From ABC News (Retrieved on 27/01/2011)
The virgin politician: Abbott’s telling honesty
Updated January 27, 2010 11:57:00
Photo: Opposition leader Tony Abbott and his three daughters (L-R) Louise, 21, Bridget, 16, and Frances, 18, as they appear in Women’s Weekly magazine in a photo made available on January 27, 2010. Mr Abbott used the interview with the magazine to speak about his views on sex and marriage. (Australian Women’s Weekly: AAP)
It hardly seems odd that a father of three recently adult, and undeniably, ah, photogenic daughters would have reasonably well-formed views on the looming possibility (if not established fact) of their sex lives.
Maybe the introduction of marriage as a determining point in their sexual readiness might ring a little strangely for some. But then we know the father in question is a devout and committed Catholic, a group that traditionally sees sex as a purely post-matrimonial and fundamentally procreative distraction.
We are talking of course about Tony Abbott, the man described by commentator Guy Rundle as Cardinal George Pell’s representative on earth. This is amusing. Much of what has been said in response to Abbott’s profile in the current issue of Women’s Weekly is somewhat less comically adroit. Much of it pretty much fails to even qualify as politically subtle.
Take deputy prime minister Julia Gillard, for example. “These comments will confirm the worst fears of Australian women about Tony Abbott,” she said at the weekend. “Australian women don’t want to be told what to do by Tony Abbott.”
Which right at the off is a pretty broad misrepresentation of what Abbott said. “Sex before marriage?” was the blunt lets-just-run-through-the-controversial-topics question asked by Weekly editor-in-chief Helen McCabe at the tail of a long and only gently probing profile.
“It happens,” Abbott conceded. He presumably chose his next words and the scope of their advisory embrace with care, “I would say to my daughters, if they were to ask me this question, I would say … it is the greatest gift that you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving and don’t give it to someone lightly that is what I would say.”
Marriage doesn’t even get a look in, the view being rather that virginity is for life not just for Christmas. The quote rings true as the honest, feeling advice from a father to his daughters, advice that not many parents would find fundamental fault with. Nor is Abbott attempting for a moment to draw a longer bow, to instruct, even by example, “Australian women”. The air of instruction here would seem to be Gillard’s more than Abbott’s.
Abbott’s thoughts have been eagerly extrapolated into what will become an increasingly fevered election year discussion. The government senses opportunity in Abbott’s readily declared social conservatism. They sense that he may put many female voters offside with his views on sex, abortion and contraception, all of which are pretty Vatican-issue.
Truth is that patterns of female voting may be a strong factor in this year’s poll, and so perceived points of female advantage will get a big run from Labor; never mind that the Prime Minister’s views on the likes of sex before marriage as just as likely to be informed by Christian conviction – not to mention parenthood – as are Tony Abbott’s. The fact is that a Liberal-friendly female vote was a fundamental factor in the enduring appeal of the Howard Government. It is a vote that has drifted leftward since the Rudd election of 2007.
That said, appealing to this group of voters may be more complex than simply mouthing the sort of platitudinous and doctrinaire response that Gillard came up with at the weekend.
It may be that his conservatism might not matter so much … the fact that Abbott speaks personal truths with candour could be more telling in an electorate leery of seemingly intractable political cynicism.
It’s telling that Labor hardheads seem to sense that this honesty could be Abbott’s Achilles heel. There’s every chance that quite to the contrary, it could become the secret of his allure.
I applaud for Tony Abbott to stand up as a father and Christian in raising the critical issue of abstinence. However, he is also a hypocrite, as he did not observe himself during his teenage years. (News Article)
- The perfect Teacher of babes became a babe among babes, that He might give wisdom to the foolish. The Bread of heaven came down on earth that He might feed the hungry.
- Abiding in Jesus is nothing but the giving up of oneself to be ruled and taught and led, and so resting in the arms of Everlasting Love.
- O how did Christ abase himself in taking flesh! it was more humility in Christ to humble himself to the womb than to the cross. It was not so much for flesh to suffer, but for God to be made flesh; this was the wonder of humility.
- Faith is the acknowledgment of the entire absence of all goodness in us, and the recognition of the cross as the substitute for all the want on our part. Faith saves, because it owns the complete salvation of another, and not because it contributes anything to that salvation.
- For we are not saved by believing in our own salvation, nor by believing anything whatsoever about ourselves. We are saved by what we believe about the Son of God and His righteousness. The gospel believed saves; not the believing in our own faith.
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