helped 4800 women and children through 23 refuges, not to forget thousands of patients in its not-for-profit hospital and aged-care beds, or drug rehabilitation services for the people, many of whom are pouring bile on the Catholics, cross the street to avoid.
Should we really be ashamed our premier is a member of this supposed corrupt cult.
I’m proud of it – and I’m an atheist.
When JFK was elected, the fear was that the Vatican would rule the US. On the ABC this week, some commentators proved they haven’t moved on since 1960.
Catholics in public life who have not been pilloried for their faith include the new NSW Nationals leader and Deputy Premier Paul Toole, who was elected by his party room the day after Mr Perrottet.
As they crucified Mr Perrottet for his Catholicism, former Catholic schoolteacher Mr Toole’s faith was ignored.
Like Perrottet, he comes from a big family — nine kids, instead of 13.
I campaigned with Mr Toole’s Catholic mum Ellen, 75, in Bathurst — a force of nature who covered more territory than the fittest youngsters, with the might and militant organisational skills that only a mother of nine has from lived experience.
A brave and foolish person would take on Mrs Toole for having nine children and adhering to a Catholic belief structure.
If you think of the Catholic women like her, handwashing cloth nappies all day, cooking and cleaning on a remote property, and donating what little spare time she had to the community, you can only have respect.
We now have a different standard for people based on their faith and background – isn’t that discrimination?
We are a nation of people from every ethnicity, country and faith, and we should be more tolerant than blindly yelling bigot when we hear “Catholic with six kids”.
We are smart enough to understand a person’s religious convictions are theirs, not ours, and should not be a criterion for public office.
Faith must not be a weapon any more than skin colour, sex or sexuality. But bigotry is blind.
It would be best if you didn’t have children or believe in anything else but yourself.
You shouldn’t be male or white or have gone to certain schools.
What leader do you want?
A childless atheist? Because we had that once at a federal level, and, just as a reminder, she did not support same-sex marriage.
And it was atheist Mark Latham who was most potent in arguing amendments to NSW’s proposed late-term abortion laws — but that is selectively forgotten so as not to stray from the narrative that the new Premier will change all policy settings, some even out of the scope of the state, to suit his interpretation of his personal faith. He was forced to defend himself against overturning same-sex marriage, which was legislated by a Catholic Prime Minister in another level of government.
It’s appalling to suggest that community leaders will only make Catholic decisions because they are Catholic — following that argument to its logical conclusion is the assertion that without religion you cannot make decisions at all.
Many in the Labor Party respect Australia’s first Muslim MP elected to federal parliament, Ed Husic, because he has a belief structure and isn’t embarrassed.
Many Catholics believe he would be a brilliant Labor leader.
The real reason Mr Perrottet is a target is because people are making a connection between his children and the damage to the earth, from people who see children as a burden rather than an extension of love, and who won’t complain about their pension being paid by a tribe of Perrottet taxpayers.
Atheism is a belief in no god, just as strong as Catholicism’s belief in God.
And no one screams that atheists are going to burn down cathedrals, which is just as absurd as the accusations laid on Mr Perrottet.