So, how do we decide?
The ABC have got off on the front foot by making available a website called Vote Compass where you can answer some questions and you will be told how close your views sit in relation to the three major parties, the ALP. NLP and Greens.
I did the questionnaire and was provided with a pretty graph that probably confirmed my views on various policies, but didn’t necessarily help me to know which way to vote. The problem was that it insinuated that because I had certain points of view, the party that fitted closest to those views would be the party I would vote for. There was no consideration of the fact that I may want to vote for a local member rather than the party leader, or that I may have some other criteria that would help me make a decision.
Yesterday my Friend Andrew Hamilton posted under the heading of Flat Beer or Stale Bread and suggested another way of addressing the issue, that is more thoughtful than simply using an online survey.
Hamo says there is one theological lens through which we can look to assess the merits of the different political parties:
That lens I believe we need to look thru if we are vote according to the priorities of Jesus is the lens of the Kingdom of God. The Bible wasn’t written with 21st century western democracy in mind. Nor was it written for first century imperialism. None of these human forms of government are to be seen as what God ultimately hopes for. They are our best attempts to keep a world in order and keep a society healthy and functioning.
Hamo says that if we are envisaging a world formed by God’s rule then we will ask questions like:
- who best looks after the poor and needy both here and around the world?
- who will best work to develop a righteous and moral society?
- who is truthful and honourable in the way they lead?
- who best calls us and envisions a way to look after the created world?
- who will best uphold the values of a just and fair society and foster healthy relationships between people?
- who will promote strong family as core to the health of a society
- who will see human rights as a central issue
- who will protect the rights of the powerless
- who will seek peace and healing as ways of resolving conflict and who will avoid war and bloodshed?
We may have other criteria that we would want to add, but I think this is a useful starting point to help us in our decision. The point is that while we may say that religion and politics shouldn’t mix, the reality is that if our faith means anything it should help us in making decisions about how we vote, as much as it helps us in making decisions about our relationships, our career, our church, or our family.
Jesus’ advice was to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. I think that is our starting point.