Review: In God They Trust

In God They Trust: The Religious Beliefs of Australia’s Prime Ministers 1901-2013 by Roy Williams

Australians are funny in that most of us probably know more about American politics and presidents than our own prime ministers.  For example, I am intrigued by the number of people who cannot name our first Prime Minister (go and have a look at Wikipedia and come back if you can’t).

Roy Williams has given us a spiritual history of the Prime Minister’s of Australia.  It’s a little hard to know who would enjoy this book, or who it is aimed at.  I did enjoy it.  But then I have theological background and an interest in politics.  And I think most people should, but I am also realistic enough to realise that most people don’t have those two interests.

Firstly, this is a very readable book.  Williams employs his skills as a writer to good effect throughout the book.

However, there are two drawbacks to this book.  If you were looking for an objective perspective on this subject, this is not your book.  Williams is unashamedly Christian and is looking for Christian themes throughout the lives of the PM’s.  Even as a friendly reader, I sometimes found him grasping as straws with a lack of evidence which could be seen as showing graciousness.

Williams’ work has also been accused of having a lack of research.  This could be true, but then I wonder if it is more from a lack of available material to work from.

If Williams’ is right, and his another of his books, Post God Nation also presents this, then Australia owes a greater debt to Christianity than is often presented.

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