|Commitment to partisan politics|
by Dwight A. Randall
Many Christians in Australia will be familiar with Dr James C Dobson. He is a well-known American evangelical leader, a child psychologist and founder of Focus on the Family. The New York Times has accurately described him as the “most influential evangelical leader” in the United States.
Following the recent US elections, Dr Dobson issued a blunt warning to six well-known Democrats in the Senate. He cautioned them not to block the confirmation of President Bush’s nominees to the federal courts or he would marshal millions of Christians to remove them from office in 2006. He promised “a battle of enormous proportions from sea to shining sea” if they attempt to do so.
Dr Dobson’s warning is timely. During the first four years of President Bush’s presidency, the Democrat controlled Senate blocked ten of President Bush’s conservative judicial nominees. Tom Daschle, the former Senate minority leader, played a leading role in blocking these nominees. Dr Dobson warned that Daschle’s obstructionism led to his defeat, and that others will be voted out of office in the future if they follow his pattern. “Let his colleagues beware,” Dr Dobson warned, “Many of them will be in the ‘bull’s-eye’ the next time they seek re-election.”
Dr Dobson’s threat has upset some people.Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way, complained about Dr Dobson’s arrogance and predicted that his warning would backfire. Democrat Senator Harry Reid accused Dr Dobson of being “a front for the White House.”
Until the last US election Dr Dobson had never endorsed a presidential candidate or singled out Democrat senators. But, in his interview in the Times he said that he was committed to his new involvement in partisan politics. “I can’t go back, nor do I want to,” he said. “I will probably endorse more candidates. This is a new day. I just feel a real need to make use of this visibility.”
Now why am I writing about this incident in Dr Dobson’s life that has taken place a half-a-world away? I am writing about it because I agree with Dr Dobson. His words reverberate in my heart. I too believe that it is time to speak plainly about matters that are plainly wrong.
I believe that many Christian leaders and many Christian people have remained party neutral and candidate neutral, not because the various political parties are so similar to each other that a distinguishing line cannot be drawn, but because they don’t want to take the heat that comes from endorsing a particular party, or a particular candidate.They want to appear to be unbiased, even when core-Christian values are under attack.
But as for myself, I feel like Dr Dobson. I can’t go back, nor do I want to. I am not prepared any longer just to say to Christian people, “Have a look at the various parties and choose wisely”, as though there are many equivalent choices for Christians to consider.
The truth is that there is vast difference between the various political parties that are contesting this state election, and deep down Christian leaders and Christian people know this to be the case.
Some parties, like the Greens and Democrats, have radical social agendas that seek to eradicate Christian values from this nation. Name the topic: human embryo screening and experimentation, early and late-term abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, lesbianism, adoption, age of consent, pornography, prostitution, drugs, religious education, religious vilification legislation, and on and on, and you will observe that on each of these issues these parties are diametrically opposed to Christian values. And it is time that we, like Dr Dobson, came out and said it.
But, it is easy to take a shot at minor parties. What about the Labor Party in Western Australia? Should Labor be commended or condemned by Christians? Consider the record of the Labor Party over the past term in office.
-- Prior to the last state election, homosexual couples were not granted in law identical rights to married couples. Today they are.
-- Prior to the last state election, homosexuals had to be at least 21 years of age to lawfully engage in acts of anal sex. Today, boys as young as 16 can legally be sodomised by men of any age.
-- Prior to the last state election, homosexual and lesbian couples could not legally adopt children. Today they can.
-- Prior to the last state election, public schools were prohibited from promoting homosexuality as a normal, healthy alternative to heterosexuality. Today this ban has been lifted and our children are being re-educated.
-- Prior to the last state election, people could not grow marijuana plants in their gardens. Today they can and are.
-- Prior to the last state election, human embryos were protected from genetic screening. Today human embryos are being screened for “serious genetic diseases or abnormalities”, and if discovered, they are being killed.
-- Prior to the last state election, human embryos could not be experimented upon. Today, research that involves the destruction of embryos is taking place. (It should be noted that some Labor politicians opposed genetic screening and experimentation, as did some Liberal politicians.)
-- In 2003, the Labor government attempted to legalize prostitution, but failed. Michelle Roberts admitted that the Prostitution Control Act has no chance of becoming law until after the next state election.
And what about the Liberal/National Coalition? In 1998, the Liberals, under Premier Richard Court, legalised abortion. Since that time over 55,000 unborn children have been put to death with state sanction. During their last term in office the Liberals, like Labor, attempted to legalise prostitution, but failed.
On the positive side, the Liberals have promised, if elected, to repeal some of the worst aspects of the homosexual legislation including removing adoption rights and lifting the age of consent for homosexual sex to 18, as well as repealing the Cannabis Control Act 2003. But can they be trusted to do so?
So what voting options are available to Christians? There are a number of political parties with more conservative and pro-family views including the Christian Democratic Party, Family First and One Nation. But there is only one political party in Western Australia that is unapologetically Christian and that is the party that has the name “Christian” in its name. The Christian Democratic Party will elect Christians to Parliament if Christians will re-think their allegiance to political parties that have repeatedly betrayed them.
Premier Geoff Gallop is urging West Australians to vote Labor. Opposition Leader Colin Barnett is urging people to vote Liberal. I want to encourage Christians to vote for a Christian party with Christian candidates. I am puzzled as to why some Christians stubbornly refuse to vote for the Christian Democratic Party.* I wonder how they justify voting for a party that gave homosexual and lesbian couples identical rights in law to married couples instead of a Christian party? I wonder how they justify voting for a party that legalized the killing of unborn children by the thousands year after year instead of a Christian Party? I wonder how God feels about Christians who refuse to vote for Christians, and instead vote for socialists, secular humanists, agnostics and atheists whose objective is often to de-Christianize Australia.
Every three to four years Christians are given an opportunity to do something incredibly positive to counter the moral downgrade that is taking place around them. Let’s take full advantage of this opportunity and vote wisely.
I am praying that Christians will vote for Christians in order to elect Christians at this election. Then, with God’s help, we can accelerate the reformation of our society.
* The Christian Democratic Party allocates preferences to the candidate or party that most closely reflects Christian values. Therefore, Christians can be confident that their vote will achieve its maximum benefit by simply voting CDP 1 in the box on the left side of the Legislative Council ballot paper.
Dwight Randall, in addition to being the Director of Life Ministries, stood for the Christian Democratic Party in the Legislative Council in the North Metropolitan Region in 2001. He has been endorsed to stand again in the forthcoming state election that will take place on 26 February 2005.