This federal election is the most important election in a generation. And for Christians like you and me, there is nothing less than our very place in Australian society riding on the outcome of July’s vote.
But even more importantly, the future of what children are taught at school and even their very right to be nurtured by their mum and dad is at stake.
Australian social policy has taken a big shift to the extreme left in the last decade. Christians cannot be so easily pigeonholed as being left or right. We are concerned about righteousness and justice. However, this seismic shift on social policy has been accompanied by a growing hostility towards Christians and those who share our views on marriage and family.
Kevin Rudd’s rise and fall is a perfect example. Elected Prime Minister in 2007 after assiduously courting the Christian vote, in the 2013 election campaign he turned on the constituency in spectacular fashion.
"Labor is committed to changing the definition of marriage within 100 days if elected."
Asked by Pastor Matt Prater on the ABC’s Q&A about his views on marriage, Rudd ridiculed Pastor Matt, the Bible, and by implication, millions of people of faith for their antiquated views. “Well, mate,” Rudd snapped, “if I was going to have that [biblical] view [of marriage], the Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition.”
Sadly Kevin Rudd is not the first or last politician to have a go at Christians. In 2012, Malcolm Turnbull launched an extraordinary attack on the then Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Rev. Dr Peter Jensen, and his views on marriage. “This whole issue drips with hypocrisy,” Turnbull told the House of Representatives, “and the pools are deepest at the feet of the sanctimonious.”
Bill Shorten has also had a go. Speaking to ACL supporters at our national conference in 2014, he accused an unspecified group of Christians of “hiding behind the Bible to insult and demonise people based on who they love”. It is against this backdrop of growing antagonism towards Christians that the July 2 election must be considered.
Marriage has become a touchstone issue for measuring the suitability of someone’s place in Australian society. Increasingly, Christians are finding themselves on the wrong side of elite opinion.
The Coalition Government is promising to hold a plebiscite on the definitionof marriage. But Labor is committed to changing the definition of marriage within 100 days if elected. Bill Shorten has explicitly said Labor would provide no protections for the religious freedom of lay people who do not agree with same-sex marriage.
A marriage plebiscite is therefore the only way that, as Christians, we can secure both the future of marriage, and our freedoms to believe and practice our faith.