Well, we are just about there. The Federal Election that is. I don’t know about you but after a mid-term change in Prime Minister and launching into an almost immediate unofficial election campaign, then a State election, followed by four weeks of official campaigning, I am feeling somewhat politically weary.
However, we are just about there.
But where is there?
I must admit this Federal Election campaign has both fascinated me and left me with a sense of uncertainty as to what the outcome will mean for our country. The outcome of this election will have significant impacts for our nation, our lives, and our School community.
No end of words have been written (and now I am adding to them) on the various issues thrown back and forward like hand grenades with their pins removed. Competing positions have ranged on good stewardship and care for our economy and for our planet; religious freedoms and individual rights; providing financial benefits for those who are most in need and protecting those who seek financial support and security in retirement. For many people, deciding how to vote for the best outcome for our nation is really a challenge.
In his recent article in ‘Eternity’ magazine, John Dickson from the Centre for Public Christianity (CPX) provides a helpful guide for Christians to approach voting. He lists both ‘how not to vote’ and ‘how to vote’ and gives reasons for both. In summary he encourages Christians:
Not to vote, based on:
* “How we’ve always voted”
* A candidate just because they are Christian
* For economic prosperity
Rather vote, based on:
* What benefits others
* Improving the moral health of the community
* Care for the poor and the weak
* The ongoing proclamation of the Gospel
* Prayerful consideration
So what might this election mean for our School?
In this election campaign, education funding has not been made a big issue. Far greater attention has been given to the topic of religious freedom.
For some, religious freedom is a non-issue, but I would suggest that an individual’s position answers the question, ‘What type of society do we want to live in?’ Whether we acknowledge it or not, religious freedom is an issue for all of us.
A society in which people cannot freely express their faith positions publicly leaves no room for people of faith. Societies where religion has no place in public life easily slip away from democracy and towards oppression. There is no shortage of examples of this in 20th Century history.
Alternatively, a civil society is one where people of all faiths, and no faith, can express their positions without the fear of being oppressed. While not always successful in achieving this, Australia has historically enjoyed a form of civil society. However, there are clear indications that the continuation of this civility cannot be assumed.
William Carey Christian School’s mission is to transform lives by the proclamation of the Gospel and the delivery of an excellent Christian education, accessible to the whole community. To achieve our mission, we employ practicing Christians. It is important to understand that Christian education, just like the lives of Christian, cannot be compartmentalised. It is not possible for faithful Christians to separate religious activity from non-religious. The Bible teaches that Christ is sovereign over all parts of the world, not just the ‘spiritual’ or personal elements of life. Jesus is as much the Lord of church services as He is of teaching and learning Maths, History or any other aspect of school life.
Currently our School can maintain our ethos because of current exemptions to anti-discrimination laws relating to employment. However, there are political groups and individuals who seek to remove such exemptions and prevent faith-based schools from continuing to operate as they do now.
On this basis, as members of the William Carey Christian School community, I ask you to carefully consider how you will cast your vote tomorrow, for the benefit of our School community and our nation.
If you would like to investigate the policy positions of various major parties. The Australian Christian Lobby website has developed a comparative table on a range of policy topics.
“Praise be to the
name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
In His service,