Who should a Christian vote for?
I’m not talking about parties. Which people should we have in mind when we vote?
The Australian Christian Lobby, as Jim Wallace recently said, wants to make the government ‘more Godly, more Christian’. They seem to think that a Christian vote is mainly about helping Christians and Christianity, which would mean we have to figure out the ‘more Christian’ policies, politicians, and parties. For the ACL, a Christian vote is about propping up our own rights, our own way of life, our own ‘interest group’.
Paul wants Christians to ‘do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers’ (Galatians 6:10). Well, the family seems to be doing fine in contemporary Australia so, as others have pointed out, I’m convinced that a Christian vote must first be a vote for others — for the last, the least, the lost. Australia’s Christians by and large have a voice, so who will we speak up for? It will be sad if Christian chaplains are kept out of schools (for example) but I think there are bigger fish to fry. What about the voiceless? I think that’s the deciding factor and, if it comes to it, I will put that ahead of other concerns.
I want the Senate to do its job
Firstly, it’s worth at least voting Greens in the Senate. This is the argument of Frank Brennan, a Catholic law professor. The Senate is part of the checks and balances in our political system, and I want to see the government’s ideas being discussed thoroughly. Brennan argues that a Christian vote for the Greens in the Senate is justified because (a) they provide the kind of counterbalance that the Senate ought to have and (b) they have some agreeable policies for Christians, while their disagreeable policies are unlikely to get far, given the policies of the Big Two. If we understand the way our political system works, the Greens aren’t monstrously threatening but might actually be good for something!
I want to tilt the system
I’m also voting Greens in the Lower House. Earlier, I suggested voting to tilt the system. Labor and Liberal both seem locked in a battle to preserve the status quo, trying to shout over one another with the same message — and it sounds to me like a message of fear and greed. It disgusts me, and I want someone to change the game with a better vision, so I’m voting Greens to send them a message. It’s an idea I got from An Onymous Lefty, who since then has been clearing away the confusion about what a Greens vote actually means.
I trust the local candidate more
I think Adam Bandt is worth my vote in Melbourne electorate.
Still don’t buy it?
To be clear: I’m ambivalent about the Greens as a party. But:
1. A vote for the Greens is not a vote for the Greens to run the country. If the Greens were placed to win the federal election, that would be another question — but a vote for the Greens in 2010 won’t put them in the driver’s seat. It’s not a vote for Bob Brown to be Prime Minister.
2. A vote for the Greens is not an endorsement of every Greens policy.
3. A vote for the Greens is not an endorsement of Greens philosophy. Some people have been making a lot of noise about the Greens philosophy written by Bob Brown and Peter Singer during the 1990s, and it’s certainly got stuff in it that Christians can’t agree with. Firstly, though, remember that there’s no such thing as a Christian party. When a Christian votes for Labor or Liberal, they’re not staking their faith on a party philosophy, and the same goes for the Greens. Secondly, as with any party, there’s more to the Greens than its ideological figureheads. It’s worth hearing where Christian Greens representatives are coming from, like Lin Hatfield Dodds.
I wonder where this leaves you sitting? I’m keen to hear your thoughts and questions!
Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.