Government, Politics and Christians
I am the member for Hughes, a federal electorate, which stretches from Coalcliff near Wollongong northwards to Como in Sutherland Shire, and westward to the East Liverpool area. The electorate includes the Royal National Park, the Heathcote National Park and the Holsworthy Defence Area.
I was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives on 3rd March, 1996 and no one was more surprised than I. Although I had studied political science at university, I had never aspired to public office. As a matter of fact, I had tried to get three men to stand as a candidate for the seat of Hughes without success. About two weeks before nominations closed, I found myself waking up in the morning with a growing conviction that perhaps I should stand. The conviction grew and one morning I awoke with a strong feeling that if I did not stand for pre-selection, one day I would have to explain to God why I did not.
Now I had been educated in a convent school so I knew about God. It is just that I had not bothered Him very much. On this particular morning, I gave up and said out loud “All right. I’ll do it”. At this stage, I thought I was only standing for pre-selection. As the seat of Hughes was a safe Labor seat, there was no formal Liberal Party funding for the campaign. I took unpaid leave of absence from my job, and with plenty of time, began the long slog of doorknocking until whenever the next election was called. It turned out to be eight months.
On the night of the election, no one was more stunned than my husband Bob and me. There had been a record swing in the electorate of 11.6% (the national swing was only 6%). What do I do now? The only thing I could do, as I believed I had acted in obedience to the will of our Heavenly Father, was to ask Him to help me.
Since then I have found I am really on a spiritual journey, not a political one. I now know that Jesus is real and the Bible is true. I cannot do this job without His help and He has never let me down. I have never felt alone either. And I rely heavily on Psalm 91. “....He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; In Him will I trust.....”
There is a proverb that says when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people mourn. The only source of righteousness is God which is why in the book of Exodus we are told to select leaders of civil government who fear God.
As a Member of the Federal Parliament I have become more and more convinced of the need for Christian men and women to take their God given values and talents and contest representative office at all levels of government and other public authorities. My experience has been that while it will be testing, if you keep your eyes focused on Jesus, opportunities will abound to apply the Lord’s values to the day to day work that make up the decisions of Parliament and the Government.
I can’t help but think what would be the outcome if the whole political process fell completely into the hands of those who reject Christian values or who are confused and deceived about them.
We are indeed blessed by the procedures of our Parliament that have been derived from biblical principles, and designed by parliamentarians of the past who have been committed followers of Jesus Christ. What a great blessing it is to live under laws that have been derived from the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and other teachings from the Bible and enacted by parliaments of the past. Where would we all be if the saints of former years decided that politics was too dirty, worldly and sinful, and turned their back on engaging in the political debate?
Satan is, as Jesus says, “prince of this world” and I have no doubt he seeks to destroy our Christian parliamentary heritage, and more. But it is to Jesus that “all authority in heaven has been given and that includes our Commonwealth Parliament. As I look about the Parliament I ask myself who in this place understands that authority, and what that authority wants done? Where are the saints?
The answer is that there are many on both sides of the Parliament who do fear God and understand His ultimate authority, but there are others who don’t. There are other authorities being followed in our governing bodies, and in the battle of values and ideas numbers count.
I have been greatly blessed since entering Parliament in 1996 by the friendship of my colleagues in Christ on both sides of the House. They have been generous in their support, wisdom. discernment, holiness, love, joy, patience and prayer. If only there were more of them. More members applying the wisdom of God, more members asking, “ what would Jesus do?” regarding this policy or that legislation? More members present at the opening of Parliament each day to pray “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed by Thy name...” What a blessing it would be to our nation.
I am told that Jesus once said to the people, “You are the salt of the earth”. Parliament is about people business. Before refrigeration salt was the major preservative. Without salt things decay. I believe that Christians are called to be the salt in parliaments, authorities and other governing bodies. We need more salt or the intrinsic Christian values in these institutions will decay.
How can the righteous be in authority if they don’t stand for election? How can they be elected when, in ignorance or confusion, the righteous vote for the wicked?
It’s my hope that many more people will seek God’s guidance on whether He wants them to get involved in public and political affairs and if so how and where.
I am not a biblical scholar, but it seems a strange argument to me that Christians should stay out of politics. Wasn’t Jesus involved in the politics of His time? And John the Baptist? And St. Paul? And amongst other things, wasn’t Calvary also a political death. How do we present an idea, or persuade or even evangelise unless we are involved to varying degrees in the business of people. And at it’s very best, that is what politics is all about: the business of people.
Our hands are the only hands He has to do His work on earth. Our voice is the only voice He has to speak up for Him on.
Mrs Danna Vale MHR