On August 10 Fr Frank Brennan published an article entitled, “Why a conscientious Christian could vote for the Greens”. It has since appeared in various places, including onlineopinion. While I have spoken to it in part previously, I decided to write a fuller response, which has also appeared at onlineopinion. Below is what I submitted:
(Author disclaimer: I did not pick this fight. But since someone had – in my view – the audacity to suggest that somehow the radical secularist Greens are the party of choice for Christian voters, then I as one Christian felt compelled to give the opposing case.)
Biblical Christianity is ultimately of course above all party politics. It cannot be contained by any one political ideology. Having said that, there are various policies and platforms which may be closer to biblical ideals than others.
No one party will have all the goods, but some may be more on track than others. And some issues are more clear-cut in Scripture than others. Take the issue of social justice, a phrase heard regularly from the religious left. They seem to want to occupy the high moral ground here, and claim they are in fact closer to the Christian position.
Indeed, it appears that believers on the left think they have some sort of monopoly on social justice matters. But if social justice has to do with economic and politic policies which are to help all people, then it is not so clear that the left side of politics can claim all that much here.
Yes there are plenty of biblical passages speaking to these matters. But the key point is this: which political and economic mechanisms best secure this justice? Why do we assume that only leftist policies are in fact so good for people, especially the poor? Why suggest that the Greens are best placed in this regard?
The truth is all political parties deal with such issues, and it is a question of which policies in fact really do benefit all Australians. Indeed, the real question to ask is not, is this party concerned about the poor, but, what economic policies will in fact best help them?
Does a more or less free market approach in fact best address issues of poverty and wealth, or the more statist or socialist model? These are empirical questions which must be assessed according to fact, rather than theory. So one needs to set aside rhetoric here, and examine how actual policies impact on all this.
Moreover, it does very little good to carry on and on about social justice when we kill 100,000 unborn babies each year. Where is their justice? How are they shown compassion and acceptance? Sadly, the Greens are woefully cavalier about human life, whether in the mother’s womb, or towards the end of life.
Leftist rhetoric tends to speak of humanity in general terms, or in class terms, whereas a Christian ethic of justice should consider actual people, especially the most vulnerable. Scripture speaks much to this. Consider for example the following passages:
Proverbs 24:11 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
Proverbs 31: 8-9 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Prov. 31:8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
While these texts do not speak solely to matters such as abortion, they surely are key texts about this which cannot be ignored. Parties like the Greens which minimise or ignore the right to life of our most vulnerable and defenceless citizens surely must be queried in terms of their Christian ethic. We certainly have a right to call their bluff on social justice.
And we must not forget just how radical and dangerous the Greens really are in terms of this most fundamental of human rights – the right to life. Recall that the Greens actually had Peter Singer run as their Senate candidate in the 1996 election.
Singer of course is famous – or infamous – for his ultra-radical pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, pro-infanticide, animal rights stance. Indeed, he has made it explicitly clear that while he abhors eating animals, he thinks it is quite alright to have sex with them. And these guys are a mainstream party? This is a party Christians should flock to?
Nor should we forget that the Greens leader, the secularist homosexual Bob Brown, proudly co-authored a book with Peter Singer on Green beliefs and values. So he certainly shares with Singer in these ungodly and appalling beliefs. Yet somehow we are supposed to embrace him and his party as the epitome of Christian conviction.
Now I am not suggesting here that an atheist like Gillard or a secular humanist like Brown cannot be the proper candidate for the Christian vote. If, for example, I had to choose between a candidate who was not a Christian, but had godly values and wanted to promote godly policies, and a Christian candidate without godly values and policies, then yes, I would vote for the unbeliever.
But our choices here are much more pronounced. Rather vacuous rhetoric about social justice and saving the trees must be balanced by this party’s decidedly pro-death stance. Indeed, the Greens seem to care more about plants and animals than they do about human beings.
Plenty of other core biblical concerns could be mentioned here. The very first social institution God created was that of marriage and family. Of course the Greens want to completely gut these and replace them with their own radical social experiments.
The push for same-sex marriage and adoption rights is bad news for plenty of reasons (as I have documented elsewhere), but just how Christian is it to deprive children of one of their most fundamental rights: the right to have their own mother and father?
The truth is, I need not say much more. Simply looking at the Greens’ website will demonstrate to concerned Christians that this party has very little at all that they should approve of and promote. On some of the most basic and core teachings of biblical Christianity, the Greens are radically deficient.
While there is no perfect political party, and while all the other challengers have their shortcomings, I for one would not recommend to any believer that they favour a party which is so fundamentally at odds with basic Christian values and concerns.