Preparing to Vote ...
What about Family First?

What about the Australian Green's Party?

UnknownThe Australian Green's Party is gaining more and more interest here in Australia, especially amongst the younger generation who seem to be looking for an alternative to the Labor and Liberal political parties. It is estimated that the Greens could win anywhere between 10-16% of the Australian vote. There is also a high probability that they will hold the balance of power in the Senate after this election, which will place them in a very influential role, much like Family First member Steve Fielding has had over the last term (Family First does still have a chance to be re-elected if enough people vote #1 for them with their Senate vote). 

Overall, people tend to love the Greens or hate them. Herald Sun journalist Andrew Bolt is not too keen on them, nor is Salt Shakers or Bill Muhlenberg. In contrast, Jim Reiher, a follower of Christ, joined them a few years back and is running for a seat in Latrobe at this next election. You can visit Jim's BLOG here and click here for a personal profile.

Personally, I would be concerned at the refusal of the Green's Party to honestly answer 18 of the 24 questions put to them by the Australian Christian Lobby on a wide range of very important policies.

To check out the Green's Party policies for yourself, visit their web site here. As Christians we are called to discern and vote accordingly. 

Comments

Greens anti-Christian and anti-God and anti-marriage stance means that although I otherwise would vote for them, I can't in good conscience. If they were just about the environment, then I would find them much more palatable.

Greenies are anti-christian.

They support homosexuality,abortion etc.

GODS WORD which never lies says on homosexuality:

1 Corinthians 6:9
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor HOOSEXUAL offenders!

Hi Mark
I note you say we, Salt Shakers, and Bill Muehlenburg "don't like the Greens", which sounds like a personal thing. Would it not have been far more accurate, to say that Salt Shakers and Bill M are deeply concerned about the Greens policies, which are far more about social engineering than the environment.
But that would have made it difficult to be 'nice' to Jim Reiher, wouldn't it?
Are "followers of Christ" taught in the Bible to support abortion being legal, homosexual rights and legalizing euthanasia?
They are all Greens policies, and having spoken to Jim, they are all things he supports.
When we beat around the bush on serious matters like this do we really serve Christ and his followers?
A simple look at the Christian Values Checklist, shows that many of the Greens policies, on major moral issues, are totally anti-Christian.

It is one thing for Christians to get involved in a political party to try to improve them from within, and I wish more Christians would do that, but when you actually stand for the Party you naturally endorse and represent their policies.

Yes, Peter, they are some of the areas the Greens obviously refused to answer when asked by the ACL, hence my personal concern too, as stated in this post. As mentioned multiple times in my BLOG, Christians needs to check out the values and policies of all candidates and parties so they can vote in an informed manner. My approach is not to tell people how or who to vote for but to encourage prayer and the discipline of making an informed vote. The former is easier but the latter helps people develop wise decision-making ability for themsevles. Thanks Peter.

To the unchurched, Christianity can be seen to be all about rules on: sexual conduct, abortion,euthanasia and the leadership role of women (thankfully not the latter at City Life).

These are important issues which greatly concern me. Chistianity is much broader than just these issues however - ( You actually don't have to be a christian to also be concerned about these issues).

Furthermore some of the strongest Christian advocates on these issues do not have a consistent view on the sanctity of life.

If every life is sacred, which underpins the anti abortion and euthanasia argument, then it must follow that the lives of people in under privileged countries and asylum seekers are equally important.

I have also seen some appalling articles by these same Christians on the euthanasia debate characterisng people, who end their life, as cowards as opposed to Christians who are presumably heroes.

My point is that check lists are a useful way to initially categorize the political parties. However the approach to issues that will determine our vote needs to be nuanced, not just based based on a binary decision tree with abortion euthanasia and gay marriage at the top of the tree.

This is in no way a criticism of ACL the list is a usful tool.

As for 1 Corinthians 6:9 - it is not, as far a I can tell, a ranked list and it goes onto also talk drunks, the greedy and theives.

Thanyou everyone for the discussion.

Sorry Mark, but frankly, saying "my approach is not to tell people how or who to vote for", is a cop-out when you know the truth.
Simply stating that Jim Reiher is "a Follower of Christ" could so easily mislead people into believing that the Greens were a bunch of nice evangelicals!!!
Christian leaders have a responsibility to lead, not sit on the fence.
Most people won't go and look at policy details - they accept what they are told, especially by people they think they can trust.
This is also why simply printing political party answers to some rather lengthy questions without comment, as ACL does, could be misleading. Anyone in politics will tell you politicians of all parties will tell you what you want to hear or they won't answer the questions at all, like the Greens.
Actually I think that was probably far more honest than Labor who failed to state that their actual party policy on marriage had recently removed "man & woman" (whilst still saying they support the Marriage Act).
There was no mention that Labor Party policy support abortion on demand for any reason - just to name two things Christians ought to know about them.

We'll have to 'agree to disagree' on approaches to leadership then Peter. I think you under-estimate people's ability to think for themselves and make wise decisions. God's Word is enough to guide us, as well as his Spirit. In 'grey'areas, people must be taught to discern and make their own best judgment. Leaders that resort to always telling people things such as how to vote, will create dependence rather than building a sense of responsibility ... By the way, my purpose in linking to Salt Shakers and Bill's articles, was to give readers of this BLOG another few perpectives (which I thought you would appreciate). I find that the more perspectives people are aware of, the more informed they can become. Thanks. Mark

Dear Peter,

With all due respect, your proposition that Pastors should tell their congregations who to vote for is highly problematic. Let me explain.

One of the indictments against contemporary evangelicalism is the idolisation of Christian leaders and particularly the celebrity pastors from the megachurch variety. When congregants are conditioned to rely on their leaders for their own decision making, it perpetuates the spoon-feeding culture that results in a state of arrested development when it comes to spiritual growth.

I completely agree with you insofar as Christian leaders needing to take a firm position on black & white matters like abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality (whether it’s a sin or not), etc. But the voting issue is not that black & white and I agree with Mark that it is one of those ‘grey’ areas.

To direct another Christian what to do in an area where the Bible does not provide clear guidance, is a violation of their God given liberty, a breach of theological integrity and an abuse of spiritual authority. The problem is that immature and biblically illiterate Christians don’t just take their leader’s view as a matter of personal opinion by a spiritually mature person, but they usually read it as God’s opinion on the issue communicated through his mouthpiece (his ‘anointed’).

This poses a serious theological problem, in that, issuing directives where the Bible does not is to go “beyond what is written” and to continue something that God has stopped. Let me quote Greg Johnson from the St. Louis Center for Christian Study: “As a theologian, I can remind us that to bind the conscience where Scripture leaves freedom is a very, very serious crime”

While Paul issued firm directives on several faith issues in his epistles, on other matters he preferred not to spoon feed answers but mentor people to think for themselves, i.e. Timothy: “Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.” (2 Tim 2:7)

So as an independent observer who has never met Mark Conner, doesn’t go to his church (I live on the other side of the country), does not listen to his podcasts or buys his books, is not even part of his denomination, I think he has done the spiritually responsible thing and taken a tentative rather than a categorical position and given people the information so they can do their own research and make an informed decision on who they want to vote for.

I can tell by several comments on the latest blogs that Mark is viewed as a middle of the road, non-committal kind of guy on this issue, but I believe given the subject matter he has displayed responsible leadership. And while I sometimes feel nauseated by the sickly-sweet flattery that he receives on his blogs, on THIS issue I feel the need to publically support him (on the blogosphere at least).

I am a Christian and am still undecided who I will vote for. I have listened to many Christian people that I consider to be wise and have found that due to different issues being on their hearts, they are resolved to vote for different parties. This convinces me that God has not written a ‘How to vote’ card that he wishes us to follow.

Therefore, I agree with Mark that a church leader’s role is to help people be informed and prompt them about what to consider but not to tell them how to fill in their ballot.

Secondly, I wish to put forward an alternative Christian viewpoint to the one mentioned by Peter and others, inside and outside of this blog….

Whilst the Greens have policies that would allow people to act in a way that are clearly against God’s will (eg. Abortion, same sex marriage), it needs to be remembered that whilst their laws would make these things permissible, it would still require a heart decision by those who wish to carry them out.

Conversely, the Greens policies on asylum seekers and the environment seem to me, to be closer to God’s heart than most other parties. I believe that God would welcome with open arms any neighbour, regardless of whether they arrive on a boat. Similarly, he made creation with a natural balance that has lasted millions of years which is now at threat due to the exploitation of its resources, with the profits of this exploitation helping the rich of the world and not shared equally.

Perhaps we need to pick a Government based on issues that can only be actioned by the Government (eg. Asylum laws and climate) and put our efforts to try and stop individual wrong choices, not into legislation, but by guiding the hearts of the individual to God. A nation of people who have God’s Will written on their hearts is more righteous than a nation that has God’s Will written on paper.

Finally, as to the impact on the church, I pose the question; did authentic Christianity thrive more under the Pagan rulers of Jesus’ time or the legislated Roman Catholic Governments that followed?

I was not going to come back in again, Mark, but I have to clarify a misconception.
I am not suggesting pastors/church leaders or anybody else for that matter should tell people how to vote. Even we at Salt Shakers do not want to do that.
I am concerned, though, that many pastors/leaders will sit on the fence and will not even point out the obvious anti-Christian policies of certain people or parties.
For instance, Julia Gillard is unmarried and lives with her partner, Bob Brown is a homosexual living with a male partner. The Bible clearly calls these situations 'living in sin'.
Malcolm Turnbull was the leader of the Liberals and he supported homosexual relationships and abortion, Bob Brown was awarded the humanist of the year by the Australasian Humanist Society this year.
The Labor Party and Greens support abortion on demand for any reason and the normalisation of homosexuality. The Greens also support same-sex marriage and euthanasia.
These people/parties hold worldviews that are totally contrary to a Christian worldview.

I think it is reasonable to expect Christian leaders to spell out these types of situations and call on Christians to be far more discerning about who they choose to vote for.
That means the leaders and all Christians taking a personal interest in the direction our nation is led – which will be either towards God or away from it.

No party is perfect, no candidate is perfect, but we are called to 'make wise judgements', not to sit on the fence or our hands and allow evil to triumph.

I am not saying Mark does this. I am glad he is discussing the political process.
I just think we all need to be bold enough to tell the plain truth or we will end us saying "how did the country move so far away from God”, when we are the ones who have actually allowed that to happen.
This is, after all, supposed to be a Christian Nation ‘relying on the Blessings of Almighty God’, not a secular nation led by humanists!!
Education is the answer and pastors have an important role in that process.

Hi Peter. So what you are basically saying is that, in your opinion, every good Christian leader should be telling everyone within their influence to 'vote Liberal.' I see no other conclusion from your comments above.

I have no problem with a vote for Liberal ... but to reduce your voting criteria only to issues such as abortion and sexuality matters is quite limiting. It also helps to reinforce the caricature many unchurched people already have of Christians, and of God, as being 'anti-gay and anti-abortion', as if these two hot issues are all that we care about. If you dont believe this perception, have a good read of 'Unchristian' by Kinneman.

An example - George Bush is the most overt 'Christian' president in the history of America. He was pro-life, pro-family, and pro-Christian values. Yet he will go down in history as one of the worst presidents. He led the US into a pointless war, invading Iraq with no evidence of nuclear weapons and without UN approval. He wasted untold billions of dollars on the war, drowning America in debt and doing nothing to address the issues of poverty and urgently needed health care reform in his own nation. He damaged the American reputation globally and even marred the non-West's perception of what 'Christian' really means. Amazingly, during his term, he did nothing to reduce the number of abortions or to change any abortion laws. Yet he was a 'born again Christian.'

This only goes to illustrate my point all along - voting needs to be done prayerfully and everything needs to be taken into consideration, including a candidate's faith (or lack of it), as well as their party's values and policies on a broad range of issues.

The Pharisees gave the people 618 laws (a complex and controlling approach).
Jesus gave people 2 basic commands (a simple and empowering approach).
Maybe I have too much confidence in people's ability to think for themselves and in God's ability to exercise his sovereignty ... but I'm with Jesus on this ... get people focused on loving God and loving people, and the rest they'll figure out on their own and with the help of the Holy Soirit.

Thanks Peter

I'm really not sure why you thank me, Mark, unless it was because it gave you the chance to berate George Bush, inaccurately in relation to that war I might add, and perhaps to allude to calling me a Pharisee. Bush was certainly not perfect: I'm not sure he even claimed to be.

My point in mentioning abortion was simply to illustrate one example of bad policy that Christians should be made aware of - an issue hidden by simply allowing parties to answer questions.
I refute the idea that we are simply telling people to vote Liberal. Like you we want people to understand what party policies are as they decide who to vote for.

The Christian Values Checklist does not purport to be a definitive list of issues. That is clearly stated in the supporting documentation. It assesses issues that we believe most Christians should be concerned about that are rarely discussed in election campaigns. None of the questions could be compared to ‘additional laws’ imposed on the people for reasons of power as were the extra laws imposed by the Pharisees.

To my understanding Jesus was encapsulating all 10 commandments in his two commands, not reducing them down to two as though the others are irrelevant.

Issues such as abortion and sexual immorality are not optional extras according to my Bible.
Although the CVCL deals with a number of other issues it is sometimes criticised for not dealing with issues such as welfare and Overseas aid – but it is worth noting that both Labor and Liberal have very similar welfare and Overseas Aid policies.

You mention Kinneman and what he says the world thinks of Christians. However, when Christians are more concerned about what the world thinks of them than declaring the whole Word of God we really have lost the plot.

I'm saddened by your response, Mark.

Hello Mark
I wish to make the point that every word a Senior Minister speaks or writes is taken as "gospel" by some people. So, a man (or woman) with a pulpit needs to be very discerning and careful about what he (or she) says or writes and the way that it is said or written.
I don't think for a minute that giving people information in the form of something like the Australian Institute Christian Values Checklist, is telling them how to vote. It is simply adding to information they are receiving through the mail and via the ads on tv, all of which are full of bias, which we readily acknowledge.
Each person has, conceivably, different issues which are the most important for them in any election, so the widest possible information being disseminated is the best way to help people decide wisely whom to vote for.
I wish to encourage people to get to know their local candidates personally and, once in office, to visit and encourage them, letting them know they are being prayed for, and holding them accountable to us, the voters.
Thanks for the opportunity to communicate with you.
Kerrie

Hi Peter. 'Thanks' is simply a common courtesy in communication. Not sure how you can interpret your statements above in any other way than to say you are encouraging people to vote Liberal. You rubbised every other party but not them. Not sure where my statements were inaccurate in regards to the Iraq war? No, I wasn't referring to you as a Pharisee, simple contrasting their approach to Jesus in telling people what to do. Paul, similarly didn't create 'non-meat-eating churches' but encouraged people with different opinions to dwell together in unity. Do we want to create 'Liberal voting churches' or 'Labor voting churches' today by the senior leader telling everyone who to vote for, and thereby by default letting those who vote otherwise feel like they are 'outsiders.' I don't think so. Hope that helps to clarify things, Peter.

Hi Kerrie. Yes, agree that a senior leaders comment are important. That is why throughout this blog I have tried to make balanced comments regarding the election, while providing people the information they need to make a prayerful and informed decision as they prepare to vote. Last weekend we handed out information on each party, prepared by the ACL, to very church member, as well as referring them to www.australiavotes.org,au an excellent web site resource.

Mr. Stokes you said:

"However, when Christians are more concerned about what the world thinks of them than declaring the whole Word of God we really have lost the plot."
It is a telling sign that you choose to interpret Kinneman's book from this angle, and not take into any account the arrogance, cruelty and bias that has been flaunted by certain sectors of christianity. I would consider this a severe lack of discernment and humility.

The words of Joe Aldrich come to mind: " The best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians--when they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths."

The bellicose tone of your comments are indicative of someone who has developed a belief system that elevates their opinion and worldview as true, and perceives any form of criticism or disagreement as an attack on their core identity or value system. A system built around a set of rules,myth and anxiety that holds its sycophants captive by the notion of prophetic righteousness.

I also wonder why Mr. Connor's "Thanks, Peter" would cause you such bewilderment? Has common courtesy become an enigma in organised religion?

Hi Mark,

Thought it was worth saying that your attack on George Bush must mean that you must be of the opinion that Barrack Obama is some sort of evil mastermind. After all:
1. he is extremely pro-abortion (100% voting strike rate).
2. he imposed US troops in a war in Libya that will likely see the Muslim brotherhood come to power in yet another country. This war is not going to result in democracy (unlike Bush's invasions).
3. He will almost double the US debt (9 trillion to approx. 18 trillion) in his first term in the White House.
4. He refuses, actually he has threatened legal action, against Arizona for their 1070 Bill seeking to defend their state against dangerous illegal immigrants from Mexico (I'm talking Cartel with guns).
5. his policies are steeped in socialism - "economic justice" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3U_Ez-xBcmM).
6. He endorses same-sex relationships.

Surely if you profess concern about George Bush's leadership (and you may want to check your facts on "no evidence of nuclear weapons" - http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/10/wikileaks-show-wmd-hunt-continued-in-iraq-with-surprising-results/) then you should consider Obama as an anarchist. He has no love for the Christian faith and is systematically destroying America morally, economically and politically.
But as a pastor, you shouldn't influence your flock. So perhaps it is best you don't know this. After all, we are not concerned with TRUTH.

Hi Cameron.

Actually, I have never promoted Barrack Obama or any political leader. I have just discussed some of the issues at hand. My example of George Bush (who I am not against) was simply to say that just because someone says they are a "Christian" doesn't mean that all that they do or all their policies are automatically right. Obama is now a good example of that!

The comments to this entry are closed.