Imagine having to listen to Donald Trump’s electioneering for 18 months.
If you’re in America, that’s how long his election campaign for President will be, come the November election (it’s ‘Yuuuuge!’).
Thankfully Australian election campaigns are much shorter. (It’ll be nice having my FB feed and letterbox back to normal!)
But throughout the recent election campaigns, I noticed the following 6 issues didn’t get much, if any, airtime.
Which is a shame, because we’d be better off if they were discussed:
1) It’s Impossible To Keep Religion Out of Politics
Because all morality is faith-based.
Should we have same-sex marriage? Should abortion be allowed?
These political questions are moral questions, which means they’re ultimately ‘faith’ questions. As Christian scholar Tim Keller writes:
Underneath all notions of [morality] is a set of [non-provable] faith assumptions that are essentially religious, and these are often not acknowledged.’ [Emphasis added].
(If you want to see faith in action, just talk to an Atheist who believes human beings have inherent dignity.)
[But] the rules of secular discourse that reign…in government, politics, and the academy [do not allow anyone] to ever bring religious beliefs into public argument.’
Put simply: faith and politics don’t mix (or so we’re told).
But what happens when we can’t talk about the beliefs that undergird our morality?
Gridlock. Polarisation. Politics as usual.
Which is why it would be better if we could first admit that everyone (Atheists included) has beliefs that underpin their morality. We could then discuss those underlying beliefs, and come to a better understanding of justice, morality, and truth.
Now THAT would be a conversation worth having.
2) We Have So Much To Be Thankful For In Australia
Why Can’t We Admit It?
Whenever my Eastern European relatives come to visit, they’re amazed by how good we Aussies have it. But what surprises them is how much Australians whinge about Australia. How can anyone complain about living in this beautiful country? they say.
Why aren’t we voters immensely thankful for our Australia? Why do we whinge so much?
3) The Next PM Won’t Be the Messiah
Government can’t fix all our problems.
We expect so much from our political leaders. Whether it’s fixing the environment, crime, family breakdown, education, poverty, social injustice…the government MUST fix it all.
Or so we think.
And so, our party’s leader becomes the next Messiah, who’ll (hopefully) be elected to reign at the right hand of Her Majesty, and usher in heaven on earth. And many politicians happily bear that expectation.
But of course, within a few weeks after the election, we realise they just can’t do it. Our political leader – the one we really believed in – isn’t the Messiah after all.
And so we get angry. We become cynical. We complain.
Oh that a politician would stand up on QandA and say:
I’m sorry. That’s a serious problem that government can’t fix.’
Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change?
4) Good Governments Can’t Bring Heaven Down To Earth, But Bad Governments Can Bring Hell Up from Below
Just look at the 20th Century.
Although good governments can’t bring heaven down to earth, bad governments, at their worst, can bring hell up from below. (If you don’t believe me, just read the short story ‘Night’, by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.)
Which means we need to be wary of giving governments more power, even for worthwhile purposes.
5) Government Needs To Stay Out of the ‘Religion Business’
It’s bad for everyone: for both the religious, and the non-religious.
Millions of refugees (including my family) came to this country in search of one word: Freedom.
In particular, the freedom to have own your religion – and practice it openly – without undue government restriction. Religious freedom is the basis for all other basic freedoms: freedom of conscience, speech, and association.
And yet, for the first time in living memory, that freedom is being challenged.
Speaking of the religious freedom to proclaim the gospel, Christian scholar Tony Payne writes:
In [previous] elections, as far as my middle-aged brain can recall, the issues that divided the major parties had very little impact one way or the other on gospel preaching. Should we have Medicare or not? Or a GST or not? Or tax cuts or not? Or WorkChoices or not?
These were huge questions that helped determine the outcome of elections—but none of the policies of the major parties on these issues made any material difference to the opportunities or space Christians had to preach the gospel that brings salvation.
This time, however, there’s a good chance that they will. [Emphasis added].
Speaking as a former refugee, it baffles me that supposedly pro-refugee parties want to erode such basic freedoms: freedoms that attracted millions of refugees here in the first place.
6) Why Aren’t We Talking About Families?
If families break down, so does society.
Do you want less crime on your streets?
Or better educational outcomes for schools? Less poverty? Less child abuse? Better mental health? Less welfare spending? Less Government Debt?
The solution to these problems involves intact, healthy, mother-father families.
Oh, and it wouldn’t cost the taxpayer a cent: keeping families together would only save money.
That’s the disproportionately large impact families have on society.
(Of course, many couples and their families break up for legitimate but tragic reasons: domestic violence, adultery or abandonment.)
And so a family’s large impact on society raises the obvious question:
Why aren’t governments making it their urgent priority to help families stay together?
Conclusion: The Best Political News Is Found In An Unlikely Place
And it’s not Parliament House.
It’s easy to get frustrated with politics. Broken promises. Incompetence. Cynicism.
21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”…I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God… 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
No matter what Saturday’s election brings, the real Messiah will one-day return. May that day come soon!