This afternoon reminded me why it's not always a good idea to listen to talkback radio whilst driving home from work. Andrew Hastie, Liberal Party of Australia candidate for the federal electorate of Canning, has had to deal with questions about his Christian pastor father's Creationist beliefs, and whether or not he is also a Creationist.
Hastie didn't directly answer the question the journalists put to him. He gave what I would consider to be a satisfactory answer. He said that like a significant number of Australians, he is a Christian. The question of the origins of life is one that Christians have a diverse range of beliefs on. It makes me wonder how well journalists understand any religion, let alone Christianity. Not all Christians think alike.
As for Hastie, he is level headed and worldly wise. He is a former SAS officer who has served his country with distinction. Why should it matter if he believes in creation? One caller to the radio program talked about government funding for medical research, which he asserted was based on science informed by evolutionary biology. He thought that if he was in Parliament, Hastie would oppose government funding for it just because he is a Creationist. Seriously?
As I have written on this blog before, all politicians have a set of core beliefs that inform their decision making, and motivates them to want to serve their communities. Journalists who raise questions about a candidate's religious beliefs seem to expect that candidate to set aside their beliefs and keep them private, as if somehow they affect their rationality. It's interesting that they never seem to make similar demands of irreligious politicians.