2010 Australian Federal Election

This is the thread in which to mention any ‘Christian political advertising’ that you’ve come across – whether you see this post before or after this Federal Election.

Is there a Christian way to vote?

Everyone is telling us how we should vote, and various Christian leaders are busy trying to influence us in our direction as well. Are they right to do so?

Newtaste said on another thread:

“Joel A’Belll of Hillsong just posted this video on YouTube. It is his daughter Harmony advising on how to vote tomorrow. I detect a Liberal bias.”

Brings back memories for me of when I was a little girl, wearing a ‘Vote Liberal’ Tshirt – back in 1975. Didn’t have a clue what it was all about. I was much younger than Harmony, but I still remember the election fervour.

Teddy responded to Newtaste:

“Well, another pastor just posted this on my FB……

Ecc 10:2 “A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right,but a fool’s heart to the left.”

🙂 🙂 ”

If Danny Nalliah is true to form, he will be prophecying a Liberal victory as long as Christians vote the way God wants them to – if Labour wins, it will be due to our unfaithfulness. In him we have the extreme Christian right.

In the recent Anabaptist newsletter though, a small survey of readers reveals a distinct left preference towards the Greens, based on intellectual Christian assessments of enviromental and social justice issues. To be honest, I think they are sane, whereas when it comes to Nalliah – I’m not sure! They also have an interview with Jim Longley, who was an Anabaptist Liberal politician from 1986-1996. He served as Minister for Community Services, Aboriginal Affairs and Aging from 1992 until 1995.

Of course we also have Family First, again representing families, but with a clear Christian association.

Haven’t come across much telling me to vote Labour in order to be Christian, but I’m sure its out there somewhere. We are all aware of their historic association with the Catholic church. Of course this election, it is Tony Abbott who is known to be Catholic, and who almost became a Catholic priest. Is it relevant or not that Julia Gillard is an aetheist?

Does your faith affect your vote? Is this something our church leaders should try to influence us in? In the past, my church leaders have refrained from trying to influence us, which I think was appreciated by most people.

******************
RavingPente


109 thoughts on “2010 Australian Federal Election

  1. Another pastor on FB…..

    “Here’s one 4 you come Saturday. Forget the promises, make Jesus the standard! It’s the ONLY way 4 ‘Real Action’ & 2 ‘Move Forward”

  2. One at a time so they don’t get locked in moderation…

    ‎”Never have we had a greater need for Christians in Government, as we now face an atheistic Prime Minister and a radical anti-Christian Green Party” – Fred Nile Vote 1 Christian Democrats”

  3. “Love that Tony Abbott still found time to buy his wife flowers yesterday. That’s honorable, a man who has his priorities right!!”

  4. Oh, these are well worth putting together in one thread! Very funny to read them one after another!

  5. We have had weekly prayer at church for the upcoming election, no parties favoured, both leaders prayed for. But then they are prayed for every week all year rond.

  6. I like that approach. No pressure, guilt, or diminishing of your Christian walk if you don’t share a particular political view.

  7. “Brings back memories for me of when I was a little girl, wearing a ‘Vote Liberal’ Tshirt – back in 1975.”

    Now that was the mother of all elections.

    For all the history buffs out there, take a look at this classic journalistic work…

    Anyone old enough to remember that?

  8. In all seriousness, I don’t think Pastors need to be telling people what the only Christian way to vote is.

  9. In general I would say that most Christian leadership in Australia leans to the right. They are very uncomfortable with leftist views, especially the Evangelical and Pentecostal sides. Even the Catholic church which was long associated with Labor, were in the right wing of the party and caused a split with the lefties.

    Archbishop George Pell, Christ’s most senior representative in Australia launched an extraordinary attack on the Greens this month. He called them watermelons – green on the outside but red on the inside – and said they had Stalinist roots. Aparently they are anti-Christian, opposed to the family and are “sweet camouflaged poison”

    Attacks like these come from leaders in strongly hierarchical churches – the conservative authoritarian wings of the Catholic and Anglican churches, the ACL – self-appointed guardians of Christian values, and some Pentecostal leaders. The “sweet camouflaged poison” remark is telling because often these leaders cant point to exactly what it is thats wrong with the Greens and why they are so dangerous. Aha, but they have camouflaged their vileness – doubly dangerous because they are so sneaky!!!

    What might be more dangerous for these leaders, is that they type of people who are sick of Labor and Liberal policies, and who are turning to other parties, just might be the type who are not impressed by shows of authority and tradition. They might even turn to progressive notions of religion, sexuality, social justice. Then where would we be.

  10. “Archbishop George Pell, Christ’s most senior representative in Australia”. For me, the sooner he’s not the better … but that’s getting off topic.

    Before the last Federal election, Brian Houston said a service that he wouldn’t tell people who to vote for. But he said he would tell people who not to vote for and said not to vote for the Greens. I doubt that his views about the Greens have changed.

  11. In terms of the Greens I think this is one of the policies/measures that a lot of Christians are afraid of (I know there are others, but this is the one I worry about):

    Measure 41. introduce the same accountability and transparency frameworks for government funding to non-government schools as applies to public schools and extend the anti-discrimination measures that apply in public schools to private schools.

    This is understood to mean in that in Christian schools – which all of my kids have gone to, even they don’t actively proselytise, bu don’t hide their faith either – will not be able to hire exclusively Christian staff.

  12. For the record I gays can do what they want, but I don’t support their ‘right’ in a gay relationship to go out and get children.

    But in the same way gays don’t like being told what they can and can’t do, I think a lot of Christians worry about being told who they can and can’t hire in what is plainly a Christian school.

    In the same way until Gillard came out and said she would fund chaplains I was seriously looking at other than my normal choice.

    Oddly enough I think in financial terms I would be better off if Abbott won, but that is not who I will be voting for.

    I guess that makes me a very poor Australian, because I won’t be voting in my own enlightened ‘not in my backyard’ interest.

  13. MN, But do we need Pastors to tell us? Once religious leaders decide that we need their insight and political knowledge to help us, then there is no end to what they feel qualified to pontificate about.

    And many things are just cultural. e.g In some Christian countries, no religious leaders would favor gun ownership, but in the US, the religious right are mostly opposed to gun control and some put it right up there with abortion.

    Another thing that many forget. Once you are publicly opposed to people and attack their politics and get progressively nasty, they probably won’t want to listen to your Christian message.

    Why not make the church a politics free zone? Some people probably get sick of politics and the tensions and divisions it creates in family gatherings and the workplace, only to go to church and get it.

    And in the end, many Pastors have enough trouble understanding the Bible and communicating it, let alone economics and foreign policy.

    A party can stand for Christian morality, but in the end if elected will have to vote on legislation re a whole host of issues.

    Is there a distinctly uncontroversial Christian position on insulation, solar power, the queen, computers in schools?
    I don’t think so.

    And ironically, high profile religious backing of a candidate can sometimes have the reverse effect!

  14. Not suggesting we need pastors to tell us.

    I was just expressing my own view and what I surmise to be the views of a number of others in one particular matter.

    As for church be a politics free zone?

    Not in my lifetime.

    The issue I think is more the slant or perspective put, which is very often partisan, and not issue focussed.

    Our politics should flow from the Gospel and the sort of life Jesus challenged us to live.

    The fact that some pastors may misappropriate that is not a reason to avoid it.

    We do live in this world after all

  15. mn, I see your point and I agree.

    I think two Christians can be equally following God and living according to gospel principles and see an issue differently.

    My problem is when a Pastor speaks from the pulpit. He or she needs to be pretty sure it’s a big enough and clear enough issue to speak I think.

  16. churchman – loved the youtube clip!

    He was around way before the Chaser!

    Off to bed now – looking forward to reading this tomorrow.

  17. I do not think it is right for a pastors to tell people how to vote. I’m still questioning who to vote for, so I’ll be doing my research tonight.

    But I have a huge anger problem toward the Christian Right due to their blind arrogance, greed for money, power and supreme faith; and hate to those that don’t agree with their views on gays, Greens and those that are even slightly Left. I’m considering Liberal, but was put off by Abbott on Monday night’s Q&A.

    I am genuinely concerned with Gillard’s promises and Labor’s pathetic financial spending. But the Liberals will just privatize further social services which we are in dire need of if Australia wants to keep growing.

    They’ve both said all the right answers. They’ve both stabbed the previous party leader in the backs. They’ve both made each other look bad. The Greens are waving their little flags saying, ‘We want in!’.

    The sex party is tugging at the air saying, “Just get laid already! Vote Bi!”, while the Christian party’s (including FFP) are scratching their heads thinking, “What the hell are us Fundies doing in politics?”.

    In the mean time all the Penteland & Charismania churches are emailing snopes-busted emails and polls explaining why all the Christian parties are destined to reign in Australia while the other parties shall burn in Gehenna outside of Jerusalem.

    Danny Nalliah will prophecy through his butt who the Ocoptus will guess be voted as PM. But before anyone knows who gets voted as PM, Nalliah’s butt will be praised for speaking in the first place.

    Who needs the Law to reveal the sinfulness of man when you can just run an election?

  18. I’ve just noted that we’re averaging between 300-600 hits on SP02 a day. I guess other lurkers are keen to see what we’re saying about this election.

  19. On the Christian schools issue, I dont agree with the Green’s position but I can see why they hold it. The Government gives a lot of funding to independent schools – almost as much per child as they give to Government schools. If they accept this funding shouldnt they be subject to the same laws as all other employers, including discrimination?

    You get the situation where the Government is funding Exclusive Brethren schools who only employ Exclusive Brethren teachers. Presumably it would apply to other religions also, so you could have government funded Hare Krishna schools or Scientology schools all exclusive to teachers and students of that particular religion.

    There is an argument that if the taxpayer is funding the school to a large extent then it should follow the basic values of Australian society – one of which is to be open and non-discriminatory. Also the kids should be exposed to different views.

  20. My extreme view is that I don’t think governments should be funding private schools that control their admission, unless they are schools for special needs. There is so much that needs to be raised to a higher standard in the public system, that I can’t see how funding to private schools can be justified. Where I live, I see very prestigious private schools with multiple sports fields and beautiful facilities receiving millions, while the public school down the road had a toilet block that waited years to be repaired. Also, all the good facilities at my local public primary school have been a result of active fund raising by the P&C. Heaven help those public schools in less affluent areas. It is inequitable to fund other schools when public school standards and resources are below par anywhere in Australia. I feel very strongly about this, as I think it is necessary if Australia is to retain any form of egalitarianism in its society.

    I went through the public system, at a school where scripture was banned. That didn’t seem to prevent me and a significant number of others from finding or exercising our faith.

    At the same time, I disagree with any policy that says a religious school shouldn’t be able to select teachers from its own tradition of faith. That’s just silly, and would destroy the freedom to have a school for members of a particular religion.

    So I would disagree with the Greens policy on choice of teachers etc, but I’d support them where they agree with funding to public schooling.

    Anyway, I might vote Green for House of Reps, knowing that it won’t go through, as my protest vote in this election. Then I’ll make my real choice from number 2 onwards.

  21. “Who needs the Law to reveal the sinfulness of man when you can just run an election?” – S&P

    True – and its ironic that at the same time, the fact we actually have elections, and are a democratic country is wonderfully good, and holds back many more dangerous and sinful extremes.

  22. Update CP tweet “My vote is in! Now our nation decides who will win!”

    Sorry to burst your bubble CP, but Romans 13:1-7 says otherwise.

  23. RP I know this about the election but re your education dilemma.

    I understand what you are saying about taxpayer’s funding, but I will bet London to brick that the private money kicked into the private schools is dwarfs that put into the public schools by its constituents.

    And not all private schools are the blue ribbon sort you talk about either – far from it.

    Most people who send their kids to private schools do so because they think the overall package in terms of educational outcomes AND values is easily superior that in public schools.

    There has been a constant drain of students from public schools primarily because of what public schools no longer represent. Simply giving public schools more money is not going to change that.

  24. You may well be right MN. I know I’m in the minority on this. I’d like to see the public system fixed thoroughly so that everyone has equal access to a good education and equal access to quality tertiary education as a result. This would be good for all of Australia. Leaving the system is fine for those who can manage it. Lots can’t. I may well be biased since I went through the public system myself. Also I have family members who have taught in the public system. I believe the family is also vital to the successful teaching of values and the support of the educational process. I’d also like to see chronic overcrowding at my local public high school addressed – it caters for double the number of students it was designed to hold. As do many of the public primary schools. I’m passionate about this I’m afraid. I just think its inequitable to leave the public system as it is, while funding those who are way beyond them in terms of standards.

    I don’t mind so much about the less rich private schools, but to me, the way some of them are funded irrespective of their wealth is an obscenity that both major parties are supportive of.

    Ah well.

  25. I’m sure you are right. I think it would take a lot to change my views in this case. No doubt it reflects the differences in our experiences. Also, there is roughly zero possibility that my view would ever be actually implemented.

  26. Getting back to the election – it is good to see that CP is not telling us how to vote. Perhaps she is guiding as to what we should think about when making our choice. Gillard would be the favourite then, after her lovely turn in the Australian Women’s Weekly, and Abbott is disadvantaged since most women don’t like budgie smugglers. He did try to burn them on TV the other day.

    CP is providing the model for all C3 women to follow. Heaven forbid that we actually reveal the odd brain cell.

  27. The Australian Christian Lobby isn’t telling people how to vote, and they are a lobby group, not a church. They have produced a booklet detailing the answers to a number of questions that might concern Christians. It is on this page – you have to click on the ‘Australia Votes Election Summary Booklet’:

    http://australianchristianlobby.org.au/

    This looks like quite a useful approach to helping many Christians thinking about their vote.

  28. Nowadays it is sometimes difficult to distinguish Left and Right (even under the Howard Government, 40% of tax revenue went to Welfare). Here is a simple explanation but there are lots of variations e.g. Nazi Germany or South American socialism. Overlying this is the idea of democratically elected governments – a surprisingly rare and fairly recent concept if you look at the world.

    Right wingers generally believe that market forces should largely dictate a economy and how goods and services are delivered. This means less government intervention in terms of taxation and laws governing free trade. The market determines prices of goods, salaries and acceptable work conditions. Conservatives encourage people should work hard and be rewarded for their efforts. This principles may even extend to public services like education and healthcare. Welfare is considered the domain of charities and not the government

    Left wingers tend to place more emphasis on the social good then on the means by which wealth is accumulated. They believe that everyone deserves a bare minimum standard of living with provision of essential services and opportunities to realise their potential (as long as it is for the common good). This generally requires greater government involvement to redistribute wealth.

    There are weaknesses in both. My saying is that capitalism breeds greed and socialism breeds laziness. It is also possible for corrupt individuals to take advantage of either system. This leads to all sorts of excesses such as exploiting or polluting the natural world we live in or suppressing freedom of speech.

    The Bible tells us differently. We should be good stewards of what we have been given. We ought to work hard and yet be generous. We should share our gifts and talents (and the fruits that are born from them). We should consider our neighbours and future generations who inherit this world. We ought not to lord over others and be fair with our employees. We ought to work as faithful servants to our overseers. We ought to pray for our leaders and be salt of this earth. We should aim to win people over with our actions and words and not through violence or deceit. We should have a heart for those who are poor rather than hoard wealth. And finally we should live knowing that we cannot create an paradise (economic or otherwise) on earth.

  29. RP: “CP is providing the model for all C3 women to follow. Heaven forbid that we actually reveal the odd brain cell.”

    If she like’s Abbott, she may burn her own her only odd brain cell.

  30. Good post RE! (BTW, your profile pic has been up for ages for you to use! I take it you didn’t like it?)

    RP: “…Christians thinking about their vote.”

    That’s something I don’t here often! 😀

  31. RE: “And finally we should live knowing that we cannot create an paradise (economic or otherwise) on earth.”

    I struggle with this on a major scale, because as a Christian I take it personally that we who have been left in charge are (not so slowly anymore) trashing God’s creation.

    Agree your comments about right and left tendencies with the exception that the basis of capitalism as experienced in our lifetimes is totally predicated on their being no limits to growth. And plainly there is.

    My forlorn hope is that governments will look 20 years hence, not to the three year electoral cycle.

    Hence my frustration and verging on rage at times at how our leaders do not lead, and the population at large – I am this cynical – are self serving, greedy, blame shifting, short sighted, avoidant of personal and communal responsibility, with precious little moral compass.

  32. Apart from Labor’s incompetence at implementing which we have seen on some fronts in the last couple of years, we have seen crippling tendencies within our nation not to pay the piper when it is due and prudent. This has been evident in the two speed economy issues and the mining tax, and the issue about climate change or you’re not a believer in the latter – the incontrovertible destruction of environment for a host of other reasons. Every time one of God’s creations becomes extinct I wonder what He thinks about us and what we have done.

    There has been an emerging group of voters in the last few years which I think both political parties have encouraged, but who they are petrified of – not the swinging voters, but the floaters – effectively whose vote is for sale.

    The Greens I guess are also a reflection of some of the concerns I have, even though I don’t think I could vote for them.

    We live in interesting times.

  33. In a totalitarian regime we suffer from the failings of a despot. In a democracy with suffer from the failings of the people. Sin pervades everything. Your kingdom come your will be done.

  34. We live in no more interesting times than during Persian or Roman rule. The mighty earthly kingdoms for which some of us have the privilege of living in will also fall under God’s curse.

  35. CP tweets “Election Day in Oz! Will we vote in a flaming redhead or a beach bod??! Mmmm -”

    Why did we ever give the women the vote!?

  36. Okay, before the women tear into me, let me first say that the women on this site I consider my intellectual superiors.

    So, I’ll put it to you women. Don’t you think there is a problem with the way many women vote?

    I know CP was probably joking, but in fact there are so many women who literally vote on the basis of the two people and who seems the most likeable or personable, or some other intuitive factor. Whether it’s clothes, thin lips, smile, how they glance at their wife etc.

    Scary.

  37. mn, I have the same hope as you. People of all different theologies may attack this line of thinking, but I think we should live with the hope that we can work to make the planet free of disease, pollution, wars and poverty.

    I clearly remember some preachers saying we didn’t have to worry about the environment because soon there would be a new Earth etc. – 30 years ago!!

  38. Ravingpente, I am actually on the same page as you when it comes to public schools. I went to public school (actually a pretty bad one) but there were still good teachers and some good kids. Terrible buildings that needed fixing, while the local grammar school was getting govt money.

    I think that people feel that the public schools are too bad for their kids, or their kids are too good for the public schools, they should have every right to build a school and employ their own schools. But then they should pay for it.

    And one reason the public schools are getting progressively worse is that lots of the good kids from good families leave the system.

    And I’m ever more radical as a Christian in that I don’t think it’s the end of the world if there are no chaplains, no Re classes, no prayers, and no Creation Science taught.

    Teaching of the bible, praying can be done better at home or at church.

  39. Some of us believe that by obeying God, we can change the world. The truth is that we are called to obey God. He changes the world. By that principle, we are called to be good stewards but we can’t actually save the environment. But the reverse argument is not true. Just because we can’t save the environment doesn’t mean we stop being good stewards. We are called to be faithful not for any other purpose.

  40. Yes.

    And if one believes Scripture we are going to trash the place anyway, God will finish the job as part of His judgement of us, and start again.

  41. CM said “And I’m ever more radical as a Christian in that I don’t think it’s the end of the world if there are no chaplains, no Re classes, no prayers, and no Creation Science taught.”

    It certainly wasn’t the end of the world when Jesus was crucified nor when the early church was persecuted. The message has always been the same, “And he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.”

  42. There is so much on this thread that we could comment on. Maybe we should put some related posts in the future.

    I am very grateful that we live in a democracy. My own views are a mixture of right and left. At least we can lobby in our country and not be thrown in jail for raising issues with the government.

    I agree with RE’s comments about both right and left. Both have good and bad concepts in practice. When right wing policies are predicated on enlightened self interest, I wonder how many employers are enlightened enough for that to work. I’ve worked for some doozies! (Having worked in the development sector, especially.)

    There has to be a balance. Hopefully democracy helps prevent too many imbalances occurring. I think Howard lost the last election because he was veering too far to the right in his policies. He started alienating the middle class big time. Even lifetime liberal voters thought he was too extreme. On the other hand, labour seems to favour catering to the big boys, whether big business or big unions, and pretty much not bother with SME’s, yet the SME’s provide the most employment. eg: They dealt with the big miners re the mining tax, but the minnows got shoved aside. It does make one very cynical.

    Then the greens have some great ideological stances in some areas, in my view, but some seriously scary views in others. You kind of think some of them don’t care much about people; they seem to not care about the serious sacrifices some would have to make if their policies were enacted.

    ************

    I agree with you MN when you say:

    “as a Christian I take it personally that we who have been left in charge are (not so slowly anymore) trashing God’s creation”

    and

    “My forlorn hope is that governments will look 20 years hence, not to the three year electoral cycle.”

    What would that look like, I wonder?

    I have never been in a church service that has discussed our stewardship of creation, despite sitting in many, many on the topic of financial stewardship. Yet that concept began right back in Genesis and is more relevant than ever today. Society at large is doing more to address this than churches at large seem to be. The kids in my local area have all learnt about environmental responsibility at school over the years; it even starts in pre-school. It’s possible that when this generation grows up, there will be a greater emphasis on this kind of stewardship, but not thanks to the churches – thanks to the concern within the education system and wider community. So there is hope there – God will use all avenues, not just the churches.

    “Hence my frustration and verging on rage at times at how our leaders do not lead, and the population at large – I am this cynical – are self serving, greedy, blame shifting, short sighted, avoidant of personal and communal responsibility, with precious little moral compass.” – MN

    Understandable. Yet I see so much community service in my area. Local clubs like the Rotary Club do a lot. They are volunteers and have no kingdoms to build. Others who volunteer in schools, or to co-ordinate community functions. There are people doing good things out there. Even enlightened workplaces, who for whatever reason – PR or genuine concern – let their employees take days off to support charitable events. And throughout history, we have had reformers with great conviction make lasting changes in our society. God uses these people for the good of all. He is still working in and through us in the wider community and in the workplace, wherever we are.

  43. Churchman – its nice to know you share the same view. I am also with you completely when you say:

    “And I’m ever more radical as a Christian in that I don’t think it’s the end of the world if there are no chaplains, no Re classes, no prayers, and no Creation Science taught.”

    I guess its partly my experience in a school that didn’t have any of those that have influenced me. I won’t elaborate here, but I think it was good. At the same time, I’m certainly not against having scripture taught at school, or chaplains – hopefully if they are there as counsellors, they will also have some appropriate tertiary qualification in that area on top of their chaplain qualification.

    **************

    I don’t know your background, but I am only guessing re women that perhaps you’ve just not run into the kind of woman that I know a lot of for some reason. There are occasional female circles that I feel very out of place in and don’t relate to except in a polite kind of way. On the other hand, I often mix with many women who enjoy thinking about a variety of subjects. I enjoy discussing clothes, shops, kids and cooking etc with them – all the traditionally female roles covered there – but these women also love giving their views on politics, religion, the bible, the economy, or any other issue. You’d be amazed at some of the mums at my local school – I was chatting with one the other day who turned out to be a materials scientist for example. With education and with women working these days, many have had exposure to many things that have traditionally concerned men, and can actively contribute and converse about them. So it’s just a matter of whether you get to bump into them or not. Might depend on your work environment as much as past church environments.

  44. Chaplains are there mostly to form relationships and give an ear, some to talk that doesn’t have a vested interest.

    Psych’s are importance but scare people and come with their own baggage including the medicalisation of problems that are not medical.

  45. Well chaplains in that sort of a role sound like a good thing to have. I hear what you say about psychs. I think I’m a little wary as a result of some church extremes. But if what you say is the way it is done, then that could be very helpful.

  46. Eek! Maybe a hung parliament! Going to be a while before they sort all this out.

    The Chaser were right.

  47. “I reckon Julie Bishop is a stateswoman… Loving listening to her honour her leadership & team” #loyaltyisattractive

  48. “And if one believes Scripture we are going to trash the place anyway, God will finish the job as part of His judgement of us, and start again.”

    Trouble is, nobody knows when that will take place if it will.
    Let’s assume for arguments sake that in 2032 it’s all destroyed and there’s a new earth. Some of us will be pensioners, and some of us will have died of natural causes. So it would have been nice to have a beautiful earth with nice air and rivers and greenery until then.

    In fact, even if God appeared to me in a vision and told me that everything would be destroyed in 2020, I’d still like to keep the place clean and tidy until then.

    In the end I’d rather have clean rivers and beaches for my kids to swim in than another mega church building.

  49. Like I said rp most women I have admired a smarter than me.
    On average, I think women are smarter than men too.

    But I’m still continually amazed at how many intelligent knowledgeable women will in the end vote or make a decision based on feelings about smiles and dress sense.

    One of the smartest women I know decided not to vote for someone in the end because of the thickness of their lips…! Seriously.

    Okay, forget it! 🙂

  50. Teddy, I can’t argue with Romans 13:1. But, I find it really hard to believe that the outcome of this election will be determined by God. Seems to be what 13:1 says though. I just don’t understand it.

  51. Churchman says “But, I find it really hard to believe that the outcome of this election will be determined by God”

    Like that the Israelites could succeed over the rulers of Canaan. Or that Christ’s church would flourish under Caesar’s empire?

  52. Yeah, you’re right.

    I was expressing my lack of faith that every leader in the world is ordained by God.

    I know I don’t have much biblical ground for my opinion.
    I understand that God has intervened in history and continues to do so, but I struggle to believe that every Prime Minister, every Premier, every city alderman is ordained by God as Romans 13:1 appears to suggest.

    But, there are a lot of things that are true that I don’t understand yet.
    A hung parliament with the Greens being able decide legislation is an example of a situation that I wonder about.

  53. We’ve got mail……

    “My dominion is an everlasting dominion, and my kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of AUSTRALIA are accounted as nothing. I do according to my will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of AUSTRALIA. No one can ward off my hand or say to me, ‘What have You done?’ (Dan. 4:35). The PRIME MINISTER’S heart is a stream of water in my hand; I turn it wherever I will (Prov. 21:1). Let every AUSTRALIAN be subject to the PRIME MINISTER. For there is no authority except from me, and those that exist have been instituted by me. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what I have appointed” (Rom. 13:1-2)…..GOD 🙂

  54. Please understand, that I am not trying to argue with anyone. It’s actually a plea for help in understanding.

    Also, a question re the topic “Is there a Christian way to vote?”

    The huge question for me is, what if you believe a candidate is good on the basis for all the moral issues for which you see there is a clear biblical answer, but disagree on everything else.

    (I have friends who I think have the social issues down perfectly, but I wouldn’t trust them to organize a trip to the zoo, let alone a country.)
    Is it wrong to vote for a “bad” competent person in the same way you might let an idol worshiping womanizing doctor perform an operation on you?

    There have been less than morally perfect leaders in the past who are now considered great Prime Ministers or Presidents.

  55. Teddy, good post. To which I biblically have no reply at the moment.
    So why do I have so much trouble believing that?

  56. “For there is no authority except from me, and those that exist have been instituted by me. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what I have appointed” (Rom. 13:1-2)”

    But Christians in the US rebelled against the King of England and most claim the birth of their country as God inspired. (The King and the British authorities did not.)

    And some countries have a few coups every couple of months or years. Is the Calvinist argument that those cases are still ordained by God and are His judgement upon the land?

    If so, I have to admit that Calvinists have more faith in the Word of God and God’s ways than I do.

  57. Anyone ((prob means you TEddy) know a good Calvinist/reformed website with a forum where you can ask lots of questions? I’m taking up too much space here.

  58. Yes, it’s bit hard kicking “against the pricks” even for Calvinists! 🙂 I have a visual picture of a very big God on His throne and we, as dearly beloved little children, trying to kick His ankles because we don’t like His sovereign decrees. I remember myself and my kids doing that with Dad!

    What’s the opposite argument? He’s not in control?

  59. Gosh, churchman. I don’t know any women who vote based on looks. Not knowingly, anyhow. Looks do influence people or advertising wouldn’t need so many beautiful people.

    And I wouldn’t assume I am more intelligent than you, either! Besides, we seem to come to similar conclusions on lots of things. Maybe we are both either equally smart, or equally dumb. Plus – give me wisdom over intelligence any day. You can also be intelligent but foolish, or not-so-bright, but wise in certain ways.

    To be honest, I don’t really believe even CP votes based on looks, no matter what she portrays. I think her Twitter comments were just trying to keep things light and bubbly, and in that case were trying to acknowledge the election without influencing any votes by talking about anything political.

    I find it difficult to believe she really is the way she comes across on youtube.

    Anyway, there you go. I could be wrong!

  60. Well, right now, it seems God can’t make up His mind.

    I would like to start a new post on Romans 13:1-2. There are a lot of issues there.

  61. “(I have friends who I think have the social issues down perfectly, but I wouldn’t trust them to organize a trip to the zoo, let alone a country.)” – churchman

    Ha! Exactly! I think that was a big dilemma for a lot of people in NSW this election. This is very much just my opinion, but I think people had high hopes when Rudd was first voted in, including people who might not have voted Labour before. Howard had alienated a lot of people by going too far right, and Rudd convinced people that Labour might not go too far left, and might fix some of the things the Liberals were stuffing up.

    Lots of people felt that didn’t happen. We saw deaths as a result of the insulation scheme; the $900 handouts were controversial; the environment seemed to make no progress etc etc. People in NSW were already despairing at hospitals, schools, and public transport, and multiple Labour premiers. Then Rudd gets knifed in the back by faceless men. Could people even trust whether they were voting for the team they thought they were? And Gillard kept trying to be authentic during the election campaign, but was sprung every time.

    So a lot of people might have liked to vote Labour, but just felt they couldn’t trust them to implement things successfully, particularly in NSW.

    So your statement might relate well to a lot of those people.

    Apparently we saw the highest informal vote ever this time around, too.

    For me, as a Christian, I wanted both policies that would work for good, and someone whom I could trust to implement them. For me, there was no clear choice. In the end I voted Greens as a protest in the House of Reps, but gave my next vote to the Liberals, because I didn’t trust Labour to deliver. (Where I live, the Liberal will always win.) In the Senate I voted Liberal, because of the dangers of a hung parliament. I thought a stable government was the most important outcome, regardless of which major party won. This is going to herald a very difficult time I think. I wouldn’t have been upset if Labour won with a clear majority because even though I think they would likely have continued not to deliver, at least at the next election their performance would have been clearer. It would have been good to have been proved wrong, too. But this current situation could be very uncomfortable. Sorry if I have become too politically opinionated.

  62. CM said “but I struggle to believe that every Prime Minister, every Premier, every city alderman is ordained by God ”

    But a succession of Caesars were….

    Looking at Biblical history, leaders who were chosen by God were not necessarily the most honourable or most faithful e.g. Saul. Even the Great King David was fallible. Some of them were not even His followers i.e. Pharoah, King Cyrus. Counter-intuitively, God hardened Pharaoh’s so that his people would eventually be set free. He uses events to show His ultimate glory so that people have their trust in Hm. We should not think his purposes are to create a utopian community on this Earth. His church is not an institution, state or country but made up of His people all around the world. The only person that rightly sits on the throne is God himself.

    Revelations prophecies that things will get far worse then they are now. Yet in the midst of the turmoil and anarchy, his ultimate purpose will be fulfilled.

  63. RP said “For me, there was no clear choice. ”

    I felt the same way but it’s nice to have a choice? Huh?

    Perhaps God revealing to us the imperfection of man and his institutions? May be to show that even the most noble of all political systems – democracy, that it is impossible to offer a perfect outcome. Maybe so that we trust in His Sovereignty and yearn for his Kingship. That when his Kingdom comes we don’t need to choose our leader every few years because we already have the perfect, eternal one.

  64. Light and bubbly? Yes, as long as “she who must be obeyed” gets her own way. Wish some deacons could come on and blog, that WOULD be ineresting. Especially the handbag carrying ones…..

  65. Saw last night a picture of tony Abbott with boxing gloves and budgie smugglers on vs Gillard in a man’s body with boxing gloves. The caption was:

    “Bloodnut vs Wingnut” 😀

  66. “I felt the same way but it’s nice to have a choice? Huh?” – RE

    Absolutely. We are very, very blessed here.

    “Perhaps God revealing to us the imperfection of man and his institutions? May be to show that even the most noble of all political systems – democracy, that it is impossible to offer a perfect outcome. Maybe so that we trust in His Sovereignty and yearn for his Kingship. That when his Kingdom comes we don’t need to choose our leader every few years because we already have the perfect, eternal one.” – RE

    Yes, that’s probably true.

    I think its important not to be discouraged. After all, God does have a long term plan with all of this.

  67. Hmm, that is interesting Teddy. The light and bubbly persona on youtube etc looks like a facade to me. Doesn’t tell me much about the real person.

  68. RP exhorts “I think its important not to be discouraged. After all, God does have a long term plan with all of this.”

    Consider the context of the early church when the Book of Revelations was written.

    The mistake we make in the comfort of the West is that heaven is near or that God’s favour is particularly upon us. We take our luxuries to be the approval of God.

    In the rest of the world, Christians daily face hunger, sword and famine. Their hearts are where true treasure lays.

  69. “The mistake we make in the comfort of the West is that heaven is near or that God’s favour is particularly upon us. We take our luxuries to be the approval of God.” – RE

    This is one of the major issues that many of us have with prosperity doctrine. One of the awful things about it is that some of its most extreme and abusive forms are appearing in the developing world.

    It is a mistake to equate material prosperity with God’s favour or approval. Though trying to obtain God’s approval is one stick/carrot that religious groups have always used to manipulate people into following their agendas.

  70. What is the basis for the confidence that our modern empires will outlast the kingdoms mentioned in Daniel’s vision? Even now we marvel at the great military, engineering and social feats of the Ancient Romans but this was largely forgotten when Europe was plunged back into the dark ages for several more centuries.

    The history of the industrialised and technological world is rather brief in the context of God’s creation. Do people think it will reign forever?

  71. I think the industrial/techno world will last for a long time. It has to – we cant survive now without the technological advances in food production, if we lose those we wont be able to feed people and will plunge back into severe and constant war. We wont be able to manage anything without faster and better computers – we no longer know how.

    The future is probably more technology, more industrialisation and more control with less privacy and less individuality.

    Empires will change though – the US empire will fall and the focus will move to China and India.

  72. I see this election result as positive – whoever forms government will have to do so with the agreement of the independents or Greens. So now, where both major parties had a tacit agreement not to do anything about the environment – they might be forced to do something. Where they had an agreement not to mention the war, they might now have to when Andrew Wilkie is a member of Parliament.

    These concerns were always there in the public, but were drowned out by the majority. The major parties appealed to the lowest common denominator with their “turn back the boats” policies, now because of the delicate balance they will have to take into account other views.

  73. Wazza2,

    What will we do with Peak Oil. This will be followed by Peak Coal and Peak Uranium. Multiply this by our ever expanding population. The USA, China and India all face the same issues.

    Our modern society has been forged on cheap, plentiful energy. Our industrialised food production is predicate on it.

    Currently there is no technology available that will provide us with the same level of energy use that our world consumes.

  74. RP says “is one stick/carrot that religious groups have always used to manipulate people”

    People will follow anyone who promises them wealth, peace, security or power. Nothing specifically wrong with this until it becomes one’s chief aim.

  75. “What will we do with Peak Oil…?”

    We will buy energy stocks. Seriously, look at where all the takeovers are happening – energy or materials stocks, where often Chinese or Indian companies are understandably taking an interest, preparing for their future. Same can easily happen with farm land.

    Yes, this election result is interesting. We have some Greens but we also have 3 independents who seem to represent the Rural sector, and sometimes their interests (short term at least) conflict with those of the Greens.

    I am not a climate change skeptic, so I really hope that more is done regarding reducing our emissions, plus supporting innovations in alternative energy. There are some very interesting new developments in solar energy that use molten salt. Also, hydrothermal power could offer sustainable energy.

    If you like conspiracy theories, just Google the solar power industry, and you’ll find a surprising number of deaths among people who may have posed a threat to the dominant power generators.

    ************

    Re the death of civilizations – didn’t many of them become completely decadent as a prelude to their fall? Both Rome and Greece fit that pattern. I have wondered this for some time about the US, due to its extremes, where the poor seem left to fend for themselves in the gutter while the rich are so unregulated that cowboys have a field day. Got to be a balance there somewhere, or the tensions will end the society at some stage.

  76. Looks like Labour will be the government now, with the Green. So as you say wazza, perhaps we’ll see some environmental issues addressed more effectively. I’d be happy about that. I’m still concerned about the mining minnows though, because I’d hate to see a new tax that makes new ventures unviable; it could devastate future mine prospects, and the impact might not be understood for a few years, they take so long to get up. And its the entrepreneurial mentality that makes those things happen, so it needs to work in a such a way that that will still happen. Good thing I don’t have to work it all out.

  77. There is only a limit to which renewables can meet current demand. Western economies have rapidly outgrown the world’s capacity to provide a sustainable source of energy.

    The era of decadence probably started soon after the 2nd World War as Europe and the US began to prosper leaving most of the world behind.

  78. And the most accurate prophet this election:

    Sky News said that Don Burke was the first commentator to quite seriously predict a hung parliament – on May 20. He mentioned the rise of the Greens, that the gloss was beginning to come off Julia Gillard, and basically the end result.

    Not bad for a gardening expert!

  79. Teddy, thanks, I bookmarked those and will look at them.
    I am familiar with John Piper (and wonder how he is going during his time off.) I was interested with a youtube clip of his “Prayer causes things to happen” … that wouldn’t happen if you did not pray”. So I need to understand more of what reformed people like him say. Thanks for taking the time to provide the links.

    Wazza, India and China being stronger than the US scares me.

    Raving Evangelical and Raving Pentecostal – thanks for the food for thought. Are you related? And do Evangelicals rave differently than pentecostals?

  80. I chose the handle RavingPente both for its irony and for the way it would label me and cause some people to be prejudiced about me (both for and against).

    I am Pentecostal and was desperately ‘raving’ on about stuff – just not the same stuff you expect a ‘raving Pente’ to carry on about. But there was a time when I was more of a ‘raving Pente’ in the original sense.

    These days I don’t really regard myself as Pentecostal in that it still identifies me with a movement and I am not really a part of any movement any more. But I still believe in the charismatic gifts practiced wisely today.

    All my churches have also been evangelical, but I have no relationship that I am aware of with Raving Evangelical.

    Sometimes I wonder if I should change my name, but everyone knows me by it now, so its staying.

  81. RP said “its the entrepreneurial mentality that makes those things happen,”

    Another way of looking at this is looking at the ecological footprint of an average Westerner. 40% of the world’s energy is consumed by 10% of the population. The energy mainly drives the mining, manufacturing, transport and agricultural sector. Private cars alone accounts for 25 % of the oil consumed.

    It is said that the energy to feed our modern lifestyles is equivalent to having 30 human slaves working for each every one of us. These slaves make and bring all the goods into our houses, food for our table and allow us to commute freely and without restriction.

    Can we actually sustain this modern economy let alone all the issues of equity to our fellow brothers and sisters in this world (not to mention our children and children’s children).

  82. Yes well one on of the things about this country that really annoys me is that being powered by renewables for most if not all our power needs is more than feasible, except for the vested interests of the coal, oil and gas industries.

    The reality is we are maintaining our dependence on these things to profit a few multinationals. It is these sorts of things that equate to our pollies needing a rocket up their derrieres, because in truth they are the ones holding our country back.

  83. mn, that’s a good call. I recently became more aware in recent weeks that a major reason that hemp was demonised by industry in the USA earlier last century and outlawed by legislators was that it presented major competition to the oil industry. Hemp grows very quickly and can be converted into fuel by extracting the oil. Diesel vehicles can run on hemp oil.

    Industry was spooked by the competition so they rolled out a huge campaign to link hemp with marijuana when, in actual fact, hemp contains very little of the drug component found in marijuana. Then the legislators, who were in cahoots with industry, banned it. Subsequently, it is still banned in the USA and it can only be grown in Australia under licence from the government.

    Hemp is also a nutritious food that supplies many of the bodies needs.

    Just imagine, we could be growing all our own fuel locally. There would be reduced need to drill for oil and there would be reduced occurrences of oil spills.

  84. Hmmmm….growing our own fuel locally

    “Body waste could be liquid gold”, say scientists from: NewsCore August 19, 2010 9:36PM

    Going to the bathroom could one day be profitable, a research team in Scotland that is studying urine for its potential to create low-cost energy said.
    Doctors at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh were given a £130,000 ($225,000) grant to develop a system that offers an alternative to flammable hydrogen or toxic methanol.

    The Carbamide Power System, which runs on urine component urea, offers a non-toxic, low-cost, easily transportable fuel alternative.

    Research leader Dr Shanwen Tao hopes that in the future, the new system will help power submarines and generate electricity in isolated or remote areas such as deserts and islands.

    “Growing up in rural eastern China, I was aware of the use of urea as an agricultural fertilizer. When I became a chemist and was looking at fuel cell development, I thought of using it in the process,” Dr Tao said.

    He added, “We are only at prototype stage at present, but if this renewable material can be used as a commercially viable and environmentally friendly energy source, then we will be absolutely delighted, and many people around the world will benefit”

    Recycling political promises? 🙂

  85. Biofuels are a waste of agricultural land and we just don’t make enough biogas to feed our energy appetites. The fact is that renewables will only ever be able to supply a fraction of our world energy needs. Unless we can harness energy sources more dense than fossil fuels (i.e. fusion) we have to accept an increase in energy prices and reduction in our standard of living. In one hundred years, the ‘glory’ days will be over.

  86. Raving Evangelical, this is such a predictably contradictory response from you. You really do bore me to tears. You think that you have all the answers.

    The bottom line is this. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If mankind wants to use land to supply its needs with food and biofuel, it can. In spite of the current population of 6.6 billion, there is still enough land on the planet to do this (although I think that there are too many people on the planet).

    Nuclear energy is a Frankenstein method of powering the world. It is NOT what God intended. Right now, diplomats are evacuating out of Moscow because the fires in Russia are stirring up radioactive waste from the Chernobyl disaster.

  87. I said fusion (which is non-polluting), not fission. I don’t believe there is actually an energy policy in the Bible so whatever anyone says about what God intended is a bit speculative.

    As far as overpopulation being our major issue, Bangladesh uses less energy than the whole of Australia despite having 80 times the population.

  88. I guess this just shows that even when it comes to the environment, we will see the full spectrum of views amongst Christians.

    I am more hopeful about mankind’s future overall, because even though there are dark times, it seems that somehow, God always brings mankind out of them, even if it takes centuries. Until the final days, He will keep on working through people to bring hope out of hopelessness. Of course someone has to pay a price. Yet people are willing to do so.

    The new manner of producing solar power using molten salt is apparently immensely more efficient than current solar technology. My husband was keen to install one of these new systems in our own home, but the technology wasn’t quite there yet. (We did install ordinary solar in the end, and when that wears out, the new technology will probably be immensely improved.)

    I do agree that our lifestyles will ultimately need to be significantly adjusted to cope with the energy crisis. This is a good thing. People will find ways to make money from it like they do with everything.

    Perhaps even the developing world will benefit from the carbon credit system. I saw a TV show on this, but can’t remember how it was going to work.

    I’d just like to see governments supporting the development of alternative energy sources rather than catering to the big vested interests. What has happened to the solar industry in Australia is just awful – technology was developed here, at our own University of New South Wales, that created more efficent solar cell technology. Our government wouldn’t back it. So the PHD student went back to China, and is now the head of a multi-billion $ business there, making Suntech solar panels using that same technology. Selling them back to Australia. Australia had a chance and failed to back it. Then, Gillard’s government even stopped the (probably fairly modest) funding of the proven successful lab at UNSW where the research came from! And a Labour government too – meant to be more environmentally aware than the Libs. Very disappointing. The University is doing all it can to keep the lab running. I wonder how many other stories like that are out there?

  89. “As far as overpopulation being our major issue, Bangladesh uses less energy than the whole of Australia despite having 80 times the population.” – RE

    Yes, I think that overpopulation while an issue in some parts of the world, is not the cause of the problem, and reduced population is probably not the solution. More efficient use of what we have is no doubt possible. The Western world will have to aid the developing world in this though, and there is such immense potential for corruption in the process.

  90. I remember saying somewhere that there will be a rise in independent and green votes because of no one liking the choices they have to make between Labour and Liberal. I thought it would be common sense.

    I was pretty excited to hear that came to be the case. 🙂

  91. 2:30pm on 7 September – and Labour and Liberal have 74 seats each. Two independents have yet to decide.

    I’d hate to be in their shoes. The pressure must be unbelievable!

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