The recent Make it Count forum put on by the Australian Christian Lobby in Canberra has created a predictable stir amongst our intelligentsia and Christophobes. The atheists and God-haters have come out in droves, complaining about the nasty influence of religion in politics, and how this nation is about to turn into a witch-hunting theocracy.
The fact that John Howard and Kevin Rudd are in election mode, and want to appeal to as many members of the community as possible seems lost on these critics. They keep bringing up nonsense about some American religious right conspiracy, when in fact Jim Wallace has made it clear that he doesn’t even side with the right, but is pushing a centrist line.
And as I pointed out in an article penned just after the event, there was very little of anything overtly Christian in the presentations of the two leaders anyway. Both were playing it safe, and neither one is an Evangelical Christian. John Howard is an Anglican, raised a Methodist, and Rudd has shifted from his original Catholicism to Anglicanism. But neither can be put down as a Bible-basher or evangelist.
That is not to deny that both are men of faith, but simply to say that they are not Evangelicals, so we should not be surprised to hear them present a fairly lukewarm and generic version of Biblical Christianity.
Yet according to the secularists, both men, especially Howard, have a ten-point plan to turn Australia into something like Geneva under Calvin, Scotland under Knox, or New England under the Puritans. Sorry, but this is not about to happen. Not even close.
What we really have here is just more anti-Christian bigotry and leftwing propaganda. Consider the rather silly comments of Greens’ leader Bob Brown. He said the leaders of the major parties should be addressing people of other faiths, rather than conservative Christians. But I can assure Bob that there were plenty of non-conservative Christians at the Thursday night gathering. And I am sure both men have addressed gatherings of other belief systems.
Brown said “There will be many tens of thousands of Christians voting for the Greens because they prefer the humanitarian and environmentally focused policies that we have.” I am not sure about the tens of thousands, but some will. But given the Greens’ long-standing moonbeam policies on a range of issues, from drugs to abortion to homosexuality, Biblical Christians would be very wary indeed.
Democrat leader Lyn Allison was equally bizarre in her remarks. She complained about there being too many Christians in Parliament. And she again pushed the idea that somehow we are a secular society, and need to keep it that way.
Ms Allison really needs to show a little more honesty and consistency here. Does she indeed object to too many Christians in politics? I do not recall her getting bent out of shape when Uniting Church minister John Woodley was a sitting Democrat Senator. It seems that it is just conservative religious types that she so despises, while religious lefties are no problem.
With 64 per cent of Australians identifying as Christians, why is it wrong or surprising for a similar percentage to be reflected in our Parliaments? Her leftwing secular bias is simply showing here.
Columnist Janet Albrechtsen had some incisive remarks about this in a recent blog, “Christians versus Fairies”. She rightly argues that Allison is a bit ironic here: “It’s an amusing allegation from the leader of a splinter group that parlayed its minuscule public support into parliamentary representation by riding proportional representation in smaller states. A party that now faces richly deserved electoral annihilation, presumably because voters have decided that the Democrats no longer reflect the make-up of modern Australia.”
And what about Christian politicians? “Most of them have no qualms telling us they hold personal religious beliefs. So, following the principle of caveat emptor – or buyer beware – if we don’t like their beliefs, we can choose others to represent us. Politicians such as Tony Abbott tell us openly about their religious faith. And we vote them in. Call me old-fashioned, but that sounds like representative democracy to me.”
She continues, “In any case, when did a politician’s personal Christian beliefs become any more a disclosable item than, say, being an atheist or gay? Surely one of the Democrats sacred scriptures is the federal Anti-Discrimination laws which prohibit people being treated differently due to their race, gender, sexual preference or religion. Can you imagine the Democrat screams of anguish at any suggestion that we should exclude Muslim politicians from Parliament because their religion does not reflect modern Australia?”
Concludes Albrechtsen, “At core, the Democrats have a problem with Christianity. Their western cultural cringe causes them to deride the set of values that, perhaps more than any other, underpin our society. Playing the Christian bogey proves that the Dems have lost all connection with modern Australia. We may be a secular society, but most of us have not yet rejected our Christian heritage. Indeed, many of us regard Christian values as an inherent part of our success. That probably explains why, in the past few years, politicians professing Christian beliefs have attracted more votes than the Democrat belief in fairies at the bottom of the garden.”
Quite right. The whole thing is really about Christianity. There wouldn’t be a huge uproar from these same critics if the two leaders addressed a group of homosexuals or Aboriginals. But dare to consult with Christians, and the leaders have all of a sudden committed some unpardonable sin.
Perhaps at bottom it is a case of sour grapes. Our atheist and secularist friends are but a minority here, and they don’t like it. What they want is their godless agenda to be imposed on the rest of society. Well, perhaps one day, if done democratically, that may transpire. But don’t expect believers in the meantime to roll over and play dead, just so that fundamentalist secularists can have their way.