More Public God-Loathing
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.
11 Replies to “More Public God-Loathing”
It wasn’t long ago that the Dems had a web poll on religious and moral issues, but refused to release the results when they didn’t go the Dems’ way! 😛
Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane
Trust me, I’ve run into these anti-Christian crazies more often than I care to remember. Tell me, how can America become a theocracy after 225 years of religious freedom unless these dingbats manage to convince us to abandon our Constitution? If they want to be militant about something, how about being militant against Muslim Shi’a law which condemns women to virtual slavery? Funny how these wingnuts don’t see that it was the work of Christians that ended slavery in the U.K. or that Social Darwinism is racist to the very core. How very convenient it is to ignore the history of Darwinism while pointing the finger of derision at someone else’s beliefs! After all, it was Darwinists, not Christians, who put an African pygmy in a cage (19th Century London) and treated him like a monkey!
My post at 12pm 13.08.07 to your previous article ‘Faith, Leadership and Politics’ addressed the key issues you raise in this article Bill. Thanks for pointing me forward.
May I suggest a way forward in the debate of this current article?
Is it to engage in a Christian form of public loathing of ‘More Public Loathing’ by believers from these alternative worldviews?
I would caution care in taking such an approach. Does not Paul’s injunction in Romans 8:9-21, particularly v.20, ‘to heap coals of fire on (your enemy’s) head’ mean, that if he comes to you with his grate of coals cold and burnt out or empty, should you not send him home with his grate full of the burning coals, from your heart filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit, that Other One Like Jesus, and coals from out of His Word?
It can be temptingly easy, by adopting their method of loathing as the Christian’s method of response, to be metaphorically sending them home with ‘dead coals’ or ‘no coals’!
It is right though that we as Christians should reflect to our pollies and their commentators, and to the public, a knowledge of their ideas and the worldview religious belief systems they are based upon, particularly as we approach another Federal Election!
What will be needed here, I know Bill has put elsewhere, is for people of all persuasions to understand the maxim that ‘Ideas have consequences’, whether these are ‘good ideas -> consequences’ or ‘bad ideas -> bad consequences’, and that it is critical that we know where ‘the ideas’ of all the major and minor parties are coming from.
We should be getting to know their Alternative Worldview ‘Bibles’ and ‘Prophets’ and ‘Good News’ and ‘Mission Statements’ better, so that we can show, from these sources and the Judaeo-Christian Bible, the true status of their ideas.
So, with John Howard and Kevin Rudd’s ideas, and those of other pollies and commenatators let us keep carefully and lovingly probing, with questions such as, ‘Where are your ideas coming from?’
None of this is meant to suggest however that such probing should not be with strong words, nor that firm Godly-loving actions not be taken to stand against those ideas where necessary.
So, in this debate, I humbly submit, we need Paul’s injunction, not just John Howard and Kevin Rudd. As Christians, he said, ‘quit you like men, be strong!’ (1 Cor. 16:13)
Bernard Tibbs, Wollongong NSW.
I really do not understand these people who are so antagonistic towards free speech.
It is OK for our leaders to address, homosexuals, Muslims etc but it creates a great deal of drama if they address Christians who, according to Federal Census, represent 64% of all Australians. Doesn’t 64% represent the majority? Don’t we Christians have the right to vote? Don’t we pay taxes too?
What is the problem? Aren’t Christians entitled to know the policies of the parties that are seeking election and to fully understand if they are able to live accordingly? It would seem that every “dingbat” is entitled to express their point of view, if you are not a Christian that is.
Bernard, in a democratic country all we have are words and prayer. The secularists are using very cunning words to cloud the vision of many. People like Bill and his many colleagues have a prophetic role to play both to the deceivers and to us the deceived. We can be thankful for the spiritual gifts God has given Bill to pierce the murkiness that’s lulling everyone to sleep.
I have the conviction that this is the generation to warfare through prayer. The generations of the past have tried many ways. Ours is the opportunity to do it the prayer way, until Jesus returns. We had an inkling of it when the commmunist wall came down through concerted prayer all around the world.
We can’t pray very effectively if we’re blinded by pseudo-Christian words like “tolerance,” etc. (Like Bill says, those who thought up the great scheme of tolerance are the least tolerant and they certainly didn’t get the word from the Bible to induce guilt on us to give into everything.)
Of course, the prayer must be Spirit led, so we are praying effectively, according to His Word. But God is waitting for us to pull down strongholds of spiritual blindness so that more may believe in Him before He returns.
One of my mightiest praying buddies has recently heard Bill speak and she was absolutely amazed at the love of God Bill brought to the topic. She was so overflowing with joy at his attitude and presence. She was so glad for the people she had brought from other faiths.
But of course we do need to remind each other to stay on track, doing God’s work, God’s way. Everyone out there is eager and willing to catch us in an unspiritual moment. They have higher standards for us than God does sometimes. Course that’s why anyone can only uphold the standard by His Spirit and strength, because we will surely fall if we do it in our own.
Which leads me to say that the secularists who are angry at God need to realise that whatever they think God is expecting of them that is so unrealistic, God is wanting to do it with them. He knows we can’t achieve such high expectations in our own strength.
But it’s worth doing His way because His is the beautiful, healthy way for individuals, family and society. Even sex is much more enjoyable God’s way. It’s ecstatic, without the lasting damage of going from relationship to relationship. See, God wanted to prevent us from all that hurt.
Dear Bill, Rebecca and Fellow Posters
A second reading of Rebecca’s response reveals its great wisdom, for at the first you had me thrown Rebecca, with your ‘Bernard, in a democratic country all we have are words and prayer.’ So to ‘clarify the murkiness’ of my response.
My comment of 13.08.07, and Bill’s original article I would see as discussing the ‘words’ part of your claim only. The ‘prayer’ part was not at issue. You have introduced the ‘prayer issue’ into the discussion, and for my part I find only a heart full of concord with what you say.
But may I, with respect say that the way you have introduced and intertwined the ‘prayer issue’ has tended to cloud the way evangelical Christians need to use ‘words’ in their apologetic. The simple corrective I would suggest is that your response would be even more powerful if you could have teased out these two aspects into separate sections.
Now, to extend your discussion, I ask: “Where can we find the source of the idea: ‘In a democratic country all we have are words and prayer’?” Don’t we also have the police force and the military forces?
The thrust of my response was about our use of ‘words’. My general point was: I was concerned with the effect of the ‘words’ we choose to convey our Biblically-based ideas in our responses, emails and letters to pollies, secularists and other worldview peoples. Make them strongly expressive of these ideas, seasoned with salt. But, like you say at one highly important part of your response Rebecca, ‘(e)veryone out there is eager and willing to catch us in an unspiritual moment’.
To be specific, my beef was not with Bill. I was calling our brothers who use such terms as “anti-Christian crazies”, “dingbats” or “wingnuts” to find a way of expressing their ideas in a way that will adorn, not muddy their positions. Surely the use of such pejorative terms will only entrench our opponents’ attitudes and words at the worst, or lull readers to sleep, as you observed, at the least.
But by adorning our ‘words’ with the multi-faceted glories of the Person and Character of our Wonderful Lord Jesus Christ, this was what my response was aiming at. And of course this will necessarily lead us to pouring out hearts out for our secular society in urgent prayer to Him. Hopefully taking up arms will not be needed too often!
Bill does this so well. Take for example his simple line from a more recent email of his: “You might want to send an email to Lyn, letting her know your thoughts, in a gracious yet firm manner: email@example.com”.
I hope I have ‘clarified the murkiness’ of my position Rebecca!
Bernard Tibbs, Wollongong NSW
This is a good discussion that we need to have more of. It’s no longer a question of “Should Christians be involved in politics?” (whether as candidiates for office, lobbyists or in other ways). Sen. Allison may not like it, but she will need to engage with Christian ideas just to survive politically. The question is rather, “How should Christians be involved?” and “What priorities should we bring to political discussion?”
My friend Jim Reiher has chosen to be involved with Green politics as a Christian voice. I completely disagree with his choice of party, but I applaud his desire to get involved. I have handed out cards for Fred Nile and Family First, not because I agree with them on everything but because they are saying things that need to be heard. Other friends are involved in Liberal politics. This too is a compromise but non-involvement is not an option, especially today.
I think the only dangerous thing, which Bernard has touched on, is when Christians are disrespectful of others and refuse to listen to other views before rejecting them. We have the right to be heard, but not in silence! We don’t have the right to impose our views on everyone.
John Howard was awesome the other night and really impressed our youth group.
Kevin Rudd on the other hand was dissapointing, showing that the ALP is still controlled by socialist anti-christian ideology.
The fact that he sidestepped the question on taking away our fredom of speech through religious vilification laws, and his support of gay unions, really lost him any credibility.
Our youth group will be voting and praying for a Howard victory!
Sounds like you have a very discerning youth group, Helen.
Ewan McDonald, Victoria.
Does Kevin Rudd ever answer a question fully? Slogan master Rudd’s famous quote “we have come to a fork in the road” is very apt in his case. When he eventually comes to that fork in the road, I think he should take it without delay.
Frank Bellet, Petrie, Queensland
In an election we must remember that although we may vote for the man (whoever that will be), what we end up with is the party. I prefer to vote for a party whose policies on moral issues are closer to biblical truth than further away. What good is a beautiful, clean environment if society is an ugly place to live in !!??