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Why a conscientious Christian could not vote for the Greens

By Bill Muehlenberg - posted Wednesday, 18 August 2010


(Author disclaimer: I did not pick this fight. But since someone had - in my view - the audacity to suggest that somehow the radical secularist Greens are the party of choice for Christian voters, then I as one Christian felt compelled to give the opposing case.)

Biblical Christianity is ultimately, of course, above all party politics. It cannot be contained by any one political ideology. Having said that, there are various policies and platforms which may be closer to biblical ideals than others.

No one party will have all the goods, but some may be more on track than others. And some issues are more clear-cut in scripture than others. Take the issue of social justice, a phrase heard regularly from the religious left. They seem to want to occupy the high moral ground here, and claim they are in fact closer to the Christian position.

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Indeed, it appears that believers on the left think they have some sort of monopoly on social justice matters. But if social justice has to do with economic and politic policies which are to help all people, then it is not so clear that the left side of politics can claim all that much here.

Yes there are plenty of biblical passages speaking to these matters. But the key point is this: which political and economic mechanisms best secure this justice? Why do we assume that only leftist policies are in fact so good for people, especially the poor? Why suggest that the Greens are best placed in this regard?

The truth is all political parties deal with such issues, and it is a question of which policies in fact really do benefit all Australians. Indeed, the real question to ask is not, is this party concerned about the poor, but, what economic policies will in fact best help them?

Does a more or less free market approach best address issues of poverty and wealth, or the more statist or socialist model? These are empirical questions which must be assessed according to fact, rather than theory. So one needs to set aside rhetoric here and examine how actual policies impact on all this.

Moreover, it does very little good to carry on and on about social justice when we kill 100,000 unborn babies each year. Where is their justice? How are they shown compassion and acceptance? Sadly, the Greens are woefully cavalier about human life, whether in the mother’s womb, or towards the end of life.

Leftist rhetoric tends to speak of humanity in general terms, or in class terms, whereas a Christian ethic of justice should consider actual people, especially the most vulnerable. Scripture speaks much to this. Consider for example the following passages:

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Proverbs 24:11 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
Proverbs 31: 8-9 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Prov. 31:8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.

While these texts do not speak solely to matters such as abortion, they surely are key texts about this which cannot be ignored. Parties like the Greens which minimise or ignore the right to life of our most vulnerable and defenceless citizens surely must be queried in terms of their Christian ethic. We certainly have a right to call their bluff on social justice.

And we must not forget just how radical and dangerous the Greens really are in terms of this most fundamental of human rights - the right to life. Recall that the Greens actually had Peter Singer run as their Senate candidate in the 1996 election.

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About the Author

Bill Muehlenberg is Secretary of the Family Council of Victoria, and lectures in ethics and philosophy at various Melbourne theological colleges.

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