God, religion and politics

Why you might consider voting for a Christian party this election

I am often asked, “should Christians consider voting for a Christian party? Why should a Christian and/or churchgoer consider a Christian party for their vote? As a committed Christian and professional politician, I can attest to the fact that if there is anything that will spark a spontaneous debate, if not an outright argument, it is a discussion involving politics and the church – even amongst believers.

So as followers of Christ, what should be our attitude and our involvement with politics?

Can we have political views outside the considerations of our Christian faith? In my view the answer is no, we cannot. As a Christian, everything I think (thought), say (word) or do (deed) is ‘Christian’ inspired.

The so-called ‘free’ Churches like Baptists, Methodist, and Charismatic, hold that the separation of Church and State is an absolute. In practice, this separation already exists in Australia in that we do not have a governing church authority that decides how we vote.

This does not mean that we have to separate our faith and beliefs from politics. Christian political parties exist all around the world. In our case, the Christian Democratic Party fully supports the separation of Church and State, which means we oppose the State ever establishing a “State Church” or interfering with the personal and religious freedoms/conscience of its citizens. The majority of churches hold strongly to this position and is a key distinctive of most protestant denominations.

Conversely, separation of religion and state is not an option for Muslims. Sharia (Law) is an all-encompassing program for every aspect of life, including the governance of the State. Muslims have no choice but to reject secularism for it excludes the law of Allah. That said, even the Muslim world is sharply divided on what the relationship should be between the tenets of Islam and the laws of governments.

As secularism grows, atheists and agnostics are trying to expand and diversify their ranks. More people than ever before are identifying as atheist, agnostic, or otherwise nonreligious, with potentially world-changing effects. If the world is at a religious precipice, then we’ve been moving slowly toward it for decades. A lack of religious affiliation has profound effects on how people think about death, how they teach their kids, and even how they vote.

There have long been predictions that religion would fade from relevancy as the world modernises, but all the recent surveys are finding that it’s happening startlingly fast. France will have a majority secular population soon and so will the Netherlands and New Zealand whilst the United Kingdom and Australia will soon lose Christian majorities. Religion is rapidly becoming less important than it has ever been – even to people who live in countries where faith has affected everything from rulers, to borders, to architecture.

Australia is a nation that was built on Judeo-Christian values. Indeed, the separation of church and state is a principle that is deeply rooted in Australia’s Judeo-Christian heritage; that principle is also biblical. That the church must be separate from the state does not preclude the existence of political organisations that advocate for the preservation of Judeo-Christian values in our laws, culture and way of life.

Whilst believers throughout the ages have lived, and even flourished, under antagonistic, repressive, pagan governments which was especially true of the first-century believers who, under merciless political regimes, sustained their faith under immense cultural stress, so most Christian political parties are run by Christians with Christian candidates. The CDP aims to glorify God through politics by standing candidates of faith.

As Christians, it is imperative that when we vote we do so according to our biblical beliefs. We must grasp the fact that our government cannot save us. Only God can. The church continues to make a mistake if it thinks it is the job of secular politicians to defend, to advance, and to guard biblical truths and Christian values.

Where we have a voice and can elect our leaders, we should exercise that right by voting for those whose views most closely parallel our Bible-based beliefs.

Christian political parties fill a void in our political system left by the major parties and provide a potent counter-balance to other secular-based political parties that take an openly hostile stance to our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage. The existence of similar groups around the world demonstrates that Christian political parties are not radical, far-right parties, but a legitimate political force that have an important role to play in political debate that shape a nation’s future.

Today, there are many politicians and even political parties such as the Greens that campaign hard to suppress our Christian values, heritage, and traditions. Christian political parties proudly and shamelessly stand firm against those who campaign against Christianity, Christian values, religious freedom and free speech.

If voters believe in preserving what remains of our Christian heritage and strengthening traditional family values then it is imperative that all Australians do the right thing on the 2 July 2016 and vote for a Christian-based party.