why i'm a christian and voting green. #1
Yesterday Kevin Rudd named the election date and called Australians to the polls on Saturday 7 September 2013. Since I have pretty well already decided who I will be voting for, I immediately began to unhappily resign myself to five weeks of media predictions and hoopla. And then I had an idea...
I plan to vote Green. Barring a cracking independent putting their hand up in my electorate, I can see no other choice. This doesn't sit well with some people. They consider the Greens anathema. "One cannot be a Christian and vote Green," they say, since the Greens support abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage.
I count myself in the Christian camp, although I tend to lurk on the fringe of it because I struggle with the baggage that comes with that tag, but for now it will do. I attempt to follow Jesus well, I love the biblical vision of a transformed world, and I live for seeing that vision come to fruition.
So here I am, a Christian who votes Green. How can this be?
Let me tell you how. Every day until the election I am going to give a reason for voting Green. I may even quote a Bible verse or two. They may be out of context. I make no apologies for this - I do not claim to be an exegetical queen and I have absolutely zero aspirations to be one. Verses I quote will be an attempt on my part to capture the essence of an aspect of my faith. They will not be used in the tradition of evangelical apologetics.
So, the ground rules have been laid. Let's go.
The Greens are a principled party. They state where they stand and stick by it. They cannot be bought by corporations or businesses and they are not swayed by public opinion and polling results. If they believe in something, they believe in it, and that's that.
This reminds me of Jesus. In Matthew 22:16 he was described as a man of integrity who wasn't swayed by others.
Another time, Jesus himself said: "Let your 'yes' be 'yes'." I quite like how The Message paraphrases this. (Remember, I am not making any exegetical claims here, so I can quote from The Message. Besides, my understanding is Eugene Peterson translated The Message directly from the Greek anyway, and that's good enough for me)
And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions... Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong. (Matthew 5:33-37 MSG)Jesus makes it pretty clear that you should say what you mean and not engage in trickery or manipulation.
The book of James says something similar:
Just say yes or no. Just say what is true. That way, your language can’t be used against you. (James 5:12 MSG)
I was musing on the principled nature of the Greens, asking if this is a trait peculiar to them or whether it might be shared by other parties? Labor have been a bit all over the place of late, switching policies and principles to boost their chances of winning this election. The LNP did come to mind briefly, however, I can't shake the impression they also will say whatever is necessary to win votes. For example, they know there is an element of our society who are afraid of asylum seekers and in response they loudly proclaim they will 'Stop the Boats'. There isn't much truth in this as far as I can tell - it has more to do with scaremongering and playing to the lowest common denominator in society. By running with this policy, the LNP are ignoring international factors beyond Australia's border and pandering to what (some) people want to hear. Their willingness to value votes over principle has been further demonstrated this week by their backflip on the Gonski reforms. The LNP have a semblance of principled behaviour, but if you scratch beneath the surface you will find these principles are based on what they believe people want to hear. Both Labor and the LNP are writing policies that are politically expedient. This is not principled, instead it is a cynical attempt to capture votes at the cost of standing for truth and sticking with it.
For me, the Greens* stand head and shoulders above the two major parties when it comes to having principles and holding to them. This helps me settle my vote on them.
* I know there are a several other parties in the 2013 electoral mix. Wikileaks seem to be in a similar vein to the Greens, but at this stage they don't have any candidates in Tasmania, so I don't feel the need to address them and their policy platform.