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The Australian Christian vote?

20 Nov

I still don’t believe there is a Christian vote in Australia as such, despite those like Family First, the Christian Democrats, and Jim Wallace’s Christian Lobby, which, along with conservative elements in the Catholic and Anglican Churches — especially in Sydney — and Hillsong, tend to attract much attention, partly because they are seen as analogous to the Christian Right in America. The Exclusive Brethren are another matter again.

I said much the same on Sunday night in reference to Sunday night’s episode of Compass on ABC.

So I was interested to find via Brian McKinlay’s Canberra  blog a survey of political parties done by a group I had not encountered before: The Centre for an Ethical Society, a mostly Catholic outfit, whose newsletter emanates from John Howard’s own electorate (Eastwood 2122).

The CES Sydney Chapter was launched on 14 March 2007 with a keynote address (pdf) by the Hon Barry Jones AO.  The Chapter holds regular forums and seminars.  The first Annual General Meeting of the Sydney Chapter was held on 19 April 2007 and an executive was elected. 

The Rev Keith Garner, Superintendent of Sydney’s Wesley Mission, spoke at our first Forum on 10 May.  His address, titled “Social justice: Obligation or optional extra for Christians?” is available here (pdf).

Our previous event was a Forum held on Tuesday 24 July featuring highly sought after social researcher and author Hugh Mackay, who spoke on the topic of  “Where do our values spring from?”  Click here for more details…

Their survey of political parties produced interesting results:

CES Social Justice Survey Analysis

Each of the 16 issues have been rated on 1 – 5 scale as set out below:

  • 5   Recognises problem, and puts forward practical ways to find a solution which accords with Christian Social Justice Principles.

  • 4   Recognises problem has acceptable approach which accords with Christian  Social Justice Principles but some details lacking.

  • 3   Largely recognises problem and has some approaches to dealing with it which accords with Christian Social Justice Principles.

  • 2   Problem not fully recognised and/or approaches to deal with it vague or are not fully in accord with Christian Social Justice Principles.

  • 1   Problem not recognised and/or no ways proposed to deal with it or are not in accord with Christian Social Justice Principles.

 

Issue No. Subject Greens Democrats ALP  Coalition
1 Vision

5

5

5

2

2

Effective Democracy

5

5

4

2

3

Government  Structure

5

5

5

1

4 Poverty Reduction

4

4

4

2

5 Indigenous Affairs

5

5

4

2

6 Industrial Relations

5

5

4

3

7 Education

4

5

5

3

8 Skills Shortage

5

5

5

3

9 Housing

4

5

4

2

10 Health

4

5

4

2

11 Welfare Reforms

4

4

3

1

12 Middle Class Welfare

4

4

3

2

13 Climate Change

5

5

4

3

14 Refugees

5

5

3

2

15 Peacemaking

5

5

5

3

16 Millenium Goals

5

5

4

4

TOTALS

74

77

66

37

Brian McKinlay comments:

The Centre has published a Social Justice Survey Analysis for the 2007 Federal Election, based on a questionnaire. It shows clearly that the present Liberal and National party government performs very poorly.

The Labor Party is better, but its weaknesses are clear–mainly in areas where it must pander to popularism in order to gain votes.

The Democrats and Greens do best on issues of social justice. It is not the right wing ideologues that offer the best response to Christian values, but the centre-left moderates.

Not exactly what some have in mind as the Christian Vote though… If you are looking for US parallels, try Sojourners — Jim Wallis. (Do note the spelling; and yes, Kevin Rudd would have heard of him, but Wallis is also self-described as an evangelical, while Kevin Rudd seems a somewhat Taoist Christian, shall we say — as I am myself.)

UPDATE

See also Is Australia a Christian country?

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7 responses to “The Australian Christian vote?

  1. Ben Maulis

    November 20, 2007 at 10:18 am

    In observing the church’s dedication and allegiance to the conservative agenda and the social justice agenda in democratic politics, Christians appear to accept as their duty to be an influence for morality in legislation and the election of officials who share a worldview closest to the one they hold which they believe they have received from the scriptures. The constitutional republics in which this activism is conducted are very clearly a result of the political philosophy of the Enlightenment rather than a governmental directive from God. Nevertheless, we are sure that they are chief of the ways of God, and that there is no power in heaven or on earth but that which is of God: the powers that be are ordained of God, for the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

    Now this socialism results in many issues being subject to the control of the community and the political influence of its leaders. But for the individual Christian, the task of moving Behemoth is an absurd challenge. Nevertheless, within parliamentary democratic republics, Christians are attempting to exert political pressure on this lethargic and apathetic beast over issues which would have no significance where the moral judgment of an absolute monarch would be decisive.

    In his word, the Lord tells us that he that made Behemoth is able to make his sword approach unto him. And if Leviathan is fierce, how much more the Lord?

    Now let us be reminded of how God is relating to Job when he mentions Behemoth and Leviathan. God is reproving Job for contending with the Almighty. In this way, God relates to Job personally.

    Consider this discourse with Job, and ask yourself: Are you trying to relate to God through the apathy of Behemoth or by contending with him? If you were to relate to God personally, would you declare as Job did? He said to him, “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

    The Lord himself has sent many prophets to cry in the ears of the people and to interfere with your debauchery despite your protests. He has said of you who fear not the Lord neither keep his commandments that you have dishonored and brought shame to your parents. A foolish child is a grief to his father and bitterness to her that bare him. You are a calamity to your father, and the heaviness of your mother. Therefore repent and be wise. Listen to instruction and hear my words.

    When you sin and defile yourself and another, you are guilty. You will give an account of yourself to God. There are severe consequences for these things, but before I tell you about them, does any of this mean anything to you? It matters because if you are the least bit convicted, then it is proof that God has written his law on your heart, and your conscience is also bearing witness. If you are not the least bit convicted, it is manifest evidence that you are none of his and that you can expect swift destruction. In due time your foot will slip and you will suffer vengeance, recompense, and calamity.

    I want to tell you that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. You have two choices now: You can continue to contend with the Almighty in justifying yourself or you can repent. If you continue in justifying yourself, you are proud, arrogant, knowing nothing and God will resist you to the bitter end, because everyone who is proud of heart is an abomination to the Lord. If you humble yourself and repent, you may hear some good news.

    Honestly, if God were to judge you righteously, would you be found innocent? Jesus asks, “How shall ye escape the condemnation of hell?” According to God’s word:

    “The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

    The Bible refers to the fate of the damned with such fearful words as the following:

    • “Shame and everlasting contempt” Daniel 12:2
    • “Everlasting punishment” Matthew 25:46
    • “Weeping and gnashing of teeth” Matthew 24:51
    • “Fire unquenchable” Luke 3:17
    • “Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” Romans 2:8,9
    • “Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” 2 Thessalonians 1:9
    • “Eternal fire…the blackness of darkness for ever” Jude 7,13

    Revelation 14:10,11 tells us the final, eternal destiny of the sinner: “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night.”

    “…the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

    Does any of that concern you? It should concern you. It concerns me for you. I want to tell you that this is not the end God wants for you. He says,

    “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” Ezekiel 33:11

    “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

    If you can truly come to the Lord with a poor and contrite spirit, he will look upon you and show you mercy because:

    God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

    For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

    He [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5-6

    He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. Isaiah 53:8

    For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

    Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Acts 13:38-39

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24

    But if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, “But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”

     
  2. ninglun

    November 20, 2007 at 10:32 am

    There speaks an unreconstructed US fundamentalist. The problem he has not come to grips with, and never will, is that biblical literalism is completely untenable. See also the Bible tag on this blog and on Lines from a Floating Life. Aside from calling us to repent, it is hard to see what the commenter’s political position actually is, unless it is a rejection both of political conservatism and social justice as legitimate Christian activities. If you can clarify that in ten lines or less, Ben, I will publish your reply. If you do another extraordinary concatenation of contextless proof texts you will be sent into cyberspace.

     
  3. Dalen

    November 26, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    Has there ever been a Christian vote – anywhere?

    Seems to me that “Christians” go with what is viewed as the ‘better of the two evils”. And when both sides are as rotten as the other, they merely philosophize one sides view until it fits into their doctrine and a new dogma is formed which represents nothing from which the Bible originally taught. – Love.

    Anyway.
    I think the Mennonites might have been onto something buy incorporating into their belief system the idea of abstaining from politics and voting all together.

    It used to seem a far fetched idea to me, especially being raised in a milieu that put specific emphasis on voting and changing the world for God.

    Ironically, it appears that Jesus never went about with the idea of changing the world to mimic that of a doctrinal belief system. It seemed that such an idea was futile in light of his ultimate teaching of loving your neighbor as yourself and loving God with all your heart.

    We see that he was frowned upon by the zealots and Judas for not complying to their wishes and ‘human understanding’ of what Jesus teachings implied. They wanted a kingdom on earth and to make a change in the political landscape of their day.

    Well, Jesus didnt seem to think that would do.
    Even when Peter, who often seemed not to get the gist of things – and in truth, how could he. Jesus had spoke to the fisherman in as clear a parable as he could have at the time, in order to relate with Peters line of thinking. – But it was a rabbi, by the name of Saul, that actually got the point, and of to whom was later misunderstood by his gentile audience. (Due to their lack of understanding and relating to the Jewish culture, a lot slipped through the cracks in the belief system.)

    So when Peter went about cutting off a soldiers ear, Jesus popped it back on. (some good quantum physics at work. And who said science and religion dont match. Religion is the allegory, and science is the means of practical understanding…or unlocking those allegorical keys.)

    In essence, we have had Christian societies trying to force a change on the world, which was never the intent to begin with from the likes of Jesus, Buddha, etc. –

    Change happens first and foremost within.
    Love does not have expectations of oneself or of others.
    It accepts where they are at. And those who are Christians, have they studied or even read the Bible, would know this to be true by the example laid out in the life of Jesus and how he interacted with people.

    Alas, many do not read the Bible for themselves. They are spoon fed ideologies which would make the apostle Paul flip over in his grave. After all, the pious of the pious, actually commended the Bereans for their diligence in not just believing what he had said, but first and foremost, searching for themselves.

    “Seek and you will find, when you search with all your heart.”
    note the absence of “seek within your own dogma, doctrine, relgion”. True sincerity is needed in this journey, or there is no way of being truly authentic. Well, perhaps authentically locked in chains by ones own instilled belief system, ingrained into them by their milieu.

    I would say Thomas Merton provides a nice example of one, who was not afraid to reach out, to cross borders, in order to understand and see God within everybody.

    He lets the rain fall on the good and the bad…
    A little leaven (lie) runs the whole dough. Time to extract that 99% truth then. After all, Christianity has not been immune to such leaven. This is evident with the 3 mainstream lines of thinking of how one is saved. Which is quite contradictory, and therefore no one can be sure of who truly will be saved. (Unless you just take one side and go with it.)

    – get saved, oops, did I just lose it on the way from the alter?(pentecostal)
    – once saved always saved – Baptist
    – predestination – you are once saved always saved, because you were chosen to be so, and the guy/gal over there was chose as a common pot to burn in hell. – presbyterian

    – catholicism has purgatory, which ironically (or not so ironic) is more in line with a Jewish doctrine on the after life.

    So, point is, let us seek with all of our hearts. As we see, no one religion can claim exclusive rights to the truth.

    And when we find this ‘love’ within ourselves, and truly begin to ‘love’ ourselves as defined by Paul…then this trickle down effect will reach to those immediately around us – and then like a rushing avalanche will affect the entire world around us.

    Peace

    dAlen

    p.s. did not mean it to be so long, I suppose I will add it to my blog as an entry as well.

     
  4. ninglun

    November 26, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    I notice, Dalen, you seem to be in Hungary. That adds an interesting cultural dimension to your thoughts.

    My background was Presbyterian…

    no one religion can claim exclusive rights to the truth

    When we can all take that to heart, half the word’s problems will be solved!

     
  5. evangelistbillybolitho

    December 3, 2007 at 2:16 am

    Children of Promise

    “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise”.

    {Galatians 4 v 28}.

    When God looks at this old world, He no longer looks upon it like He did in the days before His only Son was crucified at Calvary. For Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary gave birth to the new covenant or testament, which He wrote on the hearts of men who accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour. No longer does He see tribes and races of people as such, for now because of Christ’s sacrifice He sees only the children of promise and the children of the bound. Let me explain, God states clearly in scripture that the children of God are those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, regardless of race or gender, they are the children of God, yes the children of promise. You see it is written, “And if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to promise”, {Galatians 3 v 29}.

    Abraham had two sons, one by a bondwoman called Agar, and another by a freewoman called Sarah, as it is written, now these two sons represents the two covenants. The first son Ishmael of the bondwoman represented Jerusalem, which is now in bondage, which also represents the old covenant, but the freewoman’s son Isaac represents the heavenly Jerusalem, which is the new covenant. All God’s people are one in Christ Jesus, who are under the new covenant. Under this covenant there is no longer Jew, Gentile, slave or free, men or women, for we are all one in Christ. “For ye are all the children of promise by faith in Christ Jesus”,
    {Galatians 3 v 26}.
    Now God’s plan for the people of Israel is the same plan which He is using for the whole world, and that is that we must all repent and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. There is no other plan for salvation, only through Jesus. Who was crucified for our sins and rose again for our justification, and who is alive forever more. Praise be the wonderful name of Jesus. As it is written, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”, {Acts 4 v 12}.

    As Isaac was, so are we the children of promise, no matter what nation we are from, God considers us all equal and precious in His sight. So precious are we that He sacrificed His only Son for each and everyone of us. So, let us all stand together as, the children of promise. I would like to state that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and many more in Israel are likened unto an olive tree which also represents the children of promise. We who believe are grafted into that tree, and so we become one with them, and are known as the true Israel of today. Now today there are still people in Israel who are chosen by God according to election of grace who will be grafted back into the olive tree, which represents the children of promise.

    We must pray for them, that they will see Jesus, for it is written, “ There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins”, {Romans 11 v 26 & 27}
    So dear saints, let us always pray and standby Israel, for I believe that there are many yet to come to know Jesus as their true Messiah. God bless Israel.

     
  6. ninglun

    December 3, 2007 at 8:41 am

    Thanks, Billy, for your rather bad theology, sincere as I do not doubt you to be. Repeat performances by anyone (including Billy) will be binned as spam. Akismet had already binned Billy, but I decided to give this post a run. But that’s it. I shold also mention that Billy is NOT American, in case you wondered. He is from S-W England. “Key words describing Billy’s ministry:- Full Gospel, Bible Believing Christian, Protestant Reformation. King James Bible, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Water Baptism, Holy Ghost Baptism, Divine Healing, Giver Not A Tither, SOLA DEI GLORIA battle Cries of the Reformation, Salvation In Jesus Alone, All The Gifts Of The Spirit For Today, A Message of Repentance The Trinity, The Imminent Return Of Christ For His Saints, Eternal Life, Glorifying And Exalting Jesus Always.” He also links to F. Batmagnhelidj, M.D., the world’s foremost medical researcher on the medical properties of water.

    What you are going to find out may at first sound too good to be true! This newly uncovered “ultimate cure” is so simple you will wonder why it has not been discovered until now! But I will prove every word you are about to read. I will also tell you why I think the drug industry has concealed this information when asking trusting physicians to prescribe its medications.

    What you will discover in this letter is that we in medicine are trained to use chemicals to treat pain and disease when all the body needs is water — a simple and abundantly available natural element.

    Yes! Only water!

    Which is not totally silly, though I somehow think Lord Malcolm would not still be with us had he taken this path; indeed, he would no doubt have gone quite a few years earlier.

     
  7. ninglun

    December 6, 2007 at 9:32 am

    Attracting too much spam.

     
 
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