They say you should never discuss sex, politics or religion at a dinner party. That is a shame as I am a fan of all three. We have an election coming up in Australia later this year and in the face of it being taboo for a Minister to share his political views… here I go!
Actually, not to disappoint but I would never tell you how to vote. Rather in making up your mind here are some things to consider.
1. Are you a progressive or a conservative?
Perhaps a better question in looking at who to vote for, is on what issues are you a progressive and what issues are you conservative? In other words what policies do you think need progressing on, and what areas need to be conserved? I would imagine that most Christians would thus fit into neither the Liberal, Labour, Greens, Katter or Palmer parties. For instance there will be things that Christians will be conservative on; perhaps advertising to children, the proliferation of gambling, maybe the definition of marriage… and things we want to be progressive about such as our treatment of refugees, caring for the disabled, some areas of environmental protection. In weighing up who you vote for, who best is conserving what is good and progressing on what needs change?
2. Integrity and honesty matter
The reality is that politics is a dirty game and that politicians and parties have to adapt to changing circumstances, whether it be in the economy, in response to natural disasters, or changing public perceptions. That said, a fair question you can ask is who has a track record of integrity and honesty in making and fulfilling promises? I would rather a politician who has convictions and the strength to remain on course, than one who will say anything to be elected and breaks trust for politically expedient reasons.
3. The Christian card
Should Christians vote for politicians who are Christians? Sometimes we should if we feel an affinity towards their worldview and politics. But voting for someone just because they are a Christian can be pretty dumb, particularly as we need to sum up the entirety of a politicians views and not just there faith. We don’t live in Christendom where the church has a privileged place in society and we should expect our own worldview to be legislated. In fact I would rather a competent agnostic treasurer over an incompetent Christians treasurer.
4. Don’t put your trust in politics
Two unhelpful extremes when it comes to politics is firstly to think that all politicians and political parties are evil and you are voting for the best of a worse bunch, or secondly that some political leader will lead us into the promised land of economic, moral and social nirvana! It is good for Christians to be involved in politics like every sphere of life, but remember we have a Lord who we have put our hope and trust in. Male and Female leaders will come and go, but his kingdom will reign forever!
There you go – no doubt highly unsatisfying and frustrating. But get involved, think through the issues and play your part in this incredible nation we have been blessed to be born into!