How to cast the perfect vote… and not cast the first stone

Australian and I Vote
Hands up who votes for Australia?! Image by Stephen Mitchell via Flickr

Many Australian voters will be hoping to cast the perfect vote on Saturday – one that represents the best policies, the best candidates and the best future for themselves and the nation.

Christians, and many other thoughtful people, are trained to be intentional and purposeful in all that they do, conscious of rights and wrongs and doing what is best in the eyes of God or their own conscience. This brings a kind of moral pressure to bear as we sift through the competing arguments from candidates and commentators alike.

Sometimes casting a vote almost becomes a battle to see who will cast the first stone – is there any among us worthy to pass judgement on the poor, political sinners scrambling exposed in the dust?

The hard, but relieving, truth is that the perfect vote does not exist, and never has because none of the parties or candidates are perfect. So if perfection is your goal, your are looking in the wrong place. I can think of Someone perfect, but He doesn’t need your vote. He would appreciate a chat though…

So take the pressure off, sit back and read my summary of the various options based on years of journalism and a relentless reviewing of parties, policies and posting more than 110 articles on the election in the past two months. 

 Oh, and one thing I won’t be doing is telling you how to vote… That’s your decision.

Visit Australian Christian Voter to read the full article.

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Sleeping political giant rising

I’ve just written an article for Alive magazine on the state of Christian politics in Australia, in the lead-up to the next election. You can view it online in the April/May issue of Alive out in early April.

One of the people I interviewed was Jim Wallace, managing director of Australian Christian Lobby. Among other things, he had this to say:

“I think that having had decades of swallowing the lies that we musn’t get involved, there must be a separation of church and state, don’t legislate your morality on me – if the devil was going to control the country, what lies would he use to keep the church out of it?  After decades of having succumbed to those, we suddenly realised that we have a heck of a mess, particularly in the state of marriage, family and children. We need to do something about it to get Biblical principles re-established in these very important areas as well as in how we treat the underprivileged, how we address poverty, internationally and nationally.”

Wallace emphasises that Christian politics should not only embrace righteousness (moral issues) but justice (poverty, Millennium Goals etc). He also is very careful not to tie the Christian vote to any particular party, avoiding the mess many of the American Christian lobby groups have got themselves into. Wallace commented to me:

“I was in America in March last year, I was talking to some organisations similar to ours, but without the non-partisan approach and their chins were on the ground; they are at a loss because they said to me, we have no access into the Obama administration and therefore no influence. But what we are most disappointed about is that we didn’t get everything we wanted out of the Republicans.”  

To be honest, as an old journo and then a pastor for 18 years, I have been a bit jaded with all this stuff because too often it seems so removed from people’s lives and so often Christian political voices were either irrelevant, irrational or both. While we have a long way to go, and realising that no human voice, political or otherwise, will measure up to the Still Small Voice, I think there are some positive signs for Christians broaching the political sphere and ACL can take a fair bit of credit.

On another issue, an article I wrote on the Islamisation of Europe appears in the current issue of Alive. You can view online here. It starts page 52. Please note my disclaimer that ‘views expressed are not necessarily my own’. Read and make up your own mind. PH