On 2 July 2016, Australians voted in a double-dissolution election to determine the government for another three year term. If I had my way, the particular vote cast on polling day would be one of the least important political acts we engage in as Christians.
I am not saying it doesn’t matter who governs. But I would be much more excited about Churches and Christians using their capacity to advocate constructively between elections, rather than arguing about which party comes closest to a Christian value system and trying to justify our particular preference.
Let’s face it. God sees a bigger picture than any of us. I know God cares about the world, because while we were yet sinners (Rom 5:8), he loved the world enough to come and live among us (John 3:16). Yet through our Governments, we use genuine refugees fleeing war and oppression as political pawns. We subsidise environmental vandalism. We allow unrealistically cheap imports that are created through modern day slavery. We take sides between employers and employees when God loves both and desires both to flourish and treat each other fairly. We subsidise our budgets through the proceeds of addiction. We ignore the widow and orphan, or domestic violence behind closed doors.
There is no party that represents God’s policy agenda. As Christ’s ambassadors on earth (2 Cor 5:20), regardless of how we vote we should be fully engaged during and between elections with the ministry of reconciliation.
We have the God given gift of participative democracy. We should be ‘God botherers’. Rather than speaking up defensively in our narrow self-interest, we need to become meddlesome priests, partnering with unusual allies – friends of sinners, just like Jesus – praying for our government, working for the common good, and holding government accountable to God’s standards between elections.