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'Mail' Newspaper Articles

Focal Point (for publishing—21/08/07)

Election Promises to Fit Values

Last week thousands of Christians heard John Howard and Kevin Rudd speak to them via video link. They met in collective centers and churches to hear what each politician had to say about various policies of particular interest to them. A lot has been made of both leaders pandering to the ‘Evangelical’ Church demographic. Some even say that it is pork barreling to an influential group in the voter mass. Both claim to be as in tune with Christian values as the other. Whatever is said and thought, Christians have a right to have their politicians represent them on the likes of family values, security of our nation and educational freedom to express Christian values in Christian schools without cuts in funding. They also want politicians to represent them in matters of the eradication of global poverty and more close to home, Indigenous poverty. They want their Christian values of justice and fair play to be part of a future Australia and they want Australia to take part in maintaining the fight against the world trade of slavery. World Vision estimates that each year there are 2.4 million people trafficked in the world of whom 1.2 million are children. This is particularly ironic seeing that it the two hundredth anniversary of the abolition of slavery this year. In fact there are more slaves in the world today than there were two hundred years ago. World Vision’s ‘Stop the Traffik’ program is being picked up by Australian churches with enthusiasm as is their ‘Forty Hour Famine’ program which is designed to assist the world’s poor. At least what we see here is a good number of people who happen to have the right to vote and are exercising that right. It’s often only at election times that influence can be exerted in this way when politicians are listening. Sadly at non-election times an individual politician can introduce a bill to serve a minority lobby and if the numbers are there in sympathy, the bill is passed. This is therefore not the will of the majority being catered for, but a small noisy minority. These bills can result in an insidious and subtle eroding of many of our societal values. Yes, there are radical Christians who believe they have a right to rule and have their issues valued, and will fight at all costs even to the detriment of the powerless. Some will fight the changes occurring in Australia simply because of unfounded and ignorant fears. Some are way to the right and others to the left. But what group of Australians doesn’t have that radical fringe. Christians should, however, let Jesus continue to ‘speak’ on these issues for He is the model. What would He do here? What stand would He take on this or another issue? What would His stand be on poverty, justice, affluence and racial and gender issues. In the light of this model let us think through what values we want to hold dear and use all the proper channels for bringing in change or maintaining what we have.

Graeme Dawson 
Co-ordinator Focal Point & Valley Care Counsellor & Manager
Inter-Church Action 
0409 517273.





 

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