The LAST thing Australia, and its Christian residents, needs:
“Martyn Iles, the ACL’s (Australian Christian Lobby’s) new managing director… wants to transform it into a US-style conservative activist group”
We now have a week before our Federal election and Scott Morrison our Pentecostal Prime Minister seems to be running a one man team, with the majority of his ministry in hiding (apart from several who deserted his sinking ship by retiring from politics). All he can offer is billions of $$$ tax cuts, more than $80 billion going to the wealthy, but he has given no plan for how he will pay for those cuts.
Of course, he will be the political darling of the Australian Christian community, in particular the Hillsong types (he belongs to a Hillsong-like church in south east Sydney)
I have been following discussion about the election campaign in the media, and one regular comment I frequently see relates to the incongruity of Morrison’s (alleged) lying with his professed Christianity.
While anti-Christian rhetoric can be expected in a secular society, Morrison’s example is drawing increasing expressions of (non-rabid) distaste from less hostile commenters.
Are the accusations of lying valid? Let me say that I find him less than straight forward with the truth.
Politicians and politics can offer no long-term answers to a country or the world – but unfortunately our response to them can affect the image of Christianity (and the gospel) they see.
While both major sides of Australian politics are far from perfect, running up to this election I find it blatantly clear that one side is far more interested in (and currently capable of) effective, stable government, and the other (Morrison’s party) is a total mess with no policies, beyond giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy.
Their only other offering is a scare campaign: that says things will only get worse under the other lot.
Scott Morrison seems to have forgotten Jesus’ words about being unable to serve two masters, that we can’t serve both God and money. His emphasis is always primarily on “the economy” and not on the people affected by “the economy”. Basically, his message is that if he takes care of the economy, the economy will take care of the people. As if the economy is a benevolent cognisant entity needing to be placated.
Especially ignored are those who have not benefitted from the prosperity allegedly being enjoyed by the nation due to the claimed current strong “economy”. It is clear that IF the strong economy exists (and is to be continued) it bypasses most, although not the already prosperous.
The group mentioned in the article linked at the top of the page are focused on issues of moral behaviour but they avoid a significant moral, political failing – of not addressing the poverty experienced by an increasing number, while others receive and hoard more than they can ever use.
In my view, secular politics is not a tool that Christians can manipulate in an attempt to legislate morality. It often (inevitably) takes immoral directions, reflecting the secular, increasingly immoral society that it represents.
But it is something that has the potential to be used to make sure no one needs to be homeless or go hungry through no fault of their own.
While a perfect outcome is “pie in the sky” – Jesus said the poor will always be with us – I think from a Christian point of view, steps to aid the poor are more in line with Jesus than steps to further enrich the wealthy in the hope that they will share that wealth.
A commonly used quote to criticise welfare is “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” – but the use of that phrase is rarely turned the other way to recognise its valid application to the idle rich who prosper from the work of others.
So what approach can Christians take while acknowledging the limits of secular democracy?
Make choices that reflect the character of Jesus within the secular society we temporarily inhabit.
Look at the kind of people Jesus ministered among and treat them as HE would treat them.
If political options can realistically help us along that path, we should make the most of them.