Who Do You Choose When There Is No Choice?

Only two days until the Federal Election and I’m still not sure what to do at the ballot box. Only two things are certain: 1) Voting is compulsory 2) I don’t feel I can vote for, or give preference to, either major party.

For some time I’ve been thinking of attending the polling booth but leaving my ballot paper blank. That way I’ll be fulfilling my legal obligation and also exercising my responsibility to vote for the candidate of my choice.

    Why I can’t vote for the Liberal-National Coalition?


I find them untrustworthy. Their refusal to reveal key budgetary data for scrutiny until a day or two before Election Day (to me) shows there is something they want to hide for as long as possible. They also rely too much on parroted slogans instead of intelligent debate. How often do we need to hear the “Stop the Boats” mantra? This is something I addressed in a post a couple of days ago where AGAIN we are faced with the likelihood of important information being withheld to hide facts.

Their tactic of misrepresenting economic reality through meaningless, unprovable slogans: first we had the “interest rates will always be lower under the coalition” replaced with “the economy will always be stronger under the coalition”. Such statements present a desirable outcome that can never be delivered in a provable way, as can be seen in the recent switch from the first slogan to the second after interest rates reached record lows under the current Labor government.

Interest rates and “the economy” are subject to International events as well as Government policy. And recently despite some of the worst EVER international conditions that decimated most world economies, the Australian economy was kept in very healthy territory. By accident? Or by shrewd economic measures courtesy of a Labor Government?

I also don’t take well to being bombarded with one-eyed political propaganda like we’ve had in the Murdoch press anti-labour campaign. The Murdoch headlines over recent weeks have been appallingly biased – remember this is the same Murdoch whose papers were at the centre of one of the worst ever media scandals in Britain recently (remember phone tapping anyone?).

And finally I don’t see Tony Abbott as Prime Minister material. (If Malcolm Turnbull had been the potential PM I think there would have been no doubt about where to allocate my vote).

    Why I can’t vote for Labor?

The thing that REALLY swung the balance relates to Kevin Rudd’s appearance on the ABC TV programme Q & A a few nights ago.
While I give him credit for appearing on the show and facing some very difficult questions (unlike Tony Abbott who declined), it was his response to one question that overshadowed everything else. The question came from a church pastor who asked about Rudd’s about-face on same sex marriage. (see here for my earlier comments on Rudd’s change of mind: https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/irony-in-the-homosexual-marriage-debate/ )

Now it’s not Rudd’s decision to support same sex marriage that I find objectionable. For some time I’ve recognised that a secular government under which homosexuality is legal has no logical reason to deny same sex marriage. The issue I have with Rudd is his attempt to score political points by demonising a Christian pastor by misrepresenting, misquoting and effectively denigrating scripture. Not surprisingly he also showed considerable ignorance of the New Testament message, basically saying that it’s all about being nice and tolerant towards all of mankind.

Mr Rudd needs to know that scripture does not portray homosexuality as a natural way of life. In fact scripture has some very strong things to say about same gender sexual relations. It says things that homosexuals would find very offensive:

“God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men” (Romans 1:26)

He also needs to know that (despite his claim) the bible doesn’t portray slavery as being a natural condition – a claim he made clearly to undermine the validity and authority of scripture (Apparently it was Aristotle who made that claim, not anyone in scripture).

And he also needs to know that gospel isn’t about being nice to each other, it’s about turning away from our tendency for rebellion against God and His standards, through putting our faith in Jesus Christ. Choosing His way above our own desires and submitting ourselves to the changes He wants to make in our lives, turning from sin – not finding ways to convince ourselves that it’s acceptable.

If Rudd had justified his changed stance on same sex marriage on secular, logical, legal grounds then I would have found his response adequate and acceptable in the context of secular government, but he foolishly chose to present a religious stance and in the process showed the shallowness of his “Christian” faith foundations and did so in a way that belittled the REAL gospel of Jesus Christ. And that’s something I can’t accept from a “Christian” who hopes to lead his country.

13 thoughts on “Who Do You Choose When There Is No Choice?

  1. I haven’t read the 2000-word essay he says he has online, but I just saw a clip of him giving the response to which I think you’re referring (aired in American/U.S. news/commentary on a show which I had recorded). Key to what he said, it seems to me, are two things: 1) love in a general sense and 2) the concept that people are born however they are (be it “gay” or “straight” or whatever). I agree on love as being integral to Christianity theoretically; that can degrade to a shallow plea for being “nice” undiscerningly, but from the bit I saw I don’t think he’s landed there. And that just can’t work in practical terms because, to give an example, if love is being nice to everyone then you’d have to be nice ostensibly to human traffickers and would-be slave buyers even though you can’t be nice to both the slave or the weak and the prospector in human lives. You wouldn’t be able to confront anyone on anything and would instead be kind of meaningless. I do think his mention of slavery in the Bible is relevant. He didn’t misquote… that slaves should submit to masters. And there are people who stand by those words today and have used them to argue against the abolition of slavery here in the U.S. There are people so dedicated to the N.T. having specific and particular application to the here and now that they go on to consider an employee so situated.

    Now, the idea that a person doesn’t choose their sexuality may have some merit but is problematic. Certainly, I have no power over my gender; no one has that power before or at birth for themselves. Even so, I do have some choice in my sexual activity. I don’t have full choice, and that would be so to a further extent in Bible times (but also other places still). A man has and has always had more choice (but still not complete freedom if he could be overpowered). Of course choice on desire and choice on action can be different matters. For instance, a woman who has a child with a man (or, depending on the modesty and oppressiveness of a culture, has been “uncovered” by a man) may choose to (or be pushed to) spend her time or her life with him without having desired him in the first place… and possibly still not desiring him (whether that has anything to do with desiring the masculine in general or not). The murkiest part of this all, though, is that a person can be born with confused genitalia and genetic code and, I would presume, confused interest. And sometimes the PRESENTATION of the confusion is “dealt with” upon birth. Nevertheless, while the statement that homosexuality isn’t chosen can have some truth to it, it’s manifestly not the case that no one engaged in homosexual conduct is choosing to be or experimenting or rebelling.

    And that is not to forget that people can be in conduct with a heterosexual partner (say a spouse) that they will not want to continue for long or maybe engage in ever again after “trying” it or being that foolhardy or fooled. A note. As men have looked down on women, historically and currently, and heterosexual men as well as men who tell themselves they’re heterosexual have looked down on “homosexual” men… it is even so that some homosexual men look down on other homosexual men or weaker men (physically or constitutionally) even if they want to have sex with them. My last comment for now: I see N.T. advisement in Romans to be a follow-up to “O.T.” ruling not to be with a man as if he’s like a woman — “Oh, yeah and being with a woman like she’s a man, both usable in the same unnatural and perverted way? Ugh!” Notwithstanding, there is a place in O.T. prophesy that says women will go astray because men have; It is likely when a culture is lacking in men who stand up to take responsibility in love that women will see the futility or risk and opt for behaviors that look to have fewer disappointing to dire consequences. Before the rededication of the Temple, women jumped off the side of a high wall with their babies (because of the low quality of life), so what will stop them putting up with non-fertile/natural styles of sex and giving up on sex if they can?

  2. Does the bible portray slavery as a “natural condition”? Or does it just recognise it as a political fact? Does the bible portray slavery in the same way we would perceive it today? Are conditions in the societies described in scripture the same as those today?
    Would slavery be a blessing or a curse to those (in bible times) who otherwise had no means of support?
    How misleading is it to pull bible references out of their historical context with the intent of applying meaning to the present time?

    As for whether homosexual activity is a natural condition – I can only look to how scripture describes it, and in contrast to the slavery issue I don’t see any cultural escape clauses to suggest it could be more acceptable today than back then. But too often homosexuals have been an easy target for “Christians” to use as a distraction from their own sins – sins which often receive more inividual condemnatory references in scripture than homosexuality does. Covetousness (greed) for example.

  3. First, let me say I think my first response on this topic gives or would have given some background on my viewpoint as to homosexuality and the response to it in the Bible. I’m sure not looking for cultural escape clauses. As I said, I’m “grossed out” by the same things the Bible mentions — and on top of that I believe we have to think… and perceive the bigger picture in all things sexual and relational, and I’m disgusted by behaviors that sodomites and sodomites who claim they are “straight” (even if they are married to women or have a plethora of women in their lives) and even actual heterosexuals rationalize or even delight in as perfectly fine. Heterosexual people shouldn’t be looking for escape clauses or going down wrong roads either. Sadly, some women have traded sodomy with their “husbands” for natural physical relations as they’ve been sold a bill of goods that they might otherwise be abandoned or blamed for being cheated on or for lowcounts intruding on their families. And a self-described Christian gave me some perspective recently on what I saw as an inexplicable Muslim woman who said prostitution has to be legal so husbands don’t have to commit adultery (not that he knew he was giving me perspective or that he ever heard her). She was actually saying going to a prostitute is not adultery. And this Christian said being with a woman physically who is other than your wife is not cheating if you made sure there was no impregnation (but he’s not one to PAY for doing something on the side — to each his own you know). This came out of his store of reasonably normal.

    Back to what the politician said, I took it as a rhetorical statement that it would be mistaken to conclude based on the Bible having mentioned it that then slavery (along with masters) is a natural state such that nothing else should be observed as part of reality. There are people who do see it as the condition of reality as I explained. Although I agree with him, that it’s a mistaken conclusion and bunch of arguments, I also think — as described in my post above — he went too far with this comparison or didn’t come out and say anything like some of the things i’ve said (first or second post). The things I have said matter as not all things are natural even if the comparison does make sense to an extent. Alternatively, as you’ve said, he could have at some point stated he won’t get into the details of what people do or should do bodily because he would be taking a secular office. I think he could talk about some Bible values and not all of them. Hypocrisy would be something Jesus was against and most people care about and can grasp, so this politician doesn’t have to take sides — as if all male-female partnerships or marriages are clean and unquestionable. Most heterosexual Christians thus would be happier with him too, for not putting a light on their less than up to standard lives. I am flabbergasted many people think just being married puts you in the good person club — at least being heterosexually married by law. So you did or do whatever to whomever or had other spouses, you’re in.

  4. I don’t know why you’re deleting most of what I write, but your response to me implies I think things that I don’t. Besides, it makes me cringe because of at least one rationalization of slavery that neo-Confederate types use. I’ll respond to it though in a different context; yes there are people who wouldn’t eat if they were not slaves (outside of the miraculous when we live in this world). Even today, parents who are poor have been known to sell their children into slavery (which is often more than what the word suggests at first blush). Do you think people were nicer in the olden days or something like that? I think God put some rules on how to interact with slaves as there are rules recorded to help improve or mitigate the bad in a lot of matters.

  5. I initially didn’t approve and post two of your replies because I felt they weren’t addressing the topic of the article I wrote and they moved into areas that I felt were inappropriate (but I’ve now approved one of them).

    My reply didn’t imply anything about what you think. I addressed the issue of the bible being misrepresented about what its says about slavery.

    What I wrote about slavery was not referring to any situation today. I was addressing what the bible says about slavery in the context of bible times, taking into account that the bible is not a book about the world’s political systems and how they should be improved. Therefore the fact that scripture doesn’t condemn slavery or command its abolition doesn’t mean that it is approving of slavery or deeming it as being “a natural condition”. [The only “natural condition” that bible describes is that of the rebellious nature of unregenerate mankind which makes ALL mankind slaves to sin until they trust Jesus to free them].

    Contrary to Kevin Rudd’s claim about the message of Christianity, the gospel is not about making this world a better place, or getting people to be nicer to each other, or even bringing about more equitable and comfortable lives for all mankind. The gospel is about a new Kingdom being established, ruled by the only truly righteous and just King, the Messiah, Jesus. Until that happenes there will always be inequity, abuse, exploitation and every other evil that man could possibly do to man.

  6. I don’t know much about the Aussie system, but in the US you can write in a candidate. Of course that person can’t win, but at least you are expressing your opinion. We have third party candidates, as well as the two major parties.

  7. In our system we can have several candidates listed and we have to number every one in order of preference. That way if two candidates are very similar in their policies they would each advise giving highest preference to the other person. Then as candidates are eliminated for having fewest primary votes, their votes are reallocated according to the preferences allocated.

    It all seems complicated but I think it works out fair in the end, because two very similar candidates won’t end up splitting votes enabling a third (with different policies) from winning by default as they would in a “first past the post” system.

    From what I’ve heard the HUGO science fiction awards have a similar voting system.

    Writing anything on a ballot paper apart from the required list of preferences would make a ballot paper invalid.

    While we have two major political factions (Labor party and the Liberal/National Coalition) there are also several minor parties and Independant candidates represented in different electorates and a few of those candidates have been voted into parliament instead of the major party candidates.

    In the end the result was predictable, the Liberal/National Coalition won the election and Tony Abbott is the new Prime Minister.

  8. I forgot to say the lost “two paragraphs” were written before I saw you had reevaluated, like while you would have been reconsidering. Thanks for the explanation. I know I get more explicit than a lot of people are used to; we often stick to the theoretical (which has a significant chance for non-defined euphemism).

  9. Speaking of definitions, I used “truncation” improperly. I’m hurrying getting ready to leave for the evening. It was more a quick summary. Okay, now I’m out the door.

  10. Just read this today:

    “Sofia raged at him. She wanted to go to the woman’s house and bring back the boy [who Rohan had expelled from school because the boy’s mother was a sinner] — a thought that stunned him [Rohan]. There would be no eye contact with her for over a year after that day. He felt persecuted, believing he had done the only correct thing possible under the circumstances, and he had begged Allah for strength and begged Him to forgive Sofia for some of the words she had uttered in fury.

    “In the garden one dawn, the house lit red by the sunrise, she said she was leaving him.

    “They had both attended Punjab University in Lahore, though at different times, he being five years older. Born and raised in Heer, and possessing an intense shyness of character, he had not fitted in at the university or into the large city. His efforts to understand himself and his times were lonely ones, and he lived in fear of — and perhaps even a mild revulsion at — the behaviour of the other students. He stood out to the extent that he could not even bring himself to wear Western clothes — those trousers that had pockets in appallingly inappropriate paces, front and back, from where items of food could then be pulled out and eaten, hands removed to be shaken, documents produced and handed over. She — who was also from Heer — had thrived at the university however. A laughing confident beauty. He was already teaching at a government school when he met her. She was the new English teacher, and a month after they were introduced she caught him opening a notebook in which she had been writing earlier: full of longing for her, he had wished to see her handwriting. Some glimpse of a thing that was intrinsically her. Intimate. And he knew she might be his only chance at happiness. At the year’s end she entered the room and, lowering herself into a sitting position before him, told him he must ask her to marry him. Covering his lying mouth with her hands when he tried to protest.”

    Ending with a light note, a brief interlude in the very serious story of THE BLIND MAN’S GARDEN.

  11. Because not everyone will see it, I’ll explain. She is being kind (in addition to actually liking Rohan) as well as playing with their cultural concept that, having been exposed, she needs to get married (even though she has not actually been exposed in that way, naked, by force or deceit or peeping or agreement or any other way). Men often lie and don’t take the appropriate action (but we know in his case he hadn’t done anything for which he would have to ask her to marry him but that he really would want to marry her).

  12. I think it’s fitting to be writing about men and falseness and marriage as that is what Jesus was actually talking about (although I don’t think he was talking mainly about legal matters except in the sense of that being loving in a society that gives more protection to a woman who is married according to law) in the vignette that was raised about a man and a woman. Why did these men refer to their wives when they also wanted to have permission to divorce them? You would not throw out a wife or match. I haven’t checked if the word in the Greek is actually “wife” — but I know they are referring to their women. [The reason I wonder is that there is at least one place in the “O.T.” where the same word is used for Sarai/Sarah as for Hagar concerning what each is to Abraham (basically woman). Maybe (benefit of doubt) the man in the audience thought the men asking Jesus a question were “gay” since they said it wouldn’t be worth bothering if they couldn’t divorce the women they take.

  13. I appreciate that said “fitting” might be the reason you decided to go ahead and approve one of the two earliest posts, Onesimus; but it might not be, so I wanted to avoid further misunderstanding by stating it since I continued with that theme.

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