CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Our Bigoted Australian Democrats

Sep 22, 2006

Many people would be aware of a survey the Democrats launched several months ago to look at the role of religion in politics. Of course, given the secular bias of the Democrats, the real purpose of this “survey” was not to see what people really think on the matter, but simply to get ammunition to continue pushing their anti-religious bigotry.

In fact, in the “God and Government: tell us what you think!” survey they stated this right up front: “The Australian Democrats say the neo-conservative religious right – much of it with roots in the US – is having a disproportionate influence on public policy.”

They continue, “while we support freedom of religious observance we do not consider that religion should have undue influence on the governance of Australian citizens and nor do we support the exploitation of religion and religious difference for political purposes.”

And the Democrats complain, “Conservative religious organisations appear more influential in the major political parties and are investing their considerable resources into electing their own candidates.”

These and other statements make it clear they really do not mind religion so much, especially if it is the liberal, trendy left-wing variety that pushes every radical cause, but is silent on the biblical gospel. What the Democrats can’t stand are believers who take the Bible seriously, and believe its dictates do have something to say about issues like marriage, family and abortion, among other things. Religion that is secular and radical seems to be fine for the Democrats, as long as we can keep those Bible-believing Christians out of politics altogether.

And the way the questions were framed is indicative of the predetermined outcome they were looking for. The whole tenor of the survey was geared to get a desired result: that religion should have nothing to do with political life, and it is always a bad thing when it does.

Consider just three of the 23 questions. “Do you think that politicians who have strong religious beliefs should try to use the political system to turn their religious beliefs into law?” “Do you think that religious leaders/churches/houses of worship should try to influence government decisions on issues?” “In the last 10 years, do you think that political leaders in Australia have used religion for their own political purposes?”

These questions are as misleading as they are biased. The truth is, every politician brings beliefs and values to bear on political issues. It is impossible not to. Values are being promoted all the time in the public arena. What the Democrats don’t like is when those values happen to be conservative and Bible-based. Evidently secular and leftist values are just fine, and those are exactly the values that the Democrats are imposing on all of us.

Thus this whole exercise was just another example of the Democrat’s left-wing, anti-religious bigotry. Or more specifically, of their anti-Christian bigotry.

However in the end the Democrats got a big surprise. People took their survey seriously and many filled it in. Instead of the usual 1,000 responses, they received over 40,000! And the Democrats were not happy with the results. Evidently the overwhelming majority of respondents were in favour of religion in general and religious values in the public arena in particular. Much to the consternation of the Democrats, they got the opposite result of what they were hoping for.

The icing on the cake of this whole story comes from a short item now on the Democrats web site. It reads in full:

“SURVEY
Thank you to all of those who have completed our online survey and shared their views with us.
The response has been very interesting and has informed our thoughts on this complex topic.
We hope that it has encouraged people to think about the issues and we look forward to more discussion.
We do not plan to publish results of this survey. Online surveys are useful because they are fast, easy and inexpensive but they do not typically gather in-depth, rigorous scientifically valid information. Indeed some complained that ‘yes’/’no’ answers were inadequate for the complex questions raised.
Furthermore, respondees were self-selected rather than chosen at random. This means the survey, despite its 40,000 returns, is unlikely to be representative of the broad population. Indeed we understand it was widely promoted in ways likely to have skewed the results – in itself an interesting development in debate about the influence of the churches over matters of state!
Again thanks for taking the time to respond.”

Amazing! And for a number of reasons. One, I dare say if they had received the secularist response they were looking for, they would have fully published and promoted the results, claiming Australians wanted a complete separation of church and state. But because they did not get the outcome they were looking for, they simply refused to release the results.

Second, why conduct a survey in the first place if you will only print the results if they are what you are looking for? Why bother? Why make the pretence of disinterested impartiality?

Third, they would have been quite happy to claim this was a reliable and accurate assessment of community feelings, had the results gone their way. But now they backpedal, claiming such surveys are not at all reliable and should be dismissed anyway.

Fourth, it is obvious that the overwhelming majority of Australians are religious and think that religion is important. And they think it is important in every area of life, not just in the private sphere. This should come as no surprise to the Democrats. Such information has long been available, whether from our census or other means.

Fifth, as mentioned before, it is really not so much religion as a whole the Democrats despise, just conservative, Biblical religion. They are quite happy with watered-down, liberal varieties of religion. And the best proof of this is the fact that the Democrats used to have a minister of religion as one of their Senators. John Woodley from Queensland was a Democratic Senator from 1993 to 2001. He was also a Uniting Church minister. Of course much of the Uniting Church has long ago abandoned any semblance of biblical Christianity. Thus Woodley was a champion of special rights for homosexuals and other trendy (and anti-biblical) causes. Strange, but the Democrats did not then object that Woodley’s “religion should have undue influence on the governance of Australian citizens”.

Sixth, the whole premise of the Democrats reasoning here, that religion (at least conservative religion), should have nothing to do with politics or governance, is simply false. All government and law is based on belief systems, values and worldviews. If religious values do not inform the debate, then other values will. And given that the majority of Australians are religious, we would expect to see these religious concerns reflected in our politicians, policies and legislation.

Seventh and finally, this exercise simply shows how out of touch and radical the Democrats are. They appeal only to a minority of secularists, leftists and extremists living in Australia, but certainly not to the mainstream population.

This exercise had backfired in their faces big time. They surely did not get what they were looking for. To put it in religious jargon, what they intended for evil, God turned around for good, as in the story of Joseph (Genesis 50:20). I dare say it will be quite a while before the Democrats try to pull a stunt like this again. Indeed, I wonder whether the Democrats will be around for much longer, to be able to try such stunts. It seems their days are numbered. Their own survey results are effectively telling them this.

Finally, two last questions. Just which bastards really need to be kept honest here? And, just how democratic are the Democrats?

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15 Responses to Our Bigoted Australian Democrats

  • Excellent article Bill. I also believe that the Democrat’s days are numbered. Surely they must see that there is a growing interest in the Australian population for politicians to use bible-based Christian beliefs in developing policy. Such a point is the cloning debate that is very public at the moment. Isn’t it wonderful that politicians such as Tony Abbott are willing to stand up for their Christian beliefs and to make these public.

    Lin Rauber, Melbourne

  • Democrats–do the right thing. Publish the results of your survey.

    Tas Walker

  • Thanks for exposing this Bill. I have a sneaky feeling that, like in this case, most surveys in the Western world that are not supportive of these types don’t see the light of day.

    Noel Arulanantham, Colombo, Sri Lanka

  • Thank you Bill for the excellent report. Christians need to speak up if we are to uphold Christian values and heritage in this country. While each of us only has a small voice, together we can make a difference in shaping the future of this nation. You have been an inspiration to us all with your relentless effort in keeping the Biblical principles relevant and alive in various social issues.

    Song Huat Tan, Perth

  • Bill, a great series of observations on a telling result.

    Unpalatable as it may be to a minority, observance of biblical principles is the only way a society can treat all its citizens in a reasonable manner.

    And the basic biblical message,”treat others as you wish to be treated”.

    Further, an ecumenical group in Hamilton, Victoria, is campaigning to ‘Put Christ Back Into Christmas’.

    If there was a surprise it is the widespread favourable response from anyone with whom the subject is discussed.

    Welcome to all who want to take the initiative in their community.

    Pat Healy, Hamilton 

  • According to their web-site, underpinning the Democrats core values is ‘Truth and Accountability’. But apparently only when it suits. Publish the survey!

    Sean Churchward

  • What a poor sad little self-destructive bunch the Democrats are. From their weird founder, Don Chipp onwards, what do they have to offer? My Jesus, on the other hand, took me from being a bitter angry hippie in the 70s to a loving father of 2 fine young adults. His love for me has been changing me for good for over 31 years now and it just keeps on getting better. I have made many mistakes in my life, but following Jesus is the best decision I ever made.

    Ian Brearley, Canberra

  • Great article Bill. I think it is just amazing that a group of political indifference can be shown up for who they really are. A Major Dummy Spit on their behalf not publishing the results, because they were not the results that they had hoped for. As you say, it would have been a different story if it had gone their way. Grow up Democrats!!

    Rae Wallace, Devonport

  • Until about 12 years ago I used to appreciate the Democrats because I thought they had family- and community-friendly values. How wrong!

    I particularly diskliked the question on their survey about separation of religion and state, because I thought the question was worded to imply that we do not already have this. In fact, Australia does and always has separated church and state. To me, the wording of that question seemed dishonest.

    James Wheeler

  • Well Done Bill 🙂 Obviously the democrats are under a couple of misapprehensions – firstly that Australia has a “separation of church and state” policy somewhere. Secondly, even if we did, they have, like their namesakes in the US – completely misinterpreted that idea .

    Andrew Munden

  • Thank you Bill for being soooo honest. I do believe that the Democrats should publish the survey as those of us who took part would like to know the results. I think by declining to publish the results they are acting like spoilt brats just because they have not got the results they wanted – it’s time they grew up. Thank you Bill for making us aware of so many important issues thru you emails. I’m sure that without the likes of the ACL, CDP & Bill Muehlenberg many more important issues would sweep past under our noses with no one being aware of what is going on. Keep up the great work.

    Wanda Taylor

  • Thank you Bill for your comments. No matter how hard anyone tries to downgrade the Living God, He will have His way. Unfortunately many people will reap their just rewards (but not what they think) for their attitudes towards God.

    Ian Angliss

  • A dying party clutching at straws! It was encouraging to read the overwhelming positive response. Thanks, Bill

    Shane Welsh

  • Bill
    You are doing a great job. I was so pleased it backfired on the misnamed Democrats. The only reason they have received a good press over the years was that many media types voted for them in the Senate and for Labor in the Reps.
    Totally shallow people.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie, Queensland 

  • James Wheeler said ” … the question was worded to imply that we do not already have this. In fact, Australia does and always has separated church and state. …” – No, it doesn’t! And nor should it …

    Graeme Cumming

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