The Public Square – It is Time

The Public Square – It is Time image

Whoever wins the Federal election this weekend; it will cap a tumultuous term in federal politics. And I am not talking about the ALP’s leadership dramas. I am talking about the catapulting of the watershed issue of same-sex marriage. There will be no turning back, should it become reality.

Adam Bandt is the first and only Greens candidate to be elected to the 150 strong House of Representatives. In his victory speech, he announced that the issue of same-sex marriage would be among Greens first target. At the time, it was strange. From an issue that was not raised at all in the 2010 election campaign, the catapult had now been loaded. And how far it has come in just three years.

Let’s be clear. As was pointed out on the ‘ACL Make it Count Webcast’, from panellists on either side of the political spectrum, what is at stake are not legal rights. Marriage equality has already been attained in a legal sense. That is, there are no further legal entitlements or privileges to be given. This is a definitional issue that is seeking to change the nature of human sexuality and gender identity, away from those that God embedded in the creation of the world. Sociologically, it is like the next step from the sexual revolution of the late twentieth century.

However, the relative Christian silence on the issue is striking. In part, this is because the media does not fairly report it. But bad debate means bad policy. And on these matters there is little debate.

It is interesting that former Archbishop Jensen, in some of his final addresses as Archbishop, spoke about the need for Christians to re-engage in the public square. From a minority position of less than 12% of the vote in the 2010 Federal Election, the Greens have been successful in shaping the national agenda on this matter. By contrast, the national first preference vote for Christian parties was about 3%. The signal this sends to politicians is clear.

So, I have decided to put a Christian party as my first preference. Do I agree with all that they stand for? No, but that is the same as the major parties. Do I agree with their methods of politics. Not necessarily, but that is also the same as the major parties. Do I think they will attain even one seat in the House of Representatives? No.

However, in the context of our current political environment, if all those identifying with the Lord Jesus did the same thing, then the Christian impact in the public square may be greater. Then we may make progress on matters such as asylum seekers, genuine gambling reform, and even more importantly defending our right to make Jesus known.

I can’t help but think about my children’s questions in the future: What happened? Why? What did you do about it? I don’t want that answer to be nothing.

Jesus said: ‘whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and that of the Father and the holy angels’ (Luke 9:26)

 

 

 

 

Feature photo: FutUndBeidl

The Rev Raj Gupta is the senior minister of Toongabbie Anglican Church, member of Standing Committee, and Mission Area Leader of the Parramatta Mission Area. He is also a partner with the 'Exploring Effective Ministry under God' team, and currently undertaking a Doctor of Ministry at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDs).

Comments (2)

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  • Neil Foster
    September 5, 13 - 12:38pm
    Thanks for this very helpful article, Raj. I have been coming to the same view. At least putting a Christian party first will send a signal that these issues matter to a number of people in the community.
  • Ron Fox
    September 5, 13 - 6:57pm
    Those wishing to vote for Christian parties need to be informed about how party preferences operate when voting for the senate, otherwise they can unwittingly facilitate the election of candidates who they might never consider supporting.

    Take NSW for example. If you simply put a '1' in the box above the line for any of the Christian parties, then your preferences will flow to Pauline Hanson ahead of the major parties, see http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/rightwing-preferences-have-pauline-hanson-in-with-chance-20130818-2s536.html .

    This scenario can be avoided if people voting for Christian parties allocate their own preferences for the senate by numbering the boxes below the line (110 boxes in the case of NSW).