Religion and politics

I recently read an article about christians and federal politics down here [Australia]. One or two of it's claims I found hard to swallow .. like a 1/4 of federal politicians claiming some christian affiliation. Yeah, right ... especially after seeing how they behave! The Bible does say one's christianity is proved by the fruits in one's life. Anyway, there were some interesting, pleasing and even scary items.

The first thing that caught my attention was the 25% affiliation claim. But then, on hindsight that's not surprising. Surveys and census's all agree that about 80% of Aussies claim some kind of christian affiliation - yet only 5 to 10% actually attend church more than once or twice a year (ie: excluding the christmas/easter church goers). What people claim and what they actually are can be totally different things, even opposites at times.

There exists this group of christian pollies calling themselves the Lyon's Forum. They are from the "right" and call themselves a pro-family group, believing the family is the "God ordained fundamental unit of society" and praise families with MANY kids (Lyons was a prime minister with 12 kids). Their goal is to infulence the policies of the right-leaning party. Hmmm.. I always get worried when religious groups make both of those claims .. they often have the ulteriour motive that they know wot's best for everyone else and that those who oppose them are serving satan or are morally bankrupt. They are also called the "moral majority" in the USA (while actually being a minority who wishes to impose their views on the majority). Anyway, where does that leave me, a left-leaning christian who is single and not especially fond of children?

One pollie was quoted as saying: "[I] had to take a position: either there was a God or there wasn't. And I found the no-God option, at an intellectual level, quite terrifying. You are really saying that there is no right and no wrong; the only morality is a struggle for power." Hmmm.. that makes sense. If there is no God, then the idea of right and wrong is a comforting fabrication, but a fabrication nevertheless. And in the absense of any religious belief, one's morality is certainly determined by one's desire for power, wealth and the like.

It's often said that political righties and lefties don't get on well together, they have no common ground .. well from wot the article says it's even worse for christians (tho' it shouldn't be), those on either extreme tie their political stance in with their religion and so they treat their political stance in religious terms. They say things like "they can't understand how anyone who is a christian can be right/left wing" (delete as appropiate), and back themselves up with scripture.

Particularly noticable with the right (and something I've noticed myself) is a "holier-than-thou" attitude, they are very public about their interpretations and opinions and wot they think it means to be a christian .. and at the same time being very inflexible towards other views. The christian left and right also have different focuses, the right has a fascination with sexual immorality, no doubt taking it's inspiration from St Paul, considering it to be the most important issue. OTOH the left claims to take it's focus on economic injustice claiming that JC's strongest statements and parables were on economic injustice. Certainly they are both true .. JC talked little about sex and sexual immorality .. he talked more about divorce than sex and immorality .. but he did talk a lot about social and economic injustice .. and Paul said a lot about it too. Personally I think either extreme is wrong ... one should be concerned about _both_ injustice and morality. Note I said morality, not sexual immorality. There's an old axiom that people who seem to have a fixation on a particular thing and are always talking about how wrong it is are often hiding a secret flirtation with it. History has shown that many priests, televangelists, religious pollies and so forth who have strongly denounced sexual immorality have, themselves, been leading sexually immoral lives. As JC said, "who shall throw the first stone?" From wot I've seen it's usually those just as guilty as the one being charged.

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