The Federal Election is upon us again and, as usual, our news and media outlets feature the campaigning of political parties. Unless there is personal interest or passion for politics the average citizen, and even the average Christian, will find they are either disinterested or a bit overwhelmed with the amount of information, sloganeering and policies flying around election time.
Why care about my vote?
In Australia, not only are we required to show up to vote, but we may even be fined if we don't show up to a polling booth. But why should we care about our voting decision?
Contrary to many secular sentiments, the Christian vote is very significant. According to the 2011 census, Christians comprise around 61.1% of the Australian population. Even if we accounted for a further reduction in numbers; Christians are still in the majority in this country.
Your vote matters because your voice and your opinion is important. After all, if a Christian decides to not care about national policies, then they shouldn't care when policies go against Christian beliefs or infringe on religious freedoms.
Funnily enough, often it is lack of action leading to unwanted change that causes a Christian to wake up and move to action.
Jesus' words in Matthew sum up why your vote matters:
'You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.'
Knowing who you vote for matters
In 2007, Kevin Rudd played up his personality and put the final nail in the coffin for the Coalition in a campaign which brought the personality of the party leaders to the fore.
In my personal circles, Rudd won the religious vote simply by taking interviews outside his church, and by passing himself off as a moderate.
This religious vote was lost as in the 2013 campaign, Rudd would rely on the progressive vote through promises of same-sex marriage legislation. This didn't succeed as Abbott won majority government that year.
What does this tell us?
There is an underlying ideology of both major parties that people fail to understand. Rudd ushered in the heart of the new Labor that we see; not worker's rights, but progressivism.
True conservatism that defends the family, traditions, freedoms, and the like, is harder to find in Australia, as the Liberal party is battling to define its own ideological foundation post-Abbott, although minor parties like Family First and Christian Democrats attempt to bridge the gap.
Due to the lack of a unified Christian voice, key battles have been lost with changing divorce laws, adoption laws, and now the great battle this election over the family, same-sex marriage and religious freedom. More than anything, our choices this election will set the stage for what churches and families will look like and how they will function in society.
Economic leadership is important but so is moral and spiritual leadership and a conservative vote is arguably the only way to go forward if we are to honour God at the polls.
The Catholic archbishop, who is arguably the strongest Christian voice at the present in the public square, commented on policies in a report by The Australian:
- [On Labor and the Greens] 'Safe Schools was foisting "an extreme form of the LGBTI agenda on children"'.
- [On the Greens] Condemnation of removal of religious exemptions to anti-discrimination laws.
- [On the Coalition and Labor] Dissatisfaction with approach to asylum seekers, encouragement of processing through official channels.
- [On the Coalition] Disappointment with lack of Syrians arriving despite promises.
- [On the Pope] Surprised by decision for Francis to only take Muslims from Lesbos (Greece) and cautious with comments about Francis' negative emphasis of Christian colonialism.
Jack is studying Commerce and Arts at Macquarie University, he is part of a family of five, his hobbies include computer gaming, football, learning languages, and church history. He serves as the Treasurer for the Macquarie University Liberal Club and also attends St. Paul's Anglican, Gracepoint Presbyterian at Burwood.
Jack Liang's previous articles may be viewed at at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jack-liang.html