There are so many Christian parties on the ballot this year! It’s insane. I’m Christian myself and I’m turned off by this – we really do not need a lobby group, and we certainly don’t need five of them. Actually, I really do think religion ought to stay out of politics, except as far as it informs the principles by which one governs. (And since this *is* a Sunday, let me just add that I personally feel that if one is a politician who likes to parade his or her Christianity, it would be nice if one also paraded a commitment to assisting and empowering the disadvantaged, the poor, rather than worrying about people’s love lives. The Bible isn’t actually all about sexual morality, and the New Testament barely touches on it at all.)
Have your eyes glazed over yet? I’m sorry. I’m a little frustrated by some of these parties, and I just caught sight of something on the Australian Christians‘ website that made my blood boil. But we’ll get to that in a bit. Also, I really, really hate their party name. Setting aside that it is purely silly to claim that you are the Australian Christians when there are four other loudly Christian parties on the ballot, it implies that they speak for all Australian Christians. Well, they sure as hell don’t speak for me. Oops, I said hell. That really was unintentional, but now I feel compelled to leave it there.
Ooh, hello, I just went and had a look to see who, if anyone, this group were affiliated with and discovered firstly that they seem to be linked to Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats (which explains a lot), and secondly that the Melbourne Anglican Archbishop and the General Secretary of the Victorian Council of churches have much the same objection to the name that I do:
“I am concerned about the possible effects to religious harmony in Victoria if a political group which does not represent the views of the majority of Christians in Australian were to be allowed to use the name ‘Australian Christians’, with an obvious implication that it did speak for all Christians,” says a letter written by Dr Freir to the Electoral Commissioner (as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald late last week).
General secretary of the Victorian Council of Churches, Theo Mackaay told ABC’s PM program last night, “By calling themselves ‘Australian Christians’ they could very easily give the impression during an election campaign that they are speaking for all adherents to the Christian faith.
“What I know of the party, they really do not represent the broad scope of Christianity.”
Sorry to go on and on about this, but a very reasonable criticism frequently levelled at progressive Christians is why don’t they speak out against the extremists. It seems important, therefore, to point out occasions when they do.
Anyway, let’s look at who the Australian Christians (or some of them) are preferencing in the Senate.
Oh, and another disclaimer, I suppose. I’m quite pro-choice. This lot really aren’t. And they make me very, very angry with some of their claims.