Australia, like many other western nations, is a secular nation. One where no religion is meant to be proclaimed over any other or given unfair advantage. This is especially useful when you consider that Australia is quite the multicultural (at least in theory) society and different cultures hold dear different religious beliefs.
If that is the case, then why are stories like the following happening?
In an Australian first, Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd have made their pitches for the Christian vote in a webcast streamed live to a claimed 100,000 Christians across the country.
Christians gathered in 700 churches from Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory to Ulverstone in Tasmania to watch the two men duelling for the prime ministership outline their Christian credentials. Mr Howard went first.
“I acknowledge of course that God is neither Liberal nor Labor,” he said.
“I do, however, state it to be the fact that my party and the National Party has within its ranks a very significant number of people who are extremely active members of various Christian denominations.”
It was Mr Rudd who had made the point first, in an essay last year, that the political right should not have a mortgage on Christian values.
“Personal faith also provides a compass point for my life,” he said last night. “It also therefore helps shape the view I try to bring to the public space as well.”
The Prime Minister appealed to family values, announcing an extension to a program to help parents filter what their children can see on the internet.
The Labor leader had a promise for families too, matching a commitment the Government made at the last election to have family impact statements prepared for every submission made to Cabinet.
There was also a promise to help refugees, many of them Christians, fleeing the Iraq war.
(Long Article, see original source for entire text)
There are several lines in the article which should raise concerns for any rational person.
“to watch the two men duelling for the prime ministership outline their Christian credentials.”
Why should any politician need to have Christian credentials? Politicians need policies and intelligence to run a country, things which religion of any sort should (nay, need) to be completely separated from. Religion should not even enter the picture when it comes to elections/politics.
“I acknowledge of course that God is neither Liberal nor Labor,” he (Howard) said.
How about that god(s) does not actually exist and go down the path of rationality and objective thought? Oh, that’s right … Howard is so conservative that he makes American Bible Belt red-necks seem sane by comparison. When the current Prime Minister starts talking openly about religion in such a manner, it seriously starts to discredit any existing illusions about secularism.
“I have a pretty basic view on this, as reflected in the position adopted by our party,” Mr Rudd answered. “That is, that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
And he plans to make that policy if elected, a policy which makes no sense and also is based solely in biblical teachings. The same teachings that make wearing different threads, working on the sabbath and eating shellfish punishable by death.
“Our aim as the Australian Christian Lobby has always been to create an environment where those people who have views [and] agendas from a Christian perspective – whether they be in churches or other Christian advocacy groups – can come into the political domain and they’ll have more leverage to actually make their concerns known.
Why should religious groups even have lobby groups which, from the above statement, clearly shows they want political power based solely on their religious beliefs. Does the whole notion of a secular state mean nothing to these people? Have they not seen that when religion starts to heavily influence politics, then nothing but trouble is the result?
Another trouble part of this whole affair is that the Hillsong group was heavily involved in it. Hillsong are an interesting lot, very fundamentalist in their approach to their beliefs and … well, their history is a list of controversies. There have also been plenty of accusations that Hillsong are not actually a church but take a far more cult minded approach:
Clearly, Hillsong appears to be no more than a façade used to rake in a lot of cash from people who simply do not know any more. Those seeking enlightenment from services that use simple brain washing techniques to guide those present to dump money into collection plates while spreading a “money, money, money!” message.
So why are politicians even associating themselves with a group that is so very obviously a load of hooey? Something is clearly amiss.