Political Pantomime

Well, wasn’t last Tuesday night interesting!

We had the pleasure of the company of four politicians, Rev Fred Nile (Christian Democrats, State), Edmond Atalla (Labor, Local), George Bilic (Liberal, Local) and Paul Green (Christian Democrat, Federal). We expected some fireworks, but not quite what we got!

The aim of the night was actually to explore whether sincere Christianity could be compatible with being a politician. Politicians get a lot of bad press these days. They are accused of lying, breaking promises, manipulating people and situations, being vain and so on. This is unfortunate, because most politicians I have met actually do strive to do a lot of good for their constituency, and do work incredibly hard to achieve it.

I think this side of the politicians came out last Tuesday – we found out how they deal with thorny ethical situations and how they do try to use their Christian ideals as the ‘compass’ by which to steer their decisions.

Unfortunately, something else also came out last Tuesday – the bitterness between the two major parties! Yes, George baited Edmond and Edmond fought back, and we got one of those classical ‘my party’s better than your party’ arguments going. Perhpas whoever said that you shouldn’t mix religion and politics was right! A pity, for that was the very thing we were trying to get behind, trying to see if one’s genuine ideals could be more important than playing the political game.

I wonder what you thought of it all?

I have often mused on whether our system of govrnment could be improved. Does anyone really benefit from all that time and effort and money that is invested into getting a party re/elected? Is it good for individuals to have to sacrifice some of their own personal ideals for the sake of ‘the party’? Or is it the only way to get enough people agreeing on something so that something actually gets done? If we abolished the party system, would our parliaments descend into a chaos of endless debates?

As Christians, we are meant to take an active part in the welfare of those around us. Having and effective and compassionate system of government has ahuge impact on the lives of everyone in this country. It was hoped that last tuesday might inspire some of our young people to consider entering politics in order to make a difference … if they felt that was their calling from God. I wonder now whether it might not have turned them off …

Fr Ant

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4 Replies to “Political Pantomime”

  1. hahaha…it is inevitable that it will end up as a debate of ‘my party’s better than your party’ as politicians always seem to fight one another rather than the problems at hand in the country. Any news on TV about a current issue that is posted and immediately you get the opposition leader condemning the government in power rather than offering his resolution to the situation. It is a tough job though and may God help them help us.
    Sorry Abouna as i didn’t attend the night, could you please summarise the incidents that took place?
    thanks alot…

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  2. sorry abouna just a question. is it against the church rules for us to work in say for example a wine company? there is this really good job that is suited for me just doing storage work etc. is this considered wrong if i apply?
    thanks again for tolerating my questions.

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  3. That’s quite a tough question.

    On the one hand, you have to look at what effect the wine company is having on society. it is said that 1 in 10 ‘social’ drinkers will become alcoholic at some stage of their lives. Of course, their family, friends and workmates can all be adversely affected when it happens. By working for a wine company, I suppose it could be said that you are taking part in the destruction of lives, however indirectly.

    On the other hand, you might have a job that has little to do with the actual production and sale of the wine. Or, it could be argued that if you didn’t do the job, someone else would anyway.

    Personally, I think I would prefer to avoid it. I don’t think I would be comfortable being involved in any industry that had so negative an effect on people’s lives. I may not be able to change the world, but I can certainly control the part I personally play in the world, and I think that is all that God would hold me responsible for.

    Interestingly, in ancient times, soldiers and theatrical actors were not allowed to be baptised. This was because it was part of the duty of a soldier to offer incense to idols, and the actors generally performed rather lewd performances. I wonder if there are any industries today to which we would apply the same rule?

    Fr Ant

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  4. What happened on the night was that the Labor and Liberal blokes basically got stuck into each other, in typical political fashion. There was a lot of “We’re perfect but you guys are evil” hype, which was quite against the conditions I had given all the participants before the debate.

    Of course, they convinced no one, and most people I spoke to who had attended the night had an attitude along the lines of “They’re all as bad as each other!”, a very common sentiment in Australia these days.

    It’s a pity, really. Most politicians really do work quite hard for their community and often achive very good things. But they give themselves a terrible name by desceding to this childish level of discussion. They seem to think that we are just going to believe what they say about their opposition, rather than actually observe them and make our minds up for ourselves.

    I suspect that the first politician to realise that it just doesn’t work anymore, and turn to being honest and straightforward with people would be incredibly popular and quite successful. Unfortunately, the party system we have in place tends to weed out honest people before they manage to get to the voting stage, or else convert them and force them to tow the party line! Just look at poor Peter Garrett…

    Fr Ant

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