Victoria… Where can I begin?

In a little over 6 weeks, there is a Victorian state election.

It is a beautiful place – and I mean that - but with a dreadful leadership problem

At an ACL conference, Mike Bird (a Melbourne local) coined the moniker “Melbournegrad.” I’m sorry to report that it’s stuck.

But there’s a reason for that.

Most of the cases coming through ACL’s legal clinic are from Victoria.

Kathy Clubb goes to the High Court today, criminally convicted in Melbourne for allegedly communicating about abortion within 150m of an abortion clinic.

Safe Schools, Minus 18, Project Rockit, Elephant Ed – if it’s radical and targeted at kids, it’s Victorian.

La Trobe University’s Gender Studies Unit is a national leader in putting out bogus queer research. It underpins and justifies radical gender theory, sexualisation and queer normativity right around the country.

The ugliest of protests and the most white-hot opposition are found in Melbourne. And the police punish the victims with huge bills.

My Facebook page had been a relatively friendly place until I made a post flagging ACL’s involvement in the Victorian election.

The blow-back was orchestrated, filthy, and angry. It continues days later.

Victoria is a place where false accusations are routinely made against Christian social views – “bigot” “homophobe” “hater.”

I remember our Eric Metaxas event in the CBD. Protesters blockaded the entrance shouting, “Go home bigot! Go home!”

Victoria is a place where a great deal of reviling – angry disgust – takes place. The employees, contractors, public servants, accredited professionals, pastors and others who have contacted us for urgent legal help will tell you that.

From my national perspective, I sense a real darkness has descended on Victoria. It grieves me, as I hope it grieves us all.

Victoria is a seriously beautiful state, still blessed with many good people.

But the radicals are in charge, and Daniel Andrews is the ringleader.

Andrews and others are not standing still – far from it – they are forging ahead with great vigour, determined to make Victoria the most socially radical (Marxist) state in Australia.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

I trust that ACL will never fall for the fallacy that any political party equates with Christianity. Christianity is not politics. It has much to say to politics, but it is different. That’s why we are strictly non-party-partisan.

But at every election, we must ask this simple question: “what can we do here to get closer to where we need to be?”

In Victoria, the answer is so simple: tell Victorians the truth about Daniel Andrews’ radical social agenda.

Our volunteers are hitting the streets wearing shirts that bear the slogan, “Voice for Truth.”

Over 300 people have already put their hand up to help. They are working hard with great vigour and success.

But we need many more.

10 seats are targeted, but we’d love to resource more.

Early reports in from the field indicate that voters are up for a chat about the issues. Conversations are easy. People are being enlightened.

But we don’t yet have the people power to do all that we need to do.

We need to knock on every door, letterbox every home, and call every voter in at least 10 seats by November 24.

There are 8 federal electorates in the Melbourne area home to more than 1,000 ACL supporters. Some as high as 1,500.

1,500 volunteers should be a cinch.

Relevantly, the call of Christ in Matthew 5 to be the “light of the world” and the “salt of the earth” comes to us in the context of increasing social pressure and hostility.

He had just described the kind of Christian character God creates in a person’s heart. People who are poor in spirit, meek, merciful, pure in heart, hungry for righteousness, peacemakers.

These people are different. They are not like the world. The Holy Spirit has changed them profoundly.

But the sad reality of hostility raises its head almost immediately – “blessed are the persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus goes on to use some of the words I’ve used here – “blessed are you when others revile you… and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”

Sounds like Victoria.

He clarifies that the hostility is not there because you have done wrong – it is for righteousness’ sake.

He points out that it’s not just a question of being winsome, nuanced and cautious. They did the same to the prophets before us.

But it’s the response He prescribes for us which is so important.

He calls on us to boldly influence the world in the face of hostility.

The first way to do that is as “the salt of the earth.”

Salt loses its taste through exposure to moisture. Jesus is telling us to avoid our first impulse, which is to ask what we can give away to avoid the hostility; what we can compromise.

We do that because we are letting the influence of the world – the moisture – get to us.

Often our stated motives are pure – we may believe that this is the best way to increase our influence – to be more like others to reach them.

But the result? In the very act of trying to be more effective, we cease to have any effect at all. The flavour, which is found in our difference, is gone.

But there is a second call to bold influence as “the light of the world.”

This speaks of overt actions – good works which are “seen” by the world. Indeed, activity that cannot be ignored – which is obvious and visible.  Jesus says the light must not be hidden from view, ever. He says it should be on a stand to fill the house – no – more than that – on a hill like a city that cannot be hidden.

What are we doing that is this obvious? It’s an important question.

The entire section in Matthew 5 to which I am referring contains two threads which interweave. The first is rising hostility and the second is the expansion of God’s kingdom. The former is noisy and intimidating. The latter is a quiet promise that we can trust amidst the noise.

When Christians heed the call to bold influence, there is hostility, and God is also at work. That is the promise.

When the light shines, it drives out evil and lies. When the light shines, it enlightens people to the truth. When the light shines, we fulfil God’s call on our lives.

There has not been a more critical time to get up and shine the light. The alternative may well be salt which has lost its taste… And the rottenness of darkness and confusion in our world because the light is hidden away.

To Victorians, I have a vested interest in saying that a very good way to do that is to become a voice for truth and volunteer in this campaign.

But, vested interest or not, it’s true.