The new Prime Minister has made clear her lack of religious faith. In one sense that is OK: it is better than pretending to be religious in order to get more votes. Several articles in today’s press inform us that she doesn’t care about the religious vote anyway.
The Australian puts it this way: “Julia Gillard conceded today that she is not a ‘religious person’ and declared she would not ‘pretend’ to be for the sake of votes. The Prime Minister appeared caught by surprise this morning during a radio blitz to lift her profile when asked how she would court the Christian vote and whether she believed in God. ‘I’m not a religious person,’ Ms Gillard told ABC radio. ‘I was brought up in the Baptist Church but during my adult life I’ve, you know, found a different path. I’m of course a great respecter of religious beliefs, but they’re not my beliefs’.”
And a news com au report says this: “Julia Gillard says she has great respect for religion, even though she is a non-believer. The new Prime Minister, who has described herself as a non-practising Baptist, told ABC Radio today she was not worried about losing the Christian vote drawn by her predecessors Kevin Rudd and John Howard. Ms Gillard explained she was raised in the Baptist tradition – even winning prizes for remembering Bible verses – but as an adult she had formed different views. ‘I’m not going to pretend a faith I don’t feel,’ she said.”
Some interesting remarks there. Consider the line that she sees herself as “a non-practising Baptist”. Leaving aside the denominational tag for a moment, let’s just slightly rephrase things: she describes herself as “a non-practising Christian”.
Now just how sensible is that? One might as well describe oneself as a non-practicing vegetarian: “I’m a vegetarian, but I love eating meat you know”. Or try this one on for size: “I’m a non-practising politician. I am a politician, but I don’t do anything political.”
Or, perhaps more accurately in this regard, “I’m a non-practicing thinker. I’m a thinker who happens not to think.” Sorry Julia, but there is no such thing as a non-practicing Christian. One either is a Christian who practices his or her faith, or one is not a Christian.
So despite her protests to the contrary, it still looks like Julia is seeking to woo the religious vote, by dragging up her Baptist past. And sadly of course plenty of gullible Christians will fall for this ruse. “Well, at least she’s being honest” they might chirp.
An unashamed paedophile who extols his lifestyle is also being honest; does that make his activities commendable then? What Julia has told us is that she has renounced her Christian faith. She is an apostate in other words. Now in the free West, and in the Christian religion, one is free to do that very thing.
She need not fear the death sentence for her apostasy, as she would if she were once a Muslim who has now deserted the faith to embrace secular humanism. She would be under the sentence of death if she dared to do this in the Muslim world.
But she still does have one to fear: the Lord she has spurned in order to wed the spirit of the age. She will one day stand before Christ and have to give an account of her rejection of him. And at that point she won’t have any cheap excuses and trite rationalisations, such as, “I’ve, you know, found a different path”.
That just won’t cut it when she meets the one who created her and died to redeem her. Nor will this foolish remark cut it: “I’m of course a great respecter of religious beliefs”. She certainly is not a respecter of Christian beliefs – she has fully rejected them. Just how is that showing respect?
One might as well say, ‘I fully respect the law’, after just having robbed two banks, stolen three cars, and run 20 red lights. To respect Jesus and his teachings means to acknowledge their truthfulness and to bow to them – not turn your nose up at them.
Jesus of course made it quite clear that to reject him was to reject the Father:
Luke 11:23 He who is not with me is against me
Luke 12:8-9 I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.
John 6:29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
John 12:44-45 Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.
John 15:23 He who hates me hates my Father as well.
1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
To reject Christ and his provision for salvation is not to show respect; it is to show the highest disrespect. It is the clenched fist of the atheist waved defiantly in the face of God, shouting “I will never bow my knee to you. I am my own master”.
God of course has created us all with free will, and we all have the choice as to whether we accept Christ and his work of forgiveness on our behalf, or whether we reject him. God will not coerce any of us, and we alone determine our eternal destiny.
As C.S. Lewis put it, “Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.” All of us must make that decision. It sounds like Ms Gillard already has. Of course it is not too late. She may yet turn around. We all can pray to that end.
But she, like every other rebel who still marches with clenched fist, is in a precarious position indeed. It is clear that she has renounced family life so that she can pursue her career – perhaps her god – in politics. And she has renounced her past involvement with Christ and Christianity as well.
Jesus made a very sober warning about such individuals: “For what shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). Please keep our Prime Minister in your prayers.